5 LNB Dish Install Breaks the Camel's Back (Rant)

Discussion in 'DirecTV TiVo Powered PVRs & Receivers' started by inaka, Jan 5, 2006.

  1. Jan 5, 2006 #1 of 28

    inaka Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2001


    What a sad, sad day...

    I've been a TiVo fan boy since the beginning, but today is the day that broke the camels's back with DTV, and unfortunately TiVo. :(

    I currently own three tivos, two HR10-250s and one Sony SAT-T60 which was in the closet that I was going to bring back to life. I love them and they work perfectly, but I moved to a new house where OTA reception will be a problem. So, under the DTV Mover's Plan I was able to score a new 5 LNB Dish after requesting a the new HR20 box in addition to my Tivo units. To me, the HR20 a major downgrade by not having any DVR functions, but hey, at least I could get HD locals, so I was willing to bite the bullet.

    Then I find out I can't get PBS in HD over the bird.
    Hmm..ok, I'll bite the bullet again.

    So the installer comes out to my place and tells me, "Sorry, your HR10-250s won't work with the new 5 LNB dish." So I reply, "Yeah they will." And then proceeds a 5 minute Abott & Costello routne of "Yes it will, no it won't" until he finally says, "Well, I've never done it before." And then he says he'll call his supervisor to confirm. So he finally confirms after 15 mins, and it's a go.

    Or so I thought.

    He then looks around my house, and says, "Sorry, I can't install the new 5 LNB dish since you don't have a clear line of sight." I look up on the house to the chimney, where there's a Dish Network dish from the previous owner right on the top of the roof with a perfectly clear view in any direction. (It only has two lines running from the dish.) So I say, "Can't you just replace that dish with the new one?" And the installer says, "Sorry, we can't walk on the roof since you have compositie tile. If we break them, then it's on us so we can't put the dish on any roof."

    Oooookay, so I say, "What about the side of the house?" And he replies, sorry, you have stucko, and we can't mount into that. We can only mount into the wood framing which trims your roof." At this point I almost think he's joking since that leaves viertually no place to mount any dish in the neighborhood and I just stay silent. He then tries to make it better (which doesn't work) by saying, "Hey, you're lucky, on many of the newer homes the roof trim has gutters all around and we can't mount to those either."

    So after all of concessions I've made to stick with my aging TiVos and DTV, I'm now really at a loss. I can either:

    A. Mount my old 3-LNB Dish myself to the roof and get an additional multiplexer to feed 8 lines off the dish and still not have any local HD material since OTA is no longer an option. Then manually drill and run so many cables off the dish that it will look like C3P0's abs.


    B. Try to do the 5 LNB dish install myself (which I hear is much more specific and specialized than any previous dish) and still have a ton of cables and wires getting drilled externally to each room.

    So unfortunately, I had to choose option "C" which I swore I'd never do.
    I called Comcast for an install. :(

    As much as I love Tivo, I just have seen DTV go into a nose dive recently. Where the future is their non-Tivo MPEG 4 box, and they don't even have a HD DVR for MPEG-4 yet. The two big selling points of their package was always TiVo and the Sunday Ticket, and with the added costs of the Sunday Ticket and the lack of TiVo for the future, DTV has fallen from grace in my book. Plus, with the size of the new 5 LNB dish and the manual running of lines, it's just hit the point where all of this has broken the camel's back.

    It's a sad, sad day but it looks Like I'll end up as one of those people that I always dispised, you know the kind that have some generic piece of crap DVR and still say "I TiVo'd that show last night" even though it's nowhere near a TiVo.

  2. Jan 5, 2006 #2 of 28
    Phantom Gremlin

    Phantom Gremlin Active Member

    Jun 20, 2002
    I agree with your complaints and I've made much the same ones (mostly on avsforum).

    Here's a thought exercise for you:

    Imagine that you were getting an install from Comcast and they said to you: "we need to run 4 coax cables from the street to the side of your house".

