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Old 04-02-2018, 06:31 PM   #61
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I know the subject is specifically satellite tv, but I just spent over 4 months figuring out how to solve the problem of watching TV and internet aboard. I looked into satellite tv, but it just didn't solve my problem, specifically because of the internet service, but also because of the equipment costs for tv.

My solution was to go cellular. This may not work for your case, as it's really only viable within a few miles of shore, but where we boat we have almost 100% 4G LTE coverage.

When researching, I found the big problem with tv was live events, specifically sports. I want to spend the weekend on the boat, and in the afternoon watch a soccer, hockey, or football game, and I really had a difficult time figuring out how to make it happen.

I purchased a new line/SIM card for my phone plan, purchased a dedicated cellular modem, and added an old wi-fi router that I had laying around, and purchased a Roku stick on a basic 40" TV. I now have a solid, always-on, internet connection, with plenty of bandwidth to browse the web, stream movies and shows on Neflix or Amazon Prime Video, including 4K content.

Our marina is tucked behind a hill, so we have very little over-the-air capabilities, so to solve the TV issue, I subscribed to YoutubeTV. Personally, it was my best option as it had the best sports coverage as well as unlimited DVR, but if you're not a sports fan you may find better options with Hulu, Sling, Vue, or DirectTV Now

For $40/mo I have all the local broadcast channels (NBC/CBS/FOX/ABC) as well as traditional cable channels such as ESPN/2/U FoxSports/FS1/FS2, CNN/Fox/CNBC/BBC, etc. Compare channel lineups and other offerings between the providers and pick the one that serves your needs the best.

For the past month or so I've been enjoying all the Hockey, NCAA Basketball, and soccer that I can watch on my boat. Way more selection and at a better quality than my cable account at home which costs over 5x as much. So I'm now looking into drastically reducing my cable television plan, and using this same solution at home.
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Old 04-02-2018, 08:24 PM   #62
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I purchased a new line/SIM card for my phone plan, purchased a dedicated cellular modem, and added an old wi-fi router that I had laying around, and purchased a Roku stick on a basic 40" TV. I now have a solid, always-on, internet connection, with plenty of bandwidth to browse the web, stream movies and shows on Neflix or Amazon Prime Video, including 4K content.

Our marina is tucked behind a hill, so we have very little over-the-air capabilities, so to solve the TV issue, I subscribed to YoutubeTV.
Matt, I am close to you so am interested. I live happily without TV, but my wife doesn't. We have a KVH M3 antenna that came with the boat but I've never bothered to get it running. Your solution sounds pretty good for most of our use. There are only a few places in the South Sound where I don't get good cell reception. Up in BC it isn't good past Sara Point but below that it was pretty decent most of the time.

Can I ask what carrier you used?
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Old 04-02-2018, 08:44 PM   #63
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Matt, I am close to you so am interested. I live happily without TV, but my wife doesn't. We have a KVH M3 antenna that came with the boat but I've never bothered to get it running. Your solution sounds pretty good for most of our use. There are only a few places in the South Sound where I don't get good cell reception. Up in BC it isn't good past Sara Point but below that it was pretty decent most of the time.

Can I ask what carrier you used?
You need to do quite a bit of research on carriers, and as always YMMV. AT&T seems to be the best in our area, but I'm on T-mobile.

We actually already had an extra line in our family plan that was unused. I just paid the extra few bucks a month to make it a tethered unlimited tablet line, and I've had full bandwidth for all our needs. Phrasing matters when you are talking to the store reps, so be careful what you agree to. T-mobile does exempt streaming media from data usage on our plan, so I may be overpaying, but it's worth the risk to me to not get throttled (usually at 10g).

