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· Cool Member
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I am upgrading my Dad's 20+ years old 20" and 13" TVs from stone age CRTs to Samsung HDTVs. I am also upgrading his D* service to HD. My Dad has had D* since the mid 90's but it has never been upgraded (Didn't know we could have been updating receivers and dish all this time. :( ) We only changed when something broke or we needed to add service to another TV.

I have Comcast myself, so other than contacting tech support for him when his service goes out (which is quite often), I do not have much tech knowledge with respect to D*. Now that I am about to grapple with upgrading him to HD, I just want to make sure I have all my ducks lined up when I contact D* to arrange for the installation. I have been reading through many threads on here, Satellite Guys and AVSforum to get up to speed with installation and hardware and I think I have it all down but I just want to make sure.

Dad's current TV and D* configuration is as follows:
Familyroom
DRD435RH -- 20" TV (to be replaced with 40" HDTV)
Kitchen
D11 -- 13" TV (to be replaced with 22" HDTV)
Rec room
D10 -- 27" TV (no replacement TV)

Satellite dish is one of those old RCAs with a single LNB. It is mounted on the side of the house in the brick.
Two lines run to each receiver; one for satellite signal and one for OTA antenna. The familyroom and rec room lines were run through the outside wall into the garage. The two Rec room lines go through an interior stone wall into the rec room. The familyroom lines go up through the garage ceiling and into the floor of the familyroom. The kitchen lines are through the attic and down through the kitchen ceiling. The installer had wanted to run the line through the outside brick wall into the house but my Dad refused. He had to pay a $70 custom installation fee to have them run through the attic.

This is what I understand is needed for HD upgrade:
  • 5 LNB dish
  • H21 or HR21 depending on whether it is a DVR or not
  • Multi-switch is only required if we run more than 5 tuners.
  • AM21 to receive OTA channels

Installation Questions:
Regarding the RG6 lines, I understand that new solid copper lines are required to accommodate HD signals from the 5LNB dish. Is that correct? Is replacing the lines part of the standard HD upgrade or is this something I will have to insist upon? The current lines we put in for the initial D* installation about 12 years ago and I think it's time to update them.

Regarding how installers run the lines, and what is considered standard vs custom installation, would they just run new lines through the old holes? Should we expect to pay for a custom installation again to run the new lines through the existing attic holes? If so, then I imagine we should just have all the lines run through the attic instead of drilling more holes through the outside brick, especially if we need to add more lines for DVRs (if we decide to add one), unless we are lucky enough to get that SWMline dish.;) Speaking of which, if we get our own SWMline dish, will D* install it? Or will we have to install it on our own?

Regarding the need for a multi-switch, I know it is required if you run more than 5 lines from the dish. Does the line count include the antenna lines too? I know that my Dad will definitely want to maintain his separate OTA lines to each receiver. (As mentioned before, the satellite signal goes out a lot)

Regarding dish mounting. I understand that the 5-LNB is big and heavy. I believe I saw it mentioned that support poles are necessary for mounting. I have heard a lot about roof and in-ground pole mounting. Do installers still mount dishes like our current one is, on the side of house into the brick? I am not sure how my Dad would feel about putting a hold through his roof to mount it. And pole mounting probably wouldn't work because we have a lot of trees in the back and I doubt the dish could get a clear LOS. Thus a new dish would likely have to go where the old one is.

Is the LOS the same for the 5 LNB dish? Will is need a wider LOS? I ask because our LOS is hampered by trees and is fairly narrow. We might be in trouble if the 5LNB requires more visible sky.

Is a slimline dish something worth asking for over the regular sized dish? Or does the difference between the two not really matter?

Regarding AM21, is this necessary if we just want to run the OTA antenna directly to the TV instead of through the receiver? I know then OTA channels won't show up in the channel line-up and we'd have to switch over to TV mode to see them, but Dad only uses OTA channels when his satellite goes out anyway. We can get HD locals via D* and whatever channels aren't yet in HD, viewing them in SD is fine for Dad. No point in paying for AM21s if he won't need it.

