New technologies enable cost-effective satellite TV for vessels sailing globally.
Global maritime satellite TV has become a reality with the launch of the new Thrane & Thrane SAILOR 90 Satellite TV World. An extensive internal development program has resulted in a number of ground-breaking upgrades for Thrane & Thrane’s already popular flagship satellite TV antenna that enables it to provide satellite TV reception for vessels sailing globally, without the need for reconfiguration or manual intervention. The new SAILOR 90 Satellite TV World will be available from 7th November 2011.
“A key challenge for maritime satellite TV has always been the differing signal and polarisation types used around the world. The various signals require different hardware and software, and the costs associated with this mean that generally, vessels sailing globally have not provided satellite TV for crew welfare purposes,” explains Casper Jensen, VP Maritime Business Unit, Thrane & Thrane.
Ku-band satellite TV transmits in either circular polarisation or linear polarisation. Circular polarisation is mainly used in the USA, parts of central & South America and parts of Asia. Linear polarisation is the standard in Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific. As the two polarisation forms are incompatible, an antenna has to be manually configured by substituting the feedhorn or LNB to receive either one or the other. The new automatic depolarisor developed for the SAILOR 90 Satellite TV World allows automatic switching between polarisations in a matter of seconds. There is no loss of bandwidth or signal strength, or requirement to change parts, and the system does not use extra motors or actuators. This patent pending solution is fully automatic and users do not need to know whether the desired satellite is linear or circular, as this information is already in the antenna’s satellite library.
Another critical challenge that the upgraded SAILOR 90 Satellite TV World overcomes is the use of different broadcast standards in different regions. DVB-S and DVB-S2 are used in most parts of the world, however, there are regions where alternative standards such as ATSC and ISDB are used.
The SAILOR 90 Satellite TV World has a built-in DVB-S2 decoder so all SD and HD programming can be viewed. However, another brand new feature, called ‘Adjacent Lock Function’ enables the viewing of content from satellites using alternative broadcast standards. It enables the antenna to lock on to an adjacent DVB-S or DVB-S2 satellite and then turn ‘X’ degrees to receive a signal from the non DVB-S or DVB-S2 satellite, because it knows how the two satellites are placed relative to each other. This function essentially makes the antenna independent of broadcast standards and is a key factor for a global satellite TV solution.
Since the final destination of a vessel is not always known at the time of ordering or installation of a satellite TV system, the ability to easily change polarisation and work with various standards is highly desirable and is especially important for vessels sailing between Europe and USA. “The SAILOR 90 Satellite TV World is great news for crews working on globally trading vessels,” continues Jensen. “Until now, they have not had the possibility of satellite TV due to the varying signal and polarisation types used by different satellites around the world. Now it is as simple as pushing a button.”