Streaming on superyachts

On-demand services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime have all heightened our expectations of how quickly we should get whatever we desire. We want it now, and that includes being able to watch the latest movies and television shows, wherever we are. Streaming services that work on land, however, haven’t always worked as efficiently on yachts, both in terms of reliable connectivity and price point, as Anil Thadani, owner of the world- roaming 45-metre Latitude reports. “The service I used before was horrible,” he says. “Connectivity was spotty, the speed was awful and it cost a lot more because they only gave us a limited amount – 30GB per month – for about $7,000 [£5,400], and if you exceeded that, the rates would be exorbitant.”

Thadani found a new service for Latitude that is working wonders. Switching over to Marine VSAT required a new satellite dome, which incurred upfront costs, but he says that the service has been so good that the initial pain was worth it. Now for a fixed cost of $5,000 per month he can stream Netflix in remote parts of Indonesia and watch CNN live on his iPad. He says the streaming isn’t always flawless, but overall it’s “good enough” and he hasn’t experienced any outages. For an extra $5,000 per month, Marine VSAT can guarantee flawless streaming and unlimited data. Meanwhile, London-based satellite communications company Inmarsat is set to launch seven new satellites into orbit by 2023, which will include extended ‘always-on’ coverage across the Arctic for those plotting a polar adventure.

For those who don’t want to rely on a data connection, Kaleidescape is also offering its new Marine Movie Service. Launched at the Monaco Yacht Show, it offers movie and music collections that arrive on a hard drive in a matter of days. One drive can hold up to 100 Blu-ray or 50 4K-quality movies, and customers (either a hands-on owner or a crew member) can have whichever titles they want pre-loaded on to it. The service also offers curated selections of new cinema releases, classic movies and kids’ favourites too.

It’s not the breadth of choice, however, but the quality of what’s on offer that companies are focusing on. “Ten years ago, yacht owners and captains were more concerned with how to get enough content,” says Cheena Srinivasan, founder and CEO of Kaleidescape. “Now there’s an overabundance of content, and we are trying to solve that problem through curation. Think of this as a white-glove concierge service. We’re bringing convenience via an end-to-end system through working with our marine integrators, so the yacht owners don’t have to worry about anything.”

Kaleidescape demonstrated its offerings during the boat show, dimming the lights on board the Tankoa yacht Solo and showing how vividly coloured and rich in sound a movie from its system is. Solo is beta-testing this brand new service, supported by 88 marine integrators worldwide who will install the hard drives to ensure quality control.