    You would probably say: "are you out of your F***ing minds? Four F***ing cables? What the F*** for?".

    And yet DirecTV was so F***ing stupid that in 2005 they released a huge monstrosity of a dish and require 4, count them, 4, coaxes, to run from the dish to your house.

    They could have easily done both of:

    1) released a lighter dish for 99, 101, 103 satellites only. Moved the handful of existing HD from 110 and 119 over to the new satellite. Even if it meant broadcasting multiple copies of national HD over each spot beam for a few years until the additional Ka satellites were launched.

    2) developed a smarter multiswitch that was part of the dish and that inserted individual transponders onto a single coax down from the satellite to the house. One coax could have easily handled 16 transponders and stayed below 1 GHz on the wire. Instead they will now need 4 coaxes each going to over 2 GHz in frequency. What pinhead architected that?

    I'm bitter because I just had to go back to Comcast for my HD locals. Now I'm paying both DirecTV and Comcast and I can't Tivo HD. Bah.
  3. Jan 5, 2006 #3 of 28

    inaka Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2001
    Exactly. It's hitting the point where there are so many lines being required to run off an oversized dish itself, it's just not practical.

    I love each of my HR10-250s, but to be required to have 3 lines (2 sat lines and 1 OTA) running to *each* HD TiVo is a joke, and with the lack of PBS HD locals (or UPN, etc.) on even the latest generation boxes, the future looks more like "one step forward, two steps back."

    At least I can eBay my two HR10-250s to recoup some of the extra fees associated with Comcast, but nothing will make up for the lack of intuitive features that the TiVo brand brings to the DVR. The TiVo logo will be missed... :(
  4. Jan 5, 2006 #4 of 28

    newsposter Poster of News

    Aug 18, 2002
    SE PA
    I have a feeling i'll be screwed too. They wouldn't even install the 3lnb dish because they said no 119 line of sight. And i agreed to sign a waiver even! Insane! So i can imagine when they try to do the 5lnb, they will just run after coming out.

    No WB and UPN also sucks. (oops forgot pbs). My cable co has the moxi box and it's half tempting at this point. more HD for less. All the premiums and locals.
  5. Jan 5, 2006 #5 of 28

    greywolf New Member

    Apr 9, 2004
    Evanston IL


    A lot of those alleged dish installation impossibilites are actually economic problems. DirecTV doesn't pay enough for installers to take on difficult, read lengthy, jobs. People who want dishes can often work out scenarios with contractors, tradespeople and communiations professionals. It will just cost more. The cost gets factored in the decision of dish v. cable.
  6. Jan 5, 2006 #6 of 28

    Billy66 Again with shoelaces

    Dec 15, 2003
    Just call DTV and complain to them. They'll get someone else out there who wants to work.
  7. Jan 5, 2006 #7 of 28

    FlugPoP Illegitimate User

    Jan 7, 2004
    It sounds like a lazy installer to me, he had an excuses for everything.
  8. Jan 5, 2006 #8 of 28

    smoking_rubber New Member

    Dec 21, 2005
    5 LNB? OMG! I've looked forward to HD for years. The thought the hard part was saving enough $ for the right tv. Now I've got the equipment but there are technical hurdles at every corner. I've discovered that purchasing a hi-def tv was merely the first step in a long procession of challenges. I'm thankful for the ONE HD channel I receive (OTA CBS) but I want more! I want my tivo, I want locals, I want massive HD content. I want Directv to provide it all. I currently pay $160 a month for directv! For that price I should get everything I want. I don't.

    What's up with this MPEG-4 stuff? Should I buy the HR10-250 anyway? How long before it's obsolete? What SHOULD I buy? Do I have to go to a 5LNB dish for just 1 tv? I want tivo darn it. I don't want any part of Comcast. Grrrrr.
  9. Jan 5, 2006 #9 of 28

    vogon13 New Member

    Jun 1, 2005
    I have done all my own installing on my house over the years, and while I won't win any awards, I am happy with what I have.