With T-Mo I'm seeing consistent 13-15mbps, with peaks up to 25mbps. In a 3-hour period I do see a half-dozen times when the program pauses for buffering.
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Old 04-02-2018, 09:03 PM   #64
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If you have an internet connection for your TV, look in to Fubotv. They provide most your live tv from sports to major network. It does cost $44 a month.
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Old 04-02-2018, 09:58 PM   #65
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Just a little tip from my experience. I have a kbhm one system here is the smallest entry level satellite dish with DirecTV at least two times I have been in position where I kept losing satellite signal, sometimes three or four times a minute. Both times I have moved a hundred or 200 yards in the Anchorage and as a result the satellite works perfect. I have had consistent problems with the m 10 box quiting. And of course you can no longer buy a new one as I have changed to a different system and do not support the old boxes
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Old 04-03-2018, 11:01 AM   #66
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KVH if you're okay with SD signals only. Intellian is way less expensive and is HD capable. We use Dish TV rather than Direct TV because, with Dish, the subscriber can get locals in any location via an RV account. With Direct the user will lose locals (network stations) once your boat moves out of range of the spot beam for your account address. Some folks have been successful using a New York address to establish a Direct TV account which enables a "national feed" which gives the user New York City network stations. Why bother when a Dish RV account lets the one use a real home address and change locals at will? The channel line-ups are very similar and very similar in their pricing.
With DISH, HD signals are broadcast on the Ku band at fairly high power (not sure how many watts) and can be received with a conventional DISH antenna. With DirecTV, HD signals are in the Ka band at only 20 watts of power whereas SD signals are Ka band at 200 watts. To get the HD signals, you need a special 32" Slimline dish, or a fairly sophisticated tracking device that can rapidly move the aiming point of the dish between 3 different satellites depending on what channel you're watching. The 32" dishes are really too big for most boats, are very sensitive to motion, and are a significant wind catcher in a storm.

Regarding the "RV account", legally neither DISH nor DirecTV are allowed to give this to a non-RV owner. I don't know about DISH, but DirecTV requires you to send them a copy of your RV title and registration. However, using a New York address does work with DirecTV - use the 79th street marina as an example. This gets you the national feed anywhere in the US and in most of the Bahamas, meaning you get the broadcast channels (ABC, NBC, CBS & FOX). The only difference you'll see is that the local information (weather, traffic, local news, and commercials) will be for the New York area. Not a big deal since there's so many other sources of local weather and news.
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Old 04-03-2018, 11:09 AM   #67
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Again, a pickup camper has no registration nor title. I bought my first used from a private party with a handwritten bill of sale, and the state considers it to simply be cargo. Just tell the TV people you have a camper and show them the title to a pick up........ If they get pissy write your own bill of sale for your pretend camper and show them that.

In other words, work the system to your advantage. It is not like the TV companies will hesitate to use every nuance of the rules to get every bit of money from you that they can at any point in your relationship with them. So treat them like they treat you.
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Old 04-03-2018, 11:10 AM   #68
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With DirecTV, HD signals are in the Ka band at only 20 watts of power whereas SD signals are Ka band at 200 watts. To get the HD signals, you need a special 32" Slimline dish, or a fairly sophisticated tracking device that can rapidly move the aiming point of the dish between 3 different satellites depending on what channel you're watching. The 32" dishes are really too big for most boats, are very sensitive to motion, and are a significant wind catcher in a storm.
As I understand it, the bigger problem with Ka band signals is that they are polarized, so the antenna requires stabilization in an additional "dimension".
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Old 04-03-2018, 11:42 AM   #69
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This post only relates to DirecTV, not DISH and may be more than most people want to know! The problem with tracking DirecTV Ka band signals isn't a polarization issue, it's the fact that they're only broadcast at 20 watts. DirecTV HD signals originate from two satellites, one at 99 degrees and one at 103 degrees. The SD signal comes from the original DirecTV satellite at 101 degrees. The HD satellites are on each side of the SD satellite and are separated from the main satellite by 2 degrees. This requires a larger dish, not only to "see" all three satellites simultaneously, but also to collect more signal from the 20 watt lower power HD broadcasts. Physics dictates that the larger the dish, the more "focused" it must be, so a large dish must also be very stable to gather the signals out at the "edges". As little as a degree or so of movement can cause signal loss and picture pixelation. Unfortunately, because of the 20 watt power, the HD signals also fade quicker with rain than the SD signals. The high end domed systems are able to use a smaller dish because they incorporate software that knows which channels are broadcast on which satellite and circuitry/motors that can quickly shift the dish so that it's centered on just the satellite you want to watch. They're gyro stabilized so they can track in both azimuth (horizontal) and elevation, and track fast enough to minimize signal loss due to boat rocking and rolling. But, because they have to "know" what channel you want to watch and which satellite it comes from, when DirecTV adds or deletes a channel or moves programming from one satellite to the other, a software update is required. DirecTV has over 20 million subscribers, and only a minuscule percentage are on boats. So, when they want to change something, they're really only worried about whether it will effect their home based, fixed dish customers. I seriously doubt they give any thoughts to boats at all! This means you're at the mercy of your dome provider to make the software updates. Fortunately, that can usually be done via internet connection, assuming you have service on your boat. (Most of the yachts that can afford the Intellian or KVH HD systems have internet.)
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Old 04-03-2018, 12:15 PM   #70
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Again, a pickup camper has no registration nor title. I bought my first used from a private party with a handwritten bill of sale, and the state considers it to simply be cargo. Just tell the TV people you have a camper and show them the title to a pick up........ If they get pissy write your own bill of sale for your pretend camper and show them that.

