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Old 06-11-2005, 08:21 PM   #1
ckilkus
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Hiding a satellite dish...... cable sucks!

I have been a happy DirecTV with DirecTivo customer for about six years. The only thing I was unhappy with was that DirecTV would not add the TivoToGo and Home Media Option to their service. So when I moved into a new apartment where the landlord preferred I not mount a dish, I figured i would go back to cable and use a Series 2 Tivo. Now, two months later and I have just about had it with cable TV. Besides the picture quality from the cable being horrible, Adelphia is unbelievably inept. When I joined I asked for the HD DVR on offer, but the tech brought a standard cable box accidentally. Then to get the right box brought out I had to schedule another appointment for the tech to bring it (why can't I just pick it up?), but of course the first one they had was two weeks later and I was going to be out of town. I rescheduled again (another two week wait) and have been sitting here all afternoon waiting for the guy to arrive. When I called I found out they had rescheduled my appointment without telling me for another two weeks into the future. Are they retarded?? How can a cable company expect to keep customers if they operate like this??

Anyway, that's it, I am going back to DirecTV, I'll just talk my landlord into it. It would be really helpful if I could make the lowest impact on his building however.

Is there anyway to hide a satellite dish in a fabric or a plastic box so that it looks like part of the roof? I searched around and saw a couple things in Europe that do this, but they are for completely different kinds of dishes. Any ideas??

Thanks!
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Old 06-11-2005, 08:28 PM   #2
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You could put one of these on the roof.
http://www.dish-rock.com/newrock.htm

BTW, your landlord cannot prevent you from having a dish, within certain guidelines.
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Old 06-12-2005, 04:26 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimSpence
You could put one of these on the roof.
http://www.dish-rock.com/newrock.htm

BTW, your landlord cannot prevent you from having a dish, within certain guidelines.
If I was a Landlord I would be more concerned about a big 'ol rock on the roof than a satellite dish
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Old 06-12-2005, 05:35 PM   #4
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I doubt the landlord would be thrilled about a dish of any kind on the roof, as that makes permanent holes, but if you do go this route, check out the new roof mounts at www.smarthome.com - they minimize damage and make it possible to remove the mount later.
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Old 06-12-2005, 10:50 PM   #5
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Same cable story and bigger bark than bite...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ckilkus
I rescheduled again (another two week wait) and have been sitting here all afternoon waiting for the guy to arrive. When I called I found out they had rescheduled my appointment without telling me for another two weeks into the future. Are they retarded?? How can a cable company expect to keep customers if they operate like this??
I also don't know how they expect to stay in business. At least 80% of my neigbors dropped Comcast and put in Direct TV (and/or Dish) due to similar stories. The low-price of HDTV support -- rental vs. buying of a digital recorder is appealing -- but when I was in a local BestBuy last week, I mentioned a few "Comcast stories" and had a few other people wander over to share Comcast horror stories for the next half hour. The salesman was on the floor laughing at some of the stuff and said, "How can they expect to stay in business when I hear stories like this every day."

You don't happen to live in Hollywood do you?

BTW, Comcast wanted to remove any DTV antennas and/or lines left to insure that an end-user would be stuck if they kept their dishes (this was part of a special “come-back” offer.) I guess they weren’t too confident of their quality/satisfaction/etc…

A few residents in the area put up the dish anyway – with landlord warnings -- and cited FCC rulings (All’s I know is the landlord left them alone). A few others were lucky enough to have balconies, a patio fence (heavy construction) that allowed them to arrange for a bolt-up-dish arrangement that can be pulled down -- if needed -- in less than 20-minutes. The dishes are still there.

YMMV
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Old 06-13-2005, 01:52 AM   #6
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I'm in Santa Monica with Adelphia, which I have heard is the worst cable company of all...... unfortunately I'm experiencing it first hand.

After my cable went out (again! for the third time in two days!) I called customer service to get it re-booted, or whatever it is they do from the home office. The CSR said my account showed that I already had a HD DVR, but I explained that this is what I was waiting for the tech to bring me, but as you know they never showed up and rescheduled my appointment for two weeks in the future without telling me. She said she would make the appropriate changes to my account. Well, whatever she did knocked me out of that appointment I had and made a new one for two MORE weeks later.... so now I have to wait a month just for them to drop a box off at my house!! Amazing! If it wasn't happening to me I would laugh!

And the picture quality of Adelphia is REALLY bad, especially on the networks. CBS was so bad today that I could barely make out what's happening on screen, and this is with their premium digital cable package.

