Tailgate TV Setup – 4 Ways to Get TV at a Tailgate in 2021


This is an article about setting up TV at your tailgate party. We cover several options, but I don’t want to over-complicate this.  There is an EASY winner for best tailgate TV setup.  The DISH Playmaker portable satellite is the perfect option (easy setup, no long term contract needed). This is the current price of the DISH Playmaker bundle at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon). If that is out of stock, you can also use this King DISH portable satellite bundle.

I tell everyone that will listen that I think the DISH Playmaker bundle is the best kept secret in tailgating right now.  I love mine and it is super easy to setup and here is the catch: I didn’t even have to sign up for a DISH long-term contract (which means you can get in on this even if you are not an existing DISH customer).  Here is a look at mine:

dish-playmaker-tailgate-tv-setup

The DISH Playmaker bundle comes with a DISH Wally receiver, remote, HDMI cables (and other cables) and the awesome thing is DISH offers pay-as-you-go month-to-month plans so you don’t have to lock into a long-term contract.  You simply just pay it month by month and cancel whenever works for you.  It literally has been the perfect option for me. 

Steps to Follow

Here’s the exact steps I followed for tailgate TV setup to get my DISH Playmaker up and running – I truly believe if you follow these steps, you will be very satisfied with your satellite TV setup:

  • STEP 1Buy the equipment off Amazon This is the exact link at Amazon where I bought my DISH playmaker bundle (affiliate link takes you to Amazon).  The bundle comes with the satellite antenna, the DISH Wally receiver, HDMI cables, AV cables, power cord, remote, and instructions. If that is out of stock, you can also use a King Satellite DISH bundle. Click here to view the King Tailgater Bundle with Dish Receiver (affiliate link takes you to Amazon.com).
  • STEP 2 – Buy a tripod support stand – I suggest buying the support tripod which is easy to setup and makes your satellite stable. This is the exact tripod support that I bought from Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon). These support tripods are literally made for portable satellites. You could always chance it and place it on a table, but I would advise you to just buy the tripod support.
  • STEP 3 – Sign up for DISH pay-as-you-go planThis is where you can find the available plans at DISH Network’s website.  Again, if you are a DISH customer, you may not need to do this (contact DISH after you buy the equipment).  If you are not an existing DISH customer, this is such an awesome option.  Literally cancel any month you want, then reactivate at any time.  It is PERFECT for me.

The only other thing you might want to consider is whether or not you will need extra coax cable for your setup. The bundle does include coax, but depending on your setup, you may need extra length. If you need extra coax, just buy some at the same time you are buying the equipment from Amazon.

Here’s a look at my bundle that I bought off of Amazon (again, this is the exact spot at Amazon that I bought my DISH Playmaker bundle; affiliate link):

dish-playmaker-tailgate-tv-setup-wally-receiver
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I cannot stress enough that in my opinion, this is clearly the best way to get satellite hooked up at your tailgate.  I set the tripod on the ground, set satellite on top (it’s not that heavy), connect the cables (2 minutes), then let the antenna automatically connect to the satellite, and boom ready to go.  It takes like 5-10 minutes total.  I mean it is so easy for me.

If you are looking for something a little more basic than satellite TV at your tailgate, then I suggest using a digital antenna like this one available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon). This gives you access to free over-the-air broadcasting of your local channels. You can read more on this tailgate TV setup option down below in the article.

***Also, here comes winter. Below is the portable heater I use for my tailgate. Very warm, easy setup. To read more about it, visit our article: best heaters for tailgating.

Tailgate TV setup is essential if you want to take your tailgate to the next level. And if right now your only option of watching TV at your tailgate is awkwardly stealing glimpses of the TV at the tailgate next to you, then we are here to help.

Even though I’ve given it away that the DISH Playmaker is my favorite option, in this article we are going to discuss how to setup TV at a tailgate so that you know your options and can pick one that works best for you.

