Direct TV HDTV & wiring - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 05-02-2009, 11:36 AM - Thread Starter
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I have always wondered this question maybe someone can help.

Lots of people shell good money on a nice LCD/Plasma, a nice component, good cables (sometimes even Monster!), etc. Yet seem to overlook the actual wire that runs from the satellite through the home to the actual room.

When Direct TV installs your satellite, I'm assuming they are not using exactly the most premium wire. So my question is: my HT is almost complete (only the TV is left, have BD/DVD, HD radio/Internet radio, VCR, power management, HD Direct tv receiver, 6.1 set up and cables)... Should I invest in changing the cable that runs through my house to improve the HD signal from the satellite? Or does it not matter much?

I'm going to call the Direct TV technician anyways, as I want them to add some sort of splitter so I can toggle from satellite to my cable feed (it comes with the homeowners fee), as the cable subscription has some channels not available on Direct TV (they are, but not in my package).

thanks.
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post #2 of 19 Old 05-02-2009, 12:45 PM
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"Should I invest in changing the cable that runs through my house to improve the HD signal from the satellite? Or does it not matter much?"

It's digital data, as long as all of the data gets from the dish to your receiver, PQ will always be the same, swapping out the RG-6 for something better won't make a difference.

"I'm going to call the Direct TV technician anyways, as I want them to add some sort of splitter so I can toggle from satellite to my cable feed (it comes with the homeowners fee), as the cable subscription has some channels not available on Direct TV (they are, but not in my package)."

Directv doesn't have anything to allow you to toggle between cable and Directv. You need a separate cable run to your TV location and then either use the tuner in the TV or get a separate cable box hooked to the TV via another available input.

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post #3 of 19 Old 05-03-2009, 08:23 AM
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I have a 20 foot top-quality HDMI cable running from my DirecTv HR23-700 to my Sammy PN50A550 and think I have a weak signal.

- Every time I change channels, I get a brief "searching for signal" message on the tv before the picture comes up.

- When I try to add a HDMI "L" adaptor between the HDMI cable and the tv's back-panel HDMI input (so that my cord can fit into the narrow area better), the tv says I have no signal.

Are these indications of a weak signal?
How do I measure my signal, and what should it be?
What equipment is needed to amplify this signal?

(Note: I'm receiving all transponders at 95 or better with 98% on both HR23 tuners. Ran a HR23 System Test and that is fine.)
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post #4 of 19 Old 05-03-2009, 08:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pstaz View Post

I have a 20 foot top-quality HDMI cable running from my DirecTv HR23-700 to my Sammy PN50A550 and think I have a weak signal.

- Every time I change channels, I get a brief "searching for signal" message on the tv before the picture comes up.

- When I try to add a HDMI "L" adaptor between the HDMI cable and the tv's back-panel HDMI input (so that my cord can fit into the narrow area better), the tv says I have no signal.

Are these indications of a weak signal?
How do I measure my signal, and what should it be?
What equipment is needed to amplify this signal?

(Note: I'm receiving all transponders at 95 or better with 98% on both HR23 tuners. Ran a HR23 System Test and that is fine.)

If you're getting a 95 or better on all transponders, signal from the dish isn't your problem. Sounds like it's not liking the 20 foot HDMI cable between the HR23 and your set.

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post #5 of 19 Old 05-03-2009, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjones73 View Post

...Directv doesn't have anything to allow you to toggle between cable and Directv. You need a separate cable run to your TV location and then either use the tuner in the TV or get a separate cable box hooked to the TV via another available input....

Sure they do. I'm not that up on sat. technology but they have di-plexers and or multiswitches that allow multiple signal types to harmoniously co-exist within a single coax cable.
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post #6 of 19 Old 05-03-2009, 09:52 PM
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I'm a direcTV tech. There can not be a single line running to you DVR unless you have our SWM system. We no longer use diplexers and splitters. There's no way for us to toggle our system with a cable input.

We use ONLY Solid Copper RG6 3.0GHZ cable. So we use the BEST cable you can possibly use.

This is a note to everyone that is doing a prewire for their directv system. You MUST install SOLID COPPER rg6 3ghz cable (not copper clad) otherwise when we install we're going to have to rewire that receiver. If you're getting a DVR then make sure to run 2 lines to that location.
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post #7 of 19 Old 05-04-2009, 07:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcool111 View Post

I'm a direcTV tech. There can not be a single line running to you DVR unless you have our SWM system. We no longer use diplexers and splitters. There's no way for us to toggle our system with a cable input.

We use ONLY Solid Copper RG6 3.0GHZ cable. So we use the BEST cable you can possibly use.