Regarding receivers, since we are adding HD service, should we replace all three receivers with HD receivers? One of the TVs will not be a HDTV. Is there any benefit to adding a HD receiver on a nonHDTV? Or should we just keep the D11 and move it to the rec room 27" nonHD CRT?

Regarding signal loss, is the 5 LNB dish better at maintaining a signal than the old RCA one-LNB? I hope to spare my father from frequent signal loss as he experiences now. Is there something besides the signal strength that we should have the installer check to make sure the signal is strong? Loss used to only occur when a storm was through but now it can be a clear day and his feed will go out. Here's hoping that between running new lines, a new dish, new receiver, new HDTV, it alleviates his signal loss problems.

Sorry. I wrote so much. I am still a bit confused by it all and trying to get this installation right for my Dad. He deserves it.:) Thank you in advance for any assistance you can provide.
 

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Arubaflower said:
Installation Questions:
Regarding the RG6 lines, I understand that new solid copper lines are required to accommodate HD signals from the 5LNB dish. Is that correct? Is replacing the lines part of the standard HD upgrade or is this something I will have to insist upon?
You will probably have to insist on getting new wires with the tech. it would take a lot of extra time to do this. If the lines are in good condition they will work.

Arubaflower said:
Regarding how installers run the lines, and what is considered standard vs custom installation, would they just run new lines through the old holes? Should we expect to pay for a custom installation again to run the new lines through the existing attic holes?
Are the lines fished inside the walls? If so there might be a charge for additional lines. You are asking for a lot of additional labor for a 'upgrade'

Arubaflower said:
Speaking of which, if we get our own SWMline dish, will D* install it? Or will we have to install it on our own?
All depends if the tech is trained for SWM.

Arubaflower said:
Regarding the need for a multi-switch, I know it is required if you run more than 5 lines from the dish. Does the line count include the antenna lines too?
No OTA is not included, only sat lines.The Ka/Ku system does not allow OTA diplexing. there are ways to do it but not supported by D*

Arubaflower said:
Regarding dish mounting. I understand that the 5-LNB is big and heavy. Do installers still mount dishes like our current one is, on the side of house into the brick?
If there is eough space there and LOS the slimline can be placed in brick.

Arubaflower said:
Is the LOS the same for the 5 LNB dish? Will is need a wider LOS? I ask because our LOS is hampered by trees and is fairly narrow. We might be in trouble if the 5LNB requires more visible sky.
It does require a larger view from 99 to 119. Not sure if your area still needs 110 and 119 but it might be an issue getting a tech to install without them.

Arubaflower said:
Is a slimline dish something worth asking for over the regular sized dish?
Slimline is the standard dish for any HD job.

Arubaflower said:
Regarding receivers, since we are adding HD service, should we replace all three receivers with HD receivers? One of the TVs will not be a HDTV. Is there any benefit to adding a HD receiver on a nonHDTV? Or should we just keep the D11 and move it to the rec room 27" nonHD CRT?
If you can get a good deal on it I would. If not just keep the D11.

Arubaflower said:
Regarding signal loss, is the 5 LNB dish better at maintaining a signal than the old RCA one-LNB?
The ka signal can go out a bit sooner then Ku. But a properly peaked dish with signals 85-95+ should give a reliable system. If you had frequent problems with the current setup the current dish might have been off center.
 

· Cool Member
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Mertzen said:
You will probably have to insist on getting new wires with the tech. it would take a lot of extra time to do this. If the lines are in good condition they will work.

Are the lines fished inside the walls? If so there might be a charge for additional lines. You are asking for a lot of additional labor for a 'upgrade'
Thanks so much for responding.

I've been collecting tidbits of info posted by others to use a reference so I have no idea who posted it, but is this post not correct when he says D* requires solid copper for the 5 LNB:

I've been on vacation for a while and have not looked at this thread until today. I noticed some earlier post that said a copper clad RG6 cable was OK if used for short runs. Don't use copper clad. The reason D* requires a solid copper RG6 cable for the new 5 LNB dish is because the dish gets its power from the center conductors of the RG6 cable. The switch in the 5 LNB dish requires a lot more current than did the 3 LNB or single LNB dish. Also, the multiswitch for the new dish is powered through the RG6 cables where the 3 LNB dish had a seperate power source, so if you add a multiswitch, even more power is required.

