Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Satellite TV for an RV with no contracts and no gimmicks

We got satellite TV simple and cheap, no contracts, no fine print, no "have to do this to get that", no lease/rent payments on equipment. Up front cost: $270 ($310 if you want DVR). That gets your own receiver and a free dish installed at your house.  Monthly cost starts at $35 ($45 with local channels).

What's the trick? Pretend that you have an RV with satellite already installed and that you want to move it into your house when you're home. (This is no longer necessary. The Flex Pack is now available to home customers directly from DISH.)

Step by step:
  1. Go to DishForMyRV, Shop Now.
  2. Buy a DISH receiver. At the time of this writing, you want the Wally (NOPE, Wally is obsolete already). It has many desirable features, such as:
    1. Bluetooth headset support
    2. Wifi so you can stream from Netflix, etc.
    3. DVR support
  3.  When the receiver arrives, go back to DishForMyRV to the TV Channels section. Decide on the channel package you want. Make note, especially, of the Flex Pack. You may be able to get just the channels you want without having to pay for the bigger packages. Also note that there are no credit checks or contracts and no fees to start or stop the service.
  4. Call the number that's on the receiver to activate the service and set up an account with the channel pack(s) you decided on. The person you call will set up an account for you at DISH as part of the process. Do not call DISH network directly at this point!
  5. For DVR (you must have done step 4 first so that you have a DISH account),
    1. Attach a self-powered USB hard drive to your Wally receiver. Apparently DISH receivers don't supply power on their USB ports, so a flash drive won't work unless you put it into a self-powered USB card reader.
    2. Call DISH at 800-333-3474 to activate DVR on the receiver. They'll charge your account a one-time fee of $40.
  6. Now, call DISH. Tell them you have satellite TV in your RV already, but you want to use it in your house when you're not on the road. They'll send out an installer who, for a flat $147 fee, will install a free satellite dish and wire it into your receiver wherever you want to put it.
That's it. $120 for the receiver, $147 for the dish installation and $40 for DVR. Total cost $307. Start and stop the service any time you want. Change channel packs any time you want. No monthly equipment lease fees. No commitments. Satellite TV the way it should be: clean, simple and flexible. We pay only $45 a month for the "starter" and local channels.

As far as I know, DirecTV doesn't offer this kind of service.

DISH does package channels in some weird ways, though. For example, National Geographic Channel is only available in the Flex pack, not any of the higher channel count packs. Nat Geo Wild, which we would like to have, is only available in the 200 and 250 packages.

I hope many readers use this information to break out of the fine print prisons of conventional multi-year TV contracts.