Mpeg4 Upgrade And 2 Year Commitment - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 27 Old 12-18-2006, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, I've been pondering the upgrade to MPEG4. Right now, I know from the D* website and reading these forums that I can get the 5lnb dish installed at no charge and at least one mpeg4 receiver to replace my TS360 currently in use.

Well, not exactly free, they want a two year commitment. So, after discussing with my wife, I have a couple of questions:

1) My wife simply asked, you mean we are committed to D* for the next two years even if they raise their prices? Pretty good question I haven't seen addressed on these forums. Opinions?

2) I also have an HD reciever in another room. Will they replace that one also without charge?


Lastly, a friend just did the upgrade and when the installer came to put up the new dish, he said he had to use a custom mount (this is a standard wall installation, nothing special). I told her to call D* and get them invovled with the installer. After over two hours and a three way with the installer, she had to pay the installer $150.00 for the custom mount, but D* credited her account for $99.00 to make her upgrade to the mpeg4 DVR free when it's available.

Anyone else had something like this happen? I would have sent him home and had them send someone else, but I was not involved in the phone conversation.

Comcast is now available in my area, but is seems they have dropped HDNET and while they offer the new NFL channel, they do not offer the HD version of it yet. This may keep me with D* for now at least (or two years I guess)...

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post #2 of 27 Old 12-18-2006, 10:25 AM
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1) Yes

2) Depends on what deal you work out with them, the standard deal is $99 a receiver with a free dish upgrade, unless you work something out they aren't going to upgrade your first receiver for free either.

D* doesn't carry the NFL network in HD normally either though the Thursday and Saturday games have been in HD on special events channel 95.

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post #3 of 27 Old 12-18-2006, 10:27 AM
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I would think that all the providers will have raised their prices within the next two years (at least once). That's to be expected. Usually satellite raises theirs a couple of bucks. Cable can often be a bit more.

You could always check into E*. I believe they still have the no-commitment option (they also carry the SD version of the NFL channel).

(But if you've truly been satisfied with D*, why even switch?)
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post #4 of 27 Old 12-18-2006, 10:28 AM
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The AT9 dish needed for MPEG4 is much heavier than any of the round dishes, so the custom mount may have been necessary.

However, if you are upgrading to a new receiver and another 2 year commitment, the dish and the mount should be provided for no extra charge.

At least that is what happened to me when I purchased a HR10-250 receiver to install in a second residence. This required installation of a completely new dish and running all the cable. I fully expected to have to pay full price for the second residence, just like a new user, but D* only added $7.99 a month to my bill.

This is the same price that an additional receiver would cost when it is added to your setup at an existing installation.
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post #5 of 27 Old 12-18-2006, 10:36 AM
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2 weeks ago I got the new dish and 2 receivers upgraded for no charge but I had moved. They wanted to charge me for one of the receivers but it wasn't hard to talk them out of it and I didn't have to commit.
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post #6 of 27 Old 12-18-2006, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjones73 View Post


1) Yes

Probably correct there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mjones73 View Post

2) Depends on what deal you work out with them, the standard deal is $99 a receiver with a free dish upgrade, unless you work something out they aren't going to upgrade your first receiver for free either.

This is simply wrong, if you are net getting the DVR receiver, it is included at no charge (other than the commitment). I have checked into this, the only time the $99.00 charge applies is if you're replacing a DVR receiver, I am not.

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Originally Posted by mjones73 View Post

D* doesn't carry the NFL network in HD normally either though the Thursday and Saturday games have been in HD on special events channel 95.

Well, so far every game broadcast on NFL has been broadcast in HD on 95, Comcast does not have a "special events" channel that I can find.

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post #7 of 27 Old 12-18-2006, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceS View Post

The AT9 dish needed for MPEG4 is much heavier than any of the round dishes, so the custom mount may have been necessary.

The AT9 dish comes with the extra legs for a standard wall mount, this guy was trying to scam my friend and D* agreed (which is why they gave her a credit).

