It’s a safe bet that whatever pleasurable pastime we engage in at home we also want to experience on our boats. And electronic entertainment is often at the top of the list. Here are some ways to enjoy music and video while afloat.
You can listen to downloaded music, traditional CDs, AM/FM, mobile app or satellite music. Picking a sound system that’s right for your boat is like ordering a pizza. Just list the features, capabilities and price range you want, and there is a sound system available.
Sets like the Kenwood KMR-355U marine stereo receiver ($132, kenwood.com) have all the basics, including AM/FM and CD player; USB connectivity for iPod, smartphones and thumb drives; and SiriusXM satellite radio — all at a modest price.
A complete audio/video entertainment center like the Fusion MS-AV700i ($669, fusionelectronics.com) adds wireless control of the system throughout the boat with various Apple and Android devices by connecting an off-the-shelf Wi-Fi wireless router to the system.
Bring the world of video on board with marine satellite TV. This is no longer just for big boats. The antenna dome of the Intellian i2 ($2,399, intelliantech.com), for example, measures just 14.7 inches by 15 inches and weighs 9.5 pounds. KVH’s M1 ($2,995, kvh.com) dome measures only 13.5 inches by 13.1 inches and weighs only 7.5 pounds. Neither of these offers high-definition TV. If you want HDTV, KVH’s HD7 satellite system can bring in HD channels with crystal-clear images, but the retail price starts at $12,995.
HD on a Shoestring
“Flying saucer” antennas like the 21-inch Shakespeare 3020-G ($317, shakespeare-marine.com) and 14-inch Glomex GXV-9112 ($250, imtra.com) can deliver spectacular HDTV from local broadcast stations. They can also receive free digital channels that are not available from satellite sources. One hundred bucks or less even can buy you a bargain Blu-ray player so you can enjoy HD theaterlike picture quality. And don’t overlook taking along your video-game console.
There are three basic ways to connect to the Internet while away from the dock. The first is with Wi-Fi range extenders. GeoSat Solutions’ Rogue Wave Pro ($499, wavewifi.com) is a good example of a simple but effective signal amplifier designed for boating. When beyond Wi-Fi reach, cellular booster kits such as Shakespeare SureCall systems (starting at $1,195) can amplify and retransmit your cellphone’s signal wirelessly for extended connectivity. If you find yourself afloat far from any land-based signals, KVH’s V3 TracPhone antenna dome ($16,995) will keep you connected anywhere with online speeds that rival what you may be used to at home. At 15.5 inches by 17.6 inches, the antenna dome is best suited for boats longer than 30 feet.
Quick Tip: A wired or wireless remote can be a real convenience when changing tracks or stations or lowering the volume.