DieselBoss Review and Compare Page: Truck satellite TV
satellite TV on a truck like you have at home can be a complex process
- but it doesn't have to be.
We have spent a great deal of time and energy testing systems and
creating methods to accomplish this for over a decade."
Here we review
and compare the basics in the following topics:
INDUSTRY MODEL HISTORY: You will see pictures
of various models over the years on our pages. We have been
evolving with this and other technologies on trucks for going on
20 years. So some of the terms you may hear when discussing
this subject are:
Vu Qube, King, Kingdome, Carryout,
Winegard, Portable, G2, X1,
V10, V20, V30, in-motion, mobile dome, DuraSat, Tailgater, or Satellite
Cube. These are indeed all legit products or companies that
relate to this page topic.
DIRECTV FOR TRUCKERS:
Currently, Dish Network is catering more to the mobile
market than DirecTV is. Antenna products made for Dish tend
to be a bit less expensive than those for DIRECTV since they are
able to build some of the needed smart electronics directly into
the DISH receiver. Dish also has a "pay-as-you-go"
billing option. That option allows for a "no long-term
home contract" style of programing that can be stopped and
started "as desired" by you (in 30-day minimum blocks.)
However, the special programming choices, pricing, and even the
basic channel lineups, can vary QUITE A BIT between these two U.S.
content providers. For instance, the guy writing this article
has DirecTV for the NFL football package which shows EVERY single
game played regardless of where you are in the country. Although
there are many network channels and cable channels that carry various
NFL games, you are still subject to local and regional restrictions.
BUT, maybe the NFL doesn't matter to YOU one bit. Maybe it
is NasCar, Baseball, Basketball, Hockey, College sports, or Soccer
that is more important to you. The point is that one of the
primary differences between the "big 2" providers is in
sports package programming. So the best thing to do is to
check their current programming and package lineups if you do not
have either one at home yet. (here are their links:
IF YOU ALREADY HAVE IT AT HOME: It is BY
FAR easier and cheaper to simply add another receiver to your existing
home account than it is to begin a stand-alone account just for
your truck. You will get the same package that you have at
home in your truck (with 2 exceptions talked about in a minute.)
Both companies will still require a U.S. based home billing address.
And, as stated earlier, Dish is going to make it less painful to
start a brand new mobile-only account (at the time I write this
anyway) than DirecTV is.
HIGH-DEFINITION: At this time, the actual
satellite technology broadcasting bands used by Dish and Direct
make a distinct difference here. A physically small dish (usually
around 18" to be practical on a truck or RV) CAN use the Dish
Network HD band if you have one of their HD packages. The
band used by DirecTV cannot. To keep it from getting too technical,
the actual size, shape, and alignment of the HD process using DirecTV
requires a dish setup that is just not practical to fit on a truck
at this time. Remember that HD only starts to make a big difference
to your eyes as you get into bigger screens. We have installed
a few 42" screens in trucks and even a 50" once.
At that size, HD does make a big clarity difference. BUT,
MOST TV's in trucks run from 18 - 28 inches and high definition
does not make as much of a difference in your decision at those
LOCAL AND NETWORK CHANNELS: Once you get
away from your home (50 - 100 miles) you will lose your local
network channels (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, etc.) when using mobile
satellite systems. For DISH Network customers, they need
to call customer service each night and request that the local
networks be enabled where they are parked. For DirecTV
customers, you can request a distant services waiver at their
web site to get either the Los Angeles or the New York local
networks at all times.
EQUIPMENT: There are only a few choices for
mobile practical dishes on the market. And even fewer for
dishes that can be permanently mounted on the back of a truck.
We carry the
and King brand
equipment for instance. Both companies are U.S. based and
both have gone to the effort for many years to offer some solutions
that go on trucks. There are a few others (KVH Industries
for one) that do offer forms of mobile equipment, but for us at
DieselBoss, the VAST majority of trucks we work on do NOT have a
flat surface roof to bolt a dome down onto. (see below
about why that makes a difference!)
SETTING UP MY OWN OLD-SCHOOL DISH: Yes, this
is done all the time. This is WAY cheaper than a self-pointing
unit and many drivers do this. You need a cheap 18" round
dish (try Amazon) and a receiver box and account from one of the
satellite companies. You also need a way to attach it (and
usually a way to raise and lower it above other trucks and obstacles.)
You also need a good phone app or signal finder attachment and some
skill at where to point it manually. But I will say that I
have seen MANY drivers come up with some innovative ways to attach
these to their trucks. Also note that DirecTV wins on this
method because you only need to point it at one satellite.
For Dish, you need at least 2 satellites to get all of your programing.
It is cheap equipment, but the rather large downside is that it
can be a painful process to do at the end of the day (especially
in winter and high winds.)
IN-MOTION DISH or DIRECTV,
For trucks WITHOUT a flat roof (like low-boys, and mid-roof
style) the best option right now is from Winegard, found
HERE on this site. If you HAVE a flat
roof that you can bolt a dome down onto, then you also should
consider the King Dome or KVH in-motion units found on their
respective web sites or in their authorized dealer network.
In-motion units are good for teams where one driver is off duty
half of the time and wants to watch live TV while traveling.
REMEMBER though that satelllte TV is a "line-of-site" signal.
This means that you will see the signal drop out when it gets
blocked by buildings or trees when you are driving in cities or
heavily wooded roads.
CANADIANS: Canada also has a couple of service
providers - and
. We have installed
units that work with Bell, but we have no experience currently with
Shaw. We get this question a lot, so: Yes - there is
bleed-over of U.S. providers into Canada and vice-versa. However,
all of the providers on both sides require a home address in their
country to legally get their service. You can read between
the lines and search the internet for lots of opinions on this subject.
And finally, SATELLITE INTERNET: We get
regularly asked if there is such a thing for trucks. The short
answer is: NO. The long answer is: Yes, but you
will only see it in very large and very expensive news-van, military,
or big-bucks corporate remote settings (like some oil-drilling rigs.)
Dish Network and Hughes Net both offer satellite internet for home
users, but there is no such mobile capability in place commercially
for trucks through one of these satellite TV units. The cell
phone companies have a GIANT head-start on practical mobile internet
and we don't see that changing anytime soon (if ever.)
How to install satellite TV on a truck
- FOR OUR FULL IDEAS AND GUIDE PAGE ----> CLICK HERE
Various Mount Options - FOR OUR FULL
Lineup of EXCLUSIVE big-truck satellite mounts ---->