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Old 10-03-2020, 10:47 AM   #1
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Tailgater vs Tailgater Pro vs Playmaker

I'm about to pull the trigger on a dish and am having a heck of a time understanding the differences between the various models. Here is my list of wants:

* will probably only ever watch one TV at a time so don't really care about being able to run to two TVs.
* want to roof mount with the ability to remove if needed. I prefer the king quick release but am also as comfortable unscrewing from the metal playmaker feet
* i want it to automatically find the signal. I would prefer not to have to pull out a phone app to find satellites to make this happen.

Thanks!
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Old 10-03-2020, 10:56 AM   #2
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I have the Tailgater Pro. I only watch one tv but like the option for a second. The pro automatically finds signal as long as nothing is in the way. I prefer not to roof mount because you have to move it around unless you camper where there are no trees.
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Old 10-03-2020, 07:56 PM   #3
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I have the King Tailgater Pro with the King Quick Release. Both have performed flawlessly.
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Old 10-03-2020, 08:00 PM   #4
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I have the basic Playmaker roof mounted. Finds satellites automatically and can be removed and set up away from the MH in less than five minutes.
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Old 10-03-2020, 08:13 PM   #5
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I have the Tailgater and the newer dual output opaque Tailgater Pro. My RVing friend has the Playmaker. As far as performance, we don't see any difference in any of them. The Playmaker is cheaper.
I like the Pro as I can keep one receiver inside, and then run a second cable to a temp outside TV/Receiver and get HD for a game w/o having to move my original cable and receiver around. I'm lazy
None of us have mounted on the roof as we prefer to easily move them around.
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Old 10-04-2020, 08:41 AM   #6
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This is all incredibly helpful. Seems like whichever I choose will give me the things I want.
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Old 10-04-2020, 08:50 AM   #7
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I have the Tailgater I used for a season then got a Winegard Pathway X2 now am very happy with the performance of it. I can get both the East and Western Arc satellites and can watch my Locals anywhere I travel without any phone calls or extra payment using a receiver from home
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Old 10-04-2020, 09:00 AM   #8
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Tailgater vs Tailgater Pro vs Playmaker

The phone app is used to find a placement spot which has an unobstructed view of all 3 sats. Trees can be a huge issue. The X2 gives you a second set of sats to choose from which in the east is very helpful since the western arc sats are pretty low on the horizon. In parts of Maine we could not get 129 with our Tailgater as it was completely below the horizon.
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Old 10-04-2020, 09:13 AM   #9
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Exclamation

I have my TailgaterII with a 'temporary' storage/mount on the rear of the roof, right behind the air conditioner, in easy reach of the top of the ladder.

I did this for several reasons: easy 'storage', as it rides there all the time, whether I need it or not.
I easily searches and picks up the satellites, since it's much higher than being on the ground, and I know that how I 'park' my coach will provide it easy site to the satellites - I never then have to get out and move it.
But, since I know that not every situation and parking place is ideal, I also have 30' of it's coax cable wound around the rear a/c cowling, so that in the even I need to move it, I can either easily located it to somewhere else on the roof, while parked, or bring it down to the ground. The extra cable is usually plenty to find the best place for it, but I carry plenty of other 'spare' cable, regardless. I've done this with the antenna well over 100-150' away with no issues.

I provided a temporary 'mount' at the rear of the roof by simply tapping in two specialty threaded mounts, 'T-Nuts', or something similar. These really didn't 'require' any drilling, but each coach's roof might be different...you may need some small pilot holes, but nothing that really goes far enough to invade the cavity of the roof. I'll post a picture of these mounts.
The second part of the mount is the threaded 'rod', which threads into the aforementioned mount, and the antenna then simply slips down onto these two rods, placed exactly where the existing holes in the antenna base is located.
You can choose to also cap these threaded rods after you sit the antenna down over them, such as with a cap nut, just in case. I eventually started using a specialty threaded slip nut that threads all the way down to the antenna base, just to keep any wind from 'lifting' the antenna while traveling.

Of course, if you want to purchase the pre-built 'base', that's probably the easiest method. I just don't remember seeing any of those available until after I'd 'DIY'd' my own : )
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Old 10-04-2020, 12:17 PM   #10
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I have the Tailgater Pro after input from several friends and looking at the pros and cons of each unit. Though we only watch one TV at a time but it could be either in the bedroom or Living area. With the dual option I don't have to move anything it will run both though you need a receiver at each TV. One thing I did buy was the WIFI adapter so I can stream from Amazon Prime (or if you have Netflix, Hulu, etc.) whenever I have WIFI internet access whether through my phone or campground WIFI if it's any good. Or with that I can download a bunch of movies to my phone or tablet and just watch right off them without any internet. All this was more for convenience though when on the road we don't watch a lot, as we are retired now and traveling more it will come in handy.
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Old 10-04-2020, 12:37 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by W5CI View Post
I have the Tailgater I used for a season then got a Winegard Pathway X2 now am very happy with the performance of it. I can get both the East and Western Arc satellites and can watch my Locals anywhere I travel without any phone calls or extra payment using a receiver from home
Were those issues specific to the Tailgater? I've ordered the Tailgater Pro, which has both East and Western arc capabilities but it's not too late to cancel that order and go with the Pathway or Playmaker. What's the deal with having to make phone calls or not for locals? Is that device specific?
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Old 10-04-2020, 12:39 PM   #12
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Tailgater Vs Tailgater Pro Vs Playmaker

