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DirecTV is becoming a horrible company (opinion of a long time fan)


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#26 ONLINE   HoTat2

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 06:20 PM

Why wouldn't it be practical? You take your signal, amplify it to some high (but known) quantity with a gain controlled amp, then tap off a bit of signal that gets split 8 ways to feed 8 SWM8s in a chassis to serve 8 units. If necessary you can amp it up again and start tapping again. Yeah, I'm sure it is expensive to do, but the cost divided by the number of units wouldn't be that bad. Keeps people from having dishes on the balcony of your nice building (at least those who aren't on the north side of the building ;))

 

I suppose the really big high rises with thousands of units probably can't keep re-amplifying the signal forever as they'd introduce too much noise at some point. Those really big buildings could use fiber, since it is easier to amplify an optical signal without adding as much noise.

Well isn't there some practical limitation to the MFH-2 system approach which is why MFH-3 was designed in the first place?

 

Or is their something maybe new about "D2" over the former SWiM multiswtich based MFH-2 system that allows for covering the very large apartment complexes? 


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#27 OFFLINE   veryoldschool

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Posted 17 October 2013 - 08:26 PM

Why wouldn't it be practical?

If you look into how it'd done, you'll find it is "practical".

"Basically" they use a trunk line drop to feed the floors through taps.

Each floor then amplifies as needed to feed the SWiMs.

When the trunk line levels drop too much, they add a trunk line amp.

When it's done right, the CNR doesn't degrade.


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#28 OFFLINE   slice1900

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 12:28 AM

Well isn't there some practical limitation to the MFH-2 system approach which is why MFH-3 was designed in the first place?

 

Or is their something maybe new about "D2" over the former SWiM multiswtich based MFH-2 system that allows for covering the very large apartment complexes? 

 

 

Maybe MFH3 was designed because it was cheaper for very large installs than MFH2, or at least was planned to be?

 

I don't know a lot about MFH3, but from the sound of it there was a very expensive head end that essentially tuned very many (or maybe all?) channels simultaneously, so the MPEG streams could be sent out over ethernet to the receivers. A high end DSP could trivially 'tune' an entire transponder's worth of channels, so you just need a box full of them to tune everything (but I have no idea if that's how they implemented it) The receivers had nowhere to plug in coax, only ethernet, and had no tuner. If you made them in similar quantities, they'd be less expensive to make than a regular receiver because there would be fewer parts. It sounds like the H20i was similar in many ways to a Genie client using RVU.

 

Since any modern building is going to have ethernet running everywhere anyway, if your building is large enough it is probably cheaper to have one really expensive head end and that's it. You're using the ethernet infrastructure you already have in the building. There's no coax running anywhere, no amps, no switches, no worries about tuner limits in the units. If they did it today you wouldn't even need receivers if it could be made compatible with RVU, though you'd need RVU clients capable of recording unless you connected that head end with a deduplicating disk array so it could act as a DVR for the entire building. Gigabit ethernet could carry 500-1000 HD channels, and 10Gb ethernet is very affordable as a backbone these days. If they used multicast, which I assume they would, you'd only need to carry each channel once no matter how many people were watching it.

 

It really makes me wonder why they abandoned MFH3, but if I had to guess either they couldn't make it as cheap as they planned, or maybe the point where that become cheaper limited its market so much that it couldn't support the cost of continued development. Perhaps if they'd held out long enough to make it compatible with RVU so they didn't need specialized receivers MFH3 could have become more competitive over time as technology drove down the price of that head end.


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#29 OFFLINE   Blackhawks

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 01:36 AM

Better not go to Dish Network, been there and done that. Customer Service is bad, unless you strike gold.


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#30 OFFLINE   AMike

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 07:35 AM

Over the years, I have had more success than not with DirecTV customer service.  I have had issues with some of the local contractors who didn't want to do the work and tell me it can't be done, but yet have others give me a 180 on that.

 

But, I also speak as a current Comcast customer as well.  The difference between the 2 companies in terms of customer service is night and day.  It's always an adventure either going to the local Comcast store, or spending time on hold dealing with the worst lot of CSRs known to man.


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#31 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 08:03 AM

I wonder if there is any benefit for the MDU to really try and "make it right" since their tenants have no other options as far as their TV services is concerned.

