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HD Upgrade Help

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Installation/MDU Discussion' started by ltgerryf, Nov 27, 2007.

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  1. ltgerryf

    ltgerryf Cool Member

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    Nov 27, 2007
    Just purchased a 50" Plasma and want to upgrade the D* service in my family room to a HD/DVR receiver from the current digital box.

    My current system has a 5 LNB Slimline antenna (installed Jan. '07) and 3 digital set top boxes (family room, basement, daughters bedroom) and one HD box in the master bedroom. I get local channels via my D* package, so I don't need to hook up an antenna to get any OTA stations.

    Got some sticker shock when D* advised they wanted $299 plus $4.99 a month to ship me a HD/DVR reciever.

    Are there cheaper alternatives to purchasing a receiver and just paying the $4.99 for the DVR service?

    Finally, is there any need for more cabling to the proposed HD/DVR box than the one cable line that goes to the set top box that is currently there. I do have a new multiswitch that I understand will allow me to add more TVs to the system.

    I am comfortable running cables and installing other components, but just need some plain english guidance as to what is need to do this install.

    Any help is appreciated as the plasma looks like a big black mirror hanging on the wall right now!!!
     
  2. bigref

    bigref Legend

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    Sep 11, 2007
    If you want the DVR you will need to lines coming from the dish or a Zinwell multiswitch. You can try and talk very nice to DirecTV CS and see if they will give you a break on the price. Depends on how long you have been with them and how nice you are. It is my understanding, that a lot of the very good deals have gone away.
     
  3. carl6

    carl6 Moderator Staff Member DBSTalk Club

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    Seattle, WA
    The multiswitch you will need is specifically the Zinwell WB68. If you have any other model multiswitch it won't work with the new HD channels.

    You need two coax cables from the multiswitch to the HD DVR (to any DVR for that matter), one for each tuner.

    So the configuration you will end up with is:
    Four coax from slimline dish to WB68 inputs.
    One coax from the WB68 output to each non-DVR receiver (SD or HD).
    Two coax from the WB68 output to each DVR receiver (SD or HD).

    Carl
     
  4. vernonator

    vernonator AllStar

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    Jul 31, 2007
    Good luck on getting a deal, I tried last night to no avail. I had an old DirecTivo die (and have the protection plan). Having just gotten a second HD TV I thought they might give me credit for the SD DVR they owed me (under the protection plan) towards a HR20...nope no soap they quoted $299. Even tried to call back to get another CS rep...all I could get out of them was a replacement H20 instead of a SD DVR...even though I have been with them for almost 10yrs and get a pretty good selection of programming..........grrrrrrrrr
     
  5. ltgerryf

    ltgerryf Cool Member

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    Nov 27, 2007
    Thanks for the quick replies.

    A couple of other quick questions.

    It looks like the D* HR 20 is the preferred HD/DVR from my looking at other posts.

    Is this correct?

    Is there any difference getting these at BB, CC or other electronics place as opposed to going right to D*? Can D* verify I would be getting a HR20?

    Thanks again and I'm going to start running the extra cable line and mounting the Zinwell tonight.
     
  6. Rakul

    Rakul Slacker

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    Sep 3, 2007
    Since you said preiviousily OTA was not important to you I don't think it will really matter ito you on thie whole HR20 vs HR21, heck you might even like the 21 better if you need a black unit.

    However, if you really want a 20 your best bet would be to go to BB, CC or event Costco and looking for an HR20 box, be sure you read the label closely to make sure you are getting what you are looking for. It will still run you about $299.00, slightly less at Costco.
     
  7. carl6

    carl6 Moderator Staff Member DBSTalk Club

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    There is no way to know which model you will get (HR20 or HR21) if you order it from DirecTV. The only way to get one versus the other is to buy it from a local or on-line retailer.

    Carl
     
  8. ltgerryf

    ltgerryf Cool Member

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    Nov 27, 2007
    Carl,

    Your opinion as to what would be the best in my situation, HR20 or HR21?

    I get my local channels as part of my D* package, so I don't need to worry about trying to pick up any other locals. Don't watch much local TV other than the news anyway!!

    Rakul says the HR21 might be the way to go and all my AV equipment is black, so it will blend in better provided the HR20 is silver.

    What do you think? What are the major (non-technical, plain english) differences between the two?

    I can go by my local Costco and pick one up so I'll know what one I'm getting.
     
  9. carl6

    carl6 Moderator Staff Member DBSTalk Club

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    Seattle, WA
    Other than the OTA tuners, from a functional perspective it really doesn't matter much which of the two you get.

    The HR20-700 tends to have more test versions of software available in the CE forum of this web site, and if you participate there you might get to play with some new features sooner than with a different model. However there is also more risk to doing that.

    Beyond that, I really don't think it will matter. If the black appearance is important to you, then by all means go for the HR21. However, you may not have a choice with regard to what is in inventory at Costco.

    Carl
     
  10. ltgerryf

    ltgerryf Cool Member

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    Nov 27, 2007
    Thanks to all who replied to get me through the HD DVR selection process.