The only time custom mounts are needed is if your wall or roof are of a material or construction that requires special bracing, hers is not.

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post #8 of 27 Old 12-18-2006, 11:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledzep77 View Post

2 weeks ago I got the new dish and 2 receivers upgraded for no charge but I had moved. They wanted to charge me for one of the receivers but it wasn't hard to talk them out of it and I didn't have to commit.

Let me get this straight, you got a new AT9 dish, new receivers, and no commitment?

This would be a first on these forums as far as I know.

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post #9 of 27 Old 12-18-2006, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Rammitinski View Post

I would think that all the providers will have raised their prices within the next two years (at least once). That's to be expected. Usually satellite raises theirs a couple of bucks. Cable can often be a bit more.

You could always check into E*. I believe they still have the no-commitment option (they also carry the SD version of the NFL channel).

(But if you've truly been satisfied with D*, why even switch?)


I have not been satisfied, but the other options are not particularly better as far as I can determine.

I switched from Adelphia cable in 1999 to D* because of terrible service. I went HD the same year as they (D*) were the only option period. They offered HBO HD and it looked terrific. Today, the HBO HD channel on D* is the very definition of HD-Lite. Also, the SD looked pretty good in 1999, but has steadily degraded since then to look pretty bad (this is one area where Comcast which is now my local cable company has them beat).

The other thing that has me less than satisfied is their incessant advertising of themselves. You simply can't watch more than 30 minutes on any non movie channel without a D* ad.

Still, they carry content I can't get elsewhere at the moment...

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post #10 of 27 Old 12-18-2006, 11:39 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ledzep77 View Post

2 weeks ago I got the new dish and 2 receivers upgraded for no charge but I had moved. They wanted to charge me for one of the receivers but it wasn't hard to talk them out of it and I didn't have to commit.

Believe me...you committed - you just don't know it.

You'll find out when you try to get out of it.
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post #11 of 27 Old 12-18-2006, 11:57 AM
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"This is simply wrong, if you are net getting the DVR receiver, it is included at no charge (other than the commitment). I have checked into this, the only time the $99.00 charge applies is if you're replacing a DVR receiver, I am not."

The upgrade fee is $99 bucks for the H20 and 5 LNB dish installed, as I was told by a CSR, if you are considered a 5 heart customer then it's free so what I stated isn't exactly wrong. You can also try to work out a deal with retention, specially if you need more then one such as in your case.

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post #12 of 27 Old 12-18-2006, 11:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HDTVFanAtic View Post

Believe me...you committed - you just don't know it.

You'll find out when you try to get out of it.

I suggest you call and ask what your current commitment is.

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post #13 of 27 Old 12-18-2006, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Clark View Post

Today, the HBO HD channel on D* is the very definition of HD-Lite. Also, the SD looked pretty good in 1999, but has steadily degraded since then to look pretty bad (this is one area where Comcast which is now my local cable company has them beat).

I hear ya'. I can personally vouch for the SD looking pretty bad on E* now, too. My dad had D* SD around '98, and I thought it looked fantastic back then. My sister's got Comcast, and everything looks pretty good. Even some of the SD channels don't look bad on their plasma.

I think that if picture quality is the main issue to you, Comcast would probably be your best bet, at least for now. Hopefully, they will get NFL-HD soon.

Many assume that once D* gets up their new satellites, that all picture quality problems will be a non-issue. But, just based on their past history (and tendencies towards dishonesty), and knowing the way they seem to operate, I don't know if I'd be so sure. Even if it is initially, it might only be temporary.
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post #14 of 27 Old 12-18-2006, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjones73 View Post

I suggest you call and ask what your current commitment is.


OK I called and nothing changed. I have a commit until 11/07 because of a HD Tivo I got for free in 11/05. That is my third receiver and they didn't swap that out. Like I said tho, I moved into a new house and they had to reinstall me anyway so maybe thats why I got it. Its not like I called and had them come to an existing installation to do an upgrade.
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post #15 of 27 Old 12-18-2006, 12:51 PM
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I'd be really surprised if at some point your commitment doesn't update to two years from now and just hasn't showed up in the system yet. If it doesn't that's a good thing, you got lucky.