 
Yes because when people call DIRECTV to complain and DIRECTV finds out the MDU operator is reponsible they often take swift punitive action.
 

Well isn't there some practical limitation to the MFH-2 system approach which is why MFH-3 was designed in the first place?


I can't tell you why MFH3 was designed but the bottom line is, at least in 2013, that coaxial cable is a much more robust transport mechanism for audio and video. Not only is it designed for smooth transport but it's much more durable. DIRECTV found that people were not buying MFH3 systems and the burden of maintaining them was huge.

D2 Advantage is almost infinitely scalable with the correct equipment. I have been told of installations with 500 receivers running off one dish. As for the cost of maintaining intermediate closets full of SWMs, apparently it's manageable, that's all I can say. I don't know how MFH3 scaled up but apparently any advantages that you got were far offset by the issues revolving around putting that much category cable in the walls and having it maintained by non-computer-techs.
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#32 OFFLINE   JosephB

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 08:33 AM

One major advantage I would assume MFH2 has over MFH3 is that building owners/developers are probably way more favorable to running coax to every unit rather than fiber/ethernet only. By running coax, the unit theoretically has the flexibility to switch between DirecTV or cable as the customer desires, should the building set themselves up that way, or, should the building switch providers when their DirecTV contract runs out.

 

Plus, it simplifies the supply chain for DirecTV (no need to have the IP-enabled receivers, use standard switches, only special equipment are the racks and amps) plus (and this one was probably one of the biggest factors) the MDU customers get the exact same experience, immediately, as any other DirecTV customer. Each unit has their own SWM/DECA network and can get a Genie, Genie Go, use the mobile apps, Whole Home, everything. All of that means more revenue per MDU subscriber over the MFH3 system which precluded most if not all of that.

 

From what I've seen of the hardware online, it doesn't look like the rack of SWMs would take up that much room. There's going to be a wiring closet on each floor anyway, or reasonably close, even if they are using ethernet because of distance limits so space probably wouldn't be an issue. 



#33 ONLINE   Rich

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 11:24 AM

My only problem with Directv lately is their sub contractors for installs. The guy that did mine had to come back 3 days later because he put in the pole with no support or concrete, you could turn it by hand in the ground. He first showed up with no pole or shovel, had to come back 2 hours later after getting them from BFE.

 

I got my boss to switch over last week because DIsh lost a local here, and he also got a sub contractor in a beat up car, that guy was missing two things and a ladder was one of them.

 

I thought we were moving away from the day of shoddy installers, I mean cmon... And ATT customer service sucks for me here, at least on the DSL side.

 

We don't have a clue as to where you live, but here in Central NJ our contractor (Multi-Band) is very professional.  We used to get service such as you posted, but that's been over for quite some time.  They're still not as well trained as they should be and they're still fed misinformation, but that's not really their fault.  All in all, I've been very satisfied with them for the last four years.  Hopefully, you'll get an upgrade in service in the future.

 

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#34 OFFLINE   peds48

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 11:48 AM

They're still not as well trained as they should be and they're still fed misinformation, but that's not really their fault.  

Actually is their fault.  as employee retention on this business is very, very low.  there are very very few of us left over with many years of experience.


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#35 ONLINE   Rich

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 01:18 PM

Actually is their fault.  as employee retention on this business is very, very low.  there are very very few of us left over with many years of experience.

 

I'd think of an installer or tech as sort of an "Instrument Man".  Not a well known trade, but we had them and they only dealt with really low voltages and coax.  And, of course, various instruments that needed constant calibrations.  I don't really see much difference in what they did and what you do.  There's nothing that can compare to many years of experience, of course.  I know the churn rate in your job is high and I also know how hard it is to teach what seems simple to you and I.  That's one of the problems teachers face.  They want to teach, but can't get their message across.  Kinda like Mickey or Willie becoming batting instructors.  They couldn't possibly teach someone to hit a ball as well as they could and that really frustrated Mickey (don't know if Willie ever gave that a try.)

 

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#36 OFFLINE   peds48

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 01:24 PM

I'd think of an installer or tech as sort of an "Instrument Man". Not a well known trade, but we had them and they only dealt with really low voltages and coax. And, of course, various instruments that needed constant calibrations. I don't really see much difference in what they did and what you do. There's nothing that can compare to many years of experience, of course. I know the churn rate in your job is high and I also know how hard it is to teach what seems simple to you and I. That's one of the problems teachers face. They want to teach, but can't get their message across. Kinda like Mickey or Willie becoming batting instructors. They couldn't possibly teach someone to hit a ball as well as they could and that really frustrated Mickey (don't know if Willie ever gave that a try.)

