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  • Can you get DIRECTV 4K service on your yacht?

    Sorry to say it... even if you have something monstrously large and opulent, you're still not getting DIRECTV's 4K service when you're out on the ocean. At least not yet.

    Unfortunately, neither of our major marine satellite partners -- Intellian and KVH -- have announced plans for 4K-compatible equipment. When they do, you can bet that Solid Signal will be the first to offer it.

    Why is it so hard to offer 4K on a boat?
    You would think the signal would be a problem but it isn't, not at all. While it's true that DIRECTV's 4K programming will be using frequencies slightly lower than those of its HD programs, that won't be a problem for marine customers. The problem is the LNB.

    The LNB is the front of the dish, and it's hidden on marine satellite units. The LNB you need for 4K in a large installation is currently being made, but it's only available for DIRECTV's hotel and institutional customers right now.

    It's a big boy, much larger than the standard Slimline-3 LNB that is used for HD:

    It's bigger because of all the extra electronics that are needed to receive 4K signals. While DIRECTV's version will pick up signals from the 110 and 119 satellite locations, that wouldn't strictly be needed for a marine install. However, even if you ignore those two extra white "feed horns" you can see that this is a big boy.

    And there's the problem. Any 4K hardware would need to fit inside the same gumdrop-shaped "radome" used to cover the equipment. Not only that, the control electronics would need to be re-engineered as well and some accommodations would need to be made for the next-generation multiswitch that's needed as well.

    There used to be a workaround, but not really. And not anymore. Until the winter or early spring, you really don't need that new LNB, as anyone with a current 4K setup will tell you. So if you had an Intellian HD7 it would at least be technically possible to do 4K on a boat. However, DIRECTV stopped activating 4K service for people who don't have the new dish. They did that about six months ago, and it does make sense since by now you only have a few months left to watch 4K without the new dish.

    Also it's important to note that if you have a commercial account, the 4K landscape is very different, and a lot of different things have to happen to get 4K in a commercial space. The account has to be approved by DIRECTV -- and they haven't approved a marine one yet -- and you need about 7 times the number of multiswitches and other wiring. It's still a struggle to get 4K in any commercial setting, although Solid Signal is the leader with more 4K commercial implementations than anyone.

    So I hate to say, this all adds up to the fact that there won't be any DIRECTV 4K on the open ocean for a while. But rest assured when it comes, your friends at Solid Signal will be the ones to bring it to you!

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    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Alan Gordon's Avatar
      Alan Gordon -
      Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Sweet View Post
      Sorry to say it... even if you have something monstrously large and opulent, you're still not getting DIRECTV's 4K service when you're out on the ocean. At least not yet.
      I was just about to order DirecTV service for my submarine. I guess I'll have to wait a while now.
    1. Stuart Sweet's Avatar
      Stuart Sweet -
      Good thought. I've heard there are a lot of attenuation issues when you're using it underwater.