I don't believe you will find any difference in performance between the Tailgaters with one receiver. I have used DISH for many years and am very satisfied with the performance. I recommend you do not mount it to the roof or ladder. You have to have unobstructed view to the southern skies. I have a stand for the Tailgater with a 50 foot coaxial cable which allows me to move Tailgater to where I need to get the unobstructed view. I route the cable through a window to the receiver. Just a thought but works well for me.
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Old 10-04-2020, 12:43 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by formerFR View Post

I provided a temporary 'mount' at the rear of the roof by simply tapping in two specialty threaded mounts, 'T-Nuts', or something similar. These really didn't 'require' any drilling, but each coach's roof might be different...you may need some small pilot holes, but nothing that really goes far enough to invade the cavity of the roof. I'll post a picture of these mounts.
The second part of the mount is the threaded 'rod', which threads into the aforementioned mount, and the antenna then simply slips down onto these two rods, placed exactly where the existing holes in the antenna base is located.
You can choose to also cap these threaded rods after you sit the antenna down over them, such as with a cap nut, just in case. I eventually started using a specialty threaded slip nut that threads all the way down to the antenna base, just to keep any wind from 'lifting' the antenna while traveling.

Of course, if you want to purchase the pre-built 'base', that's probably the easiest method. I just don't remember seeing any of those available until after I'd 'DIY'd' my own : )
I've found specialty brackets for installing both the Tailgater Pro and the Playmaker. I can also get a quick release bracket for the Tailgater. The solution you came up with is very elegant though. It's essentially the same concept as the bracket mounts, with slightly different hardware. I just went through the process of mounting my solar on the roof and I think if I had seen this earlier, I would have done it this way instead of buying specialty mounts.

The only benefit I don't have with this is that I cover all of my brackets with dicor and then put eternabond over the entire thing. It seems like it might easier to do that with more rectangle bracket installs.
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Old 10-04-2020, 12:46 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by dmctlc View Post
I have the Tailgater Pro after input from several friends and looking at the pros and cons of each unit. Though we only watch one TV at a time but it could be either in the bedroom or Living area. With the dual option I don't have to move anything it will run both though you need a receiver at each TV. One thing I did buy was the WIFI adapter so I can stream from Amazon Prime (or if you have Netflix, Hulu, etc.) whenever I have WIFI internet access whether through my phone or campground WIFI if it's any good. Or with that I can download a bunch of movies to my phone or tablet and just watch right off them without any internet. All this was more for convenience though when on the road we don't watch a lot, as we are retired now and traveling more it will come in handy.
Sounds like we watch TV similarly. We don't watch a lot when traveling but when we want it, we want it. We are actually adding the satellite because it's football season. We usually travel with a Firestick and downloaded movies/TV, and can stream from that for Netflix if we want.
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Old 10-04-2020, 12:51 PM   #15
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I don't believe you will find any difference in performance between the Tailgaters with one receiver. I have used DISH for many years and am very satisfied with the performance. I recommend you do not mount it to the roof or ladder. You have to have unobstructed view to the southern skies. I have a stand for the Tailgater with a 50 foot coaxial cable which allows me to move Tailgater to where I need to get the unobstructed view. I route the cable through a window to the receiver. Just a thought but works well for me.
I've gone ahead and ordered the Tailgater. I've researched until my eyes were about to fall out and finally made the decision based on reviews on Amazon. Seems like fewer people have issues that are difficult to fix with the Tailgater, but who knows. It's just hard to tell. King also seems to have more accessories for mounting in case we need it.

I haven't bought any mounting hardware yet. I might not put it up there, but I still might. I like to minimize setup and tear down time, so the more things that have a permanent, ready to use place where they travel, the better.

I've had satellite at home in the past so I understand the tree issues. I think by next summer I'll know if I want to permanently mount it. It's really going to come down to, do we go more places with trees or without? I suspect it will be more with, but who knows.
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Old 10-04-2020, 12:57 PM   #16
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I've gone ahead and ordered the Tailgater. I've researched until my eyes were about to fall out and finally made the decision based on reviews on Amazon. Seems like fewer people have issues that are difficult to fix with the Tailgater, but who knows. It's just hard to tell. King also seems to have more accessories for mounting in case we need it.

I haven't bought any mounting hardware yet. I might not put it up there, but I still might. I like to minimize setup and tear down time, so the more things that have a permanent, ready to use place where they travel, the better.