    Hopefully the cable run and install will go well as I'm following established paths and have pull strings left in the wall from running previous cables.
     
  11. MrLatte

    MrLatte Legend

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    Aug 18, 2007
    Last week when I looked at my Costco (Washington State) they had the HR21 only.
     
  12. ltgerryf

    ltgerryf Cool Member

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    Nov 27, 2007
    Went to Costco last night after work and picked up the HR20-700. That was the only model they had and there were 8 in stock--now 7. I'll live with the silver color mixed in with my black audio equipment. The current digital box is silver also, so not that big of a deal. I hope to be looking at the 50" plasma anyway!!!

    $269.99 plus tax, so now it's time to set everything up. Thank God for a drop ceiling in the basement to ease the install of the cable.

    I'll post when everything is done, but still waiting on an HDMI cable I ordered. It should arrive today.
     
  13. ltgerryf

    ltgerryf Cool Member

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    Nov 27, 2007
    Finished the install of the HR20-700 to my new plasma and I am having some technical issues. D* phone tech ran me through some things and thinks the B-band convertors shipped with the HD/DVR were bad. They will ship replacements.

    I keep getting "searching for signal on Sat 2" with an error code. Never had an issue with getting a signal before I put in the HD/DVR. Both cable lines run direct from the multiswitch to the B band converters. Some channels get the searching for signal message and then the channel comes in, while others get the message and the channel never shows up, just a scrolling bar showing that it is looking for a signal.

    Also ran into a problem when I moved the digital dox from the family room to my son's room (the HD/DVR went into the family room). I also get the searching for signal message when I try to get his TV up and running. Figured this would just be a simple move and hookup, but nothing works so far.

    I have a Zinwell 6x8 multiswitch and even moving the line to my son's room to another port doesn't seem to work. Straight cable run from the multiswitch to his room where the cable ends in a wall jack. Even took the cable out of the wall jack, added a barrel connector and went straight to the D* box with no luck.

    Two other digital boxes and one HD box connected to the multiswitch work fine.

    Anybody have any issues with the reliability of the Zinwell 6x8 multiswitch. Another forum had a poster who said they were junk and this is why D* is willing to let installers put them in for free as D* doesn't have to pay much for them. Got mine off e-bay in a sealed box so I thought it should work right out of the box. He seemed to be in the minority, but interested in other user's comments.

    Anyway to check the ports without a meter which I don't have?

    Anyway to verify if the B Band converter is bad. Again, brand new, so two hardware failures seems odd.

    Willing to try anything to solve the issues and have already lost 10 pounds going from the basement multiswitch location to the second floor countless times!!!!
     
  14. techrep

    techrep Hall Of Fame

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    If tuner 1 is working, swap the BBC's and see if the 771's follow the BBC from tuner 2 to tuner 1.

    If the 771's do not follow the BBC swap, switch the cables at the receiver inputs to see if the 771's follow the cable.

    How long are the cable runs from the dish to the receiver?
     
  15. ltgerryf

    ltgerryf Cool Member

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    Nov 27, 2007
    techrep,

    Thanks for the reply so here goes on the answers to your questions.

    Cables are about 10 feet from the dish to the Zinwel 6x8 multiswitch--solid run, no connectors in this run.

    From the multiswitch to the HR 20 it is about 60 feet, again solid run, no connectors.

    The D* tech rep had me switch the BBCs and thinks it s the BBC on line 2, so they are sending new BBCs. I just find it hard to believe these "new, out of the box" BBCs are bad.

    Do you have any suggestions for my other issue where I can't get a signal on the digital box in my son's room? I simply moved the digital box from my family room (where the HR 20 is now located) and put it in my son's room. Again solid run of cable from the multiswitch about 30 feet in length. The digital box worked fine in the family room, but now it says searching for signal.

    How does one tell if the multiswitch is working at all ports? I have one previous HD box and two other digital boxes that continue to work fine and they are now connected to the multiswitch. Again, I find it hard to believe that a new Zinwell is defective, not just on one port but three as I've moved cables around and still get the searching for satellite message.

    Last night scanning the channels, I would get searching for signal on 2 one time and then after flipping back to that channel, the channel would come in. Flip around some more and come back and could not get the channel. This happened on numerous channels.

    From these posts it appears to be a widespread problem with no universal solution, so I'm up for anything to try to resolve this problem.
     
  16. techrep

    techrep Hall Of Fame

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    Ok, cable run length is not the problem.

    It is probably the BBC and they do have a rather high failure rate. Look at post 535 below

    http://www.dbstalk.com/showthread.php?p=689374&highlight=high+bbc+failure+rate#post689374

    Unless you are recording on one tuner, every time that you change channels, you are swapping tuners and this could explain your channel "flipping" dilemma if one of the BBC's is bad.

    You said "I get local channels via my D* package, so I don't need to hook up an antenna to get any OTA stations" but, if you diplexed OTA before, make certain that all diplexers are removed as these will present similar problems when placed in the cable run.

    Which model "digital box" are you relocating to your son's room and, are you certain that the CSR did not deactivate this box when you activated the HR20? Will this "digital box" work if you connect it in a different location now?

