Newbie Questions about DirecTV (1 Viewer)

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esmeet

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Active SatelliteGuys Member
Apr 12, 2009
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Las Vegas, NV
I apologize for being such a novice in the area, but I'm considering a switch from Cox Cable to DirecTV. I've never had satellite TV before, but I'm finding that DirecTV can offer better programming for cheaper rates (I did see the AAA thread...will definitely use that).

One major hangup I've had with switching to satellite is that I'm not a fan of drilling holes in the walls and running coax cable around the house when it already exists. My house (built around 1995) has coax running into each room of the house where we'd want receivers, so I don't understand why a satellite dish inevitably requires new holes to be drilled in the wall. Could someone explain why the dish can't simply tie in to the cable box on the side of my house and send the signals through the house in the same way the cable company's signal goes through? If I want three receivers in my house in different locations, how is the installer likely to get the coax lines there? (I have a one-story house with vaulted ceilings...tough to fish wires from ceiling.)

I've read some threads about SWM cables that would eliminate the need to have two coax cables running to each DVR or HD receiver. I plan on having 2 HD/DVR receivers, so how can I minimize the holes drilled and the wires run around the house?

Finally, I'm curious about people's experience with the protection plan ($5.99 per month). This supposedly protects your equipment and allows you to have free maintenance or repairs, as needed, versus paying for someone to come out and help if something goes wrong. Is this worth paying for, in your experience? Could I have it for the first 2-3 months to make sure things are running smoothly and then drop it if it seems things are going OK?

Sorry this ran on a bit...I'm excited about the idea of having DirecTV programming, but I'm reluctant to have ugly wires and drilled holes all around my house. The DirecTV sales rep told me no new holes would need to be drilled if I have coax in each room where I want receivers, but I have trouble believing her when every single house I've seen with a dish has the wires running into holes in the wall. If I currenlty have a cable TV receiver in each room where I want a new DirecTV receiver, how likely is it that I can simply swap receivers without drilling new holes?

Thanks in advance for the help!
 
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Bob Nielsen

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Aug 22, 2006
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With SWM you can probably use your existing cables. Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing in advance if the installer will use a SWM dish or one without SWM. Supposedly the criterion is that SWM will be used if there are 5-8 tuners, but there are exceptions. Some people have bought there own SWM LNBs and either had the installer use that instead of the furnished one or switched it themselves. With SWM, a DVR only needs one cable instead of two. There is also a standalone SWM8 module, but you would definitely need to supply that yourself and it is typically more expensive (power inserters are required in either case). It may be necessary to replace any splitters used with your cable installation with ones rated for the higher frequencies used by Directv.
 

esmeet

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Active SatelliteGuys Member
Apr 12, 2009
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Las Vegas, NV
Thank you for the information. If I will have 2 HD-DVR receivers and a third standard DVR receiver, would that likely qualify for the SWM installation? Is this something that would likely be included in the install, or would I need to request it specifically (and pay extra for it)? As for the SWM8, would I need that if I'll have just the three receivers?

Thanks for the information.
 

esmeet

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Active SatelliteGuys Member
Apr 12, 2009
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Las Vegas, NV
I'm not sure if it's RG59. Does the satellite TV require a higher-quality cable? Is that why they usually drill holes in walls instead of using existing coax?

I was told the SWM was used for 5+ receiver installations, but I had them note that I wanted the SWM. Do you know if the SWM will work if I have the RG59 coax?

Also, if they use the SWM, will it cost extra for the installation?
 

Zynergi

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Aug 20, 2007
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NC
yea the cable needs to ba able to pass up to 2.2ghtz and 18 volts for sat to work, cable operates at a much lower frequency. If it is RG6 then generally it will be fine. If you have 2 DVR's then even chances are high the tech will use SWM, but it is still a gamble.
 

esmeet

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Apr 12, 2009
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Las Vegas, NV
I'm having three DVRs installed (2 HD-DVRs, 1 standard DVR), so I'll hope the installer goes with the SWM.

