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Install Advice, Switching from E*


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17 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Kirby

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 05:22 AM

Hi everyone,

I am considering switching from E* to D* and I have questions about hardware configuration. I would like to mimic my current installation as much as possible, it's the programming that is driving the change. I want an HD DVR, I don't particularly want any other receivers because of the added cost and the way we watch TV.

Background: I used to work for E*, I was an installer for a couple of years. I do not know much about D* equipment other than what I have found on their website and these forums.

Current Setup: Dual RG6 to groundblock in garage, then dual to utility room. E* 722 HD DVR in utility room is my only receiver, mirrored to 4 rooms.
TV1) Component cables from 722 to AV Receiver then HDMI to projector
TV2) HDMI
TVs 3&4) RG6 from 722 output is split to 2 other TVs


Questions:
1) It looks like D* receivers don't have a coax out. Is there a common solution to mimic my setup?
2) I have UHF E* remotes in all 4 rooms that can each control the 722. Are the remotes for D* similar?
3) Are the HDMI and Component outputs both alway active?


Thanks for the help!

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#2 OFFLINE   sigma1914

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 05:44 AM

1.) It depends. ;) How are your viewing habits? By that I mean, do you ever have all 4 TVs watching different stuff at the same time? With you looking to keep costs down by minimizing boxes, it depends how you watch TV. Your first 2 boxes share the $6 lease fee, so boxes on TVs 3 & 4 would be $12 more...$18 in lease fees. Keep in mind that you could do many combinations (1 HDDVR 3 HD boxes, 2 HDDVR 2 HD, 3 HDDVR 1 HD, or all 4 HDDVR) and watch anything on any TV with Multi Room Viewing.

2.) They're a RF mode.

3.) Yes.
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#3 OFFLINE   Kirby

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 07:40 AM

Thanks for the help sigma!

Our viewing pattern is extremely basic....we have all 4 of our TVs always showing the exact same picture(powered by 1 DVR). It probably sounds strange but it's just my wife and I and we always watch together.

#4 OFFLINE   carl6

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 07:59 AM

If all you want to do is watch the same programming on other TV's, you can easily add an external rf modulator using the composite video (yellow) output from the DVR to drive it. From the modulator, connect your coax to each of the other rooms.

If you want the ability to watch two different things at one time, then get an HD DVR and an additional HD receiver. Add a modulator to each and combine the outputs of the modulators, then feed that signal to all your remote TV's. Then you could switch between the two sources simply by changing channels. To do this, you will want modulators that let you select the output channels (typically UHF) and set them two or three channels apart from each other to prevent cross-channel interference. This would get you two separate feeds for the cost of one lease fee ($6 a month).

Of course, all of your remote TV's are watching SD, not HD. To get HD, you need a receiver or DVR at the TV location. So with a single DVR, you feed one HD TV and as many remote SD TVs as you want using a modulator. With a DVR and a second receiver, you cover two HD TVs and multiple remote SD locations. Add $6 a month to each location you want a DVR or receiver at.

Keep in mind, with whole-home service, you can watch recordings from the DVR at any other receiver location, in HD, without the modulator scheme.

#5 OFFLINE   Kirby

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 01:43 PM

If all you want to do is watch the same programming on other TV's, you can easily add an external rf modulator using the composite video (yellow) output from the DVR to drive it. From the modulator, connect your coax to each of the other rooms.


Thanks Carl, a modulator will probably be the way to go for me. For the secondary TVs I don't mind the SD considering the monthly savings.

I appreciate the help. It sounds like I can pretty well approximate what I have now and only have to shell out for a modulator (or find my old VCR).

The RF remotes are great....hopefully the installer has a few extra he can part with. I know I always had a bunch of extras in the truck. Any chance the D* remotes are learning remotes? Right now my main E* remote controls my AV Receiver, DVD, and Projector.

#6 OFFLINE   carl6

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 01:54 PM

Not learning in that sense, but they are capable of being programmed to control another device. There is a slider switch you can set to 4 positions, the first being for the DirecTV unit, the others for other items.

#7 OFFLINE   mdavej

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 02:24 PM

The RF remotes are great....hopefully the installer has a few extra he can part with. I know I always had a bunch of extras in the truck. Any chance the D* remotes are learning remotes? Right now my main E* remote controls my AV Receiver, DVD, and Projector.

