AVS Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,727 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A couple Circuit City stoners installed my first DirecTV system (SD Tivo to one TV). They crushed my metal roof and did a cruddy job running wire (through the stucco wall and under carpet rather than in the attic).


I just jumped on the DirecTivo HD deal (for 2nd TV) and wanted a clean install this time, so here are my questions:


1) Should I trust the DirecTV guys to do a good job?


2) It's a pretty straight forward fishing job [attic down uninsulated walls without fire breaks (I think)], but I'm not sure if they'd charge extra. Should I fish my own wire prior to the install?


3) I'll have 2 Tivos (1 x SD, 1 x HD), so I'm not sure what new equipment (e.g. multiswitch?) and # of wires I'd need to run from the dish. Any tips?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
995 Posts
First off, the installers are not "Circuit City stoners", it's a seperate installl company that just as well could be contracted with D*. If the install sucked, you need to go to the store and tell them so they can let the area installation manager know since he's responsible for the companies with whom your area contracts. (Actually, since you note your location as California, I know who that is) Ask the Entertainment manager to contact him.


Installing through your attic will cost you more regardless of who does it. D*'s basic install doesn't fish through the attic and walls.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,727 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. I specifically remember they had CC badges/shirts, cuz I was close to calling the QA dept about this.


Is it possible for them to just give me the hardware (coax cable, and any splitters, switches, diplexers) I might need, and let me complete the final hookups? Or, is that a bad idea? I'm fairly competent w/ these things and setup an H10 receiver myself for a friend, so can't imagine the HR10-250 is much different. For a 2 Tivo (1 SD and 1 HD) setup, how many of the following are required?


1) Cables coming from dish into house.

2) Diplexers???

3) Anything else?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,918 Posts
To answer your last questions, should you decide to fish your own lines before they come:


The standard elliptical dish D* now uses includes a multiswitch that has four satellite outputs. I don't know which SD TiVo you have, but you should expect to use all four of them: 2 to each of the TiVo units so you can take advantage of wathcing one show while recording another, etc. You will also need an antenna wire to take advantage of OTA on the HD TiVo. That would mean either a 5th cable or diplexing the antenna cable to the satellite cable. Unless you are in an area where you get a very strong OTA signal, it is probably not a good idea to use a diplexor because it does weaken the signal somewhat. That means 5 RG6 cables from attic to where you plan to put your equipment.


I would expect a standard D* install to include running all 4 outputs from the satellite dish into the attic. You can then connect them yourself to the wires you've already run.


SMK
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,093 Posts
The usual problem with diplexing is a bad diplexer which is all too common. A good diplexer loses very little signal. You'd have to be in an extreme fringe situation to make a difference.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,727 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Perfect. Exactly what I wanted to know. Looks like a diplexer's out. I may just wait to see what they'll do, then if it sounds iffy or they say they'll charge extra, I'll just ask for the hardware and do it myself. Thanks for the info everyone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,727 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Just an update on what happened. Just had my HD DirecTivo installed yesterday. In case they recommended a different dish location, I decided not to pre-fish my wire before the install date. They said the location was fine. As expected, he said it'll cost an extra $120 to fish the wires since it's considered a 'custom' install. The free standard installation would have the cables running outside the house along the eaves of the roof and down the wall and straight through to the inside. That's ugly.


So, lucky for me, the installer said I could fish my own wire and he could return the same day to finish the hookup, rather than paying the $120 to have him do it or have the appt rescheduled. He gave me enough RG6 for both Sat1/2 connections (I already had OTA cable running). BTW, he recommended against using a diplexer too. So he left and I battled all the attic cobwebs and ran the wire myself. I left plenty of slack left for him to work with outside, and connected the inside RG6 to a dual coax wall plate. When he returned about 4 hours later, while he installed the new dish, I completed the inside hookups to the hr10-250. Worked perfect.


BTW, this DirecTV contracted installer did a kickarse job compared to the CC dudes that did my original setup (no offense, snatch). Much cleaner and professional looking. He probably deserved more than the $20 tip I gave him since he did such a clean job, but that's all I had. Gave him plenty of drinks since it was mid90s in my area though.


So, just wanted to give my experience. I'd highly recommend fishing your own cable, esp if you have an attic or crawlspace; no fireblocks in the walls; and you're sure of the location of the dish. Saves money and looks cleaner. Coax wall plates look much better and are easier to work with than having the cable come straight from the wall too.


Gonna go watch some DirecTV HD now...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,215 Posts
I'm currently experiencing the worst service ever from the local D* installation company, Ironwood Communications. I've escalated the issue (twice) with D*, and they're writing up the company with a formal complaint. So far, D* has given me three months free Total Choice to make up for it (on top of the killer deal for my HD DVR upgrade...)


Here's the (long) story. I don't see how it could be much worse that this:


1) My original install was scheduled for one week ago today (August 22.) I was given a window of 1pm-5pm. So, I left work at lunch and was home just before 1:00pm. At 4:40pm, I got a call from the tech (in the field) saying he's stuck on a difficult job, and would have to re-schedule. He gave me the number to the local office so I could re-schedule. Since I normally work until 6:00 (and it would take too long to get back to the office, with all the commute traffic), I just wasted 5 hours of time off work (which I don't get paid for...) I don't mind taking the time off, if I would have had the install done.


