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My DTV HD Experience and Advice sought-please

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Old 01-31-2006, 12:42 PM   #1  
My plasma is High Def.
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Default My DTV HD Experience and Advice sought-please

I'll try to be short (*try*) and save the "can you believe what they told me" stuff for a later thread...

I ordered the DTV HD package (HD DVR/Triple LNB Dish) a week and a half ago after asking specifically "Will I get local channels in HD with this system?" Was told "Yes", and it says! yes on the website (Congrats..blah, blah...you will receive local HD channels with *ANY* HD system - my emphasis). I bought an HD system, right? BTW, this is the Washington, DC market and all locals b-cast in HD.

It took me a week to get to play with it and this weekend I discovered that no matter what I do, I can't get locals in HD. I call and am told the DVR doesn't decrypt local HD broadcasts, but the plain jane HD receiver accept the signals and they'll swap it for my DVR and give me the new DVR for free later this year.

I did research here and other sites and find out about DTV's many HD issues: technical and scam policies. Esp. mad after no problems after 5 years as a subscriber.

Now that I think I have it all straight I call back to get it all fixed (BTW, th! is took 2 hours and *2* conflict resolution representatives, the last one was fantastic).

So, I found out that the Triple LNB Dish initially installed won't pick up local HD channels even with the HD receiver that will accept them...

The rep ends up:
- Promising to take care of financial issues
- Arranging a swap of my useless DVR and useless dish for an HD receiver and 5-LNB Multi-Satellite Dish that is supposed to receive local HD channels
- Promising and noting in the system to swap out no charge the HD receiver for the new HD DVR that will display and record local HD b-casts, whenever that comes out (Spring/Summer 2006)
-Calling the local installer last night and having them set an appointment before Sunday (at my request). The local installer called 20 minutes after the DTV call (930pm EST) and put me down for a Wednesday appointment

This is all great but it hasn't happened yet. However if it all works, they did a great job of owning up to their problems and fixing it, though it took lots of initiative, being an educated consumer (I wasn't at first...thus the shaft), and persistence on my end.

After doing some more research here I thought I'd ask for a little help, as some of it is still confusing.

-Will this 5-LNB dish really receive local b-cast HD channels?
-Does it decrypt the local HD signals and beam from the satellite(s) or does it have off-air antenna built in?
-Can it be used for the DTV International programming? Any experience with these?:
Dishes

I have 2 coaxial cables coming out of my wall, hooked up to Satellite
In 1 and 2 in the SAT receiver I believe, and am using an HDMI cable between the SAT receiver and HDTV. Will any more cables/connections/etc. need to be ! put in by the installer? Or what should I expect to happen for the install to be done correctly?

Thanks very much. I can share the how-to part of how I think I got them to do an about-face and save others from this nightmare in another thread after I get this finished tomorrow. BTW this HD picture is awesome and worth getting this fixed.
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Old 01-31-2006, 01:10 PM   #2  
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Ok first your DVR is not useless. It will still record, just not the meger HD programming the new receiver will get that the DVR won't.

Let me explain the meger part. You will find that after they install the new 5LNB dish that at most you will receive only four of your HD locals over the dish. Go to your HD local page and verify which locals are actually on the dish for your area. Here in Houston they have some problem with the local CBS station and we only can get ABC, FOX and NBC over the dish. Any other HD locals here requires the use of an OTA antenna.

Second, the picture quality of programming over the dish is more compressed than the OTA signal, so most people will end up watching the OTA signal if it comes in for them. If you can get your locals with a OTA antenna, there is no benifit. The early reports are that the improved picture quality using mpeg4 has while better than the 3LNB HD channels has fallen short of OTA performance. I have not seen this myself, just passing along what others have said.

As far as the international programming goes, if the channels are on the satellites that the 3LNB dish covers, then the new AT9 dish should work also.

