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Post Info TOPIC: Starlink, good bad or ugly?


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Starlink, good bad or ugly?


Hi, Been looking at Starlink as entertainment in the outback, just wondering what experience people have with the system and any issues to look out for.

I have heard that they can be connected to your phone to have communication similar to sat phones, any comments please?



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Haven't used it yet, but we are very interested & expect that when we head off again next year that it will be with Starlink.

Internet almost anywhere at any time*. Wifi calling enables use of a mobile phone almost anywhere at any time rendering sat phone unnecessary & also can manage with a much smaller data allowance on the phone.

The one argument against using Starlink as an alternative to a sat phone for emergency use is that you have to set up Starlink before you can use it. Not a huge issue unless the emergency requires action ASAP. On balance we think we will retain our sat phone at $16.50 a month plus calls until we are satisfied that that Starlink will suit that aspect of our comms needs.

We also think we will buy the smallest 'smart' TV (22 or 24") we can get if we have room for one in our new rig. With unlimited data from Starlink we can stream content (free to air channels - not interested if subscription stuff like netflix etc)  direct to a tv instead of to our laptop.

With our future travel style likely to incorporate longer stays in remote bush locations away from any infrastructure we feel we can justify the cost of Starlink. Having that connectivity & 'entertainment' will we think, facilitate longer periods in places we like.

Note that connectivity can be affected by weather. Not to quite the same degree as sat phones though as the Starlink satellites are 'closer' at a lower orbit.



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Ive had Starlink for 5 months now and can recomend it. Im currently prospecting in outback WA and having Starlink has been a game changer for me.
Where Im currently camped I can get a phone / 4g conection via celfi go but the internet is very slow and tying to stream any video in anything other than the lowest settings is not possisble but that all lchanged with Starlink.

My dish has an uniterupted view of the sky at all times but do occasionally notice a second or so of buffering when watching a Hd video stream. I did have it running a few weeks ago during a thunderstorm and noticed no interuptions to the program that I was streaming,

If you mobile phone carrier supports Voice over Internet then you will be able to use you mobile when starlink is running to make and receive calls.

The only downside to having Starlink is that it does draw alot of power when in use, Im seeing it drawing on average 8 amps when streaming HD vidieo and around 4 to 5 amps when just generally browsing the internet
I just make sure that it is only turned on when Im actually using the internet

Also, it can take a few minutes for it to connect up when turned on . If it hasnt connected within a few minutes I reboot the moden via the app and that usually fixes it up

If you are going to be in one spot for a longer time you can use the Residental Plan and save a few dollars.. You dont need a street address , you can just enter GPS co-ords when you register your location

Ive just noticed and the Starlink web page that you can get a refurbished unit for $299 insted of the new price of $599 until the end of the year

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I suspect it is far more useful for those working and making a living off grid, spending more time in caravan parks or money to burn.

It's not quite there for us yet. Perhaps one day.
I recently had the privilege of borrowing a relatives unit.

Perfect operation and relatively easy setup for our motorhome, but it would require permanent dish installation to be useful assuming it could withstand a 90 plus a say 60km/h headwind.

Downsides to overcome for us.
About 20 minutes setup time to up and running. Unpacking, repacking, tuning, connections etc. It would be no fun in the rain.
Manual satellite dish here up and running in typically 30-45 seconds. We have performed the task a few thousand times.
Monthly fee more than double our current Netspeed 600GB plan.
Don't leave it powered on. A 6 hour test measured a daily energy draw of 113Ah almost double our 255l fridge!
Compare that to our wireless Internet router on 24/7 - 6Ah plus the satellite receiver - 7.5Ah.
We can't record 4 TV channels at once.

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Hi Vince56,

We have it, use it, love it. No issues whatsoever.
We were "on the cusp" of having an auto sat dish fitted to our caravan to replace the existing manual sat dish and fortunately made the decision to go Starlink instead.
Cheers.


