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Hiding a satellite dish...... cable sucks!

Discussion in 'DirecTV TiVo Powered PVRs & Receivers' started by ckilkus, Jun 11, 2005.

  1. JWThiers

    JWThiers Smartypants

    2,611
    0
    Apr 12, 2005
    Cocoa, Florida
    So you mount a dish on a pole in a 10 gallon pottery flower pot on your balcony or private area and run the wires through a door or window. If it isn't attached to the structure and you don't drill holes there is nothing a landlord or condo association could do. What do they do tell you you can't have a flower pot on your balcony or leave your window open a crack! Heck you could even landscape around the pole. OK they could tell you you can't leave stuff out on the balcony but faced with the law and the fact that not permanent attachment what can the complain about?
     
  2. davezatz

    davezatz Funkadelic

    4,588
    3
    Apr 18, 2002
    Northern...
    Anyone have any ideas on this? I really really don't want to give Comcast anymore dough... and I'd like to keep Tivo if possible.
     
  3. Yog-Sothoth

    Yog-Sothoth MRV Junkie

    388
    0
    Jun 14, 2005
    Fountain, CO
    From the "rock" website: If you have a need for a bigger rock,
    please contact us for price and shipping costs.


    LOL!

    Anyway, I can say that I was never pleased with Adelphia's TV service, so I kept the internet and got Dish Network for TV. When I called Dish a couple of months ago, the rep said I couldn't get any price break on adding a standard receiver to my account. I immediately called and got DirecTV (of course, when I called to cancel Dish, they tried to keep me by giving me the receiver and installation for free). I like DirecTV better anyway, especially with TiVo, as opposed to a regular DVR. As for Adelphia, I'm still pleased with their internet service, especially now that my downstream is over 6Mb. Even with them on their way out (going to Comcast here), they're still making upgrades to their system and getting new customers.
     
  4. JWThiers

    JWThiers Smartypants

    2,611
    0
    Apr 12, 2005
    Cocoa, Florida
    All you need is a clear view (line of sight)of the southern sky. For rough idea of direction the Sats are over the equator south of texas, so SW for east coast, SE for West coast S for plains states. If you absolutely need to test the signal you need a dish and a signal strength meter (Dish about $100 if just getting a dish and no receiver, Meter about $20). The easiest thing to do is Order from directv as it includes installation, then it is their problem.
     
  5. davezatz

    davezatz Funkadelic

    4,588
    3
    Apr 18, 2002
    Northern...
    It would become my problem... being an inside install, I'd want to verify ahead of time it would work and I'd also want to carefully mount and camoflauge the Dish in the apartment. We definitely face the correct direction, and on the 15th floor we're above the trees and no other buildings are in the way... BUT I've read older windows may contain lead which can impede the signal - we don't know anything about our windows.

    I did see I could get 18" dishes on ebay for about $30 shipped and meters for about $10 shipped which seems reasonable to conduct my little experiment... but all the inexpensive meters seem to draw power from the receiver. Is there some other coax source I could use to give it power?
     
  6. Yog-Sothoth

    Yog-Sothoth MRV Junkie

    388
    0
    Jun 14, 2005
    Fountain, CO
    You could try using a Plexiglas window instead of glass. Read here.
     
  7. rook

    rook Been There

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    Jun 16, 2003
    Bel Air, MD
    Gee - if you weren't being a smartass with you "Your mom's house" as a location, I bet someone here might even help you if they were close by. I have an old dish and reciever that could be used as signal meter that I'd give you - but I'm not packing it up and shipping it.

    Rook
     
  8. davezatz

    davezatz Funkadelic

    4,588
    3
    Apr 18, 2002
    Northern...
    So can any DirecTV receiver be used as a meter without a card or subscription? Those are also going for only a few bucks on ebay.
     
  9. rook

    rook Been There

    143
    0
    Jun 16, 2003
    Bel Air, MD
    Yes, well at least all the Directv's I've ever owned.

    If you need a card, I have about 6 old ones. The card doesn't have to be activated to get a reciever to work (because they activated it by satelite and therefore would be pretty ridiculous to require a card to set up your system)

    Rook
     
  10. appleye1

    appleye1 Active Member

    8,590
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    Jan 26, 2002
    Back From...
    I've got an old receiver that I kept around to aim my dish when needed. It has no card at all and I can still get to the signal strength area on the menu. Not sure if that is true of all receivers though.
     
