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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm trying to sort out what kind of equipment I'll need for the switch to D*.


Here's my current set-up:

- TWC for digital cable and internet

- Incoming cable is split between cable modem and TV outlets at panel in basement.

- 8 TV outlets are home run to the panel. RG-6 cable throughout from panel to all outlets.

- Two digital set-top boxes (one is HD - for the family room with 4:3 HD monitor and 5.1 system; the other-SD is for the master bedroom).


I am building a dedicated theater in my basement and will use for DVD and HD viewing... (so I'll need DBS reception capability there eventually).


I also know I need a triple LNB dish (need for locals and also for HD).


It's not unusual for us to have 2 or 3 TVs in use at any one time, but never more than 3 (it's usually 1 or 2).


I don't want to get more sat receivers than I really need, but with no experience with DBS, I'm not sure what my options are.


Some questions:

Can I take advantage of the 8 outlet hub(?) that's in my panel today?

What kind of multi-switch do I need?

Do DBS receivers come with RF remotes or is that an add-on?

If I add an HD D* receiver later, is it easy to add myself? If so, what pre-requisite hardware do I need to be sure is in place?

Any other thoughts / suggestions would be appreciated.


Thanks!


Bill
 

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The 8 outlet hub can be probably be used for a CCTV system, need more info...


Using modulators, you can distribute each DBS receivers SD output via an in house channel to all 8 TV's at 480i. Each TV could then select one of the SD DBS receivers in-house channel to view it's programming. The more receivers, the more channels and more independent control.


Some people set it up to have one "channel" per individual.

e.g.


Wife = 21

Husband = 23

Child = 25


So whatever room Wife, Husband, Child is in they then tune the TV in that room their "channel" and they get their programming. Of course anyone can tune in to any channel and see what the other is watching!


Others use one channel per receiver, so if you know what receiver you want, you select it's channel.


e.g.


DirectTivo = 21

UltimateTV = 23

HD200 = 25


The multi-switch is only required to distribute the dish output to the receivers. For future proofing, get a 5x8 cascadable switch.


A HD DBS receiver can easily be added as long as you have a run from the multi-switch to the the HDS DBS location.


As far as remotes go, I would skip RF and go to an hardwired IR distribution system, less interference problems and greater distances.


Other thoughts...

Home run all viewing locations to distribution point

Home run dish to distribution point

Run more RG6 cables than you think you might need!

Plan for dual tuner receivers!
 

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If you purchase a high definition, 3 LNB dish, it will come with a 5x4 multi switch so this you will not need to purchase. You will only need to purchase a new multi-switch if you exceed 4 IRDs and your example makes this seem unlikely. Right now you need at most 3 IRDs and even if we assume a dedicated high definition IRD for the home theater-which you may not need- this will be your forth and you have 4 outputs on the multi-switch.


A number of brands, like RCA, make IRDs that come with RF/IR remotes. You could have 3 RCA IRDs all set to different remote frequancies and hence they could be controlled from any set in the home. However, if you follow Jim's advice above - and I would as it is the easiest way to accomplish what you want- then you will need to teach your wife and children how to change the rf id on the remote so that when your wife watches her channel she controls her IRD not yours


You also may have trouble finding open channels on which to modulate. Many cable systems are using frequencies up to 850MHz which does not leave much room for 1 let alone 3 modulated channels. You many need to filer out some channels with either channel specific elimination filters or with bandpass filter that eliminate channels above a particular frequancy-say ch 84. You then insert your modulated channels on ch 88,90 and 92 and you are done.


If you are using IR to control the stack you may need IRDs that allow you have more than 1 ir code set. I know that this is possible with Dish, and on some brand of D* irds. Then you purchase universal remote controls and program the codes for the 3 irds on to particular buttons. You can then have the same universal remote at all TVs and everyone will know the button that controls their IRD.


I like changing RF ids more than then ir control but I am, evidently, in the minority on this forum. Typically it involves a set of strokes like this: code set, dss, 05, enter. This corresponds to the following buttons: the code set button, the dss button, 05 is the keypad entry for the rf id of the ird you want to control ( SONY had choices from 00-15, but as they are out of the ird business you will have to see what the number of different codes are for a particular brand's ird ) and then the enter button. This took me about 5 seconds and my wife learned this and could do it in about 12 seconds.


Alan
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you Jim and Alan!


I need to learn more about modulators. This sounds like it will meet my needs.


The way I interpret your comments, I could set up a stack of three DBS receivers in my basement, near my panel. I would have the triple LNB dish come in to the 5/4 switch, connect the outputs to the DBS receivers and then the receivers to the 8 port hub for distribution to the rooms with the TVs. With the remotes set up with codes, I can "call" on the different receivers to get up to three different D* signals going to the TV locations throughout the house. Am I tracking?