    The only practical multiswitch output test is to swap cables between the outputs but, at this point, I doubt that the multiswitch is the problem.

    In post #1 you said that you have one HD box in the master bedroom. Can you get the new mpeg4 HD channels off of D10 (sat 103b) on this box? Does this box have BBC's installed at the inputs?

    Last but not least, please post your sat 101 and 103b TP signal strength readings for both tuners.
     
  17. ltgerryf

    ltgerryf Cool Member

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    Nov 27, 2007
    D* sent me one replacement BBC today and I hooked it up to Sat 2 In. No real change.

    First I have heard that each time you change channels, you switch tuners, so this explains why I get no chanel and then get the channel when I change back. I haven't tackled recording yet as I want to get the simple stuff like getting all the channels to come in first.

    Not sure what a "diplexer" is, but there is nothing between the multiswitch and the HR20 tuner. Tell me what it is and I'll see if there is one between the dish and the multiswitch.

    Not 100% sure that the CSR didn't deactivate the digital box when I hooked up the HR20. I didn't ask that this be done and when I called for tech support the second time, the tech never said the box was deactivated, but I'll call back and check. The model of the digital box in my son's room is a D11.

    I can get all of the new HD channels with the HD receiver in the Master bedroom.

    I post with the signal strength readings for the HR20 in a few minutes.
     
  18. ltgerryf

    ltgerryf Cool Member

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    Nov 27, 2007
    Techrep,

    Hopefully you can make some sense out of these.

    Sat 101--Tuner 1

    1-8 96 95 95 95 93 97 94 98
    9-16 93 95 95 95 95 99 92 98
    17-24 88 100 91 91 92 98 94 99
    25-32 92 91 95 56 97 91 95 100

    Sat 101--Tuner 2

    1-8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 85
    9-16 0 85 0 82 0 0 0 0 0
    17-24 0 0 0 0 0 74 0 85
    25-32 0 86 0 92 0 95 0 95

    Sat 103b--Tuner 1

    1-8 95 92 95 91 94 88 94 0
    9-16 92 85 91 87 91 85 N/A N/A
    17-24 96 N/A N/A N/A N/A 97 N/A N/A
    25-32 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

    Sat 103b--Tuner 2

    1-8 0 82 0 85 0 82 0 82
    9-16 0 74 0 69 0 30 N/A N/A
    17-24 0 N/A N/A N/A N/A 15 N/A N/A
    25-32 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

    Thanks
     
  19. techrep

    techrep Hall Of Fame

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    In post #13 you state that you have a Zinwell 6x8 multiswitch so, the 6x8 tells me that is a WB68 and in post #17 you confirm that you get all the new HD channels, in the bedroom, on your HD receiver. This tells me that all is well from the dish LNB and thru the embeded multiswitch (in the LNB assembly) to the external (WB68) multiswitch.

    Your TP numbers tell us that there is indeed a problem "presenting" on tuner 2 as the numbers are off for both sat 101 and 103b.

    With no diplexors in the line, the possible problems (in descending order) are:
    1. Bad connector somewhere in the line from the multiswitch to the receiver.
    2. Bad cable from the multiswitch to the receiver.
    3. Bad output on the WB68 multiswitch.
    4. Bad #2 tuner input.
    5. Bad #2 tuner chip.

    A diplexor looks like a spliter and is used to combine OTA signals into one of the cable runs to the receiver and then is diplexed out (split) at the receiver. This would effect the MPEG4 signal but does not explain the sat 101 TP issues.

    Try these things in this order. Check all the connectors on the cable run from the WB68 to the receiver's #2 tuner. Inspect this cable run as well as you can. Connect the cable, feeding the #2 tuner, to another output of the WB68 multiswitch. If able, run another cable from the multiswitch to the #2 tuner.

    Before doing any of this, I would try the HR20 connected to the cables in the bedroom.
     
  20. ltgerryf

    ltgerryf Cool Member

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    Nov 27, 2007
    Techrep,

    Thanks. If I move the HR20 to the bedroom,are you telling me to check the Sat 2 In on the HR 20 with the one cable in the bedroom as this box only has one cable?

    I'll do this check first.

    I'm going to cut off the connectors from the cable that feeds Tuner 2 both at the tuner and the multiswitch and install new connectors. I doubt the cable is bad as it was new off the roll and I was careful not to kink it. 99% of the run was attached to the underside of joists (the cable actually lays in 1/2" pvc pipe straps that are attached to the underside of the joists so there is no cable crimping) and only about 1 foot of it is hidden as it comes up from the basement between floor joists and into the family room. I'll pull it back into the basement and check to see if it got cut somehow.

    I'll probably stop by my local HD and get a 100' roll of RG 6 with connectors already installed and run a temp line from the multiswitch to the #2 tuner to see if it is the cable. Is 100' to long for a test? Unfortunately I need about 60' to get from the multiswitch to the tuner and I think this stuff comes in either 50' or 100' rolls. I want to rule out that I made bad connections, however I'm fairly confident I'm able to do this as the other boxes work off of connections I've made.

    I'll keep you posted on the progress or lack thereof!!!
     
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