Should your marine satellite system be on a commercial account?

This one goes out to the high rollers. The folks who want, and have, the best of everything. Not only do you have the fabulous home with all the trappings, but you traverse the planet in your own luxury yacht. Of course your yacht is equipped with nothing but the best. This includes satellite television. But unless you activated your satellite TV with Solid Signal, there’s a chance that it’s set up wrong. If it’s set up wrong, you can face fees and even lawsuits. Here’s what I’m talking about.

Should your yacht be on a “commercial” account?

Most people don’t realize that both DIRECTV and DISH have different types of accounts. I’m not talking about different programming packages. I’m talking about completely different account types.

Residential accounts

These are the easiest to understand because this is the sort of account most people have. There aren’t many limitations on residential accounts. The biggest one is that you can’t use the service in two places at the same time.

Yes, you can have satellite service on the same account in two locations in most cases, but you can’t use both locations at the same time. So, if you did have your yacht on the same account as your home, no one in your home could be watching TV when you’re out on the water. That’s why people get two accounts.

Otherwise, residential accounts give you access to the latest hardware, bundle deals, and all the great stuff you associate with satellite TV.

Commercial accounts

Commercial accounts are a little harder to understand. A commercial account is registered to a business, not a person. That’s the easy part.

There are a lot of different commercial account types. It depends on what you’re doing with the TV service. Ask yourself if you use satellite TV:

  • Just for you in a private area like your office or stateroom?
  • Just for your invited guests, not for people who buy things from you?
  • For a large area like a bar or restaurant, where people come in off the street?
  • In a waiting room?
  • Do you use your satellite TV for a small private group of people such as in a hotel, prison, or hospital?
  • Is it used as a benefit for people on a job site like an oil rig?

There are a lot of commercial “verticals” and each has its own rules and is billed somewhat differently. As a general rule, if you are using satellite TV in a private area where you’re not transacting business, and if the public isn’t allowed in there, then it’s pretty much like a residential account. On the other hand, you may have to pay a price that depends on your fire code occupancy if the service is used in a public space.

Satellite systems for public spaces generally can’t use DVR service. This is due to restrictions from the content providers. Because of that, using a DVR in a public space is one rule you can’t break. The attorneys will surely descend on you because it costs the pay-TV company money if you break this rule.

Should your boat have residential or commercial service?

Here’s the easy way to tell. Ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Is the boat chartered (yachts) or used as a business (service vessels)?
  2. Is the boat used ONLY for personal leisure, and not owned by an LLC or corporation?

If the answer to the first one is YES, then it’s commercial. If the answer to the second one is YES, it’s residential. Simple as that.

What to do if you have the wrong account type

If you think your satellite TV account is set up wrong, don’t worry. While you’ll get in trouble for sure if you do nothing, doing the right thing is easy. Just call the experts at Signal Connect. They specialize in fixing “misclassification” issues. They can help you convert to the right type of account quickly and easily. We have a team of experts with over a decade of experience fixing the issues that come from other installers and we’ll take great care of you. Call us at 888-233-7563. If it’s after East Coast business hours, fill out the form below and our team will get back to you, usually within 24 hours.

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.