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Path for upgrade to HD Service


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16 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Choir

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 12:15 PM

I have a fairly traditional dual lnb to to multiswitch installation of DirecTV. The installation was done in Summer 2002. The multiswitch is located in an interior room and all the cable runs are “home run” wired to that interior room.
Just now getting around to buying an HDTV (Xmas present for the wife) so I started thinking about upgrading to HD service from DirecTV.
After doing some research, it looks like there is going to be several hardware upgrades that will also need to occur in order to get HD service from DirecTV (SWM8, AU9 5 lnb dish, HD receivers, etc).
Trying to plan the hardware upgrade path for the HD transition.

The first step is probably the new dish, the AU9. I was wondering if the dish was compatible with my current multiswitch solution. My multiswitch is a Spaun SMS 51602 NF. The multiswitch was actually pretty cutting edge when I bought it and actually has 5 inputs - 1 terrestrial, 2 for the normal DirecTV satellite, and 2 for the (at the time) HD DirecTV satellite. I was wondering if I could take the 4 outputs from the AU9 and run them into my multiswitch. I realize since I only have SD receivers I would still only get the SD channels, but that is fine. If that works, when I get the SWM8 I plan to split the signals to both the SWM8 and the multiswitch so I can phase out the SD receivers one-by-one over time.
ATM, just wondering if this plan would work.

Sorry this is so long, thanks for reading all this.


Choir

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#2 ONLINE   RAD

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 12:29 PM

Unless you want to go purchase everything on your own I'd recommend giving DirecTV a call and tell then you'd like to upgrade to HDTV and what can they do for you. Many times you'll get a good discount on any upgrades and they throw in the dish and whatever multiswitch you need (but not a SWM) for free. The Ka/Ku multiswitchs will work just fine for your legacy hardware from the new dish so that's not a problem. If you go with any DVR's you'll need two cable runs from the switch to the STB's.

Unless you don't want to run two cables to the DVR's you really wouldn't need a SWM8. If you do deceide you do need the SWM8 it does have 3 legacy outputs on them to drive 3 non SWM capable receivers. Your current switch will not work with the new HD channels.

See post My Setup for configuration info.


#3 OFFLINE   BattleZone

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 02:19 PM

DirecTV does not install or provide SWM-8 modules for residential installs; they're for commercial/MDU use only, unless you buy one on your own.

As RAD notes, you probably don't need one anyway, and will do just fine with the equipment DirecTV provides.

#4 OFFLINE   Choir

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 05:24 PM

I want the installation done a certain way, even if that means I have to pay for it.

Might as well list my reasoning here, in case I am making a decision based upon bad information. I am not a fan of the current DirecTV DVR’s, I prefer the older DirecTivo units and I don’t want to switch. So I am willing to wait until late 09 for the HD DirecTivo units to become available. I have 2 DirecTivo’s, both of those already have two cable runs to them. I like the idea of a single cable to drive both tuners on a DVR (btw why not dual tuners on a non-DVR receiver?), I can use the second run for the terrestrial signal. So I want to go with a SWM8. Since I don’t even own an HDTV at the moment, I have mostly been focused on getting the “infrastructure” set up and then was going to concentrate on getting the HD receiver equipment.

Good idea about giving DirecTV a call about an upgrade.

The only part I don’t want to handle is the installation of the new dish. Not the installation actually, but the running of the two extra cables from the new dish (the old dish only had two cables coming from it) to the room where I have the rest of my video distribution equipment.

I guess I could get a new dish, a WB68, and one HD (non-DVR) receiver. If I can just get them to do that, I will do the rest on my own dime. It would pretty much entail buying the HF splitters, the SWM8, the PI, and a SWM splitter. Then I could replace the WB68 with the SWM8, split the signal from the dish to both the Spaun (Spaun allows me to also diplex a terrestrial signal), and the SWM8, and then split the signal coming out of the PI for my HD receivers. My SD receivers I could hook up to the Spaun multiswitch.

