Whether your RV TV viewing is that of an occasional TV viewer, a regular old couch-potato-TV- fanatic, or something in between, you should have no trouble finding the right set-up for your RV.
In fact most new RV’s come already equipped with systems that are set-up for several different types of RV TV entertainment. Some systems are equipped with surround sound. Many have a console box that lets you switch from your main TV, to your bedroom TV, or to the TV outside in a basement bay. There are also switches to source a DVD player, CD player or TV tuner. Most systems have multiple input sources so you can switch back and forth from antenna, to cable, to satellite antenna, etc. If your unit is not set up this way, you can probably add it.
The biggest variable in television seems to be in where your signal comes from. If you are close to a metro area where there are several TV transmitting stations you can usually find good reception with your built in antenna. You might need to upgrade to a digital antenna if you buy a used RV with the older analog antenna built in. New digital antenna upgrades are not expensive and can be installed usually in place of the old one fairly easily.
Most newer RV’s have a cable TV input terminal that you can use to connect to the campground’s cable system. Some campgrounds include cable service in their full hook up package. Many do not. If you find a campground that does, it is a quick and simple way to have local TV channels. You just simple connect the cable and let your TV find the channels. We use cable where we find it. Most campgrounds that offer cable have a simple basic version that is adequate for local and some national based channels.
If you are not near a city or are boondocking you may find that your only source for TV is satellite. If your RV is already equipped with a satellite system as many are, especially motorhomes, you may only need to take your satellite receiver from home into your RV and have the antenna search for the appropriate satellite. Some older RV’s may have a satellite antenna with only one LNB. This means it can only locate one satellite at a time.
We recently replaced our old single LNB unit with a triple LNB system that finds multiple satellites and locks onto them at the same time. That allows you to quickly change channels within your program package without having to locate another satellite. It also opens the door to HDTV and DVR’s as well.
If your RV TV did not come with a satellite system, you can easily add a fold-up satellite antenna to the roof. Installs can be a little tricky. Expect to pay $200-$300 for an installation plus the cost of the unit. Or if you want to keep it simple you can purchase a satellite dish that you can mount on a tripod. These are used often for tail-gating at sports events. There are also table top units that you simply plug into electrical power, push a button and it finds the satellites automatically in a matter of minutes. You then run a coax cable to your satellite receiver or to the satellite input on your RV (if so equipped, if not it can be added). In one way these are easier than a roof mounted unit since they can be moved about to find a line of sight between trees and other obstacles. Of course you do have to have a place to store it for travel. Most RV facilities will be happy to help you make a satellite antenna selection and will install it for you if you desire.
In short, your RV TV set-up can be pretty much the way you like it. You have lots of choices.
And never forget……sometimes the better choice is to just turn the TV off and go out and build a campfire.