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Forced to be an MDU?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Installation/MDU Discussion' started by Fly Navy, Jul 30, 2011.

  1. Fly Navy

    Fly Navy Cool Member

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    Oct 31, 2007
    I live in an 11 unit condo building that shares one dish on the roof. The signal is distributed through a couple multiswitches to the different units. Some units are run through SWMs because they needed the ability to run more than two receivers (each unit has only two RG6 runs coming in).

    Now that you have the background, each time a DirecTv tech comes to set someone up, they insist we are an MDU. We are not. We simply share a dish and everyone manages their own accounts, packages, etc.

    Some techs won't even touch our system because they THINK we are an MDU.


    Questions:
    1. Can DTV force us to convert to an MDU? I assume that would require an upfront cost in equipments, installation, etc.

    2. Is there any benefit to converting to an MDU even if our current system works fine?

    3. Are there only certain techs who can work on MDUs? I've had a couple tech pack up and leave without doing anything once they saw our setup thinking we were an MDU.

    4. Am I correct in stating that we shouldn't need a tech visit to set up a new unit if it is already wired? We should simply be able to connect the receiver and call DTV to activate, right?
     
  2. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    Dec 9, 2006
    Sharing one dish between 11 units isn't anywhere near "a normal" setup, so I can see why some techs may balk at this.
    MDUs are setup for supporting this type of system.
    This would VERY MUCH depend on who is managing the load on this system. This is why MDUs are used.
     
  3. joe diamond

    joe diamond Hall Of Fame

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    Feb 28, 2007
    Well, you are an MDU; Multifamily Dwelling Unit.

    You need someone who knows what they are doing. Your condo needs to agree on a maintenance fund for repairs.

    Your owners are now sharing components that cannot be serviced. So when some portion of them fails some other portion may still work; a multiswitch for example. What will you do? Do you wait for all outputs from the multiswitch to fail before replacing the switch?

    Who has access to all components and resident units for troubleshooting?

    You could all sign up for the maintenance program with Directv. I think you would be better served by making an arrangement with a local home theater company to work on your rig. Assess all condo unit owners enough to pay your contractor if your current fees won't do it.

    While you are correct that most installations should be just taking receivers out of the, if Directv sends a tech that person is responsible for the equipment until it is activated. There will still be minimal contact with Directv folks. You just have to designate someone to deal with Directv.

    Joe
     
  4. Floyd

    Floyd Legend

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    Nov 9, 2004
    What "load" are we talking about, and how does one go about managing it?
    A 16-port multi-switch works just as well when fully loaded as it does when there are only a few connections.
    Is anyone suggesting that this situation would be better off if there were 11 dishes on the roof?
     
  5. davring

    davring Hall Of Fame

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    Jan 13, 2007
    VOS was not referring to overload, he was talking about the work load.
     
  6. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    This setup is a mix of legacy & SWiM.
    11 units that need how many receivers?

    "Simple management" would be a couple [of now obsolete] WB616s, so every unit has two active coax. This limits each to one DVR [or 2 tuners].

    "Not so simple" management would be the SWiMs, as each output is limited to eight tuners.
    A couple of SWiM-32s could be used so each unit has a 4 tuner limit.

    "Serious management" would fall in between these two.
     
  7. Fly Navy

    Fly Navy Cool Member

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    Oct 31, 2007
    Right, but doesn't DTV view an MDU VERY differently than the way we are setup? Isn't an MDU acct more centrally managed and everyone gets a 'basic' package with the option to add extras?
     
  8. Fly Navy

    Fly Navy Cool Member

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    Oct 31, 2007
    Thanks VOS.

    We currently have 2x WB616s that run two coax runs to each unit. As I mentioned, some units are being driven off SWM to give the extra tuner capacity - but that's on a case by case basis (the WB616s drive the SWMs). Should we upgrade the WB616s or are they fine for the job they are doing now? I wasn't sure what your comment about 'now obsolete WB616s was actually referring to. Thanks.

    Might need to look into the SWM 32s....
     
  9. joe diamond

    joe diamond Hall Of Fame

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    VOS does this stuff every day and I ask him questions.

    But I think you are confusing a SMAT (System Master Antenna) some apartment owner operates or a Directv Commercial system in a public place like a sports bar. These systems have many limitations as you state.

