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Old 17-05-2006, 20:45   #1
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TV on board

I sailed back in the 80s with nothing more than a cassette player and AM/FM radio for entertainment. I remember searching for bars with those BIG old satellite dishes so I could dinghy ashore and watch some football. Now as I plan my perfect sailboat I dream of High Definition Satellite TV at least at anchor (although the thought of watching a University of Florida vs. Florida State University football game at the helm, on the chartplotter, reaching through the Exumas seems pretty cool).

My questions:

Do people sit in anchorages and watch TV? (I mean after that sunset thing). I assume you would have to run a genset as we're dealing with an AC TV and Satellite box? Will these satellite systems get a signal underway (heeled)???
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Old 17-05-2006, 20:50   #2
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The big dollar self tracking systems claim they will, but I can not speak from experience. I really enjoy my TV, but not $4000 worth. We do watch TV on the hook, and on the research vessel I was aboard in Mexico, we watched tapes. I usually get tired of the limited options and listen to the radio anyway. Always some background noise on the shortwave bands.
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Old 17-05-2006, 22:50   #3
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And if that system that Kai Nui mentioned is too expensive for your budget. I'd suggest stocking up on DVD's and a DVD player?
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Old 17-05-2006, 22:52   #4
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Yes Kai - Isn't that a 26" Flat Screen in your Saloon?

Ric - I have notice that a LOT of the LCD Flat Screen TVs use an AC to DC converter to power the unit. They DO sell DC to DC converters (variable and fixed) so it may not be necessary to put the gen set to work. DC to DC uses less power too - no inversion losses.
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Old 17-05-2006, 23:31   #5
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22" Sharp Aquos. Operates on 12 volt. No need for a converter. The satellite is another story. Not too bad on power, but worthless at anchor. Like I said, just can't justify the tracking dish.
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Old 18-05-2006, 05:46   #6
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I recall I guy in the Bahamas who put a satellite dish on the beach and ran the cable into the water and then up his anchor chain.
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Old 18-05-2006, 07:06   #7
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While in Cuba last winter I noticed a lot of boats with satellite dishes. And they were fairly small sailboats, 30-40 feet. One of them use to invite all the boaters around him to watch the sports events. He had the satellite dish on the dock and a flat screen TV set on the deck. Everyone brought chairs, popcorn and drinks to watch. It was great fun. Got me thinking that I may get a satellite dish if I ever go back there again.
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Old 18-05-2006, 08:07   #8
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http://www.geosatsolutions.com/AzTrax.htm
For satellite TV at anchor check Aztrax. It'll track the signal horizontally as you swing but not if you're pitching wildly. At a little over $1000, it's a couple thousand less than the units that lock onto the satellite. Mounting is easy with several options available.
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Old 18-05-2006, 09:57   #9
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As usual with this site....I appreciate the informative feedback.
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Old 18-05-2006, 15:15   #10
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Try FollowMe TV it offers you sat TV on the hook and it is quite inexpensive.
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Old 18-05-2006, 16:09   #11
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Frankly, I couldn't conceive of the expense and gadgetry associated with having permanent TV. The only thing I "need" (read "want") is to be able to get the news, which my radio will do just fine. Other than that, DVDs will do me fine...currently I can play DVDs on my laptop, which fulfils sufficient other roles to justify its on-board existance...I have considered a flat screen on the saloon bulkhead, but so far have resisted the temptation...at the moment there are more pressing areas that require attention, and my budget is limited. Plus, in an "ornery" sort of way, I feel as though I step on my boat to get away from things like TV...
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Old 18-05-2006, 22:43   #12
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I should elaborate a bit. We have a dish on board. I clamp it to the binnicle when we are docked, and it works great. Underway, and at anchor, no good.
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Old 18-05-2006, 23:52   #13
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I sometimes watch tv at anchor. (I watched tv under way once or twice, but that was just a few minutes and more because I could than because I wanted to see anything.)

I have a 9 inch TV/DVD player that runs on 12 VDC or 120 VAC. I run it on DC all the time, but it draws a small amount of power even when turned off, so I unplug it when I turn it off and I'm not on shore power. This is regular analog tv, not HDTV. I bought this one late 2005 as a replacement for an older small tv that broke.

(I was not able to find an HDTV display smaller than 24 inches. Also, most "HDTV televisions" are really just computer monitors; there is no place to plug in an antenna, so it CAN'T receive broadcast HDTV signals. I was not able to find an HDTV smaller than 48 inches that could receive broadcast signals.)

Small TVs do not need all that much power. Even a small portable inverter should have no problem powering a TV and a satellite decoder box. Just add up the power requirements printed on the back to see what size inverter you need.

My boat came with a halo antenna already installed. It works moderately well for over the air tv reception, but not so good in fringe areas. They say that a halo antenna is omni-directional. I find that is not quite true, but it is close enough. A weak signal will change a little as you swing at anchor. A strong signal will be just fine.

If I can attach a picture to this post, you should see the halo antenna viewed from the base of the mast. It is that roughly circular structure that the birds are sitting on:
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Old 19-05-2006, 06:47   #14
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A simple yet effective quasi-omnidirectional 'halo' antenna can be made from thin copper tubing: 66" of copper bent into a circle, with a 6" gap between the ends held open by stiff rubber tubing. You attach the leads to the ends at the gap. Needs a matching transformer for lead wire - cheap foil wrapped coax. Works good even in fringe areas. Raise it to the spreaders with a flag halyard.
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Old 19-05-2006, 14:51   #15
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Only problem with omni antennae, you can get omni in the horizontal plain only. And it picks up reflections off hills surounding you.
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