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Old 07-19-2014, 05:48 PM   #1
christheman
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DirecTV unattended use

Hi, I see there are a few here who may be able to answer a DirecTV question or two.

I am thinking about getting away from Time Warner Cable because lately they have been getting much worse with the reliability of the higher numbered HD channels. The channels I watch all of the sudden become "unavailable", and all my equipment and wiring is good. To fix this, I need to change channels or reboot the device, and that is completely unacceptable in this day and age. I looked online, and apparently this has been an ongoing problem since at least 2011. Apparently their backbone is not able to accommodate the recent flood of digital TV traffic. The consensus seems to be that it is generally worse on the higher numbered HD channels and the PPV.

I have been reading very good things about DirecTV, in comparison. People who switch over have been very happy with the reliability and the quality overall.

If I got a Genie and a "Mini", could I expect to get a reliable signal from the HDMI output of the Mini, if left unattended on the same channel ad infinitum?
(With TWC, I normally get "unavailable" messages and also their cable box disrupts service to download the TV Guide after midnight, and with a Tivo Premiere I get reboots in the middle of the night if nothing is explicitly scheduled to record)

So here are a few questions I can think of for now:

1) If left unattended, will the DirecTV Mini, connected to a Genie, disrupt the HDMI signal while the TV Guide downloads?

2) If left unattended, would the HDMI get disrupted for firmware upgrades?

3) Any power savers/screen savers, or any other automated BS which would potentially disrupt my HDMI signal?

4) How is the wired Mini connected to the Genie?

Thanks
Chris
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Old 07-20-2014, 02:43 AM   #2
litzdog911
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1) The Genie Mini's video output will not be interrupted for Guide Data downloads.
2) Yes, the HDMI signal will be disrupted when the main Genie DVR reboots after software downloads. These don't happen very often, though. Maybe once every few months.
3) Yes, but you can disable the "Power Save" mode.
4) Genie Mini connects to the same satellite coax cables as your main Genie DVR and other HD DVRs/Receivers. There is also a new wireless C41W mini client that requires no cable connection at all.
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Old 07-20-2014, 03:31 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by litzdog911 View Post
1) The Genie Mini's video output will not be interrupted for Guide Data downloads.
2) Yes, the HDMI signal will be disrupted when the main Genie DVR reboots after software downloads. These don't happen very often, though. Maybe once every few months.
3) Yes, but you can disable the "Power Save" mode.
4) Genie Mini connects to the same satellite coax cables as your main Genie DVR and other HD DVRs/Receivers. There is also a new wireless C41W mini client that requires no cable connection at all.
Thanks for helping me. I think we will go with that and try it out. It sounds like it can't be any worse.

One other quick thought, can I switch between two different tuners on a Genie Wired Mini like I can locally on a 2-tuner Tivo Premiere?

Thanks
Chris
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Old 07-25-2014, 06:28 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by christheman View Post
Thanks for helping me. I think we will go with that and try it out. It sounds like it can't be any worse.

One other quick thought, can I switch between two different tuners on a Genie Wired Mini like I can locally on a 2-tuner Tivo Premiere?

Thanks
Chris
No...a Genie Client (they are not officially called "minis") can only "manage" a single tuner. There is no way to switch between tuners other than putting at least one in record.

The Genie DVR doesn't really let you switch between tuners either (there is no way to see which tuners are on which channels) but they do have a feature called "Double play" where you tune to a channel, and then press "Page Down" on the remote, which starts DoublePlay and switches to another tuner. You can then change to any channel on that tuner, and press "Page Down" to switch between the two tuners. After 2 hours with no switching the DVR releases the "extra" tuner. But again, this is only on the DVRs, not the clients.
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Old 07-26-2014, 11:37 AM   #5
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No...a Genie Client (they are not officially called "minis") can only "manage" a single tuner. There is no way to switch between tuners other than putting at least one in record.

The Genie DVR doesn't really let you switch between tuners either (there is no way to see which tuners are on which channels) but they do have a feature called "Double play" where you tune to a channel, and then press "Page Down" on the remote, which starts DoublePlay and switches to another tuner. You can then change to any channel on that tuner, and press "Page Down" to switch between the two tuners. After 2 hours with no switching the DVR releases the "extra" tuner. But again, this is only on the DVRs, not the clients.
Thanks Diana. We just got it installed today. It looks like my learning curve as a result of the issues I was having with cable was worth it, as now I can appreciate this. Best things so far, no more SDV, and MP4 instead of MPEG2.
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Old 07-27-2014, 08:08 PM   #6
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P.S. I just discovered the "Restart" feature, which apparently streams shows from the beginning. That is like having a multi-tuner DVR in itself.

