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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, just as sorta a side discussion about installs. Not trying to raise any feathers or complain about Directv's practices, in all honesty for me the way Directv has done things has worked out just fine over the years, but I have a simple setup and originally paid a lot of money for a self install kit. I more just like to discuss these "the business behind" type topics and wanted to hear some of your guys opinions on it. Do you think Directv will ever let us buy/get our own equipment again from them in addition to professional installs?

I think I understand why Directv wants to handle the installs:
-Free install brings in customers (cable, uverse, dish, etc. do free installs so they have to compete)
-Handling the install supposedly makes it so they can control the quality of the job done and abide by rules/best practices
-Handling the troubleshooting tries to make sure that they do not replace good products that were incorrectly diagnosed as faulty.
-Installer contractors want more jobs to stay in business/happy


Why people that can handle installs would like to do it:
-No worries about when the installer will show up/if they will have the things they need
-We know our own setup/situations better than the installer who just walked in
-Quality of the job and abiding by the rules is not always done by installers
-Misdiagnoses are done by installers as well, sometimes even after we know what the real problem is and alert them, yet they do not listen
-Things can be done to our own standards that may be above what the installers are required/will do


All in all a pretty even table, but in favor for directv if they go with doing their own installs which obviously they do. Also I realize that some people may "think" they can handle it, then end up needing Directv's help and having to get an installer out anyways (or wasting CSRs time and burning more of Directv's budget for them).


The thing that would be awesome though is if there was some way that those of us qualified could get our own equipment and do it ourselves from Directv, but at a discount like when we have an installer come out. It seems kinda backwards that to get the deal we have to take more of Directv's resources and have them come out vs. them just sending us the stuff, but at this point that is how it works cause to get the things on our own (dish, multiswitches, etc.) we have to buy them full price at places like solidsignal. Not to mention the fact that sometimes we have to do a bit of massaging and sculpting our way through the CSRs to make sure we indeed get what is required for the job at hand.

I would love if there was a page on their site or a way we could order items at more "direct" pricing for our own installs, and not be treated like outcasts for doing so. In all honesty, many of us do Directv a favor as we are not calling in for support all the time or requiring them to come out for every little thing (I realign my dish, self diagnose issues, fix cables/connectors that have gone bad, etc. all without requiring Directv's resources in 99% of the cases)

Are there just too few of us though? Are we too small a minority in the big ocean? I think it might be the case.


Now with every discussion about future ideas/practices, I like to try and applaud what has been done. I can say I am thrilled with how Directv has been letting customers order additional receivers on their site at decent rates, and many times even at special prices for the customer. The leasing program has also been good on many levels IMO as it has brought the prices down on receivers and made it economical for many to upgrade and add more receivers without paying a fortune. Overall very good progress with hopefully more as the years go on ;)
 

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You always have the option of buying the equipment from a 3rd party vendor such as value electronics or solid signal, and doing the install yourself. You won't save any money that way (in fact you will probably pay more), but that gives you total control of when and how the installation is done.

Carl
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I realize that, and that's what I was trying to hit on at the end, but possibly I did not dive deep enough into it. You can do that, but why should you pay more when in a way you are doing Directv a service and not having them pay for an installer to come out, etc.?

Maybe Directv's cost/benefit ratio for sending out an installer does outweigh doing a direct dealing with a customer? But then go back to the topic of having a discounted rates area where we could buy direct from Directv at a bit lower cost, but not necessarily totally free like you get with the professional install service.

All ideas I realize, but this is just a discussion on the whole matter, not a complaint, rant, or other wise and something that I realize will most likely have zero effect on the future. As I started this out, I more just like hearing peoples views and discussing the business behind it all. I think Directv has been doing a very good job at tackling the great task at hand and it is amazing how they are able to coordinate what they do! Some of the local cable companies are much much worse with it all, and they are local!
 

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I have always bought and installed my own equipment except, two HR21's.

First, I ran all the RG6 and put up a 18" 3LNB. DirecTV gave me Samsung receivers and programming credits to cover the cable and dish.

Later came the Slimline dish and a HR20 from Weeknees.com. They gave me program credits for the dish and 199.00 credit for the HR20.

At the time, none of this was certain but; I have had good luck with the "back door" approach with what you are talking about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That's interesting to know, maybe my topic is a sort of moot point then if they are willing to work with you, you just have to know what door to enter (and obviously all at the same time nothing is gauranteed and being curteous/nice about it while not necessarily expecting anything is a must).

For the small minority this topic at all even concerns, maybe so to should the answer be a bit of a minority within the Directv system? Which from your experience seems to be the case :)
 

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The number one reason for DIRECTV installs is consistent quality as a goal. It isn't at the levels DIRECTV wants, but they will get there. Improperly installed, even if it seems to work, can be a time bomb for future homeowners.

In my case, I did the installs with the installers gratefully doing the 5 minutes of QC to keep them from getting in trouble if the DIRECTV QC people came. :)

Cheers,
Tom
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I tell ya if they improve some of the more subpar installation contractors out there that we hear about and potentially have the contractors have slightly higher hiring standards/training, I think they could start to get close.