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My view is the ugly bit is the $139 pm hard to justify, just for internet and then is your plus plus plus for streaming services like Netflix, prime, kayo etc etc

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Gundog wrote:

My view is the ugly bit is the $139 pm hard to justify, just for internet and then is your plus plus plus for streaming services like Netflix, prime, kayo etc etc


 

 

 

Hi Gundog,

Just some clarification, Yes, some may find it a bit hard to justify however, the cost (travelling) is $174 pm. But you can switch on or off per month. i.e. if not travelling, no cost.

It is not just WI FI, it provides tv streaming as well as the ability to make phone calls including video calls anywhere. All included in the cost.

The other point is there are many "free" streaming channels available. In our situation  (and I am sure in many others cases) folks have paid services anyway at home such as Netflix, Prime Brit Box etc. so no extra cost sourcing those on the Starlink system.

Hope this information is of some help.

Cheers  

 

 



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I have SL. I only use it when travelling for long enough in areas without coverage to make it worthwhile. It works, generally very well. Speeds are fast, in remote areas they are usually very fast. Voice over WiFi works for us with Optus. I carry a 300W pure sine wave inverter in the tow vehicle so that I can use it if needed without the Karavan.

The three downsides are (i) the cost, although with the roaming plan I only activate it (month at a time) when I need it; (ii) the current draw, which I reduced a little by constructing a 12V kit, and I only power it up when I am using it; and (iii) the need for a reasonably clear view of the southern sky - camping among trees can be problematic.

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Hi some very clear answers given here and concise pros and cons. i now have a much better idea of how it works and costs. :)
Thanks Jaahn



-- Edited by Jaahn on Sunday 26th of November 2023 09:18:09 AM

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AIUI, Starlink's network consists of a constellation of several thousand satellites whizzing around in low earth orbit. I can understand how a Vast user would tune their setup by aiming their dish at a geostationary satellite, but what is involved in tuning in to Starlink, and where do you aim your dish?

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All you have to do to tune in starlink is to set up the dish and face it in a southerly direction, then plug the dish into the modem, connect the modem to the power and turn it on. AS the system boots up the dish will move to pick up the signal. Pretty simple

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The dish has a Phased Array Antenna inside it that does the tracking. The dish does not move once it orients itself in broadly the correct direction during start-up. It angles itself at roughly 45 degrees from vertical in a roughly southerly direction.

Starlink have just released a new standard dish without motors that you need to orient yourself. It has a 110 degree view of the sky compared to 100 degrees for the older, motor-driven dish.

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bristte wrote:

I have SL. I only use it when travelling for long enough in areas without coverage to make it worthwhile. It works, generally very well. Speeds are fast, in remote areas they are usually very fast. Voice over WiFi works for us with Optus. I carry a 300W pure sine wave inverter in the tow vehicle so that I can use it if needed without the Karavan.

The three downsides are (i) the cost, although with the roaming plan I only activate it (month at a time) when I need it; (ii) the current draw, which I reduced a little by constructing a 12V kit, and I only power it up when I am using it; and (iii) the need for a reasonably clear view of the southern sky - camping among trees can be problematic.


   Hi bristte,  can you say a bit more about your 12v kit.

   Self built or bought? Cost? & how much less current does it draw compared to using inverter power?   

   If self built what is involved in doing so?

   I guess like anything which uses a bit of power the optimum time to use it would be whilst the sun is shining & the batteries are full. 

   What is the set up & connecting time generally. I did read somewhere 20 minutes to get the gear out, connected & be online, but I imagine that sort of time might be improved        with a good installation? 



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For me, the high current draw would be a turn-off. I'd hate to be in a position where I had to choose between Internet and refrigerated food.

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Cuppa wrote:

 

 

   What is the set up & connecting time generally. I did read somewhere 20 minutes to get the gear out, connected & be online, but I imagine that sort of time might be improved        with a good installation? 


 

 

In our situation timing is no more than 2 to 3 minutes to be connected and operating.

Time taken from me placing the "dish" on a pole on draw bar (or tripod, whichever I choose), and the Bride opening and actioning the app.

Amazingly fast. 



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Cuppa wrote:
   Hi bristte,  can you say a bit more about your 12v kit.

   Self built or bought? Cost? & how much less current does it draw compared to using inverter power?   

   If self built what is involved in doing so?

   I guess like anything which uses a bit of power the optimum time to use it would be whilst the sun is shining & the batteries are full. 