  11. ckilkus

    ckilkus New Member

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    Nov 15, 2002
    Whoopee! I talked to my landlord, gave him all the various options I learned here, and he agreed to allow me to mount a dish! He says if we can mount it directly to a vent pipe on the roof with some sort of U clamp (so it is not permanently attached adn we don't have to drill holes), and it is not too visible from the street he is fine with it. That shouldn't be a problem since there are vent pipes coming up from the bathrooms out of site from the street.

    But now the problem is, he told me that three other apartments in the building want DirecTv too! And he will only allow one dish. I called direcTV to see if we can hook all the apartments up to one dish and they referred me to various outside contractors, who I am sure are going to charge an arm and a leg. It seems awfully stupid of DirecTV not to make this process a bit less painless! After all, they would get four new premium subscriptions in one fell swoop just by helping us wire up the building. Considering I have been a member for 7 years and the other apartments will probably have the service for years, it seems like the investment would work out for them pretty easily. This is one of many DirecTV policies that I just can't understand......

    Anyway, do you know if I can hook up three to four apartments on one standard dish that will allow HD? Do I get a triple LNB and run single cables to the apartments from the dish, and then multiswitch them inside the apartments? How many cables can I run from a dish? Can I multiswitch at the dish, and then multiswitch again in the apartments without losing signal strength?

    It would be so much easier if it was a dish just for me, but i can't have my DirecTV unless I set it up so everyone else can too..........
     
  12. Stanley Rohner

    Stanley Rohner New Member

    4,721
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    Jan 18, 2004
    oklahoma
    I won't count on a vent pipe being stong enough to support a DIRECTV dish.

    What's the big fear about drilling holes? If you drill holes in the building to mount the dish, coat the nuts, screws, bolts, whatever with silicone sealant.

    If 3-4 of you want DIRECTV and it's gonna cost and arm & leg to get it all hooked up, the cost should be split 4 ways. There's no reason you should pay for the installation if 3-4 people are going to use it.
     
  13. Jonathan_S

    Jonathan_S Active Member

    15,080
    11
    Oct 23, 2001
    Northern...
    Assuming you want HD ability to all apartments here is the minimum you'd need. I'm going to assume that you'll want an HDTiVo (2 inputs) and everyone else will want a normal receiver (1 input each), total of 5 outputs.

    An oval dish, preferable a current Phase III with built in multiswitch. (It will have 4 outputs).

    Run four coax cables from the dish to a convenient central point. Connect them to a 5x8 cascadable multiswitch.
    (cascadable just means in generates 22kHz tones on the sat B and C connections so the upstream multiswitch knows which satellite signals to send on those lines)

    run two coax lines from that multiswitch to your apartment, to hook up to your HDTiVo.
    run one coax each from that multiswitch into each of the other apartments.
    Done.


    Now if they want more that one drop per apartment, or multiple coaxs per drop then it will get a little more complicated as you will exceed the basic 8 output capacity of a multiswitch. (I think they sell x16 multiswitches for contractors but they cost a fortune).

    The good news is that you can cascade multiswitches off of each other, raising the total number of outputs. The bad news is that to retain HD capability you need four inputs into each additional multiswitch, so if you cascade them half the output of the preceding multiswitch gets used as inputs to the next one.

    (There are some more elegant approaches for a large number of outputs, so if you figure out how many coax drops you need someone could come up with a more customized setup and probable a wiring diagram for you.)
     
  14. JaCooch

    JaCooch New Member

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    Jul 6, 2005
    Ummm, you could always buy a house?!!!
     
  15. Crash_Corrigan

    Crash_Corrigan New Member

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    Feb 27, 2004
    Just don't buy a house in a historic district or one without line of sight to all possible satellite locations Directv may some day utilize or one in an HOA where the board is opposed to dishes and antennas and will try to strong arm you.
     
  16. davezatz

    davezatz Funkadelic

    4,588
    3
    Apr 18, 2002
    Northern...
    You paying?
     
