HDTV Aboard Boats

KVH Solves HDTV Problem For Boaters

New KVH TracVision HD7 Satellite Antenna and Receiver

New KVH TracVision HD7 Satellite Antenna and Receiver

KVH Industries CEO Martin Kits van Heyningen announced today at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show a new marine satellite TV system — the TracVision HD7 — that is intended to greatly simplify watching HDTV aboard boats. KVH says its goal is to bring the same quality and ease of operation to boat owners that they experience at home ashore. With its new TracVision HD7 satellite antenna, the gap is fundamentally closed.

The Problem

KVH says the TracVision HD7 is designed to overcome the challenge raised when DIRECTV moved its HDTV programming to new Ka-band satellites incompatible with existing maritime satellite TV systems.  Adding to the complexity, HDTV programming is broadcast on the 99°W and 103°W Ka-band satellites while the program guide and all non-HD channels are broadcast by DIRECTV’s original 101°W Ku-band satellite.

Brent Bruun, KVH’s VP of sales and business development, illustrated the problem this way:

“Antennas that only view one satellite at a time and rely on the antenna or LNB to switch among the Ka- and Ku-band satellites raise a host of other problems for boaters, including receiver lockups, reboots, or lengthy satellite searches due to expired program guides or receivers looking for the wrong satellite. And do you really want to run the risk of missing the big game because ESPN HD is broadcast on the 99°W satellite and your kids want to watch Animal Planet HD broadcast on 103°W? The TracVision HD7 eliminates all of these issues and allows you all to watch DIRECTV’s programming, whether live or on the DVR, exactly like you do at home.”

The HD7 is also available with KVH’s Tri-Americas LNB, which will simplify access to DIRECTV Latin America service in the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America.  The system is also compatible with Bell TV (formerly ExpressVU) service in Canada.

Internal View of New KVH Tracvision HD7 Satellite Antenna

Internal View of New KVH Tracvision HD7 Satellite Antenna

The Solution









KVH’s TracVision HD7 features a number of key features that allow the simplified viewing of HDTV. Here’s a summary of them, as described by KVH (hence the superlatives in the descriptions; I have not personally had the chance to test the new system at sea):

  • KVH’s Tri-Rod Antenna Design (TriAD) technology – this patent pending new design simultaneously receives broadcasts from three separate DIRECTV satellites. These signals are concentrated by the tuned subreflector before reaching the unique tri-rod dielectric feed. Multi-axis dynamic tracking then allows the system to stay locked on even in the roughest seas.
  • IP-enabled Antenna Control Unit (ACU) – KVH’s new Internet Protocol (IP)-enabled antenna control unit, with its Ethernet connection, and built-in WiFi interface, makes system setup as easy as opening a web browser.
  • The TracVision iPhone® application – For the most convenient connection to the TracVision HD7 satellite TV, simply download KVH’s free TracVision iPhone app from Apple’s iTunes App Store for your iPhone or iPod® touch. Then use it to check signal strength, switch to secondary satellites, download and automatically install antenna software updates, and send information directly to KVH technical support. It doesn’t get any easier!
  • Single Wire Multiswitch (SWM) – TracVision HD7 includes a built-in single wire multiswitch that supports up to eight high-definition tuners with just a single cable and allows boat owners to run just a single wire to a dual-tuner DVR, making installation simpler than ever.
  • USB Flash Port – If the boat owner or dealer does not have Internet access or the TracVision iPhone app, updating antenna information is as simple as inserting a USB flash drive loaded with the latest KVH software into the ACU’s USB Flash Port to update the system.
  • New optional Tri-Americas™ Ka/Ku-band LNB – The TracVision HD7 offers an optional configuration that includes KVH’s new Ka/Ku-band Tri-Americas LNB that eliminates the need to change antenna hardware when switching between DIRECTV HD and Galaxy/DIRECTV Latin America as the boat travels from the U.S. to the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.
  • Easy installation – Installation is simple with only one dome and the same cabling and mounting design as KVH’s pop¬ular TracVision 6/G6 and M7 models so upgrading is a breeze.
  • Rock-solid in-motion tracking – The TracVision HD7 offers the best tracking ever available in a KVH satellite TV product thanks to enhanced tracking algorithms and a stainless steel bearing construction to ensure outstanding performance and uninterrupted entertainment even on sportfishers and tuna towers.

iPhone Application to Control New KVH TracVision HD7 Satellite Antenna

iPhone Application to Control New KVH TracVision HD7 Satellite Antenna





KVH says the HD7 will begin shipping in late 2009 with a suggested retail price of $12,999.  Addition of the Tri-Americas LNB will add $1,499 to the price.  Incentives coincident with the Fort Lauderdale boat show include a free HD/DVR Receiver with every HD7 unit, and a cash rebate program offering from $750 to $2,000 on trade-in of older KVH systems.

Copyright © 2009 OceanLines LLC

Posted by Tom in Industry News, Technology