Thanks,

Choir

PS – I bought all the equipment I have, that was the way things were done back in 2002. It seems things have changed and now DirecTV “leases” everything. From what information I could gather in addition to the cost of the “leased” equipment, I would have to pay a $5/mo lease fee for each “leased” receiver. Is this correct? What advantages are there to “leased” equipment? If I decide I want a new receiver, can I turn in the “leased” one for some sort of credit? If the “leased” receiver breaks, will they repair/replace it for free? If they make a change that requires a new receiver (like they did going from MPEG2 to MPEG4) will they just give me the new receiver(s) for free?

#5 OFFLINE   carl6

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 05:34 PM

I want the installation done a certain way, even if that means I have to pay for it.

Might as well list my reasoning here, in case I am making a decision based upon bad information. I am not a fan of the current DirecTV DVR’s, I prefer the older DirecTivo units and I don’t want to switch. So I am willing to wait until late 09 for the HD DirecTivo units to become available.


We know nothing about the potential HD Tivo unit, including whether or not it will be compatible with SWM. While it seems reasonable to assume that it will be, until it is much closer to release I doubt anyone will know. Late 2009 is probably optimistic, I would expect 2010 as the more likely time. But again, we won't know for another 8 months or so.

If you anticipate a mix of legacy and new equipment, then you will need to run a non-SWM multiswitch in parallel with an SWM, or go completely non-SWM. That might be a better choice in your case (run 2 coax to the new DVR when you get it). If you will only have one SWM capable unit, then it would be more cost effective to simply run another coax.

As to leasing versus buying, if a leased receiver fails it should be replaced for shipping cost (if you don't have the protection plan) or at no cost (if you do have the protection plan). As to upgrading, if/when it becomes obsolete (unusable), it should be replaced at no cost. It is still possible to buy (to own) DVRs, but at a substantially higher cost. We do not know if the future HD Tivo will be owned or leased. It might be an owned unit, similar to the HR21-Pro.

#6 OFFLINE   randyk47

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 05:48 PM

Just one thing to add. The "lease" fee is the same as the "additional receiver" fee, you pay either one or the other but not both on all receivers leased or owned except the primary regardless of ownership. You don't save a penny by owning a receiver in monthly fees.
Elite 70" HD LED/HR44/AM21/Yamaha HTR/Harmony 900
Samsung 52" HD LCD/HR21/Yamaha HTR/Harmony One
Samsung 40" HD LED/HR23/AM21/Pioneer HTR/Harmony 900
Samsung 32" HD LCD/OTA
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SWM16
MRV
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U-verse Internet/Phone

#7 OFFLINE   Choir

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 06:05 PM

Carl - You are right, we don't know anything about the potential HD Tivo units yet. I sitll like the SWM solution. I do plan on using a mix of legacy and new equipment, that is why I mentioned the HF splitters and using my Spaun Ka/Ku multiswitch in parallel with the SWM8.

Randy - Thanks, didn't realize that about the no "additional receiver" fee for leased equipment! That makes the "lease" fee a bit easier to stomach.

#8 ONLINE   harsh

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 06:33 PM

I do plan on using a mix of legacy and new equipment, that is why I mentioned the HF splitters and using my Spaun Ka/Ku multiswitch in parallel with the SWM8.

What model number is the Spaun multiswitch that you have? If it isn't a direct replacement for the WB68, it may not be compatible with the AU-9 stacking plan.

Are you certain the device in question is Ka capable (substantially increased IF bandwidth requirements)?

The legacy equipment requirement effectively negates using an SWM solution. Unless the room is already cabled, it is just as easy to run two cables as it is to run one and you can avoid any power inserter issues.

As the new TiVo platform is supposedly based on the "existing HD DVR platform", it is likely that it will eventually support SWM.

