Having the best TV antenna for RV will help ensure that you’ll never run out of things to do while camping out. Sure, the company of family and friends and the sight of nature’s wonders are more than enough. However, when you’re out on a trip for hours, days, even weeks, you’d appreciate some traditional form of entertainment – the television.
This is especially essential when you’re out traveling with kids, or when you’re camping during the NBA All-star weekend. With the best TV antenna, you can conveniently get signals from local networks and won’t miss out on the latest news updates.
What Is an RV TV Antenna?
An RV TV antenna is a powerful receiver designed and manufactured specifically for recreational vehicles. It is mounted on the roof of the RV to maximize the signal it receives. There are also RV antennas that can be mounted indoors or can be attached to windows. These types of antennas are thinner and occupy lesser space. An indoor RV antenna, however, does not have the same range as an outdoor antenna.
An RV TV Antenna may be a good choice for those who want to enjoy some modern entertainment while outdoors. You may want to catch a big game while you are on an outdoor trip. Or it could rain during your trip, and staying inside your RV is the only option. You can entertain and bond with the whole gang or family with your favorite TV shows while holed up in your RV.
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Why Should You Get a TV Antenna for Your RV?
#1 – You Get to Enjoy Your Favorite TV Shows Even When Camping
Admit it. You have at least one TV show that you religiously follow. Going on camping for days can disrupt your viewing pleasure. An RV Antenna may let you continue to enjoy watching your nightly news and favorite TV series.
You may stream your favorite TV shows online, but this can be impossible in some areas with a poor data connection. An RV TV antenna, on the other hand, may let you enjoy your TV fix anywhere. An RV TV antenna may be your best choice if you love to camp on areas that are miles away from the city.
#2 – It Allows You to Receive Over-The-Air Hd Channels for Free
An RV antenna lets you enjoy local TV channels for free while you are on a trip. Most RV TV antennas allow you to receive channels like FOX, NBC, and CBS for free and in high definition.
If you want to maximize the number of channels received, you will need to consider the following factors:
1. The location of the channel’s broadcast tower
2. The location of your camping site
3 Kind of obstructions between the tower and your location
The website AntennaWeb can help you with this. It lets you input your zip code, and it provides you with the following information:
• The list of channels in your area
• The antenna strength needed
• A map that shows where their broadcast towers are located
You will notice that the channels are broadcast from different directions. The channels are represented by different colors: yellow and green are for channels with strong signal reception, and red and blue are for channels that may need stronger and larger antennas.
Installation Is Easy and Uncomplicated
Installation of an RV TV antenna is pretty simple. All you need to do is mount your TV antenna on a place in your RV where there is minimum obstruction. If you have an indoor RV antenna, you can install it in a window or near one. If you have an outdoor antenna, you can install it on the roof of your RV for the best possible reception.
How to Install Your RV TV Antenna by Yourself
To install your RV TV Antenna, it’s essential for you to get to know your RV. You must understand how your RV is structured and wired. It will help you decide whether you will need to buy new cables to suit your RV TV antenna.
Once you’ve got this, it’s time to check the installation manual that comes with your RV TV antenna. It is necessary and imperative that you follow the installation guide correctly as prescribed by the manufacturer. This will ensure that your antenna will work properly and will hold up to whatever environment condition.
You can install your RV TV antenna all by yourself. All you will need are a drill, drill bits, caulk, and your antenna kit.
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The following is a general installation outline for your awareness, however the specific model you purchase could require a different setup or configuration.
- You’ll need to find a good, unhindered spot, preferably on the roof of your RV.
- You’ll need to drill two 1/2-inch holes through your roof. The first one will be for the antenna. The other hole will be for the coaxial cable.
- You’ll need to drill four holes on your roof for the travel support so that it will stay in place.
- You’ll need to make use of appropriate tooling and accessories (e.g. screws) to secure the mounting plate and travel support, all of which should come with your antenna kit.