In my experience, installers aren't very generous at all with RF remotes. But they're cheap and plentiful on ebay, and not that expensive straight from DirecTV.

In any case, D* remotes are pretty limited as far as other devices go. Another downer is D* receivers can't do IR and RF simultaneously, which means if you get a universal remote to handle your other devices, you have to leave your D* box in IR mode and use some 3rd party RF solution like Next Generation.

I'd recommend ebay for your modulators too. They usually run about $10. You'll need a pair of diplexers if you plan to put the modulated signal on the same coax as the incoming sat signal. But I never had any luck getting that to work on a SWM system.

#8 OFFLINE   BattleZone

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Posted 06 April 2011 - 11:17 PM

In my experience, installers aren't very generous at all with RF remotes.


That's because installers are not supplied with extra remotes. HD-DVRs (only) come with an RF remote, and that's normally the only way an installer is going to get his hands on one.

DirecTV sells additional RF remotes on their website for anyone who would like one (or more) beyond what is provided.

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#9 OFFLINE   Jodean

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 12:00 AM

first you have to understand how to modulate with directv, its not like dish which is super easy.

Ya, you COULD get one HD DVR run HDMI and component to 2 HD tvs, obviously on the same channel. Then you COULD use the modulator box to convert the composite signal to channel 3 or 4, but what this does is force a 16:9 widescreen on your SD tvs which will squish the picture and eveyone looks like they lost 50 lbs.

The better way to do this is to mirror the 2 HD tvs, one with HDMI one with component. Then use a 2nd directv receiver to run the modulation to the other tvs, this receiver you would put to display 4:3 mode which will show up correctly on your SD tvs.

I have numerous RF remotes with me at all times, usually sell them for $15 to $20 each.

The directv remotes usually will control all your av equipment, there are very few and odd devices that it wont do. So if you have any descent and normal equipment like an Onkyo or Sony or Yamaha AV receiver it will do it, maybe not all functions but for sure volume and power.

The dish 21.0 learning remote is amazing though, i was able to add video inputs to buttons as i wished which are not part of the normal code that ran the volume and power. And they are only $20 almost worth it for anyone, maybe even a directv customer!! LOL that would be funny im sure it would run the direct receiver just fine.

I was just at a house today installed by corp direct, the installer told the guy he was unable to make any of his other tvs work in the house, the guy had dish and just split the home dist to all remaining rooms previously. The direct guy told him he couldnt do that and he would fail QC. Anyhow i foudn the guy because he needed a dish at his lake cabin, he told me about the mirrors he wanted and i set him up with a modulator and fed his other 4 tvs and the guy was happy as hell. Also sold him some RF remotes. Very happy customer of direct after i fixed everything for him.

#10 OFFLINE   Kirby

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 12:32 AM

In any case, D* remotes are pretty limited as far as other devices go. Another downer is D* receivers can't do IR and RF simultaneously, which means if you get a universal remote to handle your other devices, you have to leave your D* box in IR mode and use some 3rd party RF solution like Next Generation.


Thanks for the info, that is good to know. I actually use a Next Generation now for my Receiver/DVD. They are a great product!

#11 OFFLINE   Kirby

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 12:59 AM

first you have to understand how to modulate with directv, its not like dish which is super easy.

Ya, you COULD get one HD DVR run HDMI and component to 2 HD tvs, obviously on the same channel. Then you COULD use the modulator box to convert the composite signal to channel 3 or 4, but what this does is force a 16:9 widescreen on your SD tvs which will squish the picture and eveyone looks like they lost 50 lbs.


Thanks for the clarification. The 2 TVs that I would be sending the modulated SD signal to are both HDTVs(16x9). I am just a cheap ******* and don't want to pay $10-$20 a month extra for additional receivers, and would rather live with the lower quality on less used TVs. I think if I modulate the RCA outputs from the D* HDDVR it will fill the screen but produce an SD quality, is that correct?

The better way to do this is to mirror the 2 HD tvs, one with HDMI one with component. Then use a 2nd directv receiver to run the modulation to the other tvs, this receiver you would put to display 4:3 mode which will show up correctly on your SD tvs.

See note above about me being a cheap *******. I hadn't considered a SD receiver though....that may be cheaper.


The directv remotes usually will control all your av equipment, there are very few and odd devices that it wont do. So if you have any descent and normal equipment like an Onkyo or Sony or Yamaha AV receiver it will do it, maybe not all functions but for sure volume and power.


