How NOT to get an HD-TiVo

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SatelliteGuys Family
Original poster
Supporting Founder
Nov 29, 2003
S.F. Bay Area
I'm sure that this is obvious to someone out there but I really thought that I could easily get the HD-TiVo and switch from dishNetwork to DirecTv. but...
DirecTv has LOTS of NEW customer programs and after I confirmed that my CC HD-TiVo was on its way, I picked one that would get me 3 SD receivers, 1 SD TiVo, 4x8 switch and Triple LNB. Installed for ~ $107. (I hear the snickers) The problem is, I am no longer considered a NEW customer. Since CC has shipped an HD-Tivo unit, I am now an existing inactive customer. To get the NEW customer program I have to either have CC add to my existing HD-Tivo order or return my HD-Tivo unit and have CC cancel my account. I went to a local CC to see about adding to my existing order, but I'm not impressed with their offerings. No Hughes SD stuff and nothing that would include a 4x8 switch. And the prices are much higher though they do come down after a mail-in rebate and CC gift certificate.
I'm going for option two and going to return the HD-Tivo just long enough to get the account number released. According to DirecTv, CC should be able to do this on their computer within minutes. Then call the place I will get the New customer offer and get them to add me to the DirecTv database. After this is done, I will repurchase the HD-Tivo and have it ADDED to my account.
I have nightmares about there being a technical problem that will take 24 hours to resolve and then going back into CC to find that my HD-Tivo is sold.
This saga will continue....
call and talk with the customer retention people. They should be able to give you a great deal, the one you want.
... HD DirecTivo unit arrived. I found it safely at my front door when I got home from work. I thought that I would have needed to sign for it, but it was just there. Opened the box, and checked it out. Closed the box and waited for today.
Arrived at Circuit City for the DirecTv dance. No problem, Circuit City did a refund and issued me a store credit. I called DirecTv (1-800-DirecTv) and after much too much time on the phone, ended with the "we cannot do anything here. It may take up to 24 hours for this to be processed and sent by Circuit City." :no I then get a second phone number for Circuit City's National Headquarters. After talking to this person and being put on hold while he called back to the store I was at so that he could talk to the store manager, the story was even more bleak. I would need to leave the HD Tivo at Circuit City for 24 to 48 hours until the account cleared.
As I realize that there is nothing more to do, I prepare to leave the unit at CC. But the store manager is still not around, so I call Harold at Rapid Satellite to give him the status and tell him I did not get the account released. Harold gives me the number to DirecTv's Retail Sales Assistance Center and said to call them and then call him back with the status.
I call DirecTv's Retail Sales Assistance Center, and very quickly tell the woman what I have done.
Woman: "Home number with area code, please."
Me: "xxx-xxx-xxxx"
Woman: "Circuit City?"
Me: "Yes."
Woman: "Ok. I'm done. You may order from whomever you wish now."
And after calling Harold back, I was now signed up as a new customer with Rapid Satellite.
Alright, now I just need to give back the store credit, take my HD Tivo, and I will be done for the day!!
Problem. Circuit City cannot sell the HD Tivo back to me because, they do not have one to sell. You see, the computer will take an overnight update before it knows that the HD Tivo was returned and then it can be sold to me. But, the CC Manager is really a nice guy. He photocopied the bar codes on the box and will process the order the next day. I get to take the HD Tivo home.

So now I am waiting for the equipment to arrive from Rapid Satellite. Maybe next week. Then installer will show up, (or not) and then I will actually get to use the HD Tivo unit. I will wait for the system to be up for a day or two before I cancel dishNetwork. So far, only an 8 day delay...
Well, I am now a DirecTv customer and will soon sell my dishNetwork equipment. My only real complaint is that the DirecTivo Players have very slow menus. The non-Tivo Receivers are very nice. Much better than the 301s they replaced. But I am getting a head of the story.

The day after Memorial Day Weekend was to be my installation date. I had a 8 - 12 am window. At 8:30 am, I called the dispatch center to verify that someone was coming. The install was still on, and I was told that Steven would arrive shortly. At 11:30 am, Steven arrived. It was obvious from the odor, that Steven had enjoyed his Memorial Day Weekend. I kept my distance and made sure that there were no open flames in the vicinity.
Anyway, we discussed the terms of the "free" basic install and I agreed to run the extra cable needed to hook up Tivo to the downstairs set. Steven provided a roll of RG-6 from his truck. Steven would use the existing chimney mounts for the DirecTv dish and place the 4x8 multiplexer in the attic to replace the two 6x4 dish Network multiplexers. After about an hour, all sets were ready to go. Almost ready to go...
No signal on any set for even transponders. Steven checked, rechecked. He realigned the dish, and nothing. He reread the 4x8 install guide, nothing. So he went to his truck and brought out a second 4x8 multiplexer. He said we could use this multiplexer to get the service started and then I could deal with getting a replacement from my dealer. Ok, well it has been an additional hour, so I would not argue at this point.
Steven went into the attic and installed the replacement 4x8 multiplexer. No go. Same problem. I though that it must be a bad multiplexer in the dish LNB assembly. So Steven did a direct connect to one of the receivers. Tested all four outputs and both odd and even transponders worked fine. So Steven is on the phone to get some advice. I roam the house checking the sets...
The downstairs direcTivo unit has me puzzled. All the receivers have about 88 percent signal strength, but the downstairs set has 67 percent on input 1 and 88 percent on input 2. I start to wonder if I didn't run the cable correctly, put that doesn't make sense. Bad connector? Ok, time to go up into the attic.
Bingo! While tracing the cable, I find that Steven has connected this cable to the power input of the 4x8 multiplexer. And I find that the power cable that Steven made is just laying by the power supply. One end is connected to the power supply, but the other goes no where. I rewire the original 4x8 multiplexer and head down the ladder just as Steven appears with yet another multiplexer. I asked him to follow me to check the signal at the receiver.
Both even and odd are working fine! I told Steven what was wrong and he was just happy that this was just about over. With Memorial Day Weekend, this Tuesday was like a Monday to him. (Mental note, no more installs on the first day after a weekend.)
Steven called in to activate the receivers and unfortunately for Steven, the person on the other end was confused about the HD DirecTivo unit. But after 20 more minutes on the phone, all receivers were up and running.
Steven was on his way to his next victim, um, customer.
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