Anyway, enough ranting. I am definitely switching back to DirecTV and getting an HD DVR with Tivo...... hopefully I can just hack it to add Home Media Option and Tivo2Go (I was upset with DirecTV because they were not supopporting these services from Tivo). I've never wanted to go through the hassle to do this, but now that I have seen the alternative first hand, I'll be happy to be back with DirecTV even considering the frustrations I had with them originally.

One thing DirecTV could do to add a lot more users is to make an effort to appease the concerns of landlords who worry about having dozens of dishes on their roof and all sorts of holes punched into the roof and walls. In my building they could mount a single dish that could potentially service all the apartments, and wire up the whole building. Then all a tenant has to do is call to have the tech bring the box and turn on the service. The cable companies get a lot more customers just because it seems to a tenant like cable is an easy thing to set-up.
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Old 06-13-2005, 07:08 AM   #7
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You could mount a pole in a big flower pot (Concrete and dirt in pot) and run the cables through a door or window (or wall) that would have no permanent damage to the structure.
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Old 06-13-2005, 07:24 AM   #8
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DirecTV doesn't need to do anything to enable wide-scale distribution of a central dish. All you need is some big-honkin' multiswitches and the cabling. But the average renter would rather just plug in a TV and have it work. Nevertheless, some apartment complexes do distribute DirecTV, though they may do it with modulators or stackers on a single cable.
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Old 06-13-2005, 08:15 AM   #9
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mini phased array flat panel dish:
http://www.satcomweb.com/

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Old 06-13-2005, 10:48 AM   #10
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JimSpence, in two minutes of casual browsing I saw two posts of yours that made me laugh out loud! You're a gem!

I had Adelphia and yes, they sucked. My experiences were not as bad a some, but I had high speed internet and the Bronze cable pack (local channels in analog with lines and ghosts) and paid $105.00 a month. I switched to DTV with an R10 for about $50 a month and got Verizon DSL (which was *faster* than Adelphia) for $30/month. Local channels are digital and clearer, picture quality is better than my old TiVo (no mulitlple conversions from digital to analog and back) and I was able to find a used Hughes DTivo on Craigslist for THIRTY BUX and hooked it up downstairs myself with some coax, a switch box and a drill.

The only problem I have with DirecTV is it's owner and his politics, but that's a whole 'nother story for a whole 'nother forum. I am one happy DTV camper.
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Old 06-13-2005, 01:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BarrySeymour
JimSpence, in two minutes of casual browsing I saw two posts of yours that made me laugh out loud! You're a gem!
...
The only problem I have with DirecTV is it's owner and his politics, but that's a whole 'nother story for a whole 'nother forum. I am one happy DTV camper.
Thanks, I think.

If we all made purchases based on the politics of owners, we'd all be going without one thing or another.
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Old 06-13-2005, 02:25 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimSpence
You could put one of these on the roof.
http://www.dish-rock.com/newrock.htm

BTW, your landlord cannot prevent you from having a dish, within certain guidelines.
ROFL I don't have to hide my dish, but I would almost get one of these just to get my neighbors wondering what the heck a big rock is doing on my roof...
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Old 06-13-2005, 03:12 PM   #13
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Actually apartment complexes and condos can legally block a dish installation. Read that FCC doc again. At my former condo, you could put it only within your personally owned space - which means balcony. The roof is a common area (not to mention the cable would have to go through someone else's unit to get to mine), the air beyond my balcony was also common area.

My new apartment has no balcony or railing... and I'm sure they can/will prevent me from drilling holes into the stone wall. The roof has a pool and tennis court, so they may not want my dish up there. I'm contemplating putting one inside...

How can I test signal strength through my window without investing a lot of dough? Could I buy a cheapie dish and box on ebay and get a signal strength without subscribing for service? (I've never had satellite so I'm newbie...)
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Old 06-13-2005, 04:02 PM   #14
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This is hilarious, Imagine a huge rock on a roof. Kinda reminds me of that beer commercial. JimSpence and Krosis' reply right after had me laughing and still do. You people are great have a good one. TIVO RULES!!!!
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Old 06-13-2005, 04:04 PM   #15
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Those satcom dishes (plates?) seem like a good option since they aren't as obtrusive as a normal DirecTV dish. I could probably convince my landlord to mount one of those, and if not just mount it almost flat against an outisde wall so it doesn't look like a satellite dish. I just can't find out from them if they will work with HD DirecTV. Or if I can paint them. Anyone know?