    I originally had a dual lnb dish on the backside of the garage roof, not too far up from the gutter line. I had easy access to the underside of the roof and put in 2X4s between two adjacent rafters for the dish to lag bolt to. I predrilled the the lag bolt holes for the mounting foot, put in the lag bolts, took them out, shot the holes full of 50 year caulk and put the dish up. It is plenty rigid for the lousy wind we get here.

    Eventually, I put an oversize heated dish up (same location) after misssing half an episode of The Sopranos for ice buildup.

    When the local channels became available on 119, I put a second dish up, mounted the same way and 2 rafters over.

    When we got our first Tivo box, did not have enough lnb, so put up a triple dish, in line with the other two, and reinforced the mounting as before.

    Now with 3 Tivos and 2 more 'old style' recievers, I have added a dish-c kit and a compatible multiswitch.

    All told, have 4 dishes on the roof now, all in a row, all different, and capabilities for 8 D* tuners.

    To me, it looks beyond cool (really) and since it is on the backside of the roof, no one sees it any how.

    The TV antennas and police scanner antenna stack looks like an oil derrick, but on the far east end of the roof, it is not so visible, and somewhat more protected from the wind than the other end of the house.

    I have three customers with 2 dish arrays (101 and 119) because of extensive tree cover. One install has the dishes seperated by almost 125 feet. (that one also took a direct hit from lightning, but that is another post)

    Hopefully, I won't have to add more dishes for future programming here, but I still have room for several more dishes in the row.

    Amazing what I have done to satisfy my Tivo craving!
  10. jdk

    jdk New Member

    Mar 15, 2001
    San Jose, CA
    Unfortunatley for DirecTV, I think your story, inaka, will be repeated quite a few times across the country during this transition.

    The monstrosity that is the AT9, combined with its difficulty to install, plus its extra cabling (compared to your local Cable Company), means that a lot of people just won't choose, won't be able, or will be barred by their siginificant others from trying to install DirecTV-HD.

    When the time comes for me to take the plunge, I'm going to have to weigh the relatively small inconvenience of changing out my dish (easy access and LOS for me) and Tivo (already have an HR10) vs. calling Comcast, and having a box installed through one cable in a few days.

    Add in the factors of a 2 year commitment, difficult installers and re-cabling, then the scale tips even more towards the Comcast install.

    So for those of us with competetive (or even better) cable offerings, DirecTV doesn't seem to hold a compelling reason to stay (unless you're tied to Sunday Ticket). A Dating Channel, and "Inside video-game" channel (both in SD) won't be enough to tip the scales for me...

    Perhaps we'll see more tomorrow from CES, but at this point the only thing keeping me around is intertia (no real need to change just yet).
  11. inaka

    inaka Well-Known Member

    Nov 26, 2001
    I agree. What makes matters worse is that even if the install went well, (which unfortunately it didn't), I'd still be stuck a LOT of re-cabling, and no PBS in HD, not to mention UPN or WB since OTA isn't an option in my new location. Then, even *after* the announcement at CES of DTV's own HD DVR due out in Q2 of 2006, it will still not be a Tivo, as we've known for some time now. It's like a slow slow slow torturous widthdrawl of everything that I liked about DTV in the first place. Then whammo, when it's all said and done I have a generic DVR, a dish the size of a Yugo on my house, and more cables and holes drilled than the gear needed to power to U2 tour.

    The worst thing of all is trying to explain this to family members or even friends who don't keep up with this type of stuff. The questions range from "Why don't you just get an HD TiVo for your new Comcast cable setup?" (they don't exist yet) to "Why do they need to install so many lines if the cable company can do it with just one line out from the wall?" Actually, I'd like the know the answer to that last question myself.
  12. Ed Campbell

    Ed Campbell New Member

    Jul 13, 2002
    Santa Fe
    It's beginning to sound like Comcast's new policy in my neck of the woods may bear fruit.