  17. wildtexaschef

    wildtexaschef New Member

    23
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    Jul 4, 2005
    If your In texas. You can by law mount a DirecTV dish on your porch. Here in Texas there are alot of places that provide the hardware (Tripods, Railing mounts) etc... that allow you to mount your dish in ways on your Balcony/porch or even out of a window (Similar type mounting system that is used by Window Air conditioner units.

    Gary
     
  18. rukasu

    rukasu New Member

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    Jul 8, 2005
    hmm some one should make a mount that hangs out someones window like those damn cup holders for cars i wouldn't think it would be to difficult to engineer.
     
  19. smallwonder

    smallwonder Age quod agis

    287
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    Jun 13, 2001
    MD, USA
    I would first try to see if a friend or family member has an old dish/receiver, as most folks tend to upgrade over the years but may not have tossed/sold the receiver. As Rook says, if you're near one of the forum members, they'd be likely to loan you a receiver/dish (or you could buy and return one from Radio Shack if you want to be creative).

    I borrowed a dish and receiver from a co-worker old inventory to test. I live in an apt. and have my dish inside my apt. discreetly hidden behind my sofa. I have it mounted on a wooden spool (I got one from Home Depot: I just found a cable spool that was almost empty and asked if I could have it - they gave it to me no questions asked).

    I have had no problems for 5 years. I wouldn't worry so much about signal strength as mine have fluctuated over time between 63-90s depending on how often I move the dish to clean and push it back in alignment but the picture has always been there. And the signal is picked up fine through vertical vinyl blinds, which are usually closed.
     
  20. ckilkus

    ckilkus New Member

    45
    0
    Nov 15, 2002
    Finally, it's all over with. Here's the story, in case anyone has to deal with this in the future.

    I contacted DirecTv about installing a set-up that would work with our very small apartment building and they were completely unhelpful. They really don't want apartment buildings to be hooked up to one dish which seems completely ridiculous since I'm sure their subscribership would go way up if they made it easy for apartments to sign up. Anyway, I found a couple installers in the yeloow pages that would wire the buidling up for me but they would charge a few hundred and we would have to buy our DirecTivos from them. It's still not a bad deal if all the apartments are splitting the cost. But I was going to get a free DirecTivo from DirecTV so i didn't want to do that. Instead called DirecTV for a standard install and just talked with the installer when he came out about wiring up the whole buidling. He really didn't want to do it. He said if DirecTV found out he would get fined $500 and maybe not be allowed to install for DirecTV anymore!! Finally he agreed to do it if i got a signed letter from the landlord and all tenants saying we insisted on having him install it this way. Luckily he was suppossed to come back that afternoon to install for my neighbor (he had seperate appointments for everyone in the building who wanted service) so I had time to get the letters from everyone.

    So that afternoon I had him install a triple LNB dish on a vent pipe, run four cables down to a central point into a 4x8 multi switch. from there I had two cables go into my apartment for the DirecTivo, three cable go into my neighbor's apartment for a DirecTivo and standard receiver, and then two more cable go into another neighbor's place. So we have one more free cable, and he said if anyone else wants to sign up he'll brng in a 16x multi-switch. Now I just have to make sure anyone else who signs up for DirecTV in my building requests this particular installer.

    I was hoping that he could just run one cable from the multi-switch into each apartment, and then multi switch it again inside for the direcTivos. This would avoid drilling so many holes in the walls (three holes into my neighbor's place!). But I have since learned that is not possible. It sure would be nice if DirecTV figured out how to get their signals on one cable......

    Then the landlord saw the cables running from the roof and freaked out! It was a standard DirecTV install so the cables just ran down the side of the building (out of site of the street, you had to go into a little alleyway to see them!). It didn't look great, but it was as good as any install I had seen from DirecTV. but the problem was that when the cable company installed on the building (that must have been decades ago) they put all their cables inside a plastic trim so it looked like part of the building. That's how he wanted the DirecTV cables to look. What a pain! So I had to have the installer buy some of that trim from a cable installer friend of his and come out again to rewire the four cables from the roof. It cost me $200!

    At least it's all over with and I have my DirecTV. But I have to say that DirecTV did not make this an easy process even thogh I delivered them two new premium subscribers along with myself (and maybe more in the future). But I guess we all know they have some pretty screwed up policies........ Although it's still better than cable :)
     

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