The question I now have is: Where do the modulators go?


I likely will use RF for remotes. I appreciate the comments about less interference. However I already have some IR hardwired for my in-house sound system and the family room 5.1 system. It' s already confusing (I'm still P-Oed at the installer who made a mess of the connections- but that's another story!) and I'd like to keep the D* remotes clean.


Thanks again!


Bill
 

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Quote:
The question I now have is: Where do the modulators go?
Between the receivers and the 8 port hub.


You need to get frequency agile modulators and keep the selected channels at least 2 channels apart to prevent bleedover.


It is easiest if no other signal (i.e. OTA or cable) is on the in house cable system, otherwise you may need to get a notch filter to block out some channels to insert your own.
 

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I would reconsider using RF to control your DBS receivers. I have the Dish 501 in the basement of a 1700 sq ft house and have a terrible problem with dead zones. Pressing a button half a dozen times with your arm up, back, down, right, etc until the command registers gets old fast. I will definitely be going with IR in my next home.
 

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Songer

Why wait until your next home? Xantech makes an IR system that can carry the IR signal on coax. If your RF isn't working you can still change to IR.


I hate E*'s remotes, dislike their GUI and find the build quality of their IRDs irritating ( I guess you know how I feel about E*). I avoid them like the plague except when I am forced to by clients who want foreign channels ( and I have my prejudices reconfirmed ). As a result I have very little experience with E* products. Somehow, Songer, I am not surprised that you are unhappy with their RF remotes. However, if you are in the process of building and you have followed my advice on structured wiring you will have run an extra CAT5 so you can always go back and install an IR control system. Otherwise you can use the Xantech IR on coax system if you do not have the wire.


I will shout this until I am blue in the face-not that anyone will listen: everyone on this forum thinks it's the products that count. Blee1, you prove my point that it is always the installer. The right installer can make any product work to his client's ( reasonable ) satisfaction. He will prevent you from making wrong choices, he will jump through hoops trying to make what ever the control system serve your needs ( ever try to program a universal remote control to put a TV's internal speakers on and off ? ) but his may not be the least expensive proposal you receive. Too often I read that "A" has received a proposal and what do you guys think? Or the X control system can do 80% of the Y system at less money. The house is over budget and there is no money left for a professional. It's as if you are only choosing products and the installer is irrelevant. The installer is the only important product decision you need to make. The electronics do not matter as in the end the installer will make any of them work.


So if I were installing Blee1's system I would try the RF system first-as it is comes with the price of the IRD- and only move to an IR based system if it didn't work. Songer had I installed your system you would have had an IR system installed. And I would make more money by selling the IR system with universal remote controls. Find the right installer and he will do the right by you. Find the wrong installer and, well, that's a long story.


Alan
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Alan:


As you might imagine, I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of getting the right installer for the job. A good installer is worth the money and can save you money and frustration in the long (and short) run.


As a customer, I would first see if the installer spent a little time with me up front, to find out HOW I wanted to use the system; I think a good one would also ask a lot of questions about my intended use. The reason is that most consumers don't think about alternatives, but usually will appreciate someone helping them to see "what's possible". Then, products and equipment, including wiring. cabling and control. come in to the picture.


In short, products are solutions. They work best and create the best satisfaction when they are applied to the right problem.


Alan, I wish you were in my market! From your comments, you sound like the installer I needed! In my experience, it turned out that I knew more than my installer, but I didn't know anywhere near what a really good one knows!


I would like to know more about Xantech's ability to carry IR over coax. My house was wired when it was built two years ago. I already have Xantech IR in some of the house, but it has its own dedicated wires. Can I tap into my existing COAX RG6, that is already carrying the video?


Thanks!


Bill
 

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Bill

You can use your existing coax that are carrying RF signals ( not base band video ) to carry IR as well. It is I believe Xantech's first IR control system. Take a look at the Xantech 172 Xtra Link2. It is a table top IR receiver that would sit at your TV location and serves as a ir injector. You would run your coax in and out of it. At the head end the is a " coupler" that extracts the ir ( where you would attach the emitter ) and has 2 RF connections. In essence the Xtra Link allows you to inject IR on the same coax that carries your RF. It works as well or as poorly as any other IR distribution method which means it works. It's only limitation is that it needs to be where the coax is installed. For more info, go to www.xantch.com, select products, info by category and select the 172-94.


Thanks for the kind words. If I can be of any help keep posting


Alan
 
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