To learn how to set up a TV at a tailgate, the good news is you have plenty of options, such as:

  • Hotspot a Smart TV
  • Digital TV Antenna (simplest method)
  • Satellite dish (DISH Network or DIRECTV)
  • Screen mirroring (worst option)

If terms like “hotspot” and “screen mirroring” make it sound like you need a degree in computer programming to make them happen, I assure you that no, you do not (we provide instructions below). We will also give you the pros and cons of each of these processes so that you can determine which one makes the most sense for your personal tailgate TV setup.

But if you were looking for my quickest recommendations on how to setup TV at a tailgate, those recommendations are:

  • Simplest Option: Digital TV Antenna
  • Best Option: DISH Playmaker portable satellite with pay-as-you-go plan and use it in tandem with a digital TV antenna so that you have access to both regular TV and cable. This is where you can buy the equipment at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon).

How To Get TV at a Tailgate

Technology has advanced in such a way over the past 10-20 years that setting up TV at a tailgate party is MUCH easier than it used to be. I can remember back to the days where a friend of ours would bring his own personal satellite dish (from his yard), hook it up to a metal pole that was cemented into a tire base, and spend 45 minutes angling it into the sky to locate and connect it to an orbiting satellite. That is what a hero looked like 15 years ago folks.

Fortunately for your tailgate TV setup, you can leave that satellite dish attached to your house. Here are the 4 best processes for setting up a TV at your tailgate.

#1 Using Digital Antenna for Tailgate TV Setup

This is the digital antenna we recommend from Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon).

Remember the old days when people used to have dusty rabbit ear antennas sitting on top of TVs to get local channels? Well, nowadays those old-style rabbit ears have been replaced by digital TV antennas. These digital TV antennas can be a great option for setting up TV at a tailgate. 

Digital TV Antennas are designed to attach to your TV to pick up over-the-airway TV broadcasting signals.  These antennas pick up local free programming that is sent out mostly by local broadcasting stations.

So, what good does this do for you? What content can you pick up with a digital TV antenna?

No, you will not be able to get access to ESPN, NFL Network, FS1, or any of the other sports networks available through cable and satellite, but you still can get access to your local channels. And if you are just looking to get some football on the TV before your game starts, then local channels should do the trick.

  • CBS and Fox carry NFL pregame shows and NFL games. CBS, ABC, and NBC all carry college football games throughout the day on Saturday.

So, yes, you lose a little with this option if you were hoping to have access to ESPN etc, but you also gain because it is much more simple to setup than than some of the other options detailed later in the article. You don’t need a smart TV, an unlimited data plan, or a streaming service, you just need a TV and a digital antenna.

So which antenna should you use? This will depend on what you are looking for. They make both indoor and outdoor digital TV antennas. I would suggest starting your search by looking at this antenna available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon).

You will need to consider your location and what type of mile range you will need. The antenna I linked above is an indoor/outdoor antenna. Can you use an indoor antenna at a tailgate? Possibly, although it would likely mean an increased chance that you run in to some type of problem.

But if you own an indoor digital antenna already, it might be worth testing at home to see if it works outside okay (does the wind move it around, etc) and check with the manufacturer instruction booklet to see if they caution against outdoor use.

  • With all antennas, you will want to check ahead of time what channels you get in your area.  You can do that with the federal communications commission by clicking on this link here

Once you know the channels you can get, you can then look ahead and see what games you will get.  Again, I recommend trying the antenna out at home to confirm signal strength and that you know how to hook it up properly to your TV. In fact, you may be wondering if your TV is compatible with a digital antenna. 

Yes, as long as your TV was manufactured in 2007 or later it will be compatible with a digital TV antenna.  All TV’s made 2007 and after will work with digital antennas.