Here is a random internet blog post I found describing it.
http://blog.solidsignal.com/content....-the-beginning!
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Old 07-28-2014, 07:56 PM   #7
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Sounds like your TWC node is overloaded and they ran out of SDV channels... If the channel you are watching is being watched by others on the node, and all of the sudden you try to watching something on a channel that isn't being watched... the whole thing falls apart. And it's not like internet bandwidth, where you can slowly degrade bandwidth due to oversubscription... when it falls apart... it falls apart. Nonetheless, glad you found something that works!
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Old 07-31-2014, 03:22 PM   #8
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Sounds like your TWC node is overloaded and they ran out of SDV channels... If the channel you are watching is being watched by others on the node, and all of the sudden you try to watching something on a channel that isn't being watched... the whole thing falls apart. And it's not like internet bandwidth, where you can slowly degrade bandwidth due to oversubscription... when it falls apart... it falls apart. Nonetheless, glad you found something that works!
Thanks. Yeah, all is going well with the new dish. We had a rainstorm the other day, and it cut out shortly before it started raining, but then resumed immediately after the rain lightened up. Not bad. I really like the "resumed" part. I still am wondering about what I will do when it snows, as I am in Northern Ohio. I have read about electric tape heaters that are made for these satellite dishes so I might look into that, although the installers told me all I would need to do is reach up and hit the dish with a long-handled broom to knock off the snow.

I suspect that not everyone's cable service is as bad as mine was, or else they would no longer be in business. While it may be a transitional problem, it seems to have been getting worse in the last few months. I looked online and it was a problem for some as long ago as 2011, so I wouldn't expect any problems to be corrected anytime soon. I was fine with their former analog service since the early 1980s, but their conversion to digital and consolidation to SDV brought a whole set of issues with it.
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Old 07-31-2014, 04:41 PM   #9
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Thanks. Yeah, all is going well with the new dish. We had a rainstorm the other day, and it cut out shortly before it started raining, but then resumed immediately after the rain lightened up. Not bad. I really like the "resumed" part. I still am wondering about what I will do when it snows, as I am in Northern Ohio. I have read about electric tape heaters that are made for these satellite dishes so I might look into that, although the installers told me all I would need to do is reach up and hit the dish with a long-handled broom to knock off the snow.

I suspect that not everyone's cable service is as bad as mine was, or else they would no longer be in business. While it may be a transitional problem, it seems to have been getting worse in the last few months. I looked online and it was a problem for some as long ago as 2011, so I wouldn't expect any problems to be corrected anytime soon. I was fine with their former analog service since the early 1980s, but their conversion to digital and consolidation to SDV brought a whole set of issues with it.
They probably couldn't or didn't node split for whatever reason in your area, and ended up too far oversubscribed. SDV is all-or-nothing since the channels are a fixed bandwidth, it's not like oversubscribed internet where it just gradually slows down... They may have converted more channels over to SDV or added more HD channels to SDV too.

DirecTV shouldn't go out under any rain conditions if properly installed. One of my coworkers used to have DirecTV (he moved since) and watched TV through one of the hurricanes with it.
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Old 07-31-2014, 08:32 PM   #10
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They probably couldn't or didn't node split for whatever reason in your area, and ended up too far oversubscribed. SDV is all-or-nothing since the channels are a fixed bandwidth, it's not like oversubscribed internet where it just gradually slows down... They may have converted more channels over to SDV or added more HD channels to SDV too.

DirecTV shouldn't go out under any rain conditions if properly installed. One of my coworkers used to have DirecTV (he moved since) and watched TV through one of the hurricanes with it.
Basically it works by line of sight for us at a 40 degree angle up from the horizon, in a Southwest direction (Southeast if you live in the Western states). It is on a fixed mount and is aimed at two or three different satellites that are in relative close proximity to each other, with the differentiation between the different satellites all happening in the background.

I'm still getting a feel for it myself, but the rain was a severe downpour. Hard enough to make visibility poor and, if you are on the road, you start to see drivers pull over. It happened right before the rain got to us, probably because the path would have been more densely blocked at that angle. Then it came back on while the rain was still overhead. So if you were able to sit out a minor hurricane without disruption, that probably just means there wasn't dense enough blockage despite the high winds.

P.S. As per the cable, yes it was happening on HD channels. And for what I could tell, that is how it affects others too. I live in a busy suburban area, about 20 miles outside of a major city.

Last edited by christheman : 07-31-2014 at 08:40 PM.
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Old 08-01-2014, 08:15 PM   #11
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Basically it works by line of sight for us at a 40 degree angle up from the horizon, in a Southwest direction (Southeast if you live in the Western states). It is on a fixed mount and is aimed at two or three different satellites that are in relative close proximity to each other, with the differentiation between the different satellites all happening in the background.

I'm still getting a feel for it myself, but the rain was a severe downpour. Hard enough to make visibility poor and, if you are on the road, you start to see drivers pull over. It happened right before the rain got to us, probably because the path would have been more densely blocked at that angle. Then it came back on while the rain was still overhead. So if you were able to sit out a minor hurricane without disruption, that probably just means there wasn't dense enough blockage despite the high winds.

P.S. As per the cable, yes it was happening on HD channels. And for what I could tell, that is how it affects others too. I live in a busy suburban area, about 20 miles outside of a major city.
Hmmmm, could be. Rain that heavy is rather extreme...

Nodes could be overloaded in any suburban or urban environment, possibly even in exurban, although unlikely. It's just a matter of what nodes were serving what, and who was using what in what within that neighborhood.
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