   What is the set up & connecting time generally. I did read somewhere 20 minutes to get the gear out, connected & be online, but I imagine that sort of time might be improved        with a good installation? 


Cuppa

I followed the original version of this DIY guide and built my own 12V power supply: https://www.outsidenomad.com/how-to-power-starlink-satellite-internet-on-12-volt-dc/   and his matching video  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrGCL9pNDDc

As you can see from viewing these links, the state of play has changed, in that it is now possible to use Starlink to RJ45 adaptors to avoid cutting the SL cable, which is what I did.  I haven't kept abreast of developments and I'm sure there are now other options as well.

Cost?  Looking at my records I spent AUD135.24 at Amazon on the PoE injector, the 12v->48V step-up unit, and a couple of shielded RJ45 couplers.  Also a few bucks on shielded CAT6 plugs and some wire and other odds and ends.  I already had an RJ45 crimp tool.  Plus about AUD110 on a Grandstream 12V router that you also need to power, since you're not using the SL white box with a 12V power supply.  The costs went up when (eventually!!) discovered that the el cheapo 192W 12v->48V unit couldn't supply 48V under load, and so I spent another AUD67 on a 384W version that does the job.

There are now commercial solutions, the one that most appealed to me some months ago is the one developed in Ukraine for their armed forces  https://www.abpro.tech/en/shop/poe-adapter-for-starlink-10-27v/  but I bet there is a range of other options now.

How much power does it save?  I really haven't tried to measure it when powered from the Karavan using both approaches.  This is a controversial topic and there are plenty of naysayers who will claim that it's not enough to be worth the cost and trouble.  My own view is that the main saving is from not running the 2600W inverter in the Karavan all the time.  I suspect that the base current draw of the two sets of components is not all that different.   I have measured the draw of the original SL devices when powered via my 300W pure sine wave inverter powered from the tow vehicle's second battery, and it was perhaps 30-40W, with occasional jumps to 70-80W and down again.  If I had an Anderson out from the Karavan's batteries, then in hindsight using the smaller inverter may have been a viable option.  I do prefer using the Grandstream router as its signal is more powerful than the SL white box and it's a more featured product.

There were rumours that SL were going to produce their own 12V powered unit, and even that it was in beta testing, but there's been no sign of it.  The new dish released in the last week or two was not it.

As Aussie1 said, from the point that you power it on it's usually only a couple of minutes.  There's generally a good signal while the dish is still horizontal and in the process of orienting itself.  There is perhaps 3-5 minutes to set the whole thing up and plug it in.  I can't recall it ever being anywhere near 20 minutes in total, unless perhaps you don't have a clear view of the sky.



-- Edited by bristte on Sunday 26th of November 2023 10:11:14 PM

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bristte wrote:
Cuppa wrote:
   Hi bristte,  can you say a bit more about your 12v kit.

   Self built or bought? Cost? & how much less current does it draw compared to using inverter power?   

   If self built what is involved in doing so?

   I guess like anything which uses a bit of power the optimum time to use it would be whilst the sun is shining & the batteries are full. 

   What is the set up & connecting time generally. I did read somewhere 20 minutes to get the gear out, connected & be online, but I imagine that sort of time might be improved        with a good installation? 


Cuppa

I followed the original version of this DIY guide and built my own 12V power supply: https://www.outsidenomad.com/how-to-power-starlink-satellite-internet-on-12-volt-dc/   and his matching video  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vrGCL9pNDDc

As you can see from viewing these links, the state of play has changed, in that it is now possible to use Starlink to RJ45 adaptors to avoid cutting the SL cable, which is what I did.  I haven't kept abreast of developments and I'm sure there are now other options as well.

Cost?  Looking at my records I spent AUD135.24 at Amazon on the PoE injector, the 12v->48V step-up unit, and a couple of shielded RJ45 couplers.  Also a few bucks on shielded CAT6 plugs and some wire and other odds and ends.  I already had an RJ45 crimp tool.  Plus about AUD110 on a Grandstream 12V router that you also need to power, since you're not using the SL white box with a 12V power supply.  The costs went up when (eventually!!) discovered that the el cheapo 192W 12v->48V unit couldn't supply 48V under load, and so I spent another AUD67 on a 384W version that does the job.