I know this is probably a simple question, but how can I tell if the coax I have is RG6 or RG59 (assuming I can't pull out the cable from the wall and look at the imprint on the side of it)?
 

Jimbo

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Jul 14, 2005
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I'm having three DVRs installed (2 HD-DVRs, 1 standard DVR), so I'll hope the installer goes with the SWM.

I know this is probably a simple question, but how can I tell if the coax I have is RG6 or RG59 (assuming I can't pull out the cable from the wall and look at the imprint on the side of it)?
IF you can't find a location that is not exposed, it'll be tough to do.
Check in your attic, chances are the cable runs thru the attic and you will be able to read it there.

Sat would like you to have RG-6 , it's definatly better, it can be run on RG59, but not recommended.

Are you having the dish pole mounted ?
Otherwise, how do you expect the dish to be mounted without drilling any holes ?

IF you can do a pole mount,it is a good idea. If you have any issues with the dish, you don't need to get on the roof to deal with it, also comes in handy if you have snow build up and lose you signal.
Didn't see where your from, so that may not apply.

Jimbo
 

esmeet

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Active SatelliteGuys Member
Apr 12, 2009
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Las Vegas, NV
Thanks for the info, Jimbo. I don't mind having the dish installed on the side of the house (they don't put them on roofs here in Vegas with the ceramic tile roofs), I just didn't want them to run RG-6 cable along the sides of the house and then drill holes into each room where the receivers would be.

I'd prefer the SWM so they can (as I understand it) send the satellite signals into the cable box on the side of house and not drill any new holes for running cable. I've never understood why most - if not all - houses I see with a satellite dish have the cables running from the dish straight into a new hole drilled in the wall.

As for a pole mount, I don't think I can do that. In Vegas, though, we don't worry much about snow...wind is the bigger problem.
 

jdspencer

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 22, 2004
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Binghamton, NY
Thanks for the info, Jimbo. I don't mind having the dish installed on the side of the house (they don't put them on roofs here in Vegas with the ceramic tile roofs), I just didn't want them to run RG-6 cable along the sides of the house and then drill holes into each room where the receivers would be.

I'd prefer the SWM so they can (as I understand it) send the satellite signals into the cable box on the side of house and not drill any new holes for running cable. I've never understood why most - if not all - houses I see with a satellite dish have the cables running from the dish straight into a new hole drilled in the wall.....
This is done by lazy installers. It's the easy way to do things. The best way is to run the cables from the dish to a central location. Then distributed to the various rooms. This makes it easy to make changes and expand the system. So with this in mind, try to do some of the wiring work yourself
 

Jimbo

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Jul 14, 2005
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This is done by lazy installers. It's the easy way to do things. The best way is to run the cables from the dish to a central location. Then distributed to the various rooms. This makes it easy to make changes and expand the system. So with this in mind, try to do some of the wiring work yourself

I disagree, to a certain extent.
It's NOT always a LAZY installer, although it does happen.
Sometimes there are no other ways to do it.

esmeet,
Do you have a basement ?
If so, any that you want on the first floor would be relatively easy provided it's not a finished basement.

This about it this way.
You have to get the feed from the dish to your centrally located box.
Can you get a signal setting up the dish right next to the box, if so, great.... if not, you'll need to get the line from the dish to the box (without attaching it to the house ?)

Think about ways to feed a line from the box to each location you need a rec., is this a possibility.
I don't know because I cannot see your home, only you would know for sure.
Would YOU be able to run these lines without being seen ?
If so, great, talk with the guy ahead of time and let him know what you want and expect ahead of time.
Sometimes this can be done, other times not.
2nd flr, often times you can tuck the wire behind siding corners or stuff like that.

Be flexible.

Jimbo
 

sundude90

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 13, 2008
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Waterville, Maine, United States
I'm having three DVRs installed (2 HD-DVRs, 1 standard DVR), so I'll hope the installer goes with the SWM.

I know this is probably a simple question, but how can I tell if the coax I have is RG6 or RG59 (assuming I can't pull out the cable from the wall and look at the imprint on the side of it)?

It should say right on the side