Lastly, here is a link to a page that has the installation videos for the new system:
The New AT9 Dish
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Old 01-31-2006, 01:37 PM   #3  
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Pretty much if you need any international programming that requires the large 95 Sat you will need another dish installed plus the 5lnb, if your int. prg is para todos then no youll be fine. Out of Washington DC for locals avail only the 4 networks are avail. everything else will require the OTA. Cabling wise you should be good the H20 only needs 1 cable.
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Old 01-31-2006, 01:43 PM   #4  
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Hi rbinck,

Thanks for your reply.

What I mean by useless is that the DVR won't display/record local HD channels. I have a regular DVR that can record SD format. I don't record much else. So it's useless to me and will be obsolete, even according to DTV, later this year. We'll see.

DTV offers only the local channels of ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX in DC. So that answers my "does the Sat. use a built-in OTA" question. Looks like an OTA will still be necessary for Public TV. I am glad, hopefully, that I will be set for their future technological capabilities after this install.

DTV offers an off-air antenna option with an HD system. Has anyone done this and can give feedback on its performance?
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Old 01-31-2006, 11:09 PM   #5  
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Generally the D* supplied OTA is not very good and quite often the techs will try to talk you out of putting it up because they know it is not very good. You are better off getting your own antenna.

I guess I misread your first post as I thought you had a HD DVR.
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Old 02-01-2006, 07:23 AM   #6  
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Thanks, I am looking into an OTA now. I did have the HD DVR and it does work well. It just doesn't record DTV-provided local HD channels.
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Old 02-01-2006, 09:48 AM   #7  
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Default You may not need another DVR

Quote:
Originally Posted by DCreg
Thanks, I am looking into an OTA now. I did have the HD DVR and it does work well. It just doesn't record DTV-provided local HD channels.
The HD Tivo is not MPEG-4 capable, true enough. That means that it won't record the local HD channels from the satellite. BUT, it will record any OTA HD channel content. It will also record the HD content that currently comes from DTV in MPEG-2 format (like HBO HD, Showtime HD, DiscoveryHD, ESPNHD, etc.).

I just upgraded to HD and bought the HD Tivo box. I have an antenna plugged into it for OTA digital/HD signals from my local channels. I get all my locals in HD, except for Fox (I don't worry about seeing the Simpsons and Family Guy in HD, anyhow). The DVR records the HD content from OTA perfectly.

So, if you are able to get your local stations with an antenna, you really should reconsider whether you even want the new dish and new DVR. There isn't any benefit to it.
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Old 02-01-2006, 10:02 AM   #8  
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Do the locals via OTA show up in the Tivo guide and can you set up a Season Pass for them? If that's the case (DTV didn't tell me that, just that the DVR won't record locals beamed from the satellite) I'll keep the DVR and get the upgrade later. Right now they say they'll give it to me for free. Plus the rep made it worthwhile to do so. Thanks.
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Old 02-01-2006, 04:19 PM   #9  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DCreg
Do the locals via OTA show up in the Tivo guide and can you set up a Season Pass for them? If that's the case (DTV didn't tell me that, just that the DVR won't record locals beamed from the satellite) I'll keep the DVR and get the upgrade later. Right now they say they'll give it to me for free. Plus the rep made it worthwhile to do so. Thanks.
The "advanced program guide" in the Tivo will integrate all of the OTA channels with the satellite channels. The OTA channels appear with a "-" after the number (e.g., 7-1, 10-1). The guide information is the same and the season pass is the same. The HD Tivo guide also puts a little "HD" icon in the listing, for those shows that are in Hi def.

However, if you have negotiated a special deal and are getting all the new equipment on the cheap, then go for it.
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Old 02-03-2006, 09:08 AM   #10  
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Just an FYI, I got the locals though DTV now. The quality is very good but like others have said, not as great as the channels in the HD package. I'll hopefully get an OTA antenna up Saturday to compare.

For others who are researching this, I'd not get DTV HD unless you are crazy for the sports packages. I've seen basketball and hoceky so far and they rock in HD! I can't wait for the Super Bowl and Olympics. Otherwise just get your HD TV and an antenna for locals.

My 2.
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