    Your condo owners all have separate accounts and just share a reception antenna. The number of receivers is not excessive......I have installed 25 in one tract mansion.........all boxes were in a closet in the basement. You are ok on system size. You just have to figure out a service and expansion system.

    Joe
     
  10. veryoldschool

    veryoldschool Lifetime Achiever Staff Member Super Moderator DBSTalk Club

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    They're not cheap:
    http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.as...ies-(32-Channel)-(SWM32)&c=Multiswitches&sku=
    You may be able to mix a SWiM-32 & SWiM-16

    http://www.solidsignal.com/pview.as...ply-(16-Channel)-(SWM16)&c=Multiswitches&sku=
     
  11. mini1

    mini1 Icon

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    Jan 25, 2004
    What you have is a MSD, not an MDU. MSD = master shared dish. Each account is on its own. Most techs are not knowledgeable about MSD's and won't touch them. The problem with the MSD's is that nobody seems to want to take responsibility for for the shared dish, cabling or multiswitches. You need to go to your COA and demand that they write up an amendment to the condo docs that specifies exactly what they are responsible for and what individual subscribers are responsible for. So that way, if the dish goes out of alignment or a multswitch fails or a shared coax line gets water in it..... the COA pays to fix it. You could have the COA look at converting to an MDU and buy a bulk basic package. If 11 units buy the same basic programming package (say Choice) then D* will reduce the per subscriber rate quite a bit. Individuals could then add on top whatever packages they wanted, so if you wanted Choice Xtra and HBO.....you could get it. You will be billed for the difference between the retail Choice rate and Choice Xtra+HBO.
     
  12. joe diamond

    joe diamond Hall Of Fame

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    Feb 28, 2007
    There you go!

    I thought I said most of that.

    Try this:

    "Directv, this is your Godfather speaking.

    I want to connect all my children...they lika the TV. So you senda the peeple and fix it up or I give you a contract you can no refuse.

    Yes, I livindahouse with all my children. We want thirty HD boxes and all recoreders...you fitait!

    Don't make me ask someone else to do me this service."

    Have one account. Discuss the requirements at the condo campfire. Tell the CSR you can call in air support if they give you any crap!

    Joe
     
  13. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

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    Nov 20, 2004
    College...
    You can find a lot of new SWM 16s on eBay for $100 each. The eBay price for SWM8s runs around $70 to $80 each.

    Are all 11 units in this 11 unit condo actually DirecTV customers, or are some on franchised cable? If not all are DirecTV customers, those who are not would not like having to share the maintenance cost of a privately managed community antenna system for just some of the residents.

    You are better off using SWM 16s instead of a SWM 32 just because if one fails, the replacement unit costs half as much, or, if you buy on eBay, one sixth as much.

    Don't expect any MDU system operator to agree to take you on as an MDU account. The would have to pay DirecTV for each customer and then manage the system as DirecTV requires them to and, under some circumstances, DirecTV can take the system away from them for unsatisfactory performance.

    I used to manage community antenna systems in the pre-SWM days, but will not do one with shared SWMs, since troubleshooting one could become a nightmare. I also am concerned about the ill will that is engendered when an intermittent problem is not repaired successfully. Suppose that the system technician tells a customer that there is nothing wrong with the system and that his receiver is bad, so the customer gets DirecTV to agree to swap the receiver but then the problem recurs. Do you then demand that the technician come back out and "complete the repair" for free? About four years ago, a customer of mine in a multiple dwelling unit had a TIVO receiver go bad, but her DirecTV, home theater contractor knew he could only furnish a newer, non-TIVO unit, which she didn't want, so he told her the problem was a signal problem. I arranged to meet their technician there, and I definitively demonstrated that it was a receiver problem, but he decided to do what was he believed was best for his employer and became boisterous and obstinate and said things that I know he did not believe.

    Fortunately for me, I knew the owner of his company, so I went out into the hallway and called him on his cell phone and told him that unless he got this jerk to go along with my prognosis promptly, I wouldn't be servicing any more of his customers. I waited about five minutes before going back into the apartment and when I did, the tech changed his tune and went long with everything I said. Unfortunately for me, the customer never paid the bill I sent her. I suspect it was because she never got a functioning TIVO from them and so she didn't feel I had earned my keep, but I really didn't care because I wanted to drop her as a customer anyway.
     

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