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MUST I upgrade to SWM/DECA hardware for Whole Home DVR?


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52 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   eph3

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 02:36 PM

Prior to upgrading to D* HD-DVR three years ago I enjoyed multi-room capabilities with the ReplayTV 5000 units I had in my home. These had been connected to my home hard-wired ethernet network which the ReplayTV units used to communicate to one another for playback or sending programming commands from one to another.

I lost the multi-room capability when I upgraded to D* HD-DVR and am now considering going to a D* Whole Home DVR configuration. Everything I have read so far implies that I now have to run another ethernet network within my home, although it would use the coax already in place for DirecTV. I think I understand what would change (upgrade one receiver to HD capable, install SWM, DECAs, PI, etc.) but why?

MUST I install all of this additional hardware to establish an ethernet network which the D* receivers can use when I already have an existing hardwired ethernet network already in place?

Are there advantages to having the SWM network separate from my regular home network? One can think of is separating the D* traffic from my computer network, but are there others?

Thanks all!
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#2 OFFLINE   bobnielsen

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 02:57 PM

See this thread for information about using your existing ethernet network for whole-home DVR.

#3 OFFLINE   eph3

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 03:20 PM

Thanks Bob. I had scanned through that thread prior to my posting but with so many responses there it was difficult to determine the answers to my questions.

If I've read between the lines correctly, it seems that it is possible to use an existing ethernet network BUT it depends a lot on how you communicate with D* and it's currently an unsupported configuration. Is that right?
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#4 OFFLINE   hdtvfan0001

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 03:51 PM

Must - no.

Should - probably.
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#5 OFFLINE   Richierich

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 03:53 PM

If you want it to work properly and flawlessly with support from Directv I would let them install the DECA/SWM WHDVR Service and be done with it as I just love mine and I had it connected via my LAN but it didn't work flawlessly and gave me periodic problems.
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#6 OFFLINE   The Merg

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 04:04 PM

Hook up your receivers to your home network. Follow the instructions in the other thread about sending an e-mail to DirecTV. They will turn on MRV in an unsupported mode for you. That's it.

- Merg

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#7 OFFLINE   hasan

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Posted 19 December 2010 - 05:00 PM

Thanks Bob. I had scanned through that thread prior to my posting but with so many responses there it was difficult to determine the answers to my questions.

If I've read between the lines correctly, it seems that it is possible to use an existing ethernet network BUT it depends a lot on how you communicate with D* and it's currently an unsupported configuration. Is that right?


It (ethernet) is unsupported, and it will stay that way. You can get it turned on in unsupported mode, just follow the instructions to do so. You can't get any help with making it work or fixing problems from D*. (you have to come here for that):)

As yet another person who was running it unsupported (and worked for many months with the group of people who were testing it), I can say that as well as the unsupported approach worked (it still costs you the same $3.00 per month), the DECA approach works better for me. Fewer glitches and smoother trick play, is how I would characterize it.

In my situation, I'm running both. I have two DVRs and one HD receiver on SWM and DECA. I have a 3rd DVR on a different dish, and it is integrated with the WHDVR system with a wireless gaming adapter. As such, there is no support for the 2nd dish (w/r to WHDVR), but at least if I choose to, I can view programming on it and from it. It doesn't work as well as the SWM/DECA setup, and I don't use it much that way. I have it setup so I can use it for WHDVR if I choose, but mostly because it was an interesting technical challenge.

I would strongly recommend going SWM/DECA. You get a better sat signal (as a side benefit), and WHDVR works somewhat better.
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#8 OFFLINE   mjwagner

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 09:13 AM

If you have a well architected wired LAN with 'current' equipment (switches/router/etc.) then while the configuration is officially unsupported by D it should work just fine. I have 2 HD DVR's and 2 HD rcvr's that have all been running MRV flawlessly on my existing network since MRV was first made available.
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#9 OFFLINE   carl6

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 10:38 AM

I agree a DECA/SWM configuration will provide better overall service. However I also agree a good home network can support satisfactory MRV for most people, most of the time.

I actually have a hybrid system. I've got 3 DVRs and two receivers on SWM/DECA, plus another DVR not on that system. The DECA cloud is connected to my LAN, as is the fourth DVR, and all play together.

#10 OFFLINE   eph3

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 01:38 PM

Thanks for all of the info and feedback here! I do have a very stable home network, and as I mentioned in my original post I was regularly using it for my ReplayTV DVRs to communicate to each other as well as stream content back and forth.

