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Replacing my Ultimate TV box

Discussion in 'DIRECTV SD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by slafferty, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. slafferty

    slafferty New Member

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    Jul 11, 2011
    I have had my RCA Ultimate TV box since the beginning and have been quite happy with it. However it just died. Won't power up. Don't plan to upgrade to HD anytime soon. Don't think the spread of multiple satellites would work in my shaded yard anyway.

    My question is: If I buy a working UTV box on eBay, will DirecTV be able to activate it? Would I just swap the smart card from the old UTV? I called customer service and they thought they could activate it. However, the CS person had never heard of UTV, so I'm not very confident about that.

    Any advice?

    Thanks, Steve
     
  2. RobertE

    RobertE New Member

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    DirecTv will no longer active a non-RID receiver that was not previously on your account prior. Non-RID receivers are pretty much any receiver that is not DirecTv branded with a few exceptions.

    You may be able to find another one and swap some of the parts to get yours running.

    Best option, is to just get current hardware (R15/16/22) and be done with it.
     
  3. slafferty

    slafferty New Member

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    Jul 11, 2011
    Hi Robert,
    Many thanks for the reply. As you implied, I do plan to try swapping power supplies with the replacement unit, as I added a 120GB drive in the original. I considered getting a new box but I fear that it would not work with the existing single-feed dish. (Is that so?) Do the new receivers have an S-Video SD output? From what I have seen at friends' houses, I prefer the operating system in the UTV box.

    If the power supply swap doesn't fix it, I understand from a private message that I can swap cards with the replacement, install it, and trigger a rehit, which will remarry the card and receiver. Comments?

    Thanks again, Steve
     
  4. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    I have a couple R15s in boxes. Replacements for TiVos. Never tried them out, but I've been throwing out my old TiVos, can't get any money for them on eBay and you can have the R15s for the cost of shipping.

    Probably cost about $15 to $20 apiece to ship them. You can have one or both. If you want them, PM me and if you have a PayPal account, we can work something out. I use UPS for shipping.

    How did you manage to keep a UTV box running for so long? Gotta be almost ten years old, no?

    You might have to get an access card from Access Card Department, I think there are access cards in the boxes, but I'm not sure, never even opened them up. I don't know what an SD card costs.

    Rich
     
  5. slafferty

    slafferty New Member

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    Jul 11, 2011
    Hi Rich,
    You are so kind to offer the R15s! I may need to take you up on that. Having been so happy with the UTV box, I would like to try to get that going first.

    >How did you manage to keep a UTV box running for so long? Gotta be almost ten years old, no?
    --- Yeah, I bought mine at the beginning so I guess it's at least 10-years now. It did break down once before and I was fortunate to find CCS Corp, which specialized in fixing them. (They claim to have fixed over 132,000 DirecTV products.) Unfortunately, they no longer do such service.

    I have to chuckle a little at our modern concepts of equipment life. I was once told that since my computer was over 3-years old, it was obsolete and couldn't be supported. Contrast that to my hobby of restoring vintage audio equipment: Youngest piece is about 50-years old. I'm just sayin'... :)

    Will let you know how it goes with the UTV box. Thanks again for the offer.

    Steve
     
  6. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    You're welcome. I'll hang on to them for awhile.

    Rich
     
  7. jdspencer

    jdspencer Hall Of Fame

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    I would rethink this as the HD sats are only 2 degrees on either side of the main 101 satellite.
     
  8. slafferty

    slafferty New Member

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    Jul 11, 2011
    Hi JD,
    All I know is that when we installed my neighbor's HD system, the dish had three LNBs. (shudder) The azimuth spread between all the birds was 23-degrees. [The 119 and 101 birds look farther apart down heah. :] We had a heck of a time finding enough clearing to accommodate that. Is there a way to avoid all that complexity with HD and all?
    Steve
     
  9. litzdog911

    litzdog911 Well-Known Member

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    That was in the old days. Now the only satellites you really need for HD reception are at 99 and 103ºW, much closer to the 101ºW satellite. So you only need an opening of a few degrees.
     
  10. slafferty

    slafferty New Member

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    Jul 11, 2011
    Thanks for the update, Litzdog. So HD is possible in my yard. Will keep that in mind for the future. I suppose that the bad news is that Ka-band would be involved...

    Steve
     
  11. TBoneit

    TBoneit Hall Of Fame

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  12. litzdog911

    litzdog911 Well-Known Member

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    Why would "Ka-band" be "bad news"? It makes the Slimline dish a bit trickier to align optimally, but otherwise it's just fine.
     
  13. slafferty

    slafferty New Member

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    Jul 11, 2011
    Hi TBoneit,
    Thanks for the links--some interesting threads there. They reinforce that repairs are hard to come by, though. OTOH, there seem to be plenty of units out there to cannibalize...
    Steve L.
     
  14. slafferty

    slafferty New Member

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    Jul 11, 2011
    Hi Litzdog,
    >Why would "Ka-band" be "bad news"? It makes the Slimline dish a bit trickier to align optimally, but otherwise it's just fine.
    --- Oh I just mean the increased likelihood of rainfade. Not that it's a big problem (like the cable companies like to hype).
    Steve
     
  15. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    If you have a properly aligned dish, I wouldn't worry about rain fade unless you have a huge, nasty weather cell directly in the LOS of your dish. I rarely see it.

    Rich
     
  16. litzdog911

    litzdog911 Well-Known Member

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    Not a problem if the dish is properly aligned.
     
  17. ThomasM

    ThomasM RF Engineer

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    First of all ANY DirecTV receiver or DVR will work with a single LNB dish, including the latest offerings.

    Second, the R15/16 is a very nice DVR with very few bugs. In my opinion, it is much more stable and faster than the HD offerings.

    Third, if you can get someone to send you an R15 or R16, you can get it activated on your account for only $20 (for a new access card) and NO NEW 2 YEAR COMMITMENT or HD fee ($10/month). If you don't mind the new 2 year commitment, you can probably get an R15/16 for FREE from DirecTV since you have been a long-term customer.

    If you are considering HD, I'd shop around since DirecTV caters to NEW customers giving them huge programming discounts and "free HD for life". They even throw in "NFL Sunday Ticket" for free according to their latest ads that keep cluttering up my mailbox. Current DirecTV customers are lucky to get HD for free for 24 months and NO programming discounts.
     
  18. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    As I said in a previous post on this thread, I've got two R15s in boxes, never tried them, they were replacements for TiVos and I wouldn't think of selling a replacement on eBay. I'm kinda surprised to see how highly you think of them. When I got them, years ago, they were not exactly prized possessions. I was very disappointed when I got them, I expected TiVos, but I switched to HD about that time and they've just been sitting there on a shelf for about five years or so.

    I kinda hope the TS will take me up on my offer. I hate throwing these things away.

    Rich
     
  19. Shades228

    Shades228 DaBears

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    Put them in the buy/sell/trade and have someone pay for shipping.
     
  20. ThomasM

    ThomasM RF Engineer

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    You're right. When I got my first R15-300 (brand new!) in July 2007 it was very disappointing. It failed to record shows. It was very buggy. But I'd never had a TiVo (or any DVR) before so I thought it was pretty nice.

    Meanwhile, four years later and endless posts by me in the Cutting Edge forums about the R15 and endless software fixes and updates and the box is really very solid and F-A-S-T! It runs rings around my R22. In fact, my displeasure with the R22 (running the same HD software as the HR21) is a major reason why I haven't even considered commiting to a new 2 year agreement and upgrading to HD service.

    Maybe the HR24 is better but you can't guarantee you'll get one so I'll keep bumbling along with my SD setup. ;)
     

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