Recently, I have been able to help out two fellow boaters in setting up local data and TV services quickly and cheaply and thought it may be of help to others to hear about what we now all use.
There is no doubt that there are plenty of options out there to confuse the fellow boater but for us on Pendana (and now two others) we have chosen the simplest, cheapest route to unlimited, un-throttled 4G, 3G, 2G, LTE which allows for instant streaming of just about any TV service you could imagine. This coupled with the ROKU device, Jetpack and booster (if required) one soon finds themselves in Netflix and data heaven, and all for under $200pcm!
Firstly, there is little doubt that the best coverage for mobile 4G in the USA is Verizon. The only issue with Verizon is what they charge for data is astronomical with 100GB per month running in at $710.00. The reality is 100GB is not going to get you very far when you consider watching movies or TV shows on Netflix uses about 1 GB of data per hour for each stream of standard definition video, and up to 3 GB per hour for each stream of HD video and if you use ultra HD then it’s about 7GB per hour. So what is the solution? Glad you asked.
Well there are certain items one is going to need.
Verizon JetPack, unlimited data plan, Roku device and if you want to maintain signal quality when offshore then a signal booster as well.
Unlimited Data Plan and JetPack
eBay, eBay, ebay! A simple search along the lines of “Verizon Wireless UNLIMITED 4G LTE XLTE Data Mobile Hotspot Jetpack MiFi 6620L” will bring up a number of providers who provide first rate service and advice and who will provide you with not only unlimited data but also another piece of much needed kit, the Verizon JetPack.
Once the device arrives it’s a simple matter of setting up a monthly payment via PayPal for $198.00 and your unlimited, un-throttled data is assured. For those who don’t know, most telecoms providers who offer unlimited data do so on a fair use basis. Once you have reached what they deem to be fair use, they restrict your data and switch you from 4G to a 3G service then eventually a 2G service as such, throttling back the amount of data you can consume. This is not the case with my suggestion above as all data is truly uncapped and un-throttled.
Now that you have your wireless data link in place, which I might add can connect up to fifteen devices like phones, iPads, computers etc the next step required is getting hold of the Roku device.
Roku Device for Television
For those who are unfamiliar with Roku it is basically a small box that plugs into your TV. Every Roku player provides access to 2,500+channels on demand offering 300,000+ movies and TV episodes, and the ability to search across more than 20 top streaming channels to find the best price and option. With the Roku Feed, you can follow movies, TV shows, actors, and directors and get automatic updates when new content is ready to stream, or when the price drops. Search across the top channels by keyword, title, actor, or director using your remote or the Roku mobile app. Roku Search makes it easy to find what’s on, where you can watch it for free, with a subscription ($9.99pcm) or how much the different channels charge to rent or buy.
In a word, Roku provides more TV options than one could consume in ten lifetimes and while some may prefer Apple TV, Chromecast etc I believe Roku is a far better option and CNET agree.
There are different Roku models in the market so make sure you select the right one for you. My advice is to go with the Roku 3 model.
Now, don’t get caught up in the hype and try to analyse which booster is best as I spent years going through the process to finally arrive at booster heaven with the Wilson Booster.
The Wilson Signal Booster 4G Extreme Marine Kit is the best kit for boosting cell signal in your boat full stop. The 4G Extreme Marine Kit features the weBoost Drive 4G-X 5-band, 50 dB amplifier, which is the most powerful mobile amplifier allowed by the FCC, an outside marine antenna, and a panel inside antenna to maximize the internal coverage area.
The 4G Extreme Marine Kit boosts the 2G, 3G, and 4G LTE networks from all major carriers, giving you fewer dropped calls, increased reception and the fastest 3G & 4G LTE download speeds possible. Unlike some other mobile signal boosters, the 4G Extreme Marine kit communicates with your phone, iPad, jetpack etc wirelessly, so it does not require a direct connection or for your phone to sit in a cradle. Also, because it broadcasts boosted signal to the local area, multiple phones and data devices will receive boosted signal at the same time.
Bottom line is this device works and I have been using the Wilson for many years now without issue. NOTE: Even land based folks with poor reception in their home or apartment can take advantage of using a Wilson Booster.
With Pendana’s planned trip to Canada next year I just need to work out who is the best Canadian provider – it never ends!