Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Latest in High-End Audio-Video Options for Yachts

Michael Robilio, Chief Designer at Concord Marine Electronics, responded to a request from the International Yacht Brokers Association, IYBA, for information about current audio-video options for the modern yacht with this article published in the December 2019/January 2020 issue of Compass, the IYBA member magazine. We've added some video and other links to expand upon Michael's and Concord's capabilities. 

Many of our yachting clients already have a high-end audio video system in one of their homes. These clients want their yacht to have the same easy-to-use system functionality. These luxury systems combine high-end features like a single iPad control that allows for system control via a touch screen. The user interface is generally custom written software that allows for an intuitive graphical interface with the electronic systems.

These luxury control systems allow not only for operating the audio video (AV) system, but also the interface and control of TV cabinet lifts (the TV is hidden out of sight in furniture, until needed), cabin lighting, cabin window coverings, and cabin HVAC cooling equipment. The user controls all of these electronic systems easily, in any cabin, from a portable, wireless, touch-screen device. When the system is programmed properly the user has simplified single-button graphic control of the complex onboard electronic systems. The goal for this type of luxury AV system is a simple control that any guest or crew member can grasp without any system training.

 Michael Robilio demonstrates Concord custom AV system and installation

As these luxury AV systems evolve more system capability is added. For example, only a few years ago a state-of-the-art high-tech system had its own Audio and Video content server. This onboard server would house the audio and video collection for the whole boat, and any of the stored High Definition content could be shared among all of the entertainment zones throughout the entire boat. These local area server systems provide fantastic service, as long as all you want to view are prerecorded programing and prerecorded music. These systems do not allow the user to access live programing like sporting events, for example.

Luxury yacht AV systems today boast a newer higher-tech local server system, now with 4K and 8K resolution. The new systems also will allow your wireless portable handheld devices to interface with the yacht’s entertainment system and display your personalized content. In addition to this personal portable content and the High Definition locally stored content you now have the option to livestream HDTV content.

Streaming content services are poised to eclipse the “old school” satellite TV systems. These older systems require different hardware for different geographic locations. They require a specific satellite TV antenna, and specific satellite TV decoders, all for specific geographic locations that your yacht may travel to. For example, they require one antenna and decoder for USA High Def service, sometimes a different antenna and decoder for Caribbean TV service, and several different variations of decoders for  Mediterranean TV service. Depending on the yacht’s  itinerary, these equipment requirements could equate to large expenses in TV programing and required equipment modifications. Today’s high speed streaming services eliminate the need for many different antennas and decoders, and these streaming systems allow you to receive TV programing from all over the world, no matter the vessel’s location.

The one weakness for these amazing HDTV streaming services is that they all require a solid, high-speed Internet connection. In your home, that’s a relatively easy task. However, on board your yacht, it’s a bit more difficult. Not impossible, just a bit more difficult than at home.

4G and 4G LTE Yacht Internet from Marine Data Solutions

Advancements in 4G mobile internet technology have made HDTV streaming a reality on yachts. One user, streaming HDTV programing, will need a minimum internet download speed of around 4-6 Mbps. The newest 4G LTE-A systems boast download speeds between 40 and 150Mbps (in the USA, depending on your geographic location). So, when using the latest in 4G technology, your yacht could have multiple simultaneous users, streaming live HD content. This high-speed internet 4G technology is also very affordable, with Unlimited GB Unthrottled plans starting at $300 per month.

The latest VSAT technology is significantly more expensive than 4G, and current maximum VSAT download speeds are 10-20 Mbps. That available speed will still allow for multiple simultaneous users to enjoy HDTV content. Pricing for high speed VSAT internet varies between providers,  but most providers are around $6,000 per month.

Today’s luxury yachting lifestyle combines ease of use, access to information, and access to programing content, just like at home. Easy access to these luxury amenities, when in a remote location, are what most yachting guests expect.

For more information about Concord Marine Electronics and the modern, high-def audio-visual yacht entertainment and environmental control system, please visit the Concord website or Contact page, or email info@concordelectronics.com or phone +1 954-779-1100

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The Latest in High-End Audio-Video Options for Yachts

Michael Robilio, Chief Designer at Concord Marine Electronics , responded to a request from the International Yacht Brokers Association, IY...