With more and more of your favourite TV programming going “online” the whole TV experience is changing the way we need to think about receiving the signal!

Traditionally Television was linear. This means you turned to a channel and you watched what was there. If you wanted to watch something else, you changed channel. This was then supplemented with the VHS tape, DVD, Bluray and now more often the Harddrive (or server based) stored video (i.e. Kaleidescape).

But over the past years this has slowly migrated to the internet, with the likes of Netflix, Prime Video, HBO online, youtube, AppleTV or any other flavour you find around the globe providing instant access to a library of movies, TV series or documentaries. And in effect, this until recently was simply an extension of your locally stored video, i.e. it’s on demand, when you want it, but via the internet! BTW. This is where the term “streaming” comes into play, it means in simpler terms “the act of broadcasting video over an IP network”, like the internet.

This comes with a limitation though, much like the traditional linear TV, the online suppliers are bound by regional rights (Geo location or Broadcasting Rights). Meaning what you can watch on Prime Video in one country you will find you can’t watch when you have moved to another country, unless Amazon in this case has the “Broadcast Rights” to show the said program in that region!

These same online services are now moving into broadcasting major sport programs, Live! This means that if you wish to watch some of the Grand Slam Tennis this year, you will need to subscribe to Prime Video AND you will only be able to watch it there where you have your subscription!

Now this becomes a major issue for vessels at sea. Not only because of the Geo location issue, but also that it now comes down your costly internet line! No longer is it simply broadcast via satellite, for you to tune to it, with the corresponding decoder (for which you pay a subscription, aka Sky TV) BUT it now comes down that very small internet line you have, which inherently is low bandwidth and you pay for it by the Gigabyte! And you need a lot of Gigabytes to watch streaming TV, especially at HD quality.

Do note, although less needy on your internet capacity, the same goes for Spotify, Tidal or any other music service which is also “streamed” via the internet!

So, you always need to consider 2 factors now with streamed Video,

  1. Where do you get it (where is your account)?
  2. How will you get it, via the mobile network, satellite
    and do you have enough bandwidth to do so
    (the higher the quality… HD, 4K, the higher the bandwidth need!)
    and does the internet latency affect your viewing experience
    (internet over satellite has to travel a long way, which inadvertently causes latency issues that normal IP traffic has difficulty coping with and therefore causes constant buffering issues, i.e. constant freezes and breakup of the picture)

Therefore, when you talk to your internet provider, consider the above. You will find yourself very disappointed with the service if you simply go out and buy yourself an IPTV subscription, only to find that the viewing experience is very jerky! And this is often not the fault of the one who sold you the IPTV box or subscription!

Further apart from the internet service provider connection, there are various service out there that “accelerate” the internet connectivity. Some of the service providers have an integrated solution, but these are also not always complete.

There are other solutions out there, i.e. there are “bonding services”, this is simply increasing the bandwidth by adding more cellular sim cards in parallel or doubling the satellite capacity, all at the according increased cost of each additional channel.

Another solution are Accelerated VPNs, where a box at both ends of the connection “translate” the IP traffic in a way to allow for better transfer of a high-latency circuit (like that of a satellite).
The nice thing about this solution is that you can also thus “GEO locate” the shore side end into the country where your streaming subscription is, allowing you to continue watching the programming that you had actually subscribed to!

In every case, anyway, it is important that when you sit down with your service provider, your hardware provider, or your AV integrator that it is clear what you want, and the solution that is being provided is what you want.