KVH Industries

Time for a Satphone – KVH Shipping TracPhone V3 Mini-VSAT

New KVH TracPhone V3 Mini-VSAT - Click for Larger Image

New KVH TracPhone V3 Mini-VSAT

One of the more significant news items from the recent Miami Show was the announcement from KVH of its new mini-VSAT package, the TracPhone V3, which is the smallest Ku-band maritime VSAT antenna in the world at just 14.5″ (37 cm) in diameter.  The company said today that it has shipped the first fully FCC-licensed units to customers.

Maybe even more important to cruisers and passagemakers are the airtime costs with this system — including simple, straightforward metered service at just $0.49 per minute for voice calls worldwide and $0.99 per megabyte at the fastest speeds available on the network.  That’s pretty much unheard of in the satcom biz and it means that this kind of communications capability is going to be available to a huge new potential customer base for KVH.

Are airtime costs the main reason you haven’t considered a sat phone option on your boat?  Do these kind of rates change that for you?  Tell us in the comments.

Copyright © 2011 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Electronics, Technology

KVH Offers Rebates on Smaller SAT TV Antennae

KVH TracVision M3 Satellite TV Dome and Control Box

KVH TracVision M3 Satellite TV Dome and Control Box

KVH Industries said today that it will offer rebates up to $200 through the end of April on its TracVision M1 and M3 satellite TV systems.  The M1 and M3 systems are typically used on smaller boats, although the M3DX unit, with its HDTV capability could easily serve as the workhorse on almost any size passagemaker.

KVH TracVision M1 Satellite TV Radome On Cruising Sailboat

KVH TracVision M1 Satellite TV Radome On Cruising Sailboat

According to KVH, the TracVision M1ST, and M1DX/M1-C qualify for $100 rebates, while the M3ST and M3DX qualify for $200 rebates. You can see the rebate details and get the form at this link. And if you’d like to compare the various KVH sat TV systems, try this page on the KVH website. The company also recently offered upgrade rebates for customers moving to its HD7 system, as we reported here on OceanLines.

The M3DX is usually available for around $4,000 and its 15.5-inch radome diameter is small enough to fit nicely into any flybridge or hardtop antenna farm. It has a fairly sensitive antenna and is suitable for open-water tracking.  So, if you’ve had your eye on a nice cheap new LCD HDTV for the salon, this might be a timely incentive to add the satellite TV that will ensure you can catch the Red Sox games on NESN this summer.

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Boats, Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Electronics, Industry News, Maintenance & DIY, Passagemaking News, Powerboats, Sailboats, Technology

KVH Offers Rebates for Upgrades to HD7 Sat TV System

KVH TracVision HD7 Satellite TV System

KVH TracVision HD7 Satellite TV System

KVH Industries said today that current TracVision satellite TV customers can upgrade to the latest HD7 system and get a rebate of up to $2,000, depending on which system they are upgrading. The promotion runs through June 30, 2010. The deal requires the customer to return to KVH the old system’s circuit boards via an RMA issued by KVH. Full details of the deal are here.

Here are the rebate values for each system:

TracVision 4, G4 or G4HP — $750

TracVision M5 — $1,000

TracVision 6, G6, G6HP, G8 — $1,500

TracVision M7, M9 — $2,000

The TracVision HD7 has the unique ability to track DIRECTV’s Ka-bank and Ku-band satellites (all three) simultaneously. KVH said the system’s tracking ability allows it to maintain signal lock even when the boat is cruising at high speed and through rough seas. The HD7 also includes KVH’s new IP-enabled antenna control unit, which is equipped with an Ethernet connection for onboard networks, a built-in WiFi interface, and a USB port to make system setup and management as easy as opening a web browser and maintenance as simple as plugging in a USB thumb drive.

KVH iPhone App for TracVision HD7 Control

KVH iPhone App for TracVision HD7 Control

KVH says its free new TracVision iPhone application is the easiest way to control the HD7. According to the company, customers can “use it to check satellite TV signal strength, switch to secondary satellites, download and automatically install antenna software updates, and send information directly to KVH technical support.”

Copyright © 2010 by OceanLines LLC.  All rights reserved.

Posted by Tom in Cruising Under Power, Cruising Under Sail, Electronics, Environment & Weather, Gear & Apparel, Industry News, Maintenance & DIY, Passagemaking News, Powerboats, Sailboats, Sailing Gear & Apparel, Technology

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

Pricing

 

 

 

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