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When I started sailing, 50 years ago, electronic gear was a rarity. In fact, a knotmeter was the only electronic device aboard the first boat I sailed on. Obviously, things have evolved a lot since then. An onboard TV was once the sole province of the wealthy, but now they’re becoming increasingly common, even on fairly small boats. Some cruisers hate the idea, while others can’t do without
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Installing a TV set

Installing a TV set on a boat is a fairly complicated and lengthy project, so unless you’re certain of your capabilities, hire a pro. If you decide to do the work yourself, the first step is to research the components and decide which you’ll need, making sure that they’re compatible with each other and will fit into the available space. The second step is to install the components. There’s quite a lot of wiring involved; I recommend making a detailed schematic diagram that incorporates each component you’ll need as well as the necessary lengths of wire.

While the dish, amplifier, and converter box will most likely work from the boat’s power supply, the TV will almost certainly require a 110-volt supply (unless it’s a rare 12-volt set). At a dock this can come from shore power; otherwise, you’ll need an onboard generator or inverter. If you intend to run your TV through an inverter, make sure that it’s compatible with your TV set. Most cheap inverters have a square sine-wave pattern that may create interference.

Next, determine the mounting position for the TV, which should allow visibility from the desired spots. Then mount the brackets securely.

The next step is to install the antenna or satellite dish. Either of these should be clear of any radar beams, rigging, and interference sources. The optimum position for a dish is at a height about half the overall length of the vessel. If you have to compromise on this, it’s better for it to be lower than too high, as a swinging mast will degrade the signal, forcing the internal gyro to work harder to stay locked onto the satellite.

Once the antenna is mounted, run the cables to the dish’s control box, which should be mounted belowdeck. Then connect the cables to the digital-converter box and, finally, to the TV.

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