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Can't get HD in Condo

1062 Views 20 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  Dearth
I wrote a contract on new construction in Chicago's south loop. Set to close in 2 weeks. Am ordering new HD set, surround speakers, the works. Checked with the building sales agent in advance and was told the building had Comcast cable but learned today that is wrong. The building has DirectTV but no HD dish on top.

I plan to live there 3-5 years and will be very miserable if I can't get HD because I've waited and planned this move for several months. My balcony faces south and is not obstructed. But the by-laws may forbid sticking my own dish on the balcony. Is there any hope?
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I would suggest talking with the building management, and simply replacing the standard dish with an HD dish. At least then you could get DirecTV HD. That should not be a big deal, even if you have to shoulder the cost of the new dish, hardware & install.
Thanks for the suggestion. I will talk to them Monday AM. I think the cable contract is probably a multi-year contract so changing it out could have some cost implications for the other 280 homeowners in the highrise. Keeping my fingers crossed on this one.
If they do put up an oval dish for HD capability make sure that all four lines are run someplace where it can be distributed.
the_bear89451 is absolutley correct. Your association can NOT phrohibit you from installing a receiving antenna on your designated common area property. In fact, you even have the right to place the dish on a mast, if necessary to get the signal. I'm in a condo and went thru this crap with my assocation years ago. After providing the FCC rules, they even allowed me to place the dish on the roof (which is a common roof to the bldg) so the dish wouldn't be so unsightly. You need not worry....
bear89451 is absolutely correct. I quote from a post by Bill Shakespeare in Walnut Creek, CA HDTV

"Your HOA really cannot keep you from mounting an antenna in your airspace. Check this thread . The FCC rules are linked in the Scooper's signature line, or can be read here. "

You cannot be stopped. Mast to 12'!
Originally posted by the_bear89451
Your condo rules & regs are illegal and cannot be enforced:
I was going to say the same thing. Fight them. I had the same experience in an apartment. In the end I settled on OTA, but I KNOW the rules now, you can indeed install whatever you want. If it comes to it, install what you want and tell them to sue you. You have the law on your side.
As others have said, as a homeowner (or even renter for that matter) you can put a dish on your balcony without having anybodys approval.
But, a SMATV system is a great way to SHARE the glory of free OTA HDTV.

(And save the balcony space for a FTA dish) :D
Originally posted by drjeffrock
As others have said, as a homeowner (or even renter for that matter) you can put a dish on your balcony without having anybodys approval.
You guys may been wrong here? They have a dish on the roof so they are covered legally. You do need approval to place it on your balcony in mosts complexes. This is for safety reasons as well as for appearence. Getting them to upgrade the current dish may be the best route.
Originally posted by dm145
You guys may been wrong here? They have a dish on the roof so they are covered legally. You do need approval to place it on your balcony in mosts complexes. This is for safety reasons as well as for appearence. Getting them to upgrade the current dish may be the best route.
Only if the signal that he wishes to get comes through the dish on the roof. He said in his initial post that they have DirecTV but not an HD antenna, I'm assuming OTA HD. Here is the statement from the FCC, item 1 would apply if he's not getting what he wants, and item 2 would apply if the signal was not as good as he should be getting:

Q: If my association, building management, landlord, or property owner provides a central antenna, may I install an individual antenna?

A: Generally, the availability of a central antenna may allow the association, landlord, property owner, or other management entity to restrict the installation by individuals of antennas otherwise protected by the rule. Restrictions based on the availability of a central antenna will generally be permissible provided that: (1) the person receives the particular video programming or fixed wireless service that the person desires and could receive with an individual antenna covered under the rule (e.g., the person would be entitled to receive service from a specific provider, not simply a provider selected by the association); (2) the signal quality of transmission to and from the person's home using the central antenna is as good as, or better than, than the quality the person could receive or transmit with an individual antenna covered by the rule; (3) the costs associated with the use of the central antenna are not greater than the costs of installation, maintenance and use of an individual antenna covered under the rule; and (4) the requirement to use the central antenna instead of an individual antenna does not unreasonably delay the viewer's ability to receive video programming or fixed wireless services.
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Maybe I'm misinterpreting this ruling posted. I live in a condo that faces north and currently have Comcast HD. I can put a dish in according to my by-laws but only on my balcony, which I have exlusuve use of. According to this FCC ruling, it does NOT apply to common areas. I cannot argue the no roof dish rule as against the FCC over the air reception devices rule and cannot install a dish on the roof.

from the FCC:

Q: If I live in a condominium or an apartment building, does this rule apply to me?

