The competition for world's smallest stabilized satellite TV antenna has come down to definitions. KVH's new M1 is a 12.5-inch dish that only weighs 7.5 pounds while Intellian's new i1 (see below) is an 11-incher that tips the scale at 9.5 pounds. Both make onboard TV easier to have. In fact, KVH says the M1 is so light it can mount on a standard VHF antenna base, and both systems need only a co-ax cable between the dome and the controller below. However, KVH's $2,995 M1 includes its own 12-volt combination controller and DirectTV receiver, while Intellian, like most manufacturers, just provides the controller. I know from testing experience how compact and easy-to-use KVH's combination box is (see "Electronics," October 2006), but as explained below, if HD channels are important, you might consider an Intellian or even a King Control (see page 52) system that can pair with Dish or ExpressVu receivers. There's also the critical issue of satisfactory performance from a little dish on a tippy boat. KVH has the track record and also a coverage map claiming the whole U.S. coast; the others have yet to prove themselves.
This article originally appeared in the February 2009 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.