My last apartment wouldn't allow dishes either, but I just mounted one on the roof anyway. It was a big building of 50 units. They gave me a hard time in the beginnning, but eventually when they realized I paid my rent on time and didn't bother anyone they never mentioned it again. When I was moving out I went up to the roof to remove the dish and found that three other apartments had hooked themselves into my dish!! Needless to say, I left it up there for them.

I'm sure if DirecTV was smart enough to install a dish for the whole building, and wire all the floors up like the cable companies did, they would have had just about everyone there using DirecTV service.......
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Old 06-13-2005, 04:43 PM   #16
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You can put a DBS dish behind plastic (but not rubber), so inside a trash can, or under a BBQ Grill cover are solutions. One of the complexes here has tall tripods so people can see over the roof.

If you have no balcony or such, inside a south facing window is your only real hope.
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Old 06-13-2005, 04:56 PM   #17
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There are companies that provide dish and wiring to apartments and condo associations. Unfortunately, they tack on an extra surcharge on your Directv bill for providing the equipment. Ugh!

I don't think that it's fair to be billed an extra $5 per month (that's $60 per year) forever for the privilege of using a communal dish, especially when you can get a dish and install on your patio for $100 or less. Think about it. Potentially 12 owners in each building in my condo complex could be paying a total of $720 per year every year to use the communal dish on the roof of each building. There's no way I'd participate in my condo association's communal dish program. It's a ripoff. The association should have bought the dishes outright. I'm glad my patio faced the right direction and that I put my original dish up before the condo association cut the deal for the communal dishes. In some ways, I surprised they haven't tried to force me to use the communal dish and pay the extra monthly fee.
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Old 06-13-2005, 05:01 PM   #18
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Ahh hah! That was the info I was trying to find out, what material can be in front of a dish without corrupting the signal. Plastic you say? I called several CSRs and tiers at DirecTV but they didn't know. Seemed like a basic question to me.....

So I can build a plastic box of some sort around a dish. Hiding it in a trash can is a good idea (and somehow fitting) but unfortunately won't work for my layout.
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Old 06-13-2005, 05:09 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crash_Corrigan
There are companies that provide dish and wiring to apartments and condo associations. Unfortunately, they tack on an extra surcharge on your Directv bill for providing the equipment. Ugh!

I don't think that it's fair to be billed an extra $5 per month (that's $60 per year) forever for the privilege of using a communal dish, especially when you can get a dish and install on your patio for $100 or less. Think about it. Potentially 12 owners in each building in my condo complex could be paying a total of $720 per year every year to use the communal dish on the roof of each building. There's no way I'd participate in my condo association's communal dish program. It's a ripoff. The association should have bought the dishes outright. I'm glad my patio faced the right direction and that I put my original dish up before the condo association cut the deal for the communal dishes. In some ways, I surprised they haven't tried to force me to use the communal dish and pay the extra monthly fee.
Or, even better paying $6.38 a month after taxes like I do, and they refuse, will not even speak to me, and generally like to pretend that High Definition signals do not exist.

Thanks a lot Qwest Choice TV & Online. (boo, boo, boo Qwest Choice TV & Online)
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Old 06-13-2005, 09:01 PM   #20
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No matter what Jim says, if the landlord says no dish, you ain't gonna have a dish.

You can always sue the landlord over it. That would be fun, and really cheap I'm sure.
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Old 06-14-2005, 11:52 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stanley Rohner
No matter what Jim says, if the landlord says no dish, you ain't gonna have a dish.
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?
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Old 06-14-2005, 11:55 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by davezatz
How can I test signal strength through my window without investing a lot of dough? Could I buy a cheapie dish and box on ebay and get a signal strength without subscribing for service? (I've never had satellite so I'm newbie...)
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.
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Old 06-14-2005, 12:09 PM   #23
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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.
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Old 06-14-2005, 12:11 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davezatz
How can I test signal strength through my window without investing a lot of dough? Could I buy a cheapie dish and box on ebay and get a signal strength without subscribing for service? (I've never had satellite so I'm newbie...)
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.
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Old 06-14-2005, 12:42 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JWThiers
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.
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?
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Old 06-14-2005, 12:56 PM   #26
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You could try using a Plexiglas window instead of glass. Read here.
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Old 06-14-2005, 01:06 PM   #27
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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.

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Old 06-14-2005, 02:26 PM   #28
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reciever that could be used as signal meter
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.
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Old 06-14-2005, 03:00 PM   #29
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Quote:
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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.
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)

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Old 06-15-2005, 01:17 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davezatz
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.
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.
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