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post #16 of 27 Old 12-18-2006, 01:00 PM
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Maybe a little off topic but before I moved into my new house I lived in an apartment for 4 months and I just got cable and suspended the D* service. I had the HD cable with a DVR. I have been with D* from the start and always thought their service was better but I have to say going from the cable back to D* the cable picture was better escpecially the HD stuff. Very noticable. Now that its been a couple of weeks it looks ok but there was a wow factor when I got hooked back up. Digital cable was better.
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post #17 of 27 Old 12-18-2006, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjones73 View Post

"This is simply wrong, if you are net getting the DVR receiver, it is included at no charge (other than the commitment). I have checked into this, the only time the $99.00 charge applies is if you're replacing a DVR receiver, I am not."

The upgrade fee is $99 bucks for the H20 and 5 LNB dish installed, as I was told by a CSR, if you are considered a 5 heart customer then it's free so what I stated isn't exactly wrong. You can also try to work out a deal with retention, specially if you need more then one such as in your case.

Ok, too strong a statement then, should have said "wrong for me" Sorry about that. When I look on their website, it shows the 5LNB dish and 1 receiver upgrade as being free. Funny that it doesn't mention the commitment requirement there (I learned of that from the forums of course). Also, my freind that just got the 5LNB and receiver said that the one thing customer retention would not budge on (for her anyway) was the commitment.

This thread is the first place on AVS I've ever seen where someone said they got this upgrade with no commitment...

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post #18 of 27 Old 12-18-2006, 03:49 PM
 
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Just like Cellphones, when you change the equipment out, it automatically rolls to a new 2 year committment. It apparently is in the original contract. Whether they catch it or not, that's another issue. If not - as stated above, you simply got lucky - though I would guess if you disconnected they would double check everything.
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post #19 of 27 Old 12-19-2006, 10:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Ok, for those that have the new AT9 and switch and know the answer.

I currently have three RG6 runs from the switch (mounted on the existing 3LNB dish) running to the three rooms I have TVs in.

For OTA stuff, I have an antenna in the attic with seperate lines running to each room.

So, I'm thinking if the new switch can be mounted on the AT9 like the old one was, there should be no new lines needed, right?

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post #20 of 27 Old 12-19-2006, 12:50 PM
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If you only have 3 runs, you do not need a separate switch, the AT-9 has an integrated multiswitch with 4 outputs.

I'm guessing you have the older Phase II dish with the multiswitch mounted on the back of it now right? The newer dishes have it built into the LNB unit.

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post #21 of 27 Old 12-19-2006, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjones73 View Post

If you only have 3 runs, you do not need a separate switch, the AT-9 has an integrated multiswitch with 4 outputs.

I'm guessing you have the older Phase II dish with the multiswitch mounted on the back of it now right? The newer dishes have it built into the LNB unit.

Yeah, you are right. I just went next door and checked out the new slimline dish the installer is putting up right now. It has 4 outputs available with no switch in sight, so I seem to be covered.

I actually would rather have the full size AT9 though for rain fade reasons, seem like bigger would be better in that regard.

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post #22 of 27 Old 12-19-2006, 02:00 PM
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I've read that the Slimline is designed better to take advantage of the dish surface area and actually has a bit higher gain then the AT-9, over all they perform about the same so I don't think it would make a difference which dish you had.

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post #23 of 27 Old 12-20-2006, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Yikes, getting the upgrade is getting scary to say the least.

Last week, my water-ski partner had her system upgraded to the mpeg4 system and the installer tried to hit her up for "custom supports." I had her call D* and they got on the line with the installer and eventually worked it out (2.5 hour 3-way phone call).

