How old is the satellite dish on your boat? Maybe too old?

Before I begin, let’s get the tough talk out of the way. I know you paid a lot for your marine satellite dish in 2007. I know that it’s served you well all these years. And I know replacing it is going to be a tough decision. I feel for you. But let’s talk about reality here.

The first wave of marine satellite dishes

Marine satellite TV first became popular in the mid-2000s. At that time. satellite TV was seen as a major luxury item. Before the recession, things looked really good for some sectors of our economy… luxury yachts was one of them.

So of course it became very popular to put a marine satellite system in. You might have done it yourself, or the last person to own your boat might have done it. Either way, those big white gumdrops on your boat showed the world that you “made it.”

Tech changes are unavoidable

The world of pay television has changed a lot since the mid-’00s, which are now 15 years ago (yeah that’s weird, I know.) We’ve all gone to high definition. Both DIRECTV and DISH have introduced new technology that turbocharges their experiences. And, your satellite system, no matter how much it cost back then, wasn’t designed for any of it.

This sort of change is unavoidable. How many other 15-year-old pieces of technology are you using? Do you still use a RAZR phone? How about a dial-up modem? These may seem like silly questions. But you have to realize that the technology in your satellite system from 2006 is just as ancient as those other technologies.

Using an old dish with a new system

There are bound to be limitations to using an old dish with a new system. DISH users on the eastern half of the country have run into problems with older hardware. The dish can still receive the signals but the older antenna control units can’t necessarily lock on.

DIRECTV has moved to new satellite technology since the ’00s that uses completely different broadcast frequencies. That means your older hardware won’t ever get more than a few HD channels, and the list of channels you do get at all is going to be limited.

You may also experience some weird errors when using the latest generation of receivers with older dishes. Just tuning to the wrong channel may give you an error message, for example. You may not be able to use the latest receivers or have the latest capabilities.

Take a moment to grieve then…

It’s time to look back at all the great service those old satellite dishes gave you. It’s time to realize that they definitely did their part for you over the last fifteen years. And then it’s time to upgrade. Often times, you can use the same wiring and just substitute a new “gumdrop.” This will give you the tech you need in order to move forward for the next fifteen years. It’s worth it.

When you’re ready to move forward, give the experts at Signal Connect a call. We’ll help you choose a new satellite system and recommend an installer near you. We’ll make it as painless as possible to get things changed over. And then you can go back to enjoying satellite television. Call us at 888-233-7563 and we’ll help make everything all better.

If it’s after East Coast business hours, fill out the form below and we’ll take care of you as soon as we can.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.