There are now commercial solutions, the one that most appealed to me some months ago is the one developed in Ukraine for their armed forces  https://www.abpro.tech/en/shop/poe-adapter-for-starlink-10-27v/  but I bet there is a range of other options now.

How much power does it save?  I really haven't tried to measure it when powered from the Karavan using both approaches.  This is a controversial topic and there are plenty of naysayers who will claim that it's not enough to be worth the cost and trouble.  My own view is that the main saving is from not running the 2600W inverter in the Karavan all the time.  I suspect that the base current draw of the two sets of components is not all that different.   I have measured the draw of the original SL devices when powered via my 300W pure sine wave inverter powered from the tow vehicle's second battery, and it was perhaps 30-40W, with occasional jumps to 70-80W and down again.  If I had an Anderson out from the Karavan's batteries, then in hindsight using the smaller inverter may have been a viable option.  I do prefer using the Grandstream router as its signal is more powerful than the SL white box and it's a more featured product.

There were rumours that SL were going to produce their own 12V powered unit, and even that it was in beta testing, but there's been no sign of it.  The new dish released in the last week or two was not it.

As Aussie1 said, from the point that you power it on it's usually only a couple of minutes.  There's generally a good signal while the dish is still horizontal and in the process of orienting itself.  There is perhaps 3-5 minutes to set the whole thing up and plug it in.  I can't recall it ever being anywhere near 20 minutes in total, unless perhaps you don't have a clear view of the sky.



-- Edited by bristte on Sunday 26th of November 2023 10:11:14 PM


 Thank You. 



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Aussie1 wrote:
Cuppa wrote:

 

 

   What is the set up & connecting time generally. I did read somewhere 20 minutes to get the gear out, connected & be online, but I imagine that sort of time might be improved        with a good installation? 


 

 

In our situation timing is no more than 2 to 3 minutes to be connected and operating.

Time taken from me placing the "dish" on a pole on draw bar (or tripod, whichever I choose), and the Bride opening and actioning the app.

Amazingly fast. 


 Thank you.



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Cuppa wrote:


The one argument against using Starlink as an alternative to a sat phone for emergency use is that you have to set up Starlink before you can use it. Not a huge issue unless the emergency requires action ASAP. On balance we think we will retain our sat phone at $16.50 a month plus calls until we are satisfied that that Starlink will suit that aspect of our comms needs.

We also think we will buy the smallest 'smart' TV (22 or 24") we can get if we have room for one in our new rig. With unlimited data from Starlink we can stream content (free to air channels - not interested if subscription stuff like netflix etc)  direct to a tv instead of to our laptop.


 

 

 

A couple of points on those issues.

We no longer own a Sat phone (sold it for a nice little profit also). Reason being, if a situation arises that requires urgent assistance we will use the PLB (Personal Location Beacon) we always carry. Also a PLB will, in my opinion, send communication in less time than setting a sat phone up for a signal. For less urgent issues it doesn't take long to activate the Starlink system. i.e. a couple of minutes. As an aside, I believe all travellers going to isolated areas (or simply out of normal mobile range) should own and carry one. In fact, once again in my opinion they should be mandatory.

Cost of PLB around $300 and has battery life of between 5 and 7 years. If used (and hopefully never) the unit is replaced with a new one free of charge.

Sat phone at $16.50 pm, plus calls over say 6 years equals around $1200 plus calls.

 

Re 'smart' tv. We recently replaced our 24" tv in the caravan. Didn't need a smart tv, simply bought a Google Chrome that converted the one we bought into a smart tv. Cost of new tv $140, cost of Google Chrome around $100. Cost of a smart tv is, I think, around $500 to $600.

Working a treat on Starlink system.  

 Hope this information is of some use.



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Thanks to all for your great info, looks like a Starlink is definitely the way to go!

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Just a couple of questions now we have started to look at the website to order,

If you get a system on a household plan, can I change to roaming (travelling) at any time?

Does all of the supplied equipment have the motorized antenna or are they manual? the website sort of confuses me on this issue...