If you decide to go ahead and buy a digital antenna for your tailgate TV setup, you have a several options for mounting the antenna for reception: 

  • You can mount the antenna directly to a TV, but this will be dependent on what type of antenna you buy and what type of TV you own.
  • You can mount the digital antenna to a tripod. Again, this will depend on the type of antenna you buy. Here is a link to an antenna tripod available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon). Consider a tripod to see if it would work for your setup.
  • You could make a mounting device yourself. Perhaps mounting the antenna to a couple 2×4’s and then using cinder blocks to anchor it could work. Again, this will depend on the type of antenna you choose.
  • Your final option would be to not use a mounting device at all. This will carry risk because your signal might possible not be as clear (although, depending on location it might be just fine). Many digital antennas can simply rest on the back of a truck tailgate or a nearby table. Again, it’s impossible for me to guarantee signal won’t suffer since I don’t know your setup and location, but this might be worth a try if you don’t want the hassle of any of the options above. Testing at home first would be your best option.

If you choose a large digital antenna for your tailgate TV setup, we would recommend using a tripod and securing it with cinder blocks or sand bags to keep it stable. This should give you the best stability, but will also allow you to move it around to get the best signal. 

You also might need to buy coax cables if the antenna you buy either does not provide any coax cables or does not provide enough length of coax cables for your setup needs. Coax cables will connect from the antenna to the TV.

And of course you may be wondering about the picture quality.  How is the picture quality when you use a digital antenna? 

When I started using a digital antenna I was shocked at how good the picture quality was. Honestly, absolutely shocked. My picture was actually sharper and clearer than my normal cable HD picture I get through my cable subscription.

I can’t guarantee all antennas and all over-the-airway channels will be as clear of a picture as mine is, but there is a good chance most of them will be. So I would not worry about picture quality.

Over the airway broadcasts are usually done in HD.  Networks have largely moved to broadcasting all of their signals in HD, even if it is over these free airwaves. 

With that said, there are still some channels that are broadcasted in standard definition.  So there may be some instances where the picture quality is slightly worse, but as a general principle this will not be the case.

Let’s discuss some of the drawbacks to using a digital antenna for tailgate TV setyp:

  • As mentioned earlier, the major drawback to using a digital antenna is you will only be able to get local channels or other free regional broadcasts. That means viewing only regional games or the games that are broadcasted over the free airwaves.  ESPN, FS1, NFL Network and other cable sports programs will not be an option.
  • Physical barriers like hills, trees, or mountains will weaken the signal.  So there will be areas that receive only a couple channels which may not even be sports channels.  This can be a big deal if you are tailgating in a valley or a heavily wooded area.  You may still be able to get some channels or some of the channels you get may not be as clear as you want, but you still should be able to get some channels.   

Can you set up multiple TVs with one digital antenna?

Yes, all you need to do is buy a splitter, like this coax splitter available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon). But understand that splitting the signal will weaken the signal. So splitting could potentially cause poor picture quality, but that will be dependent on signal strength and the amount of splits. Test signal strength on 2 TVs at home before going to the stadium.

So as a recap, here is the list of pros and cons for using a digital antenna:

Pros for Digital Antenna

  • Fairly easy to set up
  • The TV channels are free
  • Digital rabbit ears are reasonably priced
  • Get most of the local games
  • Better signal strength in bad weather

Cons for Digital Antenna

  • Only local channels, no access to cable only channels like ESPN
  • Signal strength can be affected by physical barriers like hills or mountains
  • Signal strength weakens when you split the signal for multiple TV’s
  • Mounting the antenna (if needed) adds extra prep work

#2 Using a Satellite Dish for TV at a Tailgate

As I said at the beginning, I hate to make it sound simple, but if you are looking for the best way to get satellite/tv at your tailgate, I highly recommend going with the DISH Playmaker bundle in addition with DISH Networks pay-as-you-go month-to-month plans which means you avoid the long-term contract. 

I tell practically everyone that will listen to me that I think the DISH Playmaker is the best kept secret in tailgating right now. It is the best method, in my opinion, for tailgate TV setup.