Rich

of course this job appears to be easy. Mount a dish, run cable, connect receivers. But there is more to this than meets the eye....


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#37 OFFLINE   BobStokesbary

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 02:08 PM

I think what really confuses me the most is the inconsistency of DirecTV's service. By way of comparison, I had a DVR give up about two weeks ago. I called D* and they ran me through a series of tests to verify that there was, in fact, a problem. When the receiver failed the tests they told me that would authorize a replacement. As the OP stated, they said they would try to replace with the same unit, but could not guarantee it. I really did not like that option, but said OK. The next day the postman delivered replacement receiver of exactly the same type and all I had to do was put my bad receiver in the box, change the labels and drop it off at the post office for the return, Nothing could have been easier.

 

So, what has me confused is just how different our experiences could be. How I got such outstanding service while the OP got such crappy service is just crazy to me. It is like we were dealing with two distinctly separate companies. Maybe it has to do with the setup the OP had, but D* needs to have a "second tier" support level where problems can be handled in a much better way than they are doing today.

 

My heart goes out to the OP, because it certainly appears to me that he got really bad support from D* in this case. And I am sure that my story about the great service I got will fall on deaf ears by those who have not received good service. Consistency is what D* really needs to focus on if they want to keep growing their business.


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#38 OFFLINE   crkeehn

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 02:10 PM

Cell and one home has slow U-Verse internet. Twenty years ago I would have agreed, even ten years ago, but since then, no problems with CSR service....

You've been very fortunate.  ATT technical support can be very good, their billing can be a nightmare.  The transition from ATT DSL to U-verse was a constant series of phone calls, required to get the billing issues straightened out.  I was even instructed by ATT not to pay a bill I was just issued for DSL but to wait for the final bill so I pay the proper final balance.  They then turned me in to collections.



#39 OFFLINE   gov

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 02:27 PM

 .  . . . Consistency is what D* really needs to focus on if they want to keep growing their business.

 

 

Indeed. 

 

But maybe it is not seen by management as much of a goal to strive for.  MOST people sign up for service, get installed (or switched over) and hopefully not much more than once every several years they might need to call in or have a truck roll.  There is just not that many opportunities for a huge cluster pluck for most of the people in the system.

 

Those who post here, on the other hand, doing installs, antenna work, MDUs, custom home theater work etc. might be calling DirecTV and DISH and cable TV companies daily.

 

We have many more chances in the CSR lottery to catch a 'bozo' on a bad day, and really get in a pickle.  Just some of the weirdness I've encountered, nonreturn fees charged on active receivers, missed service calls, weird prepaid mailer adventures, bizarre receiver failures, wonky installs, and it is easy to get the impression the companies are managed by meth addicted chimpanzees.

 

Or on a really bad day, that meth addicted chimps would be an improvement!

 

:coffee



#40 OFFLINE   inf0z

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 04:39 PM

 

On top of all of that I think that DirecTV is completely unreasonable when it comes to their equipment. Just in order just to LEAS an HR24 you are expected to pay them $200 up front plus $5-$8 a month (what ever it is now) indefinitely, sign a 2 year contract... and you have to give it back Thats ridiculous. On top of that they don't allow anyone else to make equipment.. So the customers have no alternative... Then they think its ok to send customers older outdated equipment to replace the newer equipment that someone payed to get?

 
ATT will give you a $650 phone for $200 and a two year contract.. and the phone is yours to keep. Does the HR24 cost $650? I hate to compare this reviver to a smart phone... But the technology involved in a smartphone is much more advanced then that in an HR24.. So I don't see directv's pricing justification... Hell my 99$ appleTV seems more advanced then my HR24.. and I own it... now thats a little bit unfair because the HR24 does have tuners and stuff... but still. If apple can make a product that is that fast, snappy, and smooth as that for 99$... I would expect something as expensive as the HR24 to run at least as smoothly as the AppleTV.
 
 

 

 

Sure you own it - but you still pay a monthly fee for it.  What are you going to do after?  Keep a deactivated phone?  Sell it for $50?

