What is a MIM for marine satellite?

Oh, the things you’ll learn when you start down the road with satellite television. As a regular user, you tend not to think of how satellite TV gets to you. If you’re an engineer on a large boat, it’s your job to think of that (and a lot of other stuff.)

Marine satellite is different from land-based satellite

Marine-based satellite systems have a lot more to them than residential satellite dishes. A satellite dish for home is aimed once, then you don’t have to touch it. Marine satellite systems are aimed about ten times a second if need be. Not only that, but most marine systems are designed to be much more flexible. They can work with TV providers all over the world. Here in the US, the satellite TV provider usually gives you the dish and it only works with their service.

As a result, marine systems need things like Antenna Control Units (ACU’s) to make sure they’re picking up the right signals. ACU’s tell the dish what provider is being used and what satellites. It helps the marine equipment start up and stay focused on the programming you want.

Something special for DISH and Bell customers

Many marine customers use DISH and Bell for their satellite service. They’re both great companies, but their technology is a little different than what you’ll find with other global satellite providers. (DIRECTV’s tech is different too but that’s another article.)

DISH and Bell receivers ask for information from the antenna that a regular marine system can’t provide. There are other concerns as well, especially with DISH. In many cases, the marine antenna can only look at one satellite at a time. So, the antenna needs to know which satellite to look for, and needs to know which is the “master” receiver which makes those decisions.

Enter the MIM

The MIM, or multi-input module, has two purposes. It provides the information a receiver needs, and it also acts as a multiswitch, allowing up to four receivers at a time to connect. Additional MIMs can be used by connecting them in a “cascading” configuration. Traditional DISH multiswitches can be used after the MIM as well.

The MIM is a critical part of a DISH or Bell install and in general, you can’t use more than one satellite receiver without it. If you’re planning on using satellite TV on your boat, you definitely need a MIM.

Need more advice?

Marine satellite TV is tricky. It can be hard to know if you’re doing it right. Often times, these systems are installed by general marine shops. Those companies may know a lot about a lot of marine electronics, but they are rarely experts on marine satellite. You need a friend in the business who will give it to you straight.

That’s why you need Signal Connect, the marine, commercial, and activations arm of Solid Signal. Our team has done more marine satellite activations than anyone else in the country. We’re here to offer advice and support for every marine installation. If you have a local shop or installer you work with, have them contact us. We’ll give them the right information and make sure they have an easy time giving you the equipment you need.

It starts with a call to 888-233-7563. We’ll get you set up with an expert who will stay with you throughout the process. Rather communicate over email? Fill out the form below and we’ll 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.