    They called me -- as a broadband customer who they also knew was a D* account -- and offered to add a CTV basic hookup while knocking another $5/month off my bill.

    "Just in case I ever wish to switch my TV service over to Comcast" -- I'd already be hooked up.
  13. Shawn95GT

    Shawn95GT Tivo, in HD!

    Oct 7, 2005
    Phoenix, AZ
    Two words for you - Pole mount.

    It will likly cost additional but if you have LOS near ground level a pole mount will work nicely.
  14. newsposter

    newsposter Poster of News

    Aug 18, 2002
    SE PA
    ah matey, there's the rub...do you blow up neighbor's homes for a reasonable price? :) some things are just very difficult to overcome...especially when his is higher than yours.
  15. Shawn95GT

    Shawn95GT Tivo, in HD!

    Oct 7, 2005
    Phoenix, AZ
    Get a taller pole :p

    In all seriousness, unless the look angle is really low in the sky for you (or whoever has the mount problems) a pole mount should work out great. I think I'd prefer a pole mount with that new DirecTV dish.

  16. joegarrett

    joegarrett FiOS Fan

    Mar 17, 2004
    With the prospect of the new AT9 dish and new HD receivers (no-DVR) to replace my existing (3) SD DTiVO's plus the higher costs for HD programming, I made the leap to FIOS this week for internet, TV and phone. Verizon installed the QIP6416 HD DVR that use MS guide, it's not TiVO, but overall I'm really happy with the PQ, HD quality, channel availability, VOD, PPV and speed. The MS guide on the DVR will only get better as time goes on and with the boxes using MoCA, STB to STB won't be far off.
  17. Mark W

    Mark W Member

    Dec 6, 2001
    CT, USA
    It's a sad fact that HD, especially recording HD, is an expensive, and sometimes complicated PITA with DirecTV. With cable, you pick up the phone and tell them to come out and do it.

    Don't get me wrong, the cable company has it's issues too (high monthly cost), but it's much easier.
  18. formulaben

    formulaben Formula Tivo Racing

    Jan 27, 2003
    Les Bois

    DirecTV's biggest cheerleader (me) has now looks to become a Comcast Commie!! :eek:
  19. DeDondeEs

    DeDondeEs Well-Known Member TCF Club

    Feb 20, 2004
    Las Vegas, NV
    It is amazing that with all of the technical advances that you still have to run multiple coax cables from the dish. Plus that new 5 lnb dish looks like something you would see mounted on the Millenium Falcon. I am hanging on to my HR-10 and 3lnb plus HD antenna for as long as possible. I'm not going to be an early adopter this time.... Since I get all of my local channels just fine OTA I don't see any benefit in having the signal recompressed and degraded and sent down to a SETI radio antenna on my roof.
  20. formulaben

    formulaben Formula Tivo Racing

    Jan 27, 2003
    Les Bois
    Me too. I've been doing that for some time and this time enough is enough. In the past, I've only had to pay a high price in money, but this time it's BOTH a high price in money and inconvenience. DirecTV really screwed the pooch this time: they've somehow managed to offend a good portion of their hardcore advocates. :rolleyes:


    1) Early subscriber (basic tuner, single LNB) $310 :eek:
    2) Dish upgrade, dual LNB $110
    3) DirecTV HDVR2 $230 (many paid $500)
    4) Multiswitch $50
    5) Antenna for locals $90
    6) Rewire house with cable $40
    7) 2nd receiver $80

    Total for early adoption: $910

    Nearly 10 years @ ~$48/mo= $5664; Grand Total= $6574

    I'm sure I'm missing some activation fees and numerous PPV, but after years of loyalty and never receiving subsidized equipment, and numerous customer activations as a direct result of ME, all DirecTV will give me to stay is the stupid rebate on the HR10-250 which EVERYONE gets. But if I want High Def with locals, I gotta wait, and even then I can't have Tivo. Sorry D*, it's time to go...

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