DirecTV Sat-Go

TV addicts have had a way to get their fix in one way or another for decades. From the battery-powered CRT televisions of the 1980’s to the palm-size digital media players that have only emerged in the last few years, television programming has been unwired for quite a while. But being stuck with either broadcast channels or prerecorded shows has always been a major catch – getting hundreds of channels was never a possibility without those pesky coax cables.

DirecTV’s Sat-Go system snips that cord. It’s essentially a TV in a briefcase – which is novel enough – but what sets it apart from portable television that preceded it are the hundreds of stations it can pull in from thin air. Depending on which DirecTV package users subscribe to, they can potentially flip through over 250 channels while, say, sipping cocktails aboard a boat in the middle of a lake. Or stuffing down hotdogs at a tailgate party in a parking lot. Or just lounging at a picnic table in the back yard.

The DirecTV Sat-Go System
The DirecTV Sat-Go System

The same technologies that power DirecTV’s traditional satellite TV offerings are present in the Sat-Go, including a receiver based on DirecTV’s D11 set-top box, antenna and TV. They’re all rolled into a box that’s merely 19.5 inches wide and deep, and 5.1 inches high.

Although they fold together into one brick, the TV and antenna actually separate, allowing users to position the TV wherever it’s easiest to view, and the antenna wherever it gets the best signal. The antenna requires a clear view of the southern sky, meaning buildings, trees and other obstructions will all pose a problem.

The Sat-Go’s LCD monitor measures 17 inches diagonally, making it similar in size to a standard LCD computer monitor. Two speakers flank it to the left and right for built-in sound. That modest display may not let you sit far away, but DirecTV still includes in infrared remote – after all, what fun are hundreds of channels if you can’t flip through them from wherever you’re sitting?

Stuffing a whole entertainment system into a box isn’t light. The Sat-Go package weighs a beefy 27.2 pounds. That means you won’t be taking the system far from a car (say, on a more remote camping trip) unless you’re unusually strong or unusually dedicated.

The other potential downside to the Sat-Go is its limited battery life. On the included lithium-ion battery, the system will only run for an hour before needing a recharge. That means that watching a full football game or movie is going to be out of the question unless you’re willing to tether the box to a power source. Fortunately, a cigarette lighter will do just fine thanks to a power adapter that accepts both AC and DC.

The DirecTV Sat-Go might be worth looking into if you’re a couch potato, who adores his favorite leather sofa, but would just as soon make himself at home on a lawn chair, park bench or tailgate. At $1,499 to pick up the box, plus $4.99 per month on top of an existing monthly bill to mirror accounts, the Sat-Go system will set you back a pretty penny, but for the diehard channel surfer, there’s nothing comparable. You can find more out about the DirecTV Sat-Go from DirecTV’s website.

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