 

 

 

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Edited by inf0z, 19 October 2013 - 04:41 PM.


#41 OFFLINE   peds48

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 08:38 PM

 

 

 
ATT will give you a $650 phone for $200 and a two year contract.. and the phone is yours to keep. 

 

Sure you get to keep the phone, after you have paid double of what the phone costs in two years, and even more if you keep the phone and dont upgrade to another one


Here’s to the crazy ones.
The misfits. The rebels.
The the troublemakers.
The round pegs in the square holes.

The ones who see things different.
They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo.


Think Differently 

#42 OFFLINE   JosephB

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 08:40 PM

Sure you get to keep the phone, after you have paid double of what the phone costs in two years, and even more if you keep the phone and dont upgrade to another one

 

It's not really fair to consider the costs of the service as a cost of the phone, though. It's not like you were paying $70 a month for the phone only. You were getting something else for the money you were paying.



#43 OFFLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 10:05 PM

It's not really fair to consider the costs of the service as a cost of the phone, though. It's not like you were paying $70 a month for the phone only. You were getting something else for the money you were paying.

Yeah but, considering how much you pay for TV versus phone its pretty ridiculous how much they charge people for phone plans.

And look. DIRECTV lease system is about the same as a car lease system. What's so bad about that? ,I'd never lease a car, but in the case of DIRECTV its more beneficial than owning generally speaking.

#44 OFFLINE   JosephB

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 10:13 PM

Yeah but, considering how much you pay for TV versus phone its pretty ridiculous how much they charge people for phone plans. And look. DIRECTV lease system is about the same as a car lease system. What's so bad about that? ,I'd never lease a car, but in the case of DIRECTV its more beneficial than owning generally speaking.

 

The only issue with DirecTV's leasing system is that they used to sell boxes so there are still customers out there who expect to be able to buy them. No one ever complains about not being able to buy a cable box. Its even less of an option for DirecTV because even if you bought a cablecard cable box, you can use it with multiple cable companies. A directv box is worthless if you don't subscribe to Directv. I do think their $200 up front fees are kind of dumb, but, on the other hand you don't have to pay $15 rental fees like you do with cable either so, it's kind of a wash.

 

Comparing it to phone companies is not really fair because the cost structures are way different. Way, way less infrastructure involved in satellite TV vs. cell phones.



#45 OFFLINE   acostapimps

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 10:41 PM

I would rather not get there crappy cable boxes even if they don't charge you upfront, some are okay to say the least, But they do get you on the high monthly fees per box, but to be reasonable every provider charge you, even using fancy words to make it seem like it's worth the high fees, sooner or later the bubble is going to burst.

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#46 OFFLINE   inkahauts

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 11:03 PM

Yeah in my area if you do the math you pay the upfront fee DIRECTV charges in about 14 months with their rental fees with cable and that's also taking into account DIRECTV monthly fees for DVR and such.

And in some places they charge a monthly lease fee for a remote!

#47 OFFLINE   KyL416

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 12:41 AM

And in some places they charge a monthly lease fee for a remote!

Yep, we had that with Cablevision, and you HAD to take the remote control, they wouldn't let you refuse it and use a universal remote. Some cable providers even have a fee for having extra analog outlets, even if you aren't using a cable box on them.

#48 OFFLINE   carl6

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 08:34 AM

Way, way less infrastructure involved in satellite TV vs. cell phones.

I'm not so sure that statement is true. Totally different infrastructure but I would guess total cost to not be too different. There is a huge financial investment in either infrastructure.



#49 OFFLINE   longrider

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 09:31 AM

A big difference between cell phone and DirecTV is that other than roaming cell companies have no outside expense in providing the service.  DirecTV pays a good chunk of your monthly charge to the content providers.


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#50 OFFLINE   JosephB

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 09:41 AM

I'm not so sure that statement is true. Totally different infrastructure but I would guess total cost to not be too different. There is a huge financial investment in either infrastructure.

 

There is less physical infrastructure. Cost basis? I don't know, I haven't done the math. A satellite is expensive, but you pay for it once and put it in space. Cell towers require ongoing maintenance and an army of technicians to work on them. Yes, DirecTV has an army of installers but AT&T has an army of installers for their U-Verse and wireline business PLUS techs to keep up with the wireless stuff.






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