Cheers for the info.

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Hi Vince;
Best to check the plan details with Starlink direct; the plans change from time to time so be aware; we have Starlink and it has been a game changer for our internet use; found it to be very reliable all over our travels from as far south as you can go in tassie to the top end, no issues whatsoever, even had reception in the heaviest of downpours.
Kind Regards

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Aussie1 wrote:

 Also a PLB will, in my opinion, send communication in less time than setting a sat phone up for a signal. For less urgent issues it doesn't take long to activate the Starlink system. i.e. a couple of minutes. As an aside, I believe all travellers going to isolated areas (or simply out of normal mobile range) should own and carry one. In fact, once again in my opinion they should be mandatory.

 

Re 'smart' tv. We recently replaced our 24" tv in the caravan. Didn't need a smart tv, simply bought a Google Chrome that converted the one we bought into a smart tv. Cost of new tv $140, cost of Google Chrome around $100. Cost of a smart tv is, I think, around $500 to $600.

Working a treat on Starlink system.  

 Hope this information is of some use.


Goodness! ....something we agree on. :) Our current PLB is close to it's 7 year time to replace. Newer ones are a lot smaller. 

With a few minutes setup with Starlink I think it too will be a no brainer. Can do all you can with a satphone plus the possibility of sending /receiving video which could be exceptionally useful with mechanical problems & injuries etc.

Will have to look into this Google Chrome - don't know much about it, thought it was just a browser. I use 'Brave' which I believe is a 'form' of Chrome. Do you mean 'Chromecast' which will stream from computer to TV (I think?). 



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Cuppa I think they meant Chromecast which can use anything from a phone, tablet or computer to cast (send) any program to a tv.

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Cuppa wrote:
Aussie1 wrote:

 Also a PLB will, in my opinion, send communication in less time than setting a sat phone up for a signal. For less urgent issues it doesn't take long to activate the Starlink system. i.e. a couple of minutes. As an aside, I believe all travellers going to isolated areas (or simply out of normal mobile range) should own and carry one. In fact, once again in my opinion they should be mandatory.

 

Re 'smart' tv. We recently replaced our 24" tv in the caravan. Didn't need a smart tv, simply bought a Google Chrome that converted the one we bought into a smart tv. Cost of new tv $140, cost of Google Chrome around $100. Cost of a smart tv is, I think, around $500 to $600.

Working a treat on Starlink system.  

 Hope this information is of some use.


Goodness! ....something we agree on. :) Our current PLB is close to it's 7 year time to replace. Newer ones are a lot smaller. 

With a few minutes setup with Starlink I think it too will be a no brainer. Can do all you can with a satphone plus the possibility of sending /receiving video which could be exceptionally useful with mechanical problems & injuries etc.

Will have to look into this Google Chrome - don't know much about it, thought it was just a browser. I use 'Brave' which I believe is a 'form' of Chrome. Do you mean 'Chromecast' which will stream from computer to TV (I think?). 


 

 

 

Correct, I should have said Chromecast. My first mistake since.... about 1956 I think.



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Aussie1 wrote:
Cuppa wrote:
Aussie1 wrote:

 Also a PLB will, in my opinion, send communication in less time than setting a sat phone up for a signal. For less urgent issues it doesn't take long to activate the Starlink system. i.e. a couple of minutes. As an aside, I believe all travellers going to isolated areas (or simply out of normal mobile range) should own and carry one. In fact, once again in my opinion they should be mandatory.

 

Re 'smart' tv. We recently replaced our 24" tv in the caravan. Didn't need a smart tv, simply bought a Google Chrome that converted the one we bought into a smart tv. Cost of new tv $140, cost of Google Chrome around $100. Cost of a smart tv is, I think, around $500 to $600.

Working a treat on Starlink system.  

 Hope this information is of some use.


Goodness! ....something we agree on. :) Our current PLB is close to it's 7 year time to replace. Newer ones are a lot smaller. 

With a few minutes setup with Starlink I think it too will be a no brainer. Can do all you can with a satphone plus the possibility of sending /receiving video which could be exceptionally useful with mechanical problems & injuries etc.

