HD Upgrade and Wiring questions

Discussion in 'DirecTV TiVo Powered PVRs & Receivers' started by dm999, Jan 25, 2006.

  1. dm999

    dm999 New Member

    Oct 26, 2002
    JCP -...


    Hi all,

    Just a warning, this will be along one...sorry?

    I'm currently running a Sony SAT-T60, and thinking hard about the switch to HDTV (Sony KDS-60XBR1 / HR10-250).

    My dish was upgraded when I upgraded to local channels last year. I believe it is a triple-LNB, but I'm not positive. When looking it it from the ground, I see 3 LNBs on the end of the arm. Is that enough to identify it as what I need to receive the HD channels from D*?

    The dish was mounted at the peak of my roof, to clear the trees on the preserve directly south of my house. The current cables run down the roof and into the wall next to where the TV is, and are grounded to the faucet outside. the disk was mount about 2 ft. from one of the attic airvents in the roof.
    Since the installation, I've rewired the phone/data/video in the house and installed a custom wiring closet. In the closet I installed a Panamax towerMax surge suppressor, with AllPath modules for CATV, 4 SAT modules, and a CO4/110 phone module. I also bought, but haven't hooked up, an Eagle Aspen S-4180-GX+. Currently I only have the 1 receiver, but bought the multiswitch for expected expansion.


    It looks like I need an OTA antennae for local HD programs. I've seen posts implying that the ones supplied by D* are not the best. Is there a make/model that is generally liked here?

    Will the multiswitch I have work for receiving the D* HD channels, assuming that the dish does not need to be upgraded again?

    Is there any advantage to not connecting the OTA cable to the multiswitch, but instead running it directly to the DVR? I have 4 RG6 cables run to the TV location.

    Are there any tricks to installing the OTA antenna, other than securing it to the roof? Does it need to point in specific directions to pick up different channels, or are they omni-directional? Does it need to be on a mast as opposed to being directly on the roof?

    Several questions on grounding:

    Do I need grounding blocks for the SAT/ANT cables, or is it sufficient to just connect them to the surge suppressor? I've seen posts around that imply the grounding blocks ground the shielding, where the surge suppressors protect the signal wire. Is this true?

    If I need the grounding blocks, can I run the cables through the attic vent to the wiring closet, install grounding blocks there, connect the grounding blocks together (daisy-chain), and have an electrician connect the blocks to the circuit breaker panel? If not, how would be the best way to run the wires, preferably without running them all the way down the roof and drilling through the walls? The house has gutters ALL the way around, and aluminum soffits, which I would prefer not to drill through. I was hoping to run the SAT/OTA/dish ground wires to the wiring closet and ground them all there (about 20-30 ft. as the cable flys). If I shouldn't mount the grounding blocks that far in, could I mount them near the air vent, then run a ground wire to the circuit breaker box?

    Also, the docs for the CO4/110 phoneline suppresser shows grounding a KSU/PBX to the unit. Could I just connect the grounding blocks to the that (and save a trip from the electrician)?

    Will the CATV Allpath module pass the HD OTA signals, or should I find another SAT module? Is there a certain frequency range that the OTA signals come in over that I can use to verify what module would work?

    Lastly, is there any advantage to calling D* to get the wiring done? If I buy the DVR elsewhere, would D* setup installation for it (and the OTA antenna), or do I need to buy it through them? It seems like their price on the unit is pretty heavy. Is there another vendor I could call that we like here? I don't have any problems running the cables (once the grounding questions are answered), it's just the OTA setup that I'm a little worried about.

    Thanks in advance for all your help!!!!

    Trace wilson
  2. stevel

    stevel Dumb Blond TCF Club

    Aug 23, 2000
    Nashua, NH
    I have the HR10-250 and KDS-R60XBR1. What a beautiful set.

    You have the 3-LNB dish and are all set. You don't need a new multiswitch.

    Yes, you will need an OTA antenna for HD locals, as apparently DirecTV is no longer enabling "distant HD locals" if you're in a market with the HD locals and the HR10 won't pick up the latter. It is generally recommended that you NOT combine the OTA signal with the sat signal as you'll lose some signal strength.