You will get voltage drop through a copper clad RG6 cable which may cause problems with the reliability of the switch and your satellite system.
I don't want new cable if it is not necessary, but according that poster, it is necessary if current cable isn't solid copper. I don't know what type of cable is currently there. If it's solid copper, then great. If not, and it's just a matter that running copper lines require too much work to install, I will have a problem with that--assuming solid copper lines are required for optimal service.

I've had it with my Dad receiving poor reception, or no reception, more often than he should. We've had service out to presumably solve the problem. Nothing changed. This is the reason for my TV and HD overhaul for him. He is 75 years old and doesn't know how to fix problems himself so he waits until I can get over there to handle it for him. With new TVs, HD service, new equipment, those problems should be rectified. I personally loathe my Comcast reception and when I move I intend to shake them off like a bad habit. But my reception is still better than what my Dad gets most of the time. I would die a little inside if I had to switch him to Comcast but I don't like the idea of D* trying to shortcut installation just because this is an "upgrade". Current customers have been lining their pockets longer than new customers. But it's only new customers who D* feels are deserving of top service it seems. A poor business model IMO. A bird in the hand...as the saying goes.
 

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Arubaflower said:
Thanks so much for responding.

I don't want new cable if it is not necessary, but according that poster, it is necessary if current cable isn't solid copper. I don't know what type of cable is currently there. If it's solid copper, then great. If not, and it's just a matter that running copper lines require too much work to install, I will have a problem with that--assuming solid copper lines are required for optimal service.
I've seen and done multiple HD install with CCS and seen no issues. But like I said if this is a hurdle for you make the tech change the wires.
 

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Congratulations on being ridiculously well-informed. And you say you have very little tech-knowledge when it comes to D*. Wow.

The only thing I would say is that you need a multiswitch if you have over 4 tuners, not 5.
 

· Cool Member
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
flipptyfloppity said:
Congratulations on being ridiculously well-informed. And you say you have very little tech-knowledge when it comes to D*. Wow.

The only thing I would say is that you need a multiswitch if you have over 4 tuners, not 5.
All my information has come from the good people who impart it on great forums like this one. I've been reading them religiously for a few weeks to prepare for HD upgrade. I had my Comcast HD installed years ago and never had to think about it since. Conversely, it's been rather exhausting trying to digest everything I need to know just to switch my Dad to HD on D*. Cable might be worse quality but it certainly hasn't required a technical degree in DTV to keep it up and running.:D Satellite certainly adds plenty of additional complications into the mix. Where's FIOS when you need it? :lol:

Oh I thought the multiswitch was after 5 tuners. Thanks for the correction.
 

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  1. I think the line of sight is the first thing to make sure you have.
  2. "Seems like" the SWM system would be the way to go for several reasons.
    1. cabling is so much simpler
    2. any cable that needs to be "upgraded" would only be from the dish to the power inserter, after than if the cables will pass the RF signal, you/he should be fine.
    3. OTA should be handled by a separate cable(s)
    4. The D11 would have to go, but there are SWM SD receivers
 

· Mentor
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Arubaflower said:
Regarding receivers, since we are adding HD service, should we replace all three receivers with HD receivers? One of the TVs will not be a HDTV. Is there any benefit to adding a HD receiver on a nonHDTV? Or should we just keep the D11 and move it to the rec room 27" nonHD CRT?
No real benefit to an HD receiver on a non-HD tv, other than being easier to upgrade the tv to HD later. Just know that HD receivers do not have coaxial outputs, so the tv must have composite (red, white, yellow) connections or you would have to buy an RF modulator to connect it.
 

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ABQNM said:
No real benefit to an HD receiver on a non-HD tv, other than being easier to upgrade the tv to HD later. Just know that HD receivers do not have coaxial outputs, so the tv must have composite (red, white, yellow) connections or you would have to buy an RF modulator to connect it.
True unless you want to receive HD channels on and SD TV, and the fact that even at 480i output, they'll look better than the SD version of the same channel.
 
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