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How to get DirecTV in my RV

Among the needs you might have thought about before buying an RV is entertainment. For those who want to go out and enjoy every moment of being on the road, having a TV there when you get back to the RV might not be enough. Having your favorite shows recorded is a better idea, especially if you don’t care about watching them live.

But you might have heard that home theatre setups – especially ones that you pay for per month, might not work the same way in your home on wheels. Let’s dig into how the DirecTV Genie works in an RV.

The answer is that yes, RV owners can use a DirecTV Genie DVR. Currently, the DVR only turns with a high definition or SWM (single wire multiswitch) antenna on your RV. There are some things to work out, including having a receiver present. We’ll explain more about how this works below.

What is a DirecTV Genie?

Let’s first make sure we are on the same page. A DirecTV Genie is a digital recorder that let’s you record and store your favorite shows and movies on a device within your RV or home. You can then play them back later and can play them repeatedly if you want.

DirecTV Genie requirements

You’ll need a couple of things to make sure that your DirectTV genie works. 

  • A dish

A satellite dish with SWM technology. Not all satellite dishes for RVs have this, so either use a dish from DirecTV or find one that specifies it has the correct kind of technology. A non high definition dish will also be unable to send a signal that the DirectTV requires to stock high definition video.

  • A receiver

DirecTV requires a receiver, and things can get a little complicated here.

You might need a different DirecTV setup for using TV and your DirecTV genie in your RV, especially for local channels

Part of what you’ll need depends on what you want for a TV setup. If you enjoy watching local channels, but tend to venture more than 200 miles away from your home address while using your RV, government regulations might get in the way.

The Federal Communications Commission (also known as the FCC) does not allow providers like DirectTV to have their customers receive a local signal if they are outside of their local area. For example, if you live in Ohio but drive down to the south for the winter, you won’t be able to receive your local Ohio news in the way you are accustomed to.

There are two ways to fix this problem, if indeed it becomes a problem for you:

Call DirecTV when you find a place you’ll park for a while

In order to record local programs on your DirectTV Genie, your receiver has to be capable of receiving them first. Once you are outside of the area, you’ll need to call DirecTV to establish your current address. Then, your DirectTV box will be able to find your local channels and record those, in addition to other programs you might want to record with the Genie.

Get a different setup

You can also subscribe to major local networks with a Distance Provider. This will cost a few dollars more and might not include smaller networks, but allows you to watch local news outside of the area.

Using multiple receivers

Your Genie will require the use of a receiver. If you have a home and an RV, and only one receiver, you can either disconnect it and bring the receiver with you, or get another receiver. You can bring the extra receiver with you on the road (especially if you have a young adult at home who watches DirectTV while you are gone!).

Do I need anything else?

It might help you to know a couple more things:

You’ll need the Genie – not the mini Genie to start out

The genie acts as a “Server” for the Mini Genie. This means that all your good shows and movies are recorded on the main Genie, not the Mini Genie. The Mini Genie only receives wireless signals from a main Genie.

In other words, you’ll need the Genie to start with. Should you have a second TV in the RV, you can get a Mini Genie for that one to receive shows from the main Genie.

We included this to clear up any confusion about what each setup can do. Also, of course it’s easier to want the Mini Genie first at a lower price – it just doesn’t do the same thing.

Antennas and your DirecTV setup

One easy way to make sure your antenna setup works at home and in your RV is to try and get the same antenna for home and your RV. You could purchase or lease the antenna and simply get the same model with slightly different installations. This can also make you more confident in troubleshooting, knowing that the antennas and setups should work the same way whether you are at home or are on the road.

Do I need Internet for a Genie?

You’ll need the Internet to get your Genie started, but surprisingly, not after. The Genie can work in your RV without Internet, though you won’t be able to access apps like Pandora, Youtube and others. If you are’t worried about streaming music or YouTube, it won’t matter.

Another small downside will be restarting shows that are already in progress, but that might be a solid exchange if you don’t want to pay for WiFi and Internet.

The Genie just needs to be plugged in to work

Plug the Genie from your DirectTV receiver and you’ll be close to good to go. The Genie takes either a coaxial cable or HDMI and setup is very simple. Most of the word will involve choosing which shows to record.


To summarize this article, yes! You certainly can have a DirectTV genie in your RV to record TV and movies. You’ll need at least one main Genie, and can’t use just the Mini Genie itself. Consider getting a similar or the same antenna as home to avoid issues going between the two.

The Genie also works without the Internet, which is nice for those who want to save some money or be a little more unplugged. Consider the Genie a source of entertainment for when you want to watch something already recorded on your own time instead of someone else’s.

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