Here’s the exact steps I followed to get mine setup – I truly believe if you follow these steps, you will be very satisfied with your satellite TV setup:

  • STEP 1Buy the equipment off Amazon This is the exact link at Amazon where I purchased my DISH playmaker bundle (affiliate link takes you to Amazon).  The DISH Playmaker bundle comes with the satellite antenna, the DISH Wally receiver, HDMI cables, AV cables, power cord, and remote.
  • STEP 2 – Buy a tripod support stand – I suggest buying the support tripod which is easy to assemble and makes your satellite stable. This is the exact tripod support that I bought from Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon). These tripod supports are literally made for portable satellites.
  • STEP 3 – Sign up for DISH pay-as-you-go planThis is where you can find the available plans at DISH Network’s website.  Again, if you are a DISH customer, you may not need to do this (please contact DISH after you buy the equipment and let them advise).  If you are not an existing DISH customer, this is such a great option.  Literally cancel any month you want, then reactivate at any time.  It is PERFECT for me.

As I mentioned earlier in the article, the only other thing you might want to consider is whether or not you will need extra coax cable for your setup. The bundle does include coax, but depending on your setup, you may need extra length.

Here’s a look at my DISH Playmaker bundle that I purchased off of Amazon (again, this is the exact spot at Amazon that I bought my DISH Playmaker bundle; affiliate link):

dish-playmaker-tailgate-tv-setup-wally-receiver
dish-playmaker-tailgate-tv-setup-bundle
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If you read my opening at the top, I talked about how 15 years ago we had a friend at our tailgate who would bring his personal satellite dish from home, connect it to a concrete base at the game, then spend 45 minutes trying to locate an orbiting satellite by hand. And by God if he didn’t get it done every single time.

But the good news is DISH Playmaker antennas connect automatically to the orbiting satellite so you won’t have the hassle of manually connecting your antenna to the satellite.

This is the current price of the DISH Playmaker portable satellite at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon). Both DISH Network and DIRECTV have portable satellite options, but I recommend the DISH Network Playmaker satellite. But if you are already a DIRECTV subscriber, there is also an option for you below, so read further.

Do you have to be an existing member of Dish Network or DirectTV to use these portable satellites? Again, no, you don’t have to be a current subscriber, but yes, you will have to setup a plan. Here is the good news: DISH Network offers pay-as-you-go month-to-month plans so you aren’t locked into a long contract. You can simply cancel when tailgating season is over. Let’s discuss this at greater length so you understand what you are up against.

Dish Network Portable Satellite

Dish Network offers two types of portable satellites: the DISH Playmaker and the DISH Tailgater. The DISH Playmaker is the one that I own and recommend and is the cheaper of the two options – here it is available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon).

As you saw from the pictures of mine earlier, the DISH Playmaker bundle comes with the satellite dish and a Wally HD single tuner DISH receiver. The satellite dish is powered through a single connection to the Wally receiver and automatically finds the DISH satellite in the sky. It also comes with some built-in apps.

This DISH Playmaker is compatible with your current DISH Network plan at a small additional fee. Contact DISH once you purchase the equipment (when I checked it was $7 extra but current prices may change).

Here is what is really cool: DISH Network offers pay-as-you-go month-to-month plans that run in 30 day cycles for those of you who currently are not DISH subscribers. That means if you just want DISH for tailgating and only need it for 2 months, then you don’t have to pay for it the other 10 months of the year. Here is a look at DISH Network’s current month-to-month plan options.

Please understand that this portable DISH Network satellite will ONLY work for DISH Network. This is not compatible with DirectTV and does not get free TV over-the-airways broadcasting like a digital antenna does.

DIRECTV Portable Satellite Dish

The DIRECTV portable satellite dish option is a bit more complicated than the DISH Network plan listed above. Click through this link to take a look at a DIRECTV portable satellite available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon).

It comes with the satellite, coax cable, and other applicable accessories. Please note that this satellite will not automatically connect with the DIRECTV satellite, so you will have to manually align it.