This is a note to everyone that is doing a prewire for their directv system. You MUST install SOLID COPPER rg6 3ghz cable (not copper clad) otherwise when we install we're going to have to rewire that receiver. If you're getting a DVR then make sure to run 2 lines to that location.

I had a new Directv install in the fall of 2003. I then dropped Directv in the fall of 2005. I am considering returning to Directv. Would the wire used by Directv for the 2003 be solid copper?
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post #8 of 19 Old 05-04-2009, 07:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pstaz View Post

I have a 20 foot top-quality HDMI cable running from my DirecTv HR23-700 to my Sammy PN50A550 and think I have a weak signal.

- Every time I change channels, I get a brief "searching for signal" message on the tv before the picture comes up.

- When I try to add a HDMI "L" adaptor between the HDMI cable and the tv's back-panel HDMI input (so that my cord can fit into the narrow area better), the tv says I have no signal.

Are these indications of a weak signal?
How do I measure my signal, and what should it be?
What equipment is needed to amplify this signal?

(Note: I'm receiving all transponders at 95 or better with 98% on both HR23 tuners. Ran a HR23 System Test and that is fine.)

You need to change a setting on the Direct TV box. What is happening is the TV is scanning for the signal. Go to the HDTV settings in the system menu and change the Native setting to OFF. Then the TV won't have to rescan everytime you change channels.
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post #9 of 19 Old 05-04-2009, 07:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcool111 View Post

I'm a direcTV tech. There can not be a single line running to you DVR unless you have our SWM system. We no longer use diplexers and splitters. There's no way for us to toggle our system with a cable input.

We use ONLY Solid Copper RG6 3.0GHZ cable. So we use the BEST cable you can possibly use.

This is a note to everyone that is doing a prewire for their directv system. You MUST install SOLID COPPER rg6 3ghz cable (not copper clad) otherwise when we install we're going to have to rewire that receiver. If you're getting a DVR then make sure to run 2 lines to that location.

I have a Direct TV DVR with only one line. My old one had two but not any more.
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post #10 of 19 Old 05-04-2009, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by olyteddy View Post

Sure they do. I'm not that up on sat. technology but they have di-plexers and or multiswitches that allow multiple signal types to harmoniously co-exist within a single coax cable.

No offense but I kinda am up on sat technology so I know it won't work. Diplexors can be used to join an OTA feed to the same cable with the exception of the newer MPEG4 dishes, because of frequency overlap they can't be used unless you can get creative and move the BBC module before the diplexor (which may not be an option if it's outside because the BBC's aren't waterproof.) As for cable, it uses a much wider frequency range then OTA and I'd expect overlap if trying to diplex the two together.

Multiswitches are just used for splitting off the feeds from a dish so you can hook more receivers up.

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post #11 of 19 Old 05-04-2009, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjgogo View Post

I have a Direct TV DVR with only one line. My old one had two but not any more.

You probably have an SWM set up then if both tuners work. The OP was asking about toggling between cable and Directv, something different then what you're doing.

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post #12 of 19 Old 05-04-2009, 07:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcool111 View Post

This is a note to everyone that is doing a prewire for their directv system. You MUST install SOLID COPPER rg6 3ghz cable (not copper clad) otherwise when we install we're going to have to rewire that receiver. If you're getting a DVR then make sure to run 2 lines to that location.

I have copper clad in part of my system and the installer made no attempt to change it out.. Luckily it's been working fine so far.

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post #13 of 19 Old 05-04-2009, 08:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjones73 View Post

You probably have an SWM set up then if both tuners work. The OP was asking about toggling between cable and Directv, something different then what you're doing.

I was responding to the comment that I quoted regarding the need to run two Coax to the receiver.
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post #14 of 19 Old 05-04-2009, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by mjones73 View Post

I have copper clad in part of my system and the installer made no attempt to change it out.. Luckily it's been working fine so far.

Under new restrictions from DirectTV we have to switch out all copper clad. If we don't our first offense is a 5 day suspension; 2nd offense you ass gets canned. Contractors are still using it in some areas but for the most part its all changing over. Personally i've never seen copper clad fail even in a high def system.
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post #15 of 19 Old 05-04-2009, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcool111 View Post

Under new restrictions from DirectTV we have to switch out all copper clad. If we don't our first offense is a 5 day suspension; 2nd offense you ass gets canned. Contractors are still using it in some areas but for the most part its all changing over. Personally i've never seen copper clad fail even in a high def system.

Good to know, I had mine installed sometime last year, the installer reused the wiring I already had in the house. Granted my runs are fairly short, I believe the concern over using pure copper is because of voltage loss between the receivers and the newer dish right?