A: The rule applies to antenna users who live in a multiple dwelling unit building, such as a condominium or apartment building, if the antenna user has an exclusive use area in which to install the antenna. "Exclusive use" means an area of the property that only you, and persons you permit, may enter and use to the exclusion of other residents. For example, your condominium or apartment may include a balcony, terrace, deck or patio that only you can use, and the rule applies to these areas. The rule does not apply to common areas, such as the roof, the hallways, the walkways or the exterior walls of a condominium or apartment building. Restrictions on antennas installed in these common areas are not covered by the Commission's rule. For example, the rule would not apply to prohibit restrictions that prevent drilling through the exterior wall of a condominium or rental unit.

Someone mentioned common areas being ok to install in. The original poster looks ok for the balcony install. Luckily, it's facing in the right direction.
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Your understanding is correct, chaz01, I think an earlier poster misspoke when they said 'common' area. You have the right to install an antenna or dish in an area that is exclusive to you. You do NOT have the right to install anything in a common area.
My bad: I should have said "exclusive use area", and not "common area". Actually, in my CCNR's it says "designated common area", which includes the patio (balcony) and garage. Anything else is "common area". Point being if you can't get reception from your balcony, then you have the right to install the dish on a mast on your balcony high enough to get the reception. I believe there is a height restriction for safety. My association did not want the dish on the balcony and allowed me to install it on the "common area" roof. You might discuss it with the association. Tell them it will preserve the appearance of the complex if the dish was on the roof and out of site.. good luck
Thanks for the replies.

I would be very interested in hearing the outcome of the "dish dilemna".
Thanks to everyone for the great replies on this. I am feeling a lot better than on Saturday. Our builiding manager says that since the satellite would require burrowing into the concrete of the building to get the signal wire inside from the balcony it would necessitate affecting the common area.

My attorney has the FCC statement outlined above and this thread for more background. I think it'll be OK, but will post the results when the outcome is known for sure.

Here's a follow up. The building management said I can't do it so I clipped the FCC fact sheet and emailed to my attorney. He thinks I'm in the clear. Rather than fight it and raise the profile, I will have DirecTV come on the next available Saturday and install the dish. If someone complains I'll have the attorney send a letter and the fact sheet and I should be in the clear.

A big thanks to those of you who helped, particularly to the_bear and rickmccamy. I am a week from closing and could not bear moving in and not getting HD after all this wait.


You should try what I did in a similar circumstance at my townhome:

Satellite dish in a 5-gallon bucket of cement on 10' water pipe on balcony. Use flat coax couplers to get the RG-6 cables from your multiswitches off the dish into the building through the windows. There wasn't a darn thing management could say because I was using my exlcusive space and didn't damage anything. The mount isn't anchored to anything, but has been standing tall for years. We only had one bad wind event where it actually tipped over, but luckily no damage was rendered anywhere. My worst problem is during spring and summer when leaves on the trees start to bloom. I can't do anything about them (on the rental property), so a couple years now I have had to monkey around with the dish and even build a taller mount to overcome some branches in the line of site. I'm kind of worried about my signal in a few months, as I might not have any options to overcome the foliage obstacle.
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I had the same problem

If you can't get it from your balcony you are probably screwed.

Roof if usually considered common area and they very rarely let you do what you want up there. Try and get others on board and put in a request to your condo board, that's the best you can do.

You could also try and get others onboard for Comcast and request that.

But you have no right to any premium services like satellite, just that you're able to receive normal OTA channels adequately, and you have access to satellite anyways.
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