TV on board

I just spent over 4 months figuring out how to solve the problem of watching TV, and to a lesser extent providing high-speed internet aboard. I tried to get cable hooked up, but the line to the pedestal on the dock was broken and had no signal, and besides, it would only work when tied up at our home dock and not underway or at guest marinas. I looked into satellite tv, but it just didn’t solve my problem, specifically because of the internet service, but also because of the equipment costs for tv — it also had the same problem as cable when upderway.

My solution was to go cellular.

Where we boat we have almost 100% 4G LTE coverage.  I purchased a new line/SIM card for my phone plan, purchased a dedicated cellular modem, and added an old wi-fi router that I had laying around  I now have a solid, always-on, internet connection, with plenty of bandwidth to browse the web, stream movies and shows on Neflix or Amazon Prime Video, including 4K content.

When researching, I found the big problem with tv was live events, specifically sports. I want to spend the weekend on the boat, and in the afternoon watch a soccer, hockey, or football game, and I really had a difficult time figuring out how to make it happen. Our marina is tucked behind a hill, so we have very little over-the-air capabilities. To solve the TV issue, I subscribed to YoutubeTV, and a new 43″ TV with Roku built in. I also added a bluetooth transmitter, so the sound gets picked up and played through the 5.1 stereo.

YoutubeTV was my best option as it had the best sports coverage as well as unlimited DVR, but if you’re not a sports fan you may find better options with Hulu, Sling, Vue, or DirectTV Now

For $40/mo I have all the local broadcast channels (NBC/CBS/FOX/ABC) as well as traditional cable channels such as ESPN/2/U FoxSports/FS1/FS2, CNN/Fox/CNBC/BBC, etc. Compare channel lineups and other offerings between the providers and pick the one that serves your needs the best.

For the past month or so I’ve been enjoying all the Hockey, NCAA Basketball, and soccer that I can watch on my boat. Way more selection and at a better quality than my cable account at home which costs over 5x as much. So I’m now looking into drastically reducing my cable television plan, and using this same solution at home.

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