At the very least I will integrate a SWM8 unit with HR-24 and try MRV over my existing network after turning on the service with D*. To me, the added complexity and components for D's DECA network is a concern, adding multiple new potential points of failure. I may end up going to that configuration, but I'm going to test with my existing network infrastructure first.

Thanks!
DirecTV since '96, HR21-700, HR22-100 and RTV 5160

#11 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 01:47 PM

To me, the added complexity and components for D's DECA network is a concern, adding multiple new potential points of failure.

Thanks!

I've been using it for about 18 months and it/they aren't/haven't been a "concern".
Actually I might have had more problems using ethernet. :lol:
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#12 OFFLINE   mjwagner

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 02:08 PM

If your current wired network is stable and you were using it to distribute video before then you should have no trouble using it for MRV. While theoretically SWM/DECA may at some point in the future allow you to do something that you can't currently do over a well architected wired network, I have yet to see any indication of that capability being rolled out anytime soon.
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#13 OFFLINE   carl6

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 03:27 PM

Keep in mind your replay equipment was streaming SD, not HD. Big difference in bandwidth.

#14 OFFLINE   Richierich

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 03:31 PM

Keep in mind your replay equipment was streaming SD, not HD. Big difference in bandwidth.


Yes, HD is about 6 to 7 times larger than SD.
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#15 OFFLINE   hdtvfan0001

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 03:44 PM

Yes, HD is about 6 to 7 times larger than SD.

Bandwidth ratio is about 5 to 1 for HD to SD.
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#16 OFFLINE   Richierich

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 03:46 PM

Bandwidth ratio is about 5 to 1 for HD to SD.


Well, I had heard 6.5 to 1 but maybe that was MPEG-2 and not MPEG-4!!! :D
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#17 OFFLINE   mjwagner

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 04:04 PM

Bandwidth ratio is about 5 to 1 for HD to SD.


As long as he has a well architected wired LAN it will be able to EASILY handle HD. A 100 Mbps wired LAN has plenty of bandwidth. My wiring is all CAT 5e and all my switches and my router support 1000 Mbps. Note that the Ethernet ports on the D equipment is currently only 100 Mbps.

Again, any technical benefit of SWM/DECA, outside of the benefits of ease of installation and ease of support, which are benefits for D and their installers not directly benefits for the consumer, are currently only "specification" benefits and are not being utilized by anything D is currently doing or has even announced intention of doing.

It was actually interesting if you watched the most recent D investor briefing, their chief technologist admitted that one of the reasons they went with running the network traffic over the coax lines (made possible by DECA) was that the installers understood how to work with coax.

Edited by mjwagner, 20 December 2010 - 05:30 PM.
Corrected typo, should have been 100 Mbps and 1000 Mbps.

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#18 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 04:42 PM

As long as he has a well architected wired LAN it will be able to EASILY handle HD. A 10 Mbps wired LAN has plenty of bandwidth. My wiring is all CAT 5e and all my switches and my router support 100 Mbps. Note that the Ethernet ports on the D equipment is currently only 10 Mbps.

Not sure where you got this, but it isn't correct.
MPEG-4 HD normally "averages" around 9 Mb/s, but can be 16 Mb/s and trickplay can be over 30 Mb/s, so the receiver IS USING 100 Mb/s ports.
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#19 OFFLINE   mjwagner

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 05:29 PM

Sorry about that...my fault for trying to do many things at once this afternoon. That should have been 100 Mbps and 1000 Mbps (Gigabit Ethernet). Sorry if I confused anybody.
Mark

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#20 OFFLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 02:14 AM

If your having them upgrade equipment anyway, just go deca now.. It'd be more expensive latter i have a feeling.. And there is ZERO reason not to go deca... There are POSSIBLE downsides to not going deca... Thats as simple as I can put it...

#21 OFFLINE   mjwagner

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 07:37 AM

.. And there is ZERO reason not to go deca... There are POSSIBLE downsides to not going deca...


For people that do not have existing wired LAN's or who are not network savy or who are just more comfortable with a completely D supported configuration by all means have DECA installed. But for people who do already have well functioning wired LAN's, who are network savy, and don't really want D contactors/installers touching their equipment/installations anyway I disagree with your statements.

Reasons not to go DECA:
Don't want to pay D the additional expense
Don't want the extra equipment
Don't want the additional complexity
Don't want another network
I could go on but you get the idea...