Will have to look into this Google Chrome - don't know much about it, thought it was just a browser. I use 'Brave' which I believe is a 'form' of Chrome. Do you mean 'Chromecast' which will stream from computer to TV (I think?). 


 

 

 

Correct, I should have said Chromecast. My first mistake since.... about 1956 I think.


 biggrin   And does it do what I think it does? Streams from computer to TV? (a bit like bluetooth) or does it pick up the the streaming from the wifi? If the latter - how do you control it? with a phone app, or just a remote control unit?  Is it some sort of 'dongle' which plugs into the TV? 





-- Edited by Cuppa on Monday 27th of November 2023 06:46:28 PM

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Cuppa wrote:
Aussie1 wrote:
Cuppa wrote:
Aussie1 wrote:

 Also a PLB will, in my opinion, send communication in less time than setting a sat phone up for a signal. For less urgent issues it doesn't take long to activate the Starlink system. i.e. a couple of minutes. As an aside, I believe all travellers going to isolated areas (or simply out of normal mobile range) should own and carry one. In fact, once again in my opinion they should be mandatory.

 

Re 'smart' tv. We recently replaced our 24" tv in the caravan. Didn't need a smart tv, simply bought a Google Chrome that converted the one we bought into a smart tv. Cost of new tv $140, cost of Google Chrome around $100. Cost of a smart tv is, I think, around $500 to $600.

Working a treat on Starlink system.  

 Hope this information is of some use.


Goodness! ....something we agree on. :) Our current PLB is close to it's 7 year time to replace. Newer ones are a lot smaller. 

With a few minutes setup with Starlink I think it too will be a no brainer. Can do all you can with a satphone plus the possibility of sending /receiving video which could be exceptionally useful with mechanical problems & injuries etc.

Will have to look into this Google Chrome - don't know much about it, thought it was just a browser. I use 'Brave' which I believe is a 'form' of Chrome. Do you mean 'Chromecast' which will stream from computer to TV (I think?). 


 

 

 

Correct, I should have said Chromecast. My first mistake since.... about 1956 I think.


 biggrin   And does it do what I think it does? Streams from computer to TV? (a bit like bluetooth) or does it pick up the the streaming from the wifi? If the latter - how do you control it? with a phone app, or just a remote control unit?  Is it some sort of 'dongle' which plugs into the TV? 





-- Edited by Cuppa on Monday 27th of November 2023 06:46:28 PM


 

 

 

No, it doesn't stream through computer to tv. When you receive the Starlink package (dish and modem) it is set up using the Starlink app through your phone or computer. We did it through our mobile. When it is set up it is driven by the remote control that comes with the Chromecast. Yes, the Chromecast is a bit like a "dongle" and is plugged into the HDMI inlet of your tv. All you need to do is give your system a name and set a password for protection.

 



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vince56 wrote:

Just a couple of questions now we have started to look at the website to order,

If you get a system on a household plan, can I change to roaming (travelling) at any time?

Does all of the supplied equipment have the motorized antenna or are they manual? the website sort of confuses me on this issue...

Cheers for the info.


 

My understanding is that you can swap to the roaming plan at any time, and this takes effect immediately.  Swapping back to the residential plan requires that there is space in your home cell, and if so then it takes place at the end of the current billing month.  This is my understanding - I've only ever had the roaming plan.  (Note that a year or so ago it used to be possible to buy a temporary portability add-on to the residential plan.  This was discontinued some time ago, I assume because SL didn't want to have to keep unused slots in cells locked up for those who were using portability for who knows how long.  So ignore any references to "portability" as an option that you may stumble across.)

All the hardware used to be motorised, well, except for the expensive high performance dish.  But as of a week or two ago SL introduced a new, non-motorised dish, which I understand is now the new "standard" offering.  The motorised dish was still available last I looked.  Which is best?  Dunno.  The new dish has advantages and disadvantages.

 



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A p.s. to my reply to Cuppa about my 12V conversion. I probably made it sound complicated. The original DIY approach probably is, it's not for everyone. Would I do it again? For my use case yes, I think the power saving is worthwhile, but it depends on your setup and use case. But I would now opt to use the newer commercial offerings rather than constructing one from first principles.

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