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Old 10-05-2015, 11:29 AM   #1
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Satellite TV equipment and service recommendations

I am equipping our new boat for our great loop travels. Would appreciate any recommendations you could make regarding satellite TV equipment and service, so I can figure out what to actually buy.

Each manufacturer has a bunch of models, which might be the best level of equipment for the kind of cruising we do in loop travels? I'm OK spending what I need to for a quality setup, but would like to avoid overkill.
- KVH TracVision TV3?
- Intellian i3?
- raymarine?
- Others?

What components do I need?
- Antenna, antenna control unit I assume are automatically in one package.
- Are DVRs integral with receivers, or are they separate units?
- Should I buy the receiver through the antenna supplier, or does the satellite service provider have them? Are there compatibility concerns?
- What is a MIM box?
- Should I also have a separate air antenna for local reception?
- Beyond the connecting wiring, are there other parts I need for a full installation (yes I know I need a TV too)?

Is this equipment available in 12V DC, or is some of it necessarily 120 VAC?

I am aware of Dish and Direct TV service providers. Are there others? is there a clear best choice?

www.boemarine.com has been mentioned as a good source for the equipment, are there other recommendations?

Thanks

Lew
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Old 10-05-2015, 02:35 PM   #2
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I found a used M-7 from KVH, put $400 into it (total of $1800) and I have DirectTV tracking. I have seen used units for sell. My M-7 is over $6K new......


Here was my adventure:


The last of the Upgrades nearly completed
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Old 10-05-2015, 03:13 PM   #3
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I put a KVH M7 on my boat when it was commissioned 6 years ago. Shortly thereafter, DirectTV started switching over their HD broadcasts from Ku band to Ka band. The KVH units were incapable of receiving Ka band signals, and over time Direct completed the transition so my unit could not receive HD from Direct. (KVH has since introduce a line of HD receivers, but there is/was no upgrade path.) My solution was to go with Dish. It is a lot more expensive -- with Direct, I paid $10/mo to tack on to my home account two additional receivers on my boat, whereas with Dish its about $100/mo. The good thing about Dish is I can turn the service off when I will be away from the boat for a few weeks, and back on for free.

A friend had the same problem, but he purchased an Intellian to solve the problem. His Intellian does not perform as reliably as my KVH. In fact, if he is out of the harbor he can't get a signal except in calm conditions, and even then he looses the signal intermittently. On the other hand, I never lose the signal due to rough conditions, although in fairness, I don't remember ever watching TV when the conditions are real rough.

To answer some of your other questions, I have a separate antenna for local reception but rarely use it.

The DVR is not integral, but you need a DVR that will work with your sat receiver since the DVR sends info the sat receiver needs to re-point the antenna when you change channels.

I don't believe you can buy the sat antenna from Direct/Dish, but you will need to buy the DVR from them. If you go with Dish, make sure you sign up for an RV account -- the normal customer service people don't know anything about those plans or technical support for compatible receivers.
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Old 10-05-2015, 05:20 PM   #4
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I had a KVH V something-or-other on my grand banks (come with the boat) and I activated it for our Downeast Loop trip a few years ago. Getting ti activated and working without getting locked into a 2 year contract took over a week and hours and hours on the phone with DirecTV.

The system then worked fine until I crossed into Canada, at which point it stopped because the sat signal is masked out for areas outside the country.

When we finally crossed back into the US in Maine, I tried the system again figuring it should work, but it didn't. Sat systems need to get re-authorized periodically, and this happens at night when the system is typically sitting idle. If you leave the system unplugged and it misses the re-authorization, it will not work when you turn it back on again. This is what had happened to mine.

I made one more call the DirecTV to cancel the service, then removed and sold the equipment. It just wasn't worth all the trouble.

Oh, and by the way, those sat boxes that need to remain plugged in so they can get re-authorized periodically? They draw 25-35W of power all the time, even when "turned off". Over a 24 hr period it is likely the largest consumer of power on your boat - probably more than even your fridge.

We replaced the Sat TV with a roof-top Digital TV antenna. It lets up pick up all the local stations wherever we are, including HD, and it's free.
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Old 10-05-2015, 06:15 PM   #5
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DirecTV phone support people are often clueless about boaters who own their own equipment. Setting my KVH system up was fairly easy, but after a year of sporadic use I decided to terminate service. It took me two steps up the supervisory ladder before I got to someone who acknowledged that I did not have to pay a hardware termination fee.

But that system has worked out well for my buddy who I willed it to. It is still going strong 6 years later. It was an M2 I think. Standard definition only of course.

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Old 10-05-2015, 07:48 PM   #6
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I have a KVH M5 and have been in 8ft+ seas and was able to get my tru-tv fix.
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Old 10-05-2015, 07:55 PM   #7
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I have a KVH M5 and have been in 8ft+ seas and was able to get my tru-tv fix.
Mine is a KVH M3 & though it's not HD, it's a damn good picture!
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Old 10-05-2015, 09:05 PM   #8
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I think a lot of this comes down to how important TV is to you, and what you are willing to spend and/or put up with to have it. Over the last few years I've pretty much completely stopped watching broadcast TV and only watch netflix or other commercial-free services. So I have a low tolerance for dealing with cable companies and sat companies.
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Old 10-05-2015, 11:29 PM   #9
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I have an Intellian i2 with DISH service. I've been running it for about 4 years and it has worked flawlessly. If you go with Dish you need to run a MIM so that adds an extra piece of equipment. I purchased the system on line as a Factory Refurbished for $1150. When I installed it I changed providers at home from cable to DISH and specified that I wanted two additional VIP211K receivers. The additional monthly is about $10 per box. These went to the boat.