Yesterday at noon, D* showed up at my neighbor's house to convert him from Dish to D*. When I put the garbage out last night at 10:00pm, the D* van was still in the driveway next door. The neighbor's son came over and borrowed an extension cord to help the installer and mentioned that the installer didn't seem too bright and barely spoke any english ("just a button pusher" were his exact words).

I talked to the guy for a few minutes trying to find out what equipment he used to align the new dish. Eventually I figured out he is just using a signal strength meter. I have seen in these threads where installers have been using spectrum analyzers for a more precise alignment. Any thoughts from anyone on that?

I installed the first round dish myself, and then later installed the oval 3LNB setup myself. I don't really want to install the larger dish though, but...

I can hardly wait...

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post #24 of 27 Old 12-20-2006, 09:56 AM
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I used the Accutrac 22 pro signal meter to install my AT9 dish and it worked great.
Took me about 1/2 an hour to fine tune signal,its really not that difficult
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post #25 of 27 Old 12-20-2006, 12:04 PM
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Spectrum analyzers are used more for OTA antenna aiming I believe, lets you get the over all picture of all the different frequencies where with D* you are only concentrating on D*'s signals.

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post #26 of 27 Old 12-21-2006, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok guys and gals, I just got off the phone with D*. I started with the regular CSR who was pretty knowledgeable, but was not able to get me a 2nd HD receiver for free, so transferred me to Austin in Customer Retention. Well, after some negotiation, I came away with the new dish and two H20's with free installation (but I had to pay a 19.95 deliver fee which I felt wasn't too bad compared to 99.00 for the 2nd receiver).

He made notes on the installer request to have a supervisor do the installation (couldn't promise that though). Also noted that the installation is a standard wall and will require only the standard pole and arm(s) that come with the dish. Finally noted that the dish will need to be installed in the exact same position as the old one (requiring they remove it [he said no problem on that]) due to the existing wiring and line of sight issues.

Deciding factors were the mpeg4 upgrade, local HD's on Sat, bigger more rain fade resistant dish; and better content than Comcast is able to offer right now.

So, here's hoping the new mpeg4 stuff works well for at least the next two years

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post #27 of 27 Old 01-05-2007, 06:48 AM - Thread Starter
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Install was completed yesterday about 4:30pm. The installer had no issue with removing the old dish and installing the new one in the same location (I had heard otherwise on this forum).

I got two new H20 receivers with the deal. I wanted to hook them up myself and he said fine. He asked that I connect them and as they power up, press 0, 2, 4, 6, 8 which he said will force the lastest software download. I have no way to verify if that's true or not, the display showed nothing to indicate anything other than a boot. Went through setup and got channel 100.

He completed the new dish install, called D* for me and activated the new boxes. I checked my channels to make sure I was getting all I should, signed the papers and he was out of there. Total time, about 1.5 hours.

I have owned several receivers before this including the Sony A50 and B50, Toshiba's first HD box, Sony HD100, and Samsung 360 HD box. The first thing I have to say is that the new H20 responds in slow motion compared to ANY of those and that is something of a disappointment. The guide is usable but seems to take two presses, one to select the guide type and one more to bring up the selected guide. None of this is a show stopper, but it is a little annoying.

Now for the pluses. The OTA section is the best of any box I've had yet pulling channels I got marginally before as solid and pulling channels I simply did not get before from my OTA antenna in the attic. The funny thing about that is that one of the reasons I went with the upgrade was to get solid local HD channels which I now do both from the Satellite and OTA. If I had this OTA receiver in any of my previous boxes, I would not have needed to upgrade...

The new slimline 5LNB dish is supposed to be more rain fade resistant, we will see. Also, the H20 has a search function which only my Samsung had and I do like that!

I had a little trouble programming my Pronto as the first set of codes I downloaded from RemoteCentral.com did not operate the dash (-) key. Also, the pronto refused to learn that key. I downloaded someone elses configuration file and the dash worked from that one, so I can direct tune OTA HD stations now.

I'll report again after a few days and include my wife's input. The interface and the speed of the interface are very different from the HD100 sony she was used to, so she may have some issues.

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