Sounds good, thanks. Sounds like the old Dish remotes. Pioneer Receiver, Epson Projector, Sony DVD player.


The dish 21.0 learning remote is amazing though, i was able to add video inputs to buttons as i wished which are not part of the normal code that ran the volume and power. And they are only $20 almost worth it for anyone, maybe even a directv customer!! LOL that would be funny im sure it would run the direct receiver just fine.


I totally agree, those remotes are awesome! I currently am using 4(one in each room) 21.0s, and I have a few more spares for when they wear out. I had been thinking about reprogramming the 21.0 to control the D* receiver, which wouldn't be too difficult. However mdavej pointed out that D* receivers can't do IR and RF simultaneously, and the E* remote can only send learned codes via IR. This would work for my Living Room since I have a Next Generation, but not for my other rooms which would need RF. I suppose I could buy more Next Generation modules for the "remote remotes" :P



P.S. I even found a way to program the 21.0 to turn on 3 Devices with one button press(a poor man's macro).....I tried to explain it to the E* trainer but he couldn't grasp the concept! :lol:

#12 OFFLINE   carl6

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 08:25 AM

I think if I modulate the RCA outputs from the D* HDDVR it will fill the screen but produce an SD quality, is that correct?

The SD output will be 4:3 aspect ratio. You can use your TV controls to stretch or zoom or whatever.

See note above about me being a cheap bastard. I hadn't considered a SD receiver though....that may be cheaper.


The monthly cost for additional receivers is exactly the same regardless if it is SD or HD, receiver or DVR. You can have four HD DVRs for the same recurring monthly cost as four SD non-DVR receivers (except that you will pay the DVR fee one time per account if you have any - 1 or more - DVRs).

#13 OFFLINE   Jodean

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 12:39 PM

The SD output will be 4:3 aspect ratio. You can use your TV controls to stretch or zoom or whatever.



thats correct, the 16:9 through the modulator will produce a 4:3 (16:9 thats squished)

you could then use your tvs stretch mode and it will show up proper ratio and in SD to fill your whole screen.

Leaving the tv in normal mode will show a square picture through modulation and it will be squished. Hope that makes sense.

So really you could still get away with only 1 receiver as you wish to do.

#14 OFFLINE   carl6

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 02:51 PM

thats correct, the 16:9 through the modulator will produce a 4:3 (16:9 thats squished)

you could then use your tvs stretch mode and it will show up proper ratio and in SD to fill your whole screen.


No, that is not correct. The SD output from the DVR using the composite video output will be 4:3. It has nothing to do with the modulator.

#15 OFFLINE   Jodean

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 03:32 PM

No, that is not correct. The SD output from the DVR using the composite video output will be 4:3. It has nothing to do with the modulator.


No, you are not correct...or what?

already stated the modulator outputs 4:3, but its being fed a 16:9 signal so it looks squished......AND that if the tv is left to normal it will show up square (4:3) and still look squished......ONLY the tv can be set to stretch mode or zoom and correct the image....if you adjust the receiver you will stretch the HD signal from the HDMI and component and therefore mess up that format on those two tvs.

I do this everyday, just explaining what happens to a widescreen fed into a modulator.

#16 OFFLINE   carl6

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Posted 07 April 2011 - 09:39 PM

already stated the modulator outputs 4:3, but its being fed a 16:9 signal so it looks squished....


The modulator is NOT being fed a 16:9, it is being fed a 4:3. Yes, the modulator is also outputting 4:3. But the modulator is not changing anything. The composite video output port on all DirecTV DVRs (SD or HD) provides a 4:3 ratio video signal.

#17 OFFLINE   davejacobson

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 07:18 AM

It sounds like your E* setup is nice and simple. The D* solution has a lot of extra parts that( modulators and extra combining and connecting) could lead to pix trouble. To go through all that the programing difference must be huge.
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#18 OFFLINE   Kirby

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 10:09 PM

It sounds like your E* setup is nice and simple. The D* solution has a lot of extra parts that( modulators and extra combining and connecting) could lead to pix trouble. To go through all that the programing difference must be huge.


Yes this is a very good point. One of the reasons I was considering the switch was E* was not showing the Twins games on Fox Sports North. Since that has been resolved fairly quickly....I may stay with E* for now. At least until I decide to go for Sunday Ticket.

Thanks to everyone's help here I think I will be able to get what I want when I do switch. Thanks!




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