- Inside your RV, you’ll need to attach the ceiling plate on the ceiling, then attach the crank handle. You’ll then connect the coaxial cable that comes in your kit, and adjust it through the ceiling plate.
- You may also need to apply some caulk between the mounting plate and the roof for a firmer hold.
Benefits of an RV TV Antenna
#1 – It’s Free (For Life!)
You do not need to pay any premium or monthly fees to enjoy your favorite TV shows with an RV TV antenna. You’ll get local channels for free, wherever you’re parked.
Unlike with other options for getting TV signals in your RV, such as satellite and cable subscriptions, TV antennas are free for life. All you need to spend on are the hardware, and you are all set to enjoy unlimited TV whenever you go camping. TV antennas allow you to save money so you may spend it on other matters.
#2 – You Get to Enjoy Unaltered High Definition TV Signals
Cable and satellite TV provide you with compressed signal for their HDTV channels. TV antennas, on the other hand, receive signals straight from broadcasting stations without compressing or altering these signals. Chances are, you may receive better high definition channels with TV antennas than with cable or satellite TV. Images you receive may be sharper and crisper than in cable and satellite TV.
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#3 – You Get Strong High-Definition Televison (HDTV) Signals, Whatever the Weather
During storms, cable and satellite TV can fail. TV antennas, however, can still receive signals even in inclement weather. Satellite TV, for example, may fail on a cloudy or overcast day. If you live in areas that are prone to storms, you may want to invest in a good RV TV antenna so you can enjoy your TV shows on the road, whatever the season.
#4- You Can Receive Channels That Are Not Available on Cable and Satellite TV
It is true that you can get more channels with a cable or satellite subscription compared to a TV antenna. However, your RV TV antenna can receive sub-station channels that are not available on cable and satellite TV. These sub-channels can vary by locality. An example of a sub-station channel is an all-weather station for your area, and public television channels.
If you live near two or more TV markets, you can even receive Out-of-Market TV channels that are meant to serve another local area.
This means additional sub-channels and news programming for you to enjoy, for free.
#5 – You Get to Be Updated with Relevant News and Current Events
The main reason why you went camping is probably to escape the hustle of real life. However, this does not mean that you do not need to be aware of what’s going on around you. You will still need to be updated with the weather and other critical events in your area. An RV TV antenna will let you watch your favorite news program while you are out camping. This may be extremely helpful in areas where the cellular data reception is weak.
#6 – There Are Many Choices and Features Available That You Can Choose from
There is a wide range of TV Antennas made for RV’s available in the market for you to choose from. They come in the most basic antenna to the more sophisticated ones. Modern RV TV Antennas come with Wi-Fi capability, so you can also enjoy internet access while on the road.
How Do I Use an RV Antenna?
It will all depend on the brand of your antenna. First and foremost, you must follow the installation and setup guide as prescribed by your antenna’s manufacturer. Most RV TV antennas are easy to install and setup, and you won’t need to pay for installation fees. After you are finished with the installation, you’ll need to scan for available channels. If you’re receiving poor reception, simply adjust the position of your antenna to get better reception. There is no specific direction where your RV antenna must face. The best direction is the one where you get a clear and strong channel reception.
Do I Need Additional Hardware with My RV Antenna?
To improve your TV watching experience in your RV camper, you may need additional hardware aside from your RV TV antenna.
Here are 2 of them:
#1 – Digital Converter Box
Most RV antennas can receive HD and Digital channels. If your TV does not have a digital tuner, then you will need to buy a Digital Converter Box. A Digital Converter Box allows your analog TV to receive and display channels which use digital broadcast technology.
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#2 – TV Antenna Booster
A TV antenna booster is helpful if you need to enhance the signal strength received by your TV antenna. You may need a booster if the length of the coaxial cable that runs from your antenna to your TV is a little bit too long. Coaxial cables have losses, and the longer the cable runs, the greater the signal loss.