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post #16 of 19 Old 02-24-2010, 08:03 AM
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I hope this is not too long.
I moved into a temporary rental house in November, 2009. I dropped Dish and ordered DirecTV with 4 new H21-200 receivers. The installer took over 4 hours because the wiring all had to be changed to copper core, as per DirecTV requirements.
We moved into our new to us house, built in 2006, February 13, 2010.
The installer came on Sunday, Feb 14, at 7:45 am. I had ordered one more receiver, so he brought another H21-200.
He looked over the job and right away I could tell he did not want to do any rewiring.
He claimed his work order only specified that he install the one new box.
I showed him my order confirmation from DirecTV, so he called for the first of three times to his office to try to get out of doing the install.
I had already hooked up two HDTVs because the previous owner also had DirecTV.
They worked fine. The installer checked a few outlets and determined that the cabling in the house was steel core copper clad. He started telling me he would have to do unsightly exterior wire runs and that it was a huge job that would have to be rescheduled. He had me talk to the DirecTV rep on his fancy phone, and I agreed to exactly what I had already agreed to in the original order. He was then told he should go ahead with the new wiring, to which he responded he would need additional help.
He made another tour around the house, and said he had to call his office again.
He went outside for this call and then came back and said his office allowed him to do the install using the steel core wire.
I have three questions. Should I call DirecTV and complain? My TVs seem to work fine, but I am worried that future options might not work because of the lesser quality wire.
Is there a real difference in the performance of copper core vs. steel core cable?
Has DirecTV relaxed their standard that install MUST use copper core cable?
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post #17 of 19 Old 02-24-2010, 10:17 AM
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The cable issue is a mixture of science and "installer legend".
DirecTV has a set of rules for installations designed to make sure that if they are followed everything will work perfectly. That does not mean that other installations won't work, and so we get this apparent stupidity of recabling a perfectly good installation just because it does not follow the rules.
The signal handling capability of solid copper core (SCC) and copper-clad steel (CCS) are basically the same. This is because the signals are in fact carried on the surface layer of the cable which is of course copper in both cases. The voltage drop on CCS is higher per foot than SCC which is why for long runs it is recommended to make sure you use SCC so that the LNBs will get power, and also the correct satellite selection signalling. For short runs (less than 100ft) it does not really matter which you use.
If you have an SW8 multiswitch, then since the cables from the receiver to the multiswitch don't carry power it does not make any difference which type of RG6 you use. In fact, since the SWM frequencies are lower than regular DirecTV in many installations even RG59 will work for the runs to the SWM8.
You also don't need 3GHz swept cable, or 3GHz connectors, or other things on DirecTV's list. DirecTV only uses frequencies to 2.15GHz (except in older MDU systems), and in any case a "2.3GHz" cable usually won't have any signal loss at 3Ghz greater than a "3 Ghz" cable. Same with connectors.
That's not to say DirecTV's rules aren't a good idea, for new installations they certainly are. If you have to run new cables, then by all means run SCC, why not? But there's a lot of wasted work going on in existing installations. The problem is that DirecTV has installers varying from rookie to experienced, and the rules are to make sure that even a rookie installer will do it right.
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post #18 of 19 Old 02-24-2010, 01:38 PM
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Thank you very much for such an informative reply.

I have a "central distribution panel" where all wiring for cable, satellite, and phone is led to, and from there distributed through-out the house.
I am glad there is no reason to mess up the works with all new cabling.
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post #19 of 19 Old 02-25-2010, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taketheover View Post

Thank you very much for such an informative reply.

I have a "central distribution panel" where all wiring for cable, satellite, and phone is led to, and from there distributed through-out the house.
I am glad there is no reason to mess up the works with all new cabling.

In your case, if the runs are short, the connections will have a larger impact than the cables. The theoretical best case is solid copper straight from the dish to the receiver with no connectors along the way. Since you have everything going to a box, you probably have several breaks in that cable: at least two in the box and two for the wall plate (one connection on each side of the plate) unless you have it just running up through a hole in the floor. Plus, if you have external BBCs on your receiver, that's two more breaks in the line.

If you don't have properly done connections with quality fittings, the best solid copper won't perform any better than someone running clad straight from the multiswitch on the dish to the receiver. Add in the distance to, say, get from the roof to the basement then up to each room and you can easily make for a long cable run.

Honestly, if the runs were done properly (as in not stapled to the studs inside the walls), you should be able to use it to fish in replacement cable without much difficulty. Just connect the new to the old and pull it through. Also, if you paid someone to do the job - and it was done recently - I would hope you would have sprung for solid core. If you read the jacket, it should say on it. If you did it yourself and bought based on getting a big cheap spool, then you're very likely using clad.

That being said, unless you have a lot of signal drops frequently, I'd leave it alone at this point unless the installer is willing to run a new line.
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