Smart TV’s and digital set-top boxes are possible on canal boats and narrowboats providing you have sufficient WiFi connections to support the devices. VoIP calls can also be used in a similar way to a standard landline telephone number in such you can purchase a telephone number e.g 01 or 02 number and you can make/receive VoIP calls from anywhere in the world using that number.

Smart TV's can be used on a narrowboat with the right internet equipment
Speed tests can be used to test upload and download speeds on your internet
What does 3G and 4G mean and can you connect on a narrowboat?

Internet… Smart TV’s & Digital Set-Top Boxes

A smart TV or digital set-top box has integrated internet and is an example of the technological convergence between computers and televisions. Smart TV’s bring you the best of the web straight to your TV without the need for a PC.

A smart set-top box enables you to turn a standard television in to a smart TV so that you can stream live content and access popular websites and catch up TV services such as iPlayer. They require access to the internet via wired Ethernet connection or Wi-Fi, but importantly for access on a narrow boat you will need a very good broadband connection to view streamed programmes.

Such changes in technology resulted in the demise of Blockbuster DVD rental chain and now access to the on-line equivalents such as Netflix is seen by many to be a ‘must have’.

A big consideration to having a smart TV on-board your narrowboat will be the data it will inevitable require to stream live football matches; watch a film on Netflix or browse on Facebook. Although ‘free to view’ TV channels do not require an internet connection and therefore should not use any data, if you are on a limited data package you can quickly use your monthly allowance without even realising it. Automatic updates will use data without you realising. Streaming standard movies or TV shows uses about 1GB of data per hour and up to 3GB per hour if it is High Definition (HD).

A Smart TV on an unlimited broadband package is ideal, but unfortunately this is unlikely to be available in the marine world. But if a smart TV is your TV of choice for your narrowboat you may have to consider disconnecting the internet connection whilst it is not in use to keep within your data limits and restrict your on-line viewing activities.

Connecting Via Marina WiFi

If you are connecting to the internet on your narrow boat via a Marina WiFi Hotspot you will need to purchase a WiFi booster/repeater which has ethernet connections/ports that work directly with Smart TV’s and Smart Set Top Boxes. You may need to consider what connection policy your marina has in place as many have a policy to close the WiFi connection when not in use after a certain amount of time.

Connecting Via Mobile Internet

If you are connecting to the internet on your narrow boat via mobile broadband you will need to look seriously at a 4G over 3G connection. To get the internet connection to the Smart TV or Smart Set Top Box via and ethernet connection you will certainly need to purchase a 4G Router and external antenna package.

Internet… VOIP Calls

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a group of technologies for the delivery of voice communication over internet networks. Many boaters will be familiar with Skype, FaceTime and Google Talk all of which allow for calls to be made using an internet connection, either 3G/4G or Wi-Fi. VoIP is available on many smart phones, tablets and laptops and negates the need for a landline telephone connection which is often not feasible on a narroiw boat.

VoIP has become popular in homes over the last 5-10 years but it was originally used as an experiment by the US department of defence. With improved internet connections available on-board a boat there is no reason not to also use VoIP in the marine industry.

VoIP calls can also be used in a similar way to a standard landline telephone number in such you can purchase a telephone number e.g 01 or 02 number and you can make/receive VoIP calls from anywhere in the world using that number. This is ideal for any boaters who work from their narrowboat. Many people still prefer to call a landline number as opposed to a mobile number, by purchasing an 01 or 02 number from £2 a month, you can use this number instead of a mobile number. Importantly 01 and 02 numbers are often included as a free to dial number within your mobile phone contract.

There are a wide range of companies offering VoIP services. The services include:

  • PC to PC – VoIP takes place using a headset and is usually on an instant messenger service such as Skype
  • PC- telephone network – only the caller uses a headset, e.g Call Serve
    Telephone network – telephone network – the caller uses an adaptor on a standard household telephone e.g BT Broadband Voice
  • IP Phone to telephone network – the phone is IP enabled so no need for an adaptor e.g Vonage

VoIP apps such as Skype can be used when both parties have the app available to send/receive calls.

A Skype call would use approximately 3.75MB of data per minute, so an hour of calls would require around 225MB of data.

Smart TV's, Digital Boxes & VOIP Calls

Not what you're looking for? Try some other items within this chapter...

crick boat show 2024

(Saturday 25 to Monday 27 May 2024)


Britain's biggest inland waterways show.

Advance tickets can be ordered by phone and online until 12midday on Friday 17 May 2024. If you are planning to purchase advance tickets, we recommend that you do so well before this deadline to allow time for postal delivery.
Children 16 and under – free entry Saturday, Sunday, Monday

Trade & Preview Day – Friday 24 May 2024
Get ahead and visit The Fit Out Pontoon before everyone else on Preview Day!
Preview Day tickets are strictly limited to a maximum of 1,000 pre-booked visitors and give entry to the Show from 10am – 6pm on Friday 24 May.