What you will need to set this up at your tailgate:

  • A current DIRECTV plan with compatible receiver that can then be hooked up with the portable satellite.
  • Sufficient coax cable to satisfy your setup needs

I would highly recommend contacting DIRECTV and confirming with them that your plan and your current home receiver will be compatible with this portable satellite. There are some models of receivers that might not work with this satellite and I don’t want to see you get stuck with a portable satellite that doesn’t fit with your receiver and subscription plan.

DIRECTV does not offer pay-as-you-go month-to-month plans like DISH Network does. When I called and spoke to a DIRECTV representative, they informed me that I could buy the receiver instead of renting it that way I wouldn’t be locked into a long contract, but in my opinion it was hard to justify doing that when DISH Network offers monthly plans.

The representative also told me that Winegard makes portable satellites that are compatible with DIRECTV, and that these satellites do in fact have fully automatic satellite acquisition so you don’t have to align it yourself. But when I went to the Winegard website (you can visit it here) I could only find satellite options that offered DIRECTV in standard definition.

I could not find a satellite that offered DIRECTV in high def. I can’t say for certain that they don’t exist, but you will need to do more digging to find one if you are interested because I couldn’t find one available.

Visit our article about Tailgate Satellite Setup for more information.

Using Your Satellite Dish

As mentioned above, portable satellites are one of the most common methods for tailgate TV setup. There are a two different ways people mount their satellite dishes for tailgating. 

  • Mounted to top of RV or camper (only applicable with certain types)
  • Mounted on a stand or tripod

Either way, you will want to make sure you are able to get a signal from wherever you plan to tailgate. You will want to make sure that the satellite dish is secure and stable so that once the signal is located, you don’t have to worry about it moving.

Having a solid base such as a stand or tripod is a great way to do this.  Just like with an antenna, trees and other physical barriers can block the signal, so you will want to have a tailgating site that is free from obstructions to the south sky. 

As mentioned above, a cool thing about the DISH Playmaker is it will automatically find the satellite signal for you. This will allow for a quick setup once you get to your spot.  This allows you to set up the tailgate site, click a button on the dish, and wait for it to confirm the signal.

Since you will be transporting this dish back and forth, it’s important to keep in mind size and weight.  This is another cool feature about the DISH Playmaker listed above: it is lightweight compared to many other portable satellite dishes.

No matter which satellite you choose, just make sure you take into consideration both size and weight. Will it fit at your tailgate spot? Do you have space to transport it? All things that will need to be considered.

Let’s review briefly some of the pros and cons for using a satellite dish at your next tailgate:

Pros for Satellite dish

  • Access to cable channels
  • Very reliable as long as there isn’t bad weather
  • Can mount some models on an RV
  • Some models have automatic signal tracking

Cons for Satellite dish

  • Price is more expensive than other options
  • Poor signal strength in bad weather
  • Models without automatic signal tracking can be a hassle to find signal
  • Portable dishes need to be mounted on a stand or tripod, adding more expenses
  • Have to transport dish back and forth to tailgate site

Using a Satellite in Tandem with a Digital TV Antenna

If you are trying to setup TV at a tailgate, then using a portable satellite dish in tandem with a digital TV antenna might be your best option because it can give you access to cable tv (satellite) and local channels (antenna).

Also, in bad weather, over-the-airway signals of a digital antenna are better than satellite signals. The over the airway signals of a digital antenna are less affected by clouds. This means the antenna may still get reception in case weather knocks out your satellite.

If you are interested in pairing a digital antenna with a portable satellite, then perhaps a digital antenna like this one available at Amazon (affiliate link takes you to Amazon) might work for your setup needs.

#3 Hotspotting a Smart TV

Smart TV’s entered the market a few years ago and have created new options for tailgate TV setup. To use a smart TV, it will need to be connected to WIFI. Enter hotspotting.

Hotspotting would allow you to connect your smart TV to the internet, which then would allow you to stream TV. If you don’t own a smart TV, and don’t feel like buying one, the previous two options will be better for you.

