One way to soup your boat up is to boost its sound or visual systems - and there are plenty of options to play your best tunes out on the water.
(1) Aquatic AV AQ-DM-4B
This clever little ‘Media Locker’ is essentially a safe marine housing for your digital music device. It comes with its own integrated amplifier (4x45W), an FM tuner, a backlit LCD and a waterproof remote control, so all you have to do is tuck your MP3 device into the box, connect it up, lock the door and scroll through your play list with the waterproof remote. With a conformal-coated PCB, waterproofing to IP65, virtually universal compatibility and a broad range of outputs, it might seem a touch simple, but it is no less effective for that.
Contact: Aquatic AV
(2) Microblue Kit 2
The Microblue Kit 2 from Marine AV is a well-considered product. Supplied as a ready-to-use package, this waterproof stereo comes with a waterproof MP3 adapter, antenna, USB socket and a pair of Sony speakers. Available from noted specialists, Marine AV, it is ideal for small boats where space is at a premium, but its features remain very strong. In addition to supporting Bluetooth for streaming wireless music from your smart phone, an output is also provided for the integration of an external amplifier. If you plug your MP3 device into the USB port, it will play MP3 files while recharging the unit and it also offers built-in radio. It’s an elegant AV solution.
Contact: Marine AV
(3) Infinity PRV250
The PRV250 is a waterproof AM/FM/USB Player and Infinity Marine’s first Bluetooth receiver. Built specifically to withstand the marine environment, the internal circuitry uses a conformal coating to protect against dust, chemicals, moisture and temperature fluctuations. The Bluetooth feature enables you to leave your source device tucked safely away in the glovebox and it also means you can also use your phone as a remote control for the stereo. The provision of an Auxiliary input, a USB slot (for the connection of music files on a memory stick) and an RCA output (for the use of an external amplifier or subwoofer) make this a good spec product at a fair price.
Contact: Infinity Systems
(4) Fusion Marine 22-inch HD LED TV
Fusion’s Marine HD LED TV is a deceptively clever piece of kit. In addition to the high-definition 22-inch screen, it offers a built-in DVD/CD player, plus a DVB-T tuner for the reception of digital broadcasts with Electronic Program Guide, enabling you to make recordings via the USB Flash Drive socket. You can also connect the TV via the RCA pre-outs to a 600 or 200 Series Fusion head unit for better audio performance. The package includes a five-metre 12v DC power-cable with inline fuse, a wall mount bracket, a TV base and a remote control - and while the high-gloss finish is likely to mark rather easily, this remains a top-notch marine AV product.
Contact: Fusion Electronics
(5) Poly Planar MRD80i
Poly Planar is a company dedicated solely to the design and production of waterproof marine audio systems - and it shows. Here, in the form of the MRD80i, you get a fully waterproof (IP66) AM/FM/Sirius Satellite Ready stereo with an internal docking station for your MP3 player. You also get Auxiliary, USB and SD-Card inputs, plus 4x45W outputs, an adjustable backlit display and a protective cover for the fascia. As you would expect, the PCB is coated for moisture resistance and optional wired (MR45R) and wireless (MRR2) remotes (as well as a more versatile gimbal-mount) are all available at extra cost.
Contact: Poly Planar
(6) Fusion MS-AV700
Nominated for a DAME award for marine innovation, this Ethernet-ready, NMEA 2000-certified device enables you to hardwire your entertainment system into an existing network, communicate with other Fusion marine electronics and enjoy advanced wireless control of your entertainment suite via the Fusion App. In addition to a comprehensive (almost future-proof) degree of connectivity, you can do just about anything, from connecting a screen to the Video Out and watching DVDs to monitoring your favourite VHF channels. Encased in a sealed, electrically isolated aluminium chassis, the 700 Series is extremely tough - and it also enjoys a huge array of upgrading accessories and options. It’s a deserving flagship model.
Contact: Fusion Electronics
(7) Eton Soulra Docking Station
This portable, solar-powered docking station (which won critical acclaim on the Gadget Show) is designed for use anywhere in the great outdoors. You simply place your iPhone in the front of the unit under the protection of the clear cover and then control it either via the built-in buttons or the remote. The tough, rubberised aluminium body is water-resistant to IPX4 and the integrated stereo speakers come with a bass boost to aid the sound quality in open spaces. The fact that the lithium-ion battery can be charged either via the solar panel or the AC adapter (supplied) is also very useful.
Contact: Eton Soulra
(8) Fusion MS-IP600
Another excellent product from marine specialist, Fusion, is this quite conventional looking stereo unit with an internal waterproof drawer for iPod docking. The iPod sits inside in the stereo, behind the flip-up fascia and is completely protected from the marine environment. The interface and menu arrangement then enables full and unlimited operation of all iPod functions while the device is hidden away. In addition to IP65 waterproofing, you also get built-in 4x70W amplification, an AM/FM receiver with RDS function, a 2.7-inch LCD backlit display and a protective cover. The fact that it also looks superb is just a bonus.
(9) Lowrance Sonic Hub
This marine-grade ‘Audio Hub’ from Lowrance is designed to offer the user maximum control of his entertainment via the company’s HDS multifunction display. The system allows a direct link to your music collection on your iPhone, iPod or USB stick - and all without the need for a stereo head unit. It comes with a built-in global AM/FM radio, plus a four-channel amplifier and a pair of 6.5-inch 200W two-way marine speakers, which are included as part of the package. You also get a subwoofer line out, an NMEA 2000 network T-connector and all the necessary cable and mounting kit. In fact all it lacks is the AM/FM antenna.
(10) Avtex L216DRS
Finally, from a company perhaps better known for its motorhome electronics, comes the new Avtex L216DRS. Its use of both DVB-T2 and DVB-S2 tuners in the same unit enables you to watch programs transmitted in HD through your standard aerial or satellite dish. Despite the generous 21.5-inch screen, you also get impressively compact size, low weight and frugal energy demands, plus a full HD LED backlit screen, built-in Freeview, an integrated DVD/CD player and the capacity to record digital broadcasts. It even has a warning light to tell you when your domestic batteries are getting low. It’s not cheap by 12v TV standards but it is undeniably impressive.