I've had satellite at home in the past so I understand the tree issues. I think by next summer I'll know if I want to permanently mount it. It's really going to come down to, do we go more places with trees or without? I suspect it will be more with, but who knows.
I agree I now have mine portable and even though it can be a PITA ever time we stop for more than a few days to set up I need some more time with it to determine if I mount it permanently on the roof. Though a pain setting up and taking it down I'd be more upset if I mount it permanently and find out I lose signal too often. It's nice that it seeks and acquires the satellite without me having to do anything other than point it south. Anyway wish you luck and let us know how you make out in the future.
Thanks
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Old 10-04-2020, 01:00 PM   #17
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Locals are location specific, not device specific. It appears the Pro replaces 129 with 61.5, but I don't see that it has the full eastern arc.
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Old 10-04-2020, 01:15 PM   #18
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We have the original tailgater which I connect to a Wally - AND we have a Hopper 3 connected to fixed dish antennae. We have two RV's and a permanent residence. I have one Dish account for the Hopper and I pay an extra $7 a month to have the tailgater active when I want to use it. This is an ideal arrangement. The Hopper3 is easy to disconnect and I travel it back and forth between our home and our stationary 5th wheel. I have Dish antennae permanently installed, one at our home and one at the lakeside RV Park where we keep our 5th wheel. This is a great arrangement. And the Hopper 3 is infinitely better than the tailgater which we use with our motorhome when we travel.

The Hopper 3 allows one to record to the DVR as many as 16 programs at the same time. Clearly 16 programs simultaneously is excessive, but it is a great joy to be able to record 2 or 3 programs at the same time and be watching yet a different program live. Compare this to the Tailgater which only allows you to tune to a single channel whether you watch it or record it. The only option you have is to record one program and watch something else from the DVR. This is pretty limiting and really annoying if you record certain series on a regular basis and then along comes a movie on another channel that you want to record but it overlaps with a scheduled program and you have to make a choice. This annoying issue completely disappears with the Hopper 3.

Another great feature of the Hopper 3 - it has two USB ports in back which means you can connect two separate external 2 TB hard drives. And the Hopper 3 has its own internal 1 TB HD as well. So almost infinite capacity to record shows, sports and movies. And you can even simply unplug one external HD and plug in another. So you maybe keep movies on one, sports on another, TV shows on a third... unlimited options there. The Wally, by contrast only allows a single 2 TB hard drive which is what it uses for DVR capability.

I realize this thread is about versions of portable satellite antennae and receivers (the Wally). But I thought I should explain the other salient Dish option for anyone who keeps their RV in a fixed location for extended periods as we do. We have the luxury of both a stationary 5th wheel (we have no pickup truck) and we have a Forest River Forester which is great for travels around the west.

We have had the tailgater for years originally with an older receiver and now with the Wally. It has always worked admirably on our travels - I even carried it in one of our Class A motorhomes which had a marvelous roof mounted one touch Winegard Trav'ler. The tailgater still came in handy occasionally when we needed to position the tailgater away from the coach to get a clear shot at the satellites.

Hope this has been informative.
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Old 10-04-2020, 01:24 PM   #19
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the X2 will receive true eastern and western arc Satellites Acquired: 110°, 119°, 129° or 61.5°, 72.7°, 77°.


The Playmaker can only receive Compatible Satellites: 110°, 119° or 129° (Western Arc) or 110°, 119° or 61.5.
It will not receive 72.7 or 77 which if your in NE US are higher in the sky and easier to see over trees (and is probably your default if your in NE USA).
I think the tailgater receives same satellites as playmaker.

From my experience all the main channels are duplicated on the 110/119 pair and 72.7/77 pair. Than your locals are on either 61.5 or 129 depending on where you live. In some towns your locals may be duplicated both 61.5 and 129 (Orlando Fl is)

The X2 has a larger 18" deflector inside than the other 2 dishes it so it will have less rain fade problems. but that causes it to be larger.

the X2 is not supposed to be permanently mounted, and they tell you to "park it" (move dish so arrows line up) before transporting it.

Also you need to understand your only going to get your Home locals around 200 miles from home. The satellite sends signal to your local area in a tight focused pattern. Think of a flash light beam, move out of the beam and you will no longer receive your locals). Than you can call and have your local station changed to your current location, BUT that also changes your home receivers locals as well, so if you have something setup to record at home while your away, you might miss it.
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Old 10-04-2020, 01:47 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Were those issues specific to the Tailgater? I've ordered the Tailgater Pro, which has both East and Western arc capabilities but it's not too late to cancel that order and go with the Pathway or Playmaker. What's the deal with having to make phone calls or not for locals? Is that device specific?
W5CL has an old Dish program option for distant networks that got around the spot beams for locals. Not device specific.
Research the STELAR act and distant networks. This option was supposed to go away last June 1, but due to covid, it appears it was postponed until 2021. Then the distant network option for locals will no longer be available to those that were grandfathered in.
I haven't kept up with it as it doesn't affect me, or any new subscribers, but there is lots of reading available if you are interested
You made a good choice with the Pro. I enjoy mine. When we move out of our local spot beam area, we just call, tell them our new zip code, and have that areas locals within a few minutes. No biggy.
Even with our old Tailgater that only received the western arc of satellites, we were able to use it up and down the east coast. The only place we had trouble finding satellites was in the extreme north east of the nation, but still could pull in some SD stations.
Happy RVing!
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