Hotspotting is a form of WIFI tethering that creates a personal, secure WIFI network by sharing the data network of one device (like your cell phone) with other devices (like a smart TV), which allows these other devices to connect to the internet.

Again, if that sounds insanely complicated to you, I assure you it is not. Later in this section we will go through the simple 3 step process of how to set up a hotspot with your cell phone.

Your smart phone is connected to the data network of your service provider (like AT&T or Sprint etc.). This is what allows you to use the internet on your cell phone even when you are away from WIFI, like at the store or a restaurant.

Well, a smart TV doesn’t come with the same access to a service provider like your smart phone does. Hotspotting is a way for you to share that on-the-go internet access of your cell phone with your smart TV.

Once you connect your smart TV to the internet, you can then stream you favorite channels at your tailgate. There are some drawbacks for hotspotting, which we discuss below, but one major positive for hotspotting is it is a way for you to get access to a wide range of channels at your tailgate.

There are several ways to get WIFI at a tailgate, to which you could then connect your smart TV. Of course, as just mentioned, we recommend hotspotting through your cell phone (although unlimited data plans are needed).

But there are other ways to get WIFI at your tailgate besides hotspotting your phone. You also have the option to create a hotspot by purchasing a hotspot device, or use the WIFI network of your car if your car has WIFI.

We compared and contrasted these three WIFI options in our article How to Get WIFI at a TailgateAgain, we recommend using your phone to create a mobile hotspot as long as you have access to an unlimited data plan with your service provider (and you have access to a compatible smart TV).

Here is a quick pro and con list of each of the ways to get WIFI at your tailgate, if you want to used WIFI to help your tailgate TV setup:

Mobile Hotspot

Pros
  • Very easy to set up
  • You always have your smart phone on you, so it is very reliable option
  • Internet speed is 4G, just as fast as your smart phone
  • Just show up and start your WIFI hotspot and stream all your favorite programs and apps
    • We do recommend having an unlimited data plan to avoid data overage charges though
  • You can connect all of your devices to the hotspot
  • You don’t need to buy any additional equipment
Cons
  • Your service provider may slow down internet speed once you reach certain data usage points
  • If you don’t have unlimited data plan you will have significant overage charges
  • Your data plan will increase if you have to upgrade to unlimited

Car WIFI

Pros
  • Very easy to set up
  • You don’t have to change anything to get WIFI and stream all your favorite programs and apps, although we recommend having an unlimited data plan to avoid data overage charges
  • You can connect all of your devices to the car WIFI
  • You don’t need to buy any additional equipment
Cons
  • Not all cars have WIFI
  • Most cars with WIFI only provide internet to the devices in the car, so you will have to leave your TV in your car, which means the back of an SUV hatch might be the only place to set the TV.
  • You may not always be able to bring your car to the tailgate

Purchase a Hotspot Device

Pros
  • Very easy to set up
  • Internet speed is 4G, just as fast as your smart phone
  • Just show up and start your WIFI hotspot and stream all your favorite programs and apps
    • We do recommend having an unlimited data plan to avoid data overage charges though
  • You can connect all of your devices to the hotspot
  • Works great if your current smart phone service provide doesn’t offer unlimited data.
  • Also, works great for those without smart phones
Cons
  • Your service provider may slow down internet speed once you reach certain data usage points
  • If you don’t have unlimited data plan you will have significant overage charges
  • You will need to buy additional device and make sure you have it at your tailgate
  • You will have the hassle of two different data plans

As you can see, out of those three WIFI options, using your smart phone to hotspot is the best combination of reliability, cost, and usability, as long as you have access to an unlimited data plan.

It does make sense in some situations why a car or a personal device would make sense though.  With each of these options you will want to review data plans with your service providers to make sure you know the data limits and charges.

If you connect your smart TV to WIFI, you then have the ability to access streaming services like HULU and Sling TV that, with certain subscriptions, you can watch all of the live games you would be able to if you were at home watching on your cable or satellite dish.  You can also sign up to stream online resources like ESPN, NBC or Fox Sports. 

