Satellite TV and the Tailgate Party

Satelite TV at a Tailgate PartyTruly die hard NFL football fans know that in order to catch all the games you want to see, having DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket programming package is a must. But for those that have already shelled out the $269 to get the NFL Sunday Ticket package they are hesitant to leave the friendly confines of their “man cave” to go out and tailgate. After all, the overriding thought process here is, “I paid $269 for this thing, I am going to get my money’s worth”. With this quick and simple set-up guide, you can still enjoy your NFL Sunday Ticket while tailgating.

vuQube portable satelite systemEditor’s Note: Since writing this post we have discovered a product called the VuQube which is a self-contained satellite dish that is compatible with DirecTV, Dish Network, Bell Expressvu components and receives free-to-air satellite providers as well. The VuQube can be set up by one person and you’ll be watching your favorite shows or the other games in about five minutes after parking your tailgating vehicle. For more information on the VuQube, visit the product review page HERE. To learn more on how to set up a “traditional” satellite dish system, please continue reading.

In order to set up a traditional satellite system you will need a few items to get started. You probably already figured out that you will need some sort of TV and the satellite dish but there are a few more things that go into this project. You will need:

  • DirecTV or Dish Network receiver, DVR or Tivo with power cords
  • DirecTV or Dish Network satellite dish
  • DirecTV or Dish Network subscription
  • TV with speakers
  • TV stand
  • Power supply (gas generator or power inverter)
  • Heavy duty extension cord
  • Power strip
  • Coaxial, S-Video or RCA cables
  • Remote controls for the TV and satellite receiver, DVR or Tivo
  • Extra gasoline for your generator

1. If you are already a satellite subscriber you are well on your way and can skip this step. If not, choose which satellite provider fits your needs and sign up. Nothing is free these days so make sure your subscription is paid up. Nothing kills the tailgating mood like a snowy picture because you forgot to pay your bill.

2. Get an idea of where your tailgate party will be located. If you are a veteran tailgater you probably have a normal spot where you tailgate. Visualize where it is that you will be tailgating and ask yourself a few questions. Is my tailgate location on level ground or on an incline? Are there trees, large flags, tents, tall buildings, etc. that could obstruct my satellite dish’s view of the sky? Knowing the lay of the land before you get to the stadium can save a lot of headache later.

3. Buy a portable satellite dish that is compatible with your type of subscription service. This may seem obvious but not all dishes are the same. Make sure you have the right one for your subscription. When buying your portable satellite dish, get a stand so your dish can stand on its own. (Satellite dishes typically do not come with a stand of some sort because they are intended to be mounted on a roof or wall of a home.) Camping and RV stores typically have portable satellite kits that include table top or car top portable dishes along with a stand and a compass to determine signal direction. Dish stands can typically be found at major electronics outlets like Best Buy or Radio Shack. Many of these stands look like a tripod you would put a camera on and can be placed on the ground or on top of a vehicle for the least amount of signal interference.

4. You can’t do anything further unless you get some power to your system. The best and easiest way is a gas powered generator. Generators provide ample power as long as you have gasoline for them to run. With a gas generator, when the game goes into overtime you will not miss a snap. You can use your car’s battery for power but if you plan on running your satellite system for more than two or three hours, you could be stuck with a dead battery. If you go the car battery route, you will need a power inverter that converts the DC current from the car or truck battery into conventional AC power that your TV and receiver currently run on.

(Tailgating Tip: If you are using a gasoline generator, try to set it up far enough away so that the noise and exhaust fumes are downwind of your tailgating area.)

5. Set up your satellite dish with a clear line of sight to the sky. No need to break out the compass just yet until you have the TV hooked up. Run your cables to where your TV will be set up. Plug the dish into your power source and connect the dish to the receiver, DVR or Tivo. Your receiver should also be plugged into your power source at this time. Using the cables of your choice, connect your TV to the receiver. Plug in the TV to the power source at this time.

(Tailgating Tip: LCD TVs or computer monitors are recommended for optimal power usage and less glare. Plasma TVs tend to reflect more direct sunlight and also are very heavy and harder to transport.)

6. Once everything is hooked up and receiving power, turn on your TV and receiver. Select the proper input channel in order to see your start up menu. Follow the instructions on your screen for satellite configuration and signal strength. The process of finding your signal normally goes much faster if you have another person helping you turn the satellite dish while you determine the signal strength. For most satellite systems a signal strength of 80% or better is good enough for quality picture and sound.

(Tailgating Tip: If you are having trouble, make sure to bring the customer support toll free number with you along with your account number.)

7. Now that your signal strength has been determined to be strong enough, you can now exit out of the set-up menu screen. You probably already know which channel you would like to view first so select your channel, set the volume and you are now tailgating with satellite TV.

There is nothing like being at the game live but you don’t have to miss out on the other games just because you love tailgating. Having a portable satellite TV system at your next tailgate party is great for those in the eastern and central time zones that typically host the first set of games. Once your game is over, you can catch the second set of NFL games on TV while waiting for the parking lot traffic to die down. Tailgaters that also are addicted to fantasy football will love tailgating with satellite TV because they can keep up on their fantasy players stats. The reasons for tailgating with satellite TV are too numerous to count here, so why bother? Hopefully this guide was helpful and will assist you is making your next tailgate party a hit.

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