2) I called, and we re-scheduled for the next day (Tuesday, August 23.) The next morning, I get a call saying they don't have any HD DVR's in the warehouse, but are expecting more sometime on Wednesday, so would have to re-schedule for Thursday. I explained the tech had one on his truck at the end of the day yesterday, and asked what happened to it? They called me back to explain the tech checked it in at the end of the day, and it was given out to another install that morning...


3) Thursday, August 25: the first installer arrives. He works hard for 4 1/2 hours...runs the lines, etc., but can't get the sat to receive a signal. Says he can't get around a tree (since the HD sat is 3-degrees different from the existing sat I had been receiving...) He tells me he needs a senior level tech to finish the job. I tell him I can't afford to take much more time off work, so could they have someone come out first thing in the morning (Friday, Aug. 26)? He calls his supervisor, and his supervisor tells me he'll have someone out in the morning, but not sure exactly what time. He'll have someone call me at 8:00am with an ETA.


4) Friday, August 26: no phone call. At 8:30, I get through to the local office, and they have no idea what's going on. There are no notes in the system regarding this issue. After tracking down the original installer, and the supervisor he talked to the night before, they tell me they have no installers available but could have someone out in the afternoon. I explain that I have a retirement party to attend after work, so they'd have to be finished no later than 5:30 (which is why I insisted on the morning in the first place.) They tell me they could have someone there by 4:00, and would call me at work when he's on his way. 4:00 comes and goes with no phone call. I call the local office, and I'm told the best they can do is sometime between 6:00 and 7:00. I tell them this won't work because I have a retirement party to attend. I call D* and speak to a supervisor. He escalates the issue, and calls the local installation company (Ironwood Communications) himself. He tells them they need to have someone at my house first thing Saturday morning to finish the install.


5) Saturday, August 27: an installer arrives just before 8:00am. He gets the satellite working, and we test it using my old non-HD DVR. Can't test the HD because the installer didn't bring a unit with him! He says he thought the HD DVR was already installed. I explained to him the first installer was told by his supervisor to take the unit back with him, because until it's activated it belongs to the company.


6) Saturday, August 27, part II: three hours later, another installer arrives with the HD DVR. He gets it hooked up and activated, but is unable to connect and test the HD locals (I also had an off-air antenna installed), because the previous installer didn't install a diplexer, and he didn't' have a diplexer with him.


7) Sunday, August 28: the fourth installer arrives at 8:00am. He hooks up a diplexer so that I have a cable going to antenna-in to receive the HD locals. He then begins to leave. I ask him how I get the locals to show up, and he tells me to run guided setup again and it'll take care of it, but he has another install and has to go. So, I run guided setup myself. But, I'm unable to receive most of my locals. I get NBC (3-1 and 3-2) SOMETIMES, but not reliably. Most of the time on NBC (and on ALL OTHER LOCALS), I get a blank screen with a message that it's searching for a source on antenna-in. If I test the off-the-air signal strength, it goes from 90 to 0 back to 90, but mostly stays at 0. I call D* support, and they tell me it's most likely a faulty diplexer. I speak to another supervisor who further escalates the issue, and is upset with the installer for not testing to make sure everything works. He calls the local office, and has all three of us on a conference call. The local office promises to have someone at my house no later than 8:00am the next day to take care of the issue.


8) Monday, August 29, one week after the journey began: 8:00am comes and goes. At 8:20, I get ahold of someone at the local office for Ironwood Communications. I then sti on hold for 30 minutes (no exaggeration) and I'm finally told they have no techs available, and will have to call me back with an install time. I explain (again) to the supervisor that I've now spent 16 hours sitting around waiting for this install to finish, and have taken 12 hours (and counting) off work. I call D* again, and they once again call the local office. They speak to the manager in charge, who promises to personall be at my house by 8:00am tomorrow (Tuesday, August 30.) We'll see if it happens. They've made promises before, but haven't followed through.


UPDATE: they weren't here by 8:00am...they got here at 9:00. Also, the tech refused to run a cable directly from the OTA to my receiver, even though I showed him the degraded picture quality caused by the diplexer. Also, he was only able to get a couple local channels (couldn't get 3, 10, or 13...)


Final tally: 8 days, 20 hours sitting around the house waiting, 16 hours that I've missed work, 5 installers, and I have a degraded picture quality and only half my local HD channels.


The best D* was willing to do is give me 3 months free service.


I'm going to re-evaluate how badly I want NFL Sunday Ticket. I may be switching providers withing the next few days...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,727 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Gecko85,

That's a bummer. I hope it works out for you. I'd call D* for some major freebies, otherwise cancel the order and go with Dish Network. I guess it really depends on who's doing the installs, in terms of QA.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,215 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by gohd
Gecko85,

That's a bummer. I hope it works out for you. I'd call D* for some major freebies, otherwise cancel the order and go with Dish Network. I guess it really depends on who's doing the installs, in terms of QA.
So far, on top of the killer deal on the HD upgrade (bunch of freebies and instant credit, so it basically cost me about $45 installed), they've given me 3 months free Total Choice programming (1 month the first time I called to complain, and 2 more months today.) The last supervisor I spoke with said that if Ironwood Communications gets another escalation like this in the next 90 days, their contract would be reviewed, and they could possibly be dropped as an installation partner.


Edit: Oh, and I can't jump to Dish. D* has me by the privates, because I *must* have NFL Sunday Ticket...
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top