To get access to some of the content from these services you may need to create an account and pay for subscriptions.  Depending on what all games and sports you want to watch, I would recommend reviewing the TV schedule for the games you want to watch and where they will be available.

So hotspotting a smart TV does mean you need to

  1. Have a Smart TV
  2. Connect it to WIFI
  3. Have a streaming subscription which allows you to stream through a smart TV.

How to Use a Mobile Hotspot for Tailgate TV Setup

Setting up a mobile hot spot with your smart phone is not complicated. Here is the simple 3 step process of how to set up a mobile hotspot with an IPhone:

Step 1: Go to settings on your smart phone and find your “Personal Hotspot” option.

Step 2: Turn on your personal hotspot and a password should appear.

Step 3: Use the password to connect your other devices to this personal, secure hotspot you’ve just created.

wifi-tailgate-directions

Hotspotting a Smart TV: Conclusion

Whether or not you want to stream a smart TV will be dependent on how much of a hassle the whole process is for you. Perhaps you already have a subscription with Sling TV or Hulu or some other streaming service. If so, this process will be much easier.

But if you don’t, the cost of adding a streaming service may sour you on this option. And also, as mentioned above, it is best if you have an unlimited data plan to hotspot from, and of course, you also need a smart TV.

But there are a lot of people out there that own smart TV’s, have unlimited data plans, and have cut-the-cord and are using a streaming service like HULU or Sling TV. If those three things apply to you, then this first option might be your best option.

But if overall, hotspotting a smart TV sounds like just a bit too much for you, then sticking with a digital TV antenna or satellite package might be best for you so that you don’t have to worry about a smart TV, a streaming subscription, WIFI connection, or an unlimited data plan.

#4 Using Screen Mirroring for Your Tailgate TV Setup

You may have heard of screen mirroring and wonder if it would be a good option for supporting your tailgating experience. 

Screen mirroring is simply a wireless technology that allows you to cast or project what you are viewing on one screen onto another.  The normal use for screen mirroring is viewing something on your smart phone and then mirroring on a TV or projector to make for a better viewing experience. 

So for example, if you were streaming a game on your phone you might want to mirror that image onto your Smart TV for everyone around you to see.  In theory, this would provide you an easy way to set up TV’s at your tailgate. 

You will need to make sure that both devices are capable of supporting screen mirroring.  On top of that, you will also need to make sure that both devices are compatible of mirroring with each other. 

Most company’s products are only compatible with their own devices such as an IPhone and Apple TV.  One last thing to keep in mind is both devices will also need to be connected to an internet signal, or otherwise they can’t be mirrored to each other.

I personally would much rather explore one of the first 3 options listed above for tailgate TV setup before attempting to use screen mirroring. But if you already have applicable devices, and are comfortable with it, then this might be a solid option.

Pros for screen mirroring

  • All you need is your smart phone and smart TV
  • If compatible, easy to connect the two devices
  • You can control the TV with your smart phone and won’t need a remote control

Cons for screen mirroring

  • Many devices do not have screen mirroring capability
  • Many devices that have capability are not compatible with each other
  • Both devices have to be connected to the internet
  • Screen sizes may not format the same from one device to another
  • There are limitations on what you can mirror to your TV, some content is restricted from doing this, so you would need to make sure your streaming apps are supported for screen mirroring

This technology will continue to evolve over time, but right now it isn’t a good option for supporting your TV’s at a tailgate.  This technology is better to be used for showing videos or music rather than streaming games for hours at a time.


If you are hosting a tailgate party, here are some of our other resources to help you get the party going in the right direction:

Joshua Lloyd

Joshua is lead content creator for basketball and golf at Sports Fan Focus. Golf is a passion of his and he enjoys both playing and watching golf in his spare time. To read more about Joshua, visit the SFF About Us page.

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