In other words, work the system to your advantage. It is not like the TV companies will hesitate to use every nuance of the rules to get every bit of money from you that they can at any point in your relationship with them. So treat them like they treat you.
Can't disagree with anything you say, and campers are included in the HUD definition of a "recreational vehicle". The hoops boaters have to jump through and the subterfuge required is partly because a Federal law known as "Satellite Viewers Improvement Act of 1999" (SHVIA) which was enacted to allow rural "unserved" households that couldn't receive "local" channels to get Distant Network Services (New York or LA feeds) via satellite. There was a carve out for RV's and commercial trucks, but not for boats. FCC documents say, "The owner of the recreational vehicle or the commercial truck must produce the required legal documentation and include a signed declaration that the satellite dish is permanently attached to the vehicle or to the truck." That's what DirecTV usually asks for if you try to play it straight with them... All the gory details can be found here: https://www.fcc.gov/mb/policy/shvera.doc

However, they don't know whether you're "mirroring to the home" or not, that's just a ploy to sell additional subscriptions. That's why you can use a New York (or LA) address as your "physical location" with impunity. Have the monthly subscription billed to a credit card, tell them you have your own equipment and have done the install yourself, and DirecTV has no way of knowing where the receiver/dish is actually located. They don't even know if you're actually receiving a signal or not, they only know whether you're paying your bill every month!
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Old 04-03-2018, 02:55 PM   #71
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The problem with tracking DirecTV Ka band signals isn't a polarization issue,
So, they are not polarized or it is no problem to track polarization?
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Old 04-03-2018, 03:14 PM   #72
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FCC documents say, "The owner of the recreational vehicle or the commercial truck must produce the required legal documentation and include a signed declaration that the satellite dish is permanently attached to the vehicle or to the truck."

Isn't a pleasure boat boat a recreational vehicle, pretty much by definition?

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Old 04-03-2018, 11:58 PM   #73
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Did we answer Donna's original question?
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Old 04-04-2018, 06:39 AM   #74
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Isn't a pleasure boat boat a recreational vehicle, pretty much by definition?

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We think so...

wonder how the "tailgater" dishes fit in?

not really marketed to just campers.

once you put one on the back of every car in town, and market them as portable, pretty dumb to think the wont find their way onto boats....
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Old 04-04-2018, 08:37 AM   #75
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We think so...

wonder how the "tailgater" dishes fit in?

not really marketed to just campers.

once you put one on the back of every car in town, and market them as portable, pretty dumb to think the wont find their way onto boats....
The "tailgater" systems don't track boat motion so they generally don't work on boats unless sitting fairly still at the dock.
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Old 04-04-2018, 08:46 AM   #76
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Isn't a pleasure boat boat a recreational vehicle, pretty much by definition?

-Chris
Only by using logic would a pleasure boat be a recreational vehicle! But, the law says that a recreational vehicle must meet the definition of the government. Here's what the govt., and as a result, what DirecTV uses:

HUD regulations (Title 24 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 3282.8) define "recreational vehicle" as a vehicle that is: (1) built on a single chassis; (2) 400 square feet or less when measured at the largest horizontal projections; (3) self-propelled or permanently towable by a light duty truck; and (4) designed primarily not for use as a permanent dwelling but as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel, or seasonal use."

Might be fun to argue that a boat of less than 400 sq ft meets these requirements! Good luck with that, let us know how that works out! Seriously, BOAT/US has been lobbying every time the SHVIA law comes up for renewal to get boats included but the satellite industry lobby doesn't want it to happen, so it hasn't happened.
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Old 04-04-2018, 11:19 AM   #77
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So, they are not polarized or it is no problem to track polarization?
DirecTV Ku & Ka signals are circularly polarized. Tracking isn't the problem, it's the geometry of the satellites and the low signal strength of the HD signals.
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