    The OTA signals are typically in the standard UHF TV band.
  3. 65inmitsubishi

    65inmitsubishi New Member

    Jan 25, 2006
    ummmm, yes you will need a new dish to recieve their new hd content, it's mpeg4 you'll need the h20 box and 5 lnb dish, you can get the ones now on that dish but no locals or new channels they rool out.
  4. dm999

    dm999 New Member

    Oct 26, 2002
    JCP -...
    Thanks for the responses!!! I thought the multiswitch would work ok <whew>.

    Would it be smarter to just call D* to order the equipment, order it from another vendor, or just pick up the unit at circuit city and install myself? any recommendations on an OTA antenna?
  5. captain_video

    captain_video Member

    Feb 28, 2002


    Before you can choose an antenna you'll need to determine what channels your local OTA HD channels are being broadcast on. Most areas transmit on UHF channels but there are certain markets that use VHF for some channels. I personally use the ChannelMaster 4228 8-bay antenna and it works great.

    I live in between Baltimore and Washington and use a pair of 4228's pointed in opposite directions and connected together using a UHV/VHF coax splitter/combiner. I get almost all of my locals with but a few exceptions since the antennas are directional and can't pick up every transmit tower due to their locations. They also make a 4221 4-bay model that should work fine if you're close to the transmit towers. They'd probably work fine for me in my location but I always like to go with the maximum gain I can get to avoid dropouts and signal loss.
  6. dm999

    dm999 New Member

    Oct 26, 2002
    JCP -...
    Thanks again for the replies, All!!

    Was just looking on solidsignal, and found that all my HD transmitters are within 10 mi. of the house and clustered within a 6 deg. angle. :D :D :D I've seen some references to mounting OTA antennas IN the attic. Does anyone have any experience with doing this? If I did it, could I ignore the grounding since it would be inside?

    Would I just connected the base to one of the framing members, and point the ant. in the correct direction?

    All the channels, except two, are transmitting UHF, and those are on channels 10 & 13.
  7. Aquatic

    Aquatic New Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    JCP -...
    DM--we're in a similar boat--all my towers are within about 13 miles of me and clustered within a few degrees of each other. It's a nice, convenient thing. Here's what I found out when I was doing my self install.

    Get the antenna high. I have a stucco exterior, and it's covered in wire (the stucco is held in place by the wire when they trowel it on ) so the interior of the house stinks for RF reception.

    I had a silver sensor internal antenna for a "test" antenna and found that I could get a few stations in, even through the stucco/wire. Up to the attic I went with my trusty drill bit and RG6 spool, and dropped a line down to behind my TV. Hooked up the Silver sensor there and with a little help tweaked it in--and I now get all the stations at least 80, some better. THAT's with a cheapie crap antenna. Had I had issues with the antenna, I would have swapped it out with a Channel Master, or winegard model. There are several references as to which one is is best...it's your call. If you make sure it's VHF/UHF compatible as well, you can use it to feed other things like FM, a scanner, etc.

    THe coax line is run straight down the wall directly from the antenna, no grounding, etc. I DID however put in a drip loop at the top and bottom of the runs--it gets humid here in FL, and any A/C leaks could cause a little condensation. I "gooped" the connection in the attic too--the anti-moisture stuff you put in the connector to help seal out moisture, etc.

    I still do get a few drop outs from time to time, so I suspect I'll be moving up to the CM4228 probably in the near future.

    The bottom line? Definately TRY a cheapie antenna up in the attic ( don't even drop the wire in the wall if you don't want to, just run a long length from the access hatch over to the TV, and then see what ya get for signal strengths, etc. If they're looking good, nail the antenna down, drop the cable in the wall and ENJOY! oh.. and while you are fishing cables anyway? Drop an extra one or 2 back to your wiring closet, along with a cat 5/6 or 2 as well. you NEVER know when you'll need/want it and doing the attic waltz once is better than doing it several times.
  8. dm999

    dm999 New Member

    Oct 26, 2002
    JCP -...

    Sounds like we are right down the road from each other. Man, the world is getting smaller all the time!!!

    Thanks for the advice!! I've actually already rewired the house and home-run all the wires (CAT6 & RG6) back to a wiring closet, so I'm hopeing to get the ant. up tonight in the attic. I've got 6 runs to the entertainment center, but only 2 in use right now, so I'm hopeing all will go well.

    Thanks again!!!
  9. ironchef

    ironchef Smiley Averse

    Dec 27, 2002
    Never ever ever a good idea. Ground it out somewhere, look for a drain stack or electrical box in the attic. Static can be as big a danger as lightning to electronics, a simple ground is cheap insurance.

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