So while the reasons not to have DECA installed are real TODAY the downside is only possible/theoretical sometime possibly in the future.

As I mentioned before, even D's chief technologist basically admitted that the reason they went with DECA is for ease of installation and support rather than any current deficiencies in modern wired LAN technology.
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#22 OFFLINE   hdtvfan0001

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 07:39 AM

If your having them upgrade equipment anyway, just go deca now.. It'd be more expensive latter i have a feeling.. And there is ZERO reason not to go deca... There are POSSIBLE downsides to not going deca... Thats as simple as I can put it...

A fair assessment on all points.

Since DECA is said to be the foundation for other potential future things at DirecTV...that would be yet another motivation...
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#23 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 09:02 AM

Reasons not to go DECA:

  • Don't want to pay D the additional expense
  • Don't want the extra equipment
  • Don't want the additional complexity
  • Don't want another network
I could go on but you get the idea...

Frankly, only #1 makes any sense to me.
#2 may be meaningless as the customer could already have "the equipment".
#3 could be seen as less complexity.
#4 If it's connected to your router, is isn't "another network", but merely an extension of your current.

Don't get me wrong here, if one wants to use/maintain their own ethernet for MRV, then do it.
I just find most of these "reasons not to" more fear of the unknown than "valid".
For 18 months mine has worked flawlessly and I no longer have cat5 running/laying around the house.

"So" to me it simply comes down to cost.
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#24 OFFLINE   mjwagner

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 09:30 AM

I certainly agree that if you have cat5 laying around the house then you are certainly better off with DECA. The parameters I originally were that you already had installed a well architected wired LAN. That does not include having to string or lay cat5 along floors. Sorry if that was not clear.

Point 2 - The original question was about someone who did not currently have SWM/DECA installed but did have an existing wired LAN. In that case having SWM/DECA installed would necessitate additional equipment.

Point 3 - You say less complexity I say having yet another LAN is additional complexity...suppose we can agree to disagree... ; - )

Point 4 - The traffic is separate and it uses diffident technology so to me it certainly is another LAN but again I will agree to disagree.

Look, I'm really not anti DECA. It is in fact an excellent solution for the vast majority of D customers and it is unquestionably easier for the D installers to install, utilizes their existing skill set (coax), most customers existing wiring (coax), and is easier and less complex for D to troubleshoot/fix. Those are all excellent reasons for most customers to use DECA. That is why, IMHO, when you are making the case as to why someone should have DECA installed their is little reason to resort to some supposed technical inferiority of a well architected wired LAN implemented with modern 100/1000 Mbps cat5e/cat6 technology.

Specific to that last point, it is interesting to note, as I had previously mentioned, that during the recent D investor briefing Romulo Pontual, when discussing D "Advanced In-Home Networking" did not mention any technical reasons why they went with DECA/MOCA over existing LAN technology. Instead he talked about the fact that D installers were "experts" at installing coaxial cabling and that having them install network cabling and equipment would be "completely new" and "we avoid that". His comments are here starting at time stamp 07:18, chart 6 of 19 in his section:

http://www-waa-akam....6d9470ffc282ce3
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#25 OFFLINE   The Merg

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 09:38 AM

Point 2 - The original question was about someone who did not currently have SWM/DECA installed but did have an existing wired LAN. In that case having SWM/DECA installed would necessitate additional equipment.

Point 3 - You say less complexity I say having yet another LAN is additional complexity...suppose we can agree to disagree... ; - )

Point 4 - The traffic is separate and it uses diffident technology so to me it certainly is another LAN but again I will agree to disagree.


If you have H24/HR24's, then there is no additional equipment except for the Broadband DECA. And you can look at the Broadband DECA as just a switch, since that is essentially is how it is acting. You are not creating another LAN. You have the DECA cloud, which for all purposes is just an extension of your current home network. It is, however, isolated from the rest of your network via the Broadband DECA so that MRV traffic does not interfere with your normal LAN traffic. But, that is how things would work if you isolated your receivers via a switch on an ethernet network.

- Merg

Today's problems don't worry me, I haven't solved yesterday's yet.

SlimLine-3 Dish w/ SWM16 (HD Service / WHDVR) / Full Setup
HR34-700 / Panasonic TC-P50G25 HDTV / HDMI / Networked - DECA / Family Room
HR44-700 / Samsung HCM5525W HDTV / Component / Networked - DECA / Bedroom

HR24-100 / Samsung HCM5525W HDTV / Component / Networked - DECA / Bedroom





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