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Are you on board with Satellite Television?

The demand for high quality satellite television has never been greater. When the first HD channels were launched, no one could have predicted the plethora of choices that are now available. Broadband has never been faster and so it seems the next logical step in high quality television is IP TV. IP TV services offered by companies such as BT Vision, whilst very good, depend heavily on a fast and reliable broadband connection. Can this be a reality on-board your yacht?

Around the world, there are very few marinas that offer a direct connection to their servers. This leaves yacht owners
dependent on the wireless hotspots that are broadcast locally. The problem is that these chargeable services are available to everyone who can access them and when a number of users are all trying to access the Internet, the speed of the service will become progressively slower, rendering the IP TV service useless.

Another alternative is using a 3G- 4G modem. Although faster than the Wi-Fi offered from many marinas, the cost of using such a service is a major drawback. Many networks have capped usage allowance so streaming television will result in a fairly hefty bill. The last solution would be a satellite communications antenna. These are reliable and cover 90% of the cruising areas of the world but are even dearer to run, especially when streaming

In order to receive satellite television on-board, it needs a very stable platform. Today’s antennas operate highly accurate sensors that compensate, in milliseconds, the movement of the yacht. No matter how small the movement is, if the antenna fitted is not stabilised, watching television will become a very frustrating experience.

An important question for any yacht owner, in terms of television, is ‘what do you really want to watch?’ The reason this question is asked is to understand the limitations of the services that can be received. A 37mm antenna in the South of France will receive a few selected channels, but a 90mm antenna in the same location will receive all channels.

In the past 12 months a number of key television providers have invested billions of dollars into launch platforms for the next generation of satellites. This is being done to replace old technology and help increase capacity for newer HD channels. These new satellites have significantly increased in capacity and will provide extensive HD television for the next 15 years.

Over the next 12 months, yacht owners heading to the Mediterranean will begin to notice existing channels disappear but a new range of channels appearing in areas that could never receive them before. It seems satellite television is just getting started! Our advice is, if you want to watch something specific then please talk to us before you make your decision. We will give you the most accurate information available to us.

CA Clase (UK) Ltd has been supplying Princess Yachts with the KVH TracVision antennas for the past 10 years, offering technical advice on systems that end up all over the world.

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