I know in my few experiences with installers in my area they have always been very decent. Obviously I was watching like a hawk and being a bit of a director, plus they had my initial install done back in the 90s to work off of, but overall it was a good job in my book.

The ones that make me cringe are the stories you hear online (which I know can represent a small minority as the people with problems tend to come out of the woodwork so to speak), but also some of my family members and such that have had poorer experiences.

Fix those up, and I think Directv has a pretty good overall experience. Considering most of the cable installer experiences I have heard have been VERY bad in comparison. One guy I know had cable redone in the winter time so the cable guy laid the cable from the pole across his yard to his house as it was too cold to dig and he did not have approval to run an aerial. It was going to be 4-6 months before they could bury it properly! Luckily after a lot more going back and forth and some heated phone calls they were able to do an aerial, but it was just unbelievable.
 

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i guess you can; not sure why you would. I know why you want to, but is it really that interesting or satisfying? I'm not an installer; i have installed a few sat systems. I found no pleasure in it, and try to avoid it really. When I got dish network I let them handle everything. I had better things to do that day.
 

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brant said:
i guess you can; not sure why you would. I know why you want to, but is it really that interesting or satisfying? I'm not an installer; i have installed a few sat systems. I found no pleasure in it, and try to avoid it really. When I got dish network I let them handle everything. I had better things to do that day.
Some of us have control issues (that means that I am very anal.)
 

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They never will for a few reasons. Most people can do dish, wire and box. But what about grounding, approved materials and general QC compliance.

Grounding: Who knows about proper grounding except [ yes I know a lot of HSP/Subs don't either ] trained techs and nitpickers here. And who has the proper supplies? And will the customer take the liability of an ungrouded system?

Approved materials: I've seen people 'relocate' IRDs with radioshack RG59. Stopped working and then we need to go out and fix it. In these Ka/Ku days stuff like this just doesn't fly anymore

QC compliance. Will everything be done to make sure the systems works for a reasonable length of time. How long will the customer guarantee the install? How many calls to D* for help to realize something wasn't done right? I've seen DIY jobs where wire was staples with paper staples, or suspended on nails, ran through windows.
 

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The number of people that would even WANT to do a self-install is exremely small when compared with the overall market. Phone company, cable etc. all have installers and the install in normall 'free'. To compete Directv and DISH must provide free installs. The great difficulty is drawing a line between a normal free install and a custom install. Too much is left to the whim of the individual installer - there needs to be a well defined demarc point.

Since I was a teenager I have been doing my own installs/repairs. This includes radios, TVs and auto audio. Naturally, I gave no thought to having Directv install the system I did for my sister in 1996 ($500 for a receiver and single LNB dish). I have always purchased Directv equipment from suppliers rather than Directv. Since the lease program started I have returned two defective receivers for replacements, prior to that, if one failed I threw it away and bought another one - by the way the RCA receiver originally installed for my sister is still in operation!

Generally, installers are a mixed bag, there are good ones and bad ones. There have been several installs at my house over the last 30+ years for cable and telephone service. Most of the cable guys tend not to know what they are doing (don't let them near a wheelbarrow). The old line telephone guys (those trained before the 70s) are good, the newer ones can be dangerous. The guy who reinstalled AT&T telephone service at my house a little over a year ago did not connect the new NID to the ground wire!

Directv needs to get a handle on their installation services, clearly defining what is free and what is extra and well as providing proper training and compensation for installers. They need to weed out the 'fast-buck' artists who will do and say anything to get a job closed.
Reading the posts on this forum indicates to me that there are way too many HD installs that have been done (and continue to be done) with improperly aligned antennas. An experienced person should be able to properly align a dish in ten minutes, tops. There is no good excuse to leave a site with the antenna maladjusted.
 

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techrep said:
Some of us have control issues (that means that I am very anal.)
I can understand that. I used to be the same way, sort of. But in the end, its best to let the "professional" handle it in case there are any problems; and this applies to everything for me.
 

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Like many other techie or handypersons on this board, since joining D* back in the late '90's, I've always performed my own installs.

My recent need to move into MPEG 4 combined with D*'s free offer to upgrade existing HD hardware led me to allow for a non-self install for the first time… a mistake. Not a big one but in hindsight, it's a choice I wouldn't have made. Having a background in building and to a lesser degree, electronics, I know what my skill sets and levels are and am far more comfortable relying on those abilities when it comes to work that’s performed, particularly with respect to where it is that I live, at my house and home.

I’m of the mind that there are definitely some knowledgeable, trained, skilled DBS installers working today, I’ve met a few. Unfortunately, there would seem to be an equal number of lesser quality contractors as well, witness the almost countess threads at this forum. With the tremendous growth in satellite subscription and need for new service, it’s an almost unavoidable reality that a signifcant percentage of installers won’t be as trained and competent as many might expect.
 
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