You may also need an antenna booster if you are in a location that is far from broadcast towers. The booster strengthens the weak signals received by your antenna, increasing the number of channels that you can watch. It also improves the quality of the video and the sound that you are receiving.
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What Should You Look for in the Right RV TV Antenna?
Shopping for the right RV TV antenna can be daunting with the many choices available in the market.
Here are 7 factors that you should consider when choosing for the right TV antenna for your RV camper:
#1 – Right Size and Range
Smaller antennas can receive fewer signals compared to larger antennas. You may also want to check the range offered by different antennas. The range is proportional to the gain of your antenna. The higher the antenna gain, the better it can receive weaker signals.
#2 – Indoor or Outdoor
The choice between indoor or outdoor antennas will depend on your area. If your location is near broadcast towers, or there aren’t many obstructions in the form of trees or tall buildings, an indoor antenna may work for your RV. If you need stronger reception, you may want an outdoor antenna.
#3 – Directional or Omnidirectional
If your location is near or you live in the city, an omnidirectional antenna may be the right TV antenna for your RV. It can receive many free HD channels that you can enjoy. If you live in the suburbs, or away from the city, you may need a more powerful directional antenna. A directional antenna is perfect if all the channels you want come from the same direction.
#4 – Amplified
Most RV TV antennas come with a built-in amplifier that boosts the signals it receives. An RV TV antenna with an amplifier may be the perfect choice for you if you live far from broadcast antennas or in the suburbs. Amplified antennas cost more than non-amplified antennas, but the better reception and additional channels can be worth the extra price tag.
#5 – Durable Parts and Materials
It is vital that your RV TV antenna lasts for a long time for you to get your money’s worth. The construction and materials of your antenna will affect its durability and even its performance. Most antennas are made from plastic, aluminum, or a combination of both. Aluminum type antennas are generally more durable and have better functionality.
#6 – Weight
A lightweight RV TV antenna may not be strong enough to withstand strong winds. If you have an outdoor antenna, choose one that is durable and strong enough so that it can withstand the harsh elements of the weather.
#7 – Good Return Policy
No matter what research you do, it is sometimes difficult to know which TV antenna will work best for you. Your environment, trees, buildings, and other obstacles play a big part in the quality and number of TV signals that you can receive. Sometimes, you end up knowing if it works well for you once you have tested it. Make sure that the store where you buy your RV TV antenna has a return policy so that you can return it when it does not work well.
Aside from an RV TV antenna, there are other options that you may also use to enjoy some TV time in your RV camper.
#1 – Internet
If you are staying within or near the city where a mobile data signal is considerably strong, the Internet is one of your best bets. With internet access, you can enjoy streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Fox.
#2 – Satellite
A satellite dish is one way to get TV reception in your RV. With a satellite dish, however, you won’t be able to get local TV channels outside their local service area.
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#3 – Cable Television
With cable TV, you will need cable hookup to receive your favorite cable channels. It is a good option if you frequent RV parks. It may not be a good choice if you like remote locations.
All of these options are not free of charge and may need to be paid with a monthly premium. This is where a TV antenna for RV campers has a big advantage. You only need to spend on the hardware, and you get to enjoy HD TV channels for free.
TV antennas are making a comeback in many households. Many families are cutting the cord and letting go of cable TV subscription fees, and turn to free over-the-air HD TV channels. Why spend money on something that you can get for free? When it comes to your RV, TV antennas can also be the smart choice for you.
Choosing the right TV antenna for you and your recreational vehicle depends on your preference, location, and budget. Review the features, specifications, pros, cons, and customer feedback to narrow down your choices. You should identify the features that you want in an RV TV antenna at the outset to make it easier to choose the right one.
Your location, camping habits and preferences may also affect your choice. An excellent and high-quality RV TV antenna is definitely a good investment if you want to enjoy the modern comforts of home while on the road.
Charles Joseph is one of the original authors of Camper Smarts from when it first started.
Product data was last updated on 2023-06-08 at 10:56.