#9 OFFLINE   randyk47

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 06:34 PM

Choir - Have to honestly say I'm a convert to leased equipment. I have two leased HR-20's and an owned H-20. I bought the H-20 two plus years ago kind of in protest to the whole notion of not owning my equipment. Guess I'm a slow learner but it finally dawned on me that I paid a bit more to own it at no real benefit. Sure, I could have sold it but typically I keep my equipment until it's obsolete and then donate it so it's not like I was making an investment with potential of even partial return. One HR-20 is listed as my primary so no monthly fee, the other has a lease fee, and the H-20 has an additional receiver fee.

PS - Used to live in Harvest. Had our choice of cable providers back then so the service was pretty good. Actually went to DirecTV when we moved to Virginia in 1999 and the one cable company was horrible.
Elite 70" HD LED/HR44/AM21/Yamaha HTR/Harmony 900
Samsung 52" HD LCD/HR21/Yamaha HTR/Harmony One
Samsung 40" HD LED/HR23/AM21/Pioneer HTR/Harmony 900
Samsung 32" HD LCD/OTA
Slimline Dish
SWM16
MRV
Attic Mounted HD OTA
U-verse Internet/Phone

#10 OFFLINE   Choir

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Posted 01 December 2008 - 07:08 PM

Harsh - I have a Spaun SMS 51602 NF multiswitch. Not sure how to check and see if it is compatible with the AU-9 stacking plan. I would prefer to use it over a WB68 just because of the option to diplex a terrestrial signal.


Choir

#11 ONLINE   harsh

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 08:58 AM

It might work if you cascade it from the WB68.

#12 OFFLINE   Choir

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 12:43 PM

It might work if you cascade it from the WB68.


By cascade you mean take 4 outputs from the WB68 and run them as the 4 inputs to the Spaun SMS 51602 NF? Would I still be able to diplex a terrestrial signal? Would I need B-Band converters (one for each line) in betweeen the WB68 and the 51602 in order to then diplex a terrestrial signal?

Thanks,

Choir

#13 OFFLINE   carl6

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Posted 02 December 2008 - 02:08 PM

By cascade you mean take 4 outputs from the WB68 and run them as the 4 inputs to the Spaun SMS 51602 NF? Would I still be able to diplex a terrestrial signal? Would I need B-Band converters (one for each line) in betweeen the WB68 and the 51602 in order to then diplex a terrestrial signal?

Thanks,

Choir


If the Spaun is powered, then you should be okay cascading it off the WB68. No, do NOT use b-band converters between the two. Diplexing should work from the Spaun out to what is connected to it.

#14 OFFLINE   Choir

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Posted 04 December 2008 - 03:14 PM

I spent a couple days thinking about it and decided not to worry about the SWM8 for the time being.

Called D* and asked them about upgrading to HD service. The person on the phone was extremely nice and said that since I had been a loyal customer for so long that I could get a HD receiver (no idea which model), a new dish, a new multiswitch (assuming a Zinwell, but not sure if it will be the WB68 or WB616), and installation for $19.95 + tax.

Sounded great to me, so I now have an appointment on the 19th to get the new equipment installed. I chose the 19th because I know I will be off that day, so I won't have to miss work to be home for the install.


I figure later on if I need to I can put a SWM in for the Zinwell, but for now the Zinwell should be sufficient.




Thanks for all the help/advice,


Choir

#15 ONLINE   harsh

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 08:34 AM

They'll give you enough switchgear to cover what you've got active on your account. I'm betting that if you have more than eight tuners, they'll split to two WB68s instead of giving you a WB616. It is up to the installer's discretion.

#16 OFFLINE   BattleZone

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 09:49 AM

I'd recommend paying another $100 and getting the HD-DVR. That's the receiver that's getting all of the great features, and living without a DVR is frightening!

#17 OFFLINE   dcandmc

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Posted 06 December 2008 - 07:24 PM

(btw why not dual tuners on a non-DVR receiver?)


What would be the point? You can only watch one channel at a time.




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