The antenna control unit (ACU) and the MIM both shipped with an AC adapter that converts to 12VDC. So you can either run the adapter or cut the plug and run DC. I cut the plugs and wired to DC.

The i2 has a 13 inch dish and is the smallest size that can pick-up HD but only with DISH network. In rough water while cruising it tracks well with an occasional pixelation.

The VIP211K's do not have a DVR built in but you can add an external hard-drive and call DISH to have it activated. You can buy your own VIP211K for $50 - $100 or lease from DISH.

The only downside is if you have more than one receiver and tv in operation at the same time. The i2 can only track one satellite at a time and satellite networks utilize 3 different satellites. You have to designate one box as the master and whatever satellite it is tracking determines what programming is available for all the other receivers on the system. It is however easy to change which receiver is the master by pushing a button on the ACU.
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Old 10-05-2015, 11:51 PM   #10
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Mine is a KVH M3 & though it's not HD, it's a damn good picture!

I will add, after getting installed we have not had any problems in 2+years. We simply bought three boxes and had them activated one by one at home.
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Old 10-06-2015, 11:46 AM   #11
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Well as stated, how bad is TV for you. Since I installed my system, I have had good service from DirectTV and because I have the BIG dish (none HD) I can get a signal clear up to Alaska, so long as a have nothing blocking the southern sky.


Funny how all the non-TV folks show up on your boat wanting to know if the football game is on, because their "over the air antenna" won't pick it up!!
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Old 12-09-2016, 10:53 AM   #12
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KVH's are good, I had an excellent experience with my Intellian i3 though. 6 years now without a hiccup. Good article on Intellian dishes: Intellian Satellite TV - Advantages, Coverage Map, Technology

With the signal locking technology these two brands have now-a-days, you can't go wrong with either one.
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Old 12-09-2016, 12:15 PM   #13
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Does anybody ever setup a system to get on the move FTA ? I see many people talking about subscription based service but never any comment regarding FTA.
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Old 12-09-2016, 04:36 PM   #14
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Funny how all the non-TV folks show up on your boat wanting to know if the football game is on, because their "over the air antenna" won't pick it up!![/QUOTE]

My head hurts trying to figure out the Sat TV thingy, so while cruising I just go over to Toms boat and watch the game at his house. Usually has a good supply of whisky too!
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Old 12-09-2016, 04:54 PM   #15
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Does anybody ever setup a system to get on the move FTA ? I see many people talking about subscription based service but never any comment regarding FTA.
I've often thought about it. Being CDN there's a store locally that sells FTA receivers that lock onto Dish without a subscription. Just haven't had the ambition to try and see if the receiver is compatible with my C3 dish. I guess to many other things on the priority list.
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Old 12-09-2016, 05:10 PM   #16
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I found some in motion tracking dome with receiver for FTA but atnaround 1800$ it still expensive. Not sure about the final price but maybe mounting the dish on a motorized telescope mount with a software to point and track the satellite would make a nice nd funny project
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Old 12-09-2016, 08:57 PM   #17
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From what I have gleaned, most TV programming in the future will be online. Between Amazon Prime, Netflix, Roku and so forth we are moving that way with the Cable TV lobbyist working overtime to make sure their guys ox is not the one gored. I am not real interested in spending a pile of money on tech that will soon be outdated, and still more, I like high speed data.

Any thoughts guys. Dust off the crystal ball...the one w/o the crack in it and tell me (us) the future.
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Old 12-09-2016, 09:21 PM   #18
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From what I have gleaned, most TV programming in the future will be online. Between Amazon Prime, Netflix, Roku and so forth we are moving that way with the Cable TV lobbyist working overtime to make sure their guys ox is not the one gored. I am not real interested in spending a pile of money on tech that will soon be outdated, and still more, I like high speed data.

Any thoughts guys. Dust off the crystal ball...the one w/o the crack in it and tell me (us) the future.
Wifey B: Can't tell you the future but don't forget the present. Yes, it may be heavy internet but it's not today. Whether it takes 3 years of 7, I'm not doing without today on the basis it might come. I'm not missing all sports for the next three years. Now, sports is swinging to live streaming too, but then speed and cost is a huge factor. Keep that in mind that you think Cable is expensive, streaming at sea is many times more.
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Old 12-09-2016, 09:28 PM   #19
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For sure online program will be te future, and it is already the present for me at home. I never watch tv by itself, only what I want to see when I want to see it. However, high sped connection, depending on where you are can be really difficult, or really pricy to get.
No need to say that if you are deep in the middle of the ocean it will cost you your two arms ( well depending on the length of your arms of course )
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Old 12-09-2016, 11:05 PM   #20
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Funny how all the non-TV folks show up on your boat wanting to know if the football game is on, because their "over the air antenna" won't pick it up!!
My head hurts trying to figure out the Sat TV thingy, so while cruising I just go over to Toms boat and watch the game at his house. Usually has a good supply of whisky too![/QUOTE]

Yep You are Welcome!!
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