Thread: Sat TV Update
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Old 10-11-2008, 06:07 AM
  #6  
foursuns
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Join Date: Oct 2008
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Posts: 7
Default Re: Sat TV Update

I've been watching the marine HDTV space for a few years waiting for someone to come out with something for DirecTV. The problem, as some have pointed out, is DirecTV is moving their network to Ka-band instead of the Ku-band. It's not a "software" upgrade to make this work on the older systems. That would be like trying to get your AM radio to receive FM radio broadcasts. I find it hard to believe that KVH would just give up on DirecTV as they are essentially giving up on the marine market IMO. I just don't think they are telling people what's going on right now.

There is a company called Intellian out of Irvine, California that just released a Ka-band marine dish:

http://intelliantech.com/Whats_New_19.asp

The K6 is a big antenna and the dome diameter is about 28"... they have a K4 model which is a more "normal" size of 20" in diameter. That's about the same size as my current KVH TracVision 4.

This is the gotcha though. I downloaded and read over the whitepaper. You have to have two antennas... one for Ku-band and the K4/6 for Ka-band. That probably puts this over a $10K option... but it's the first and we shall see what others come out with.

As far as the other alternatives, the Slingbox thing is neat technology but the resolution is bad. If you have a bigger HD panel in the boat, you will not be happy with a slingbox. Also, most of the broadband cell providers are eliminating their "unlimited" data plans and you will not be able to broadcast video without getting cut off in the future (if you have not already). There ain't enough wireless spectrum for people to do that.

I think everyone wishes the antennas were smaller (the size of a GPS) but I don't see that happening. If you look at power requirements vs. size and the amount of data (especially with HD on the narrow Ka-band) required, I'm impressed they got it in a package the size of my KVH TV4.

It would be great if KVH came out with a Ka-band system like Intellian and we could keep our current Ku-band system as the second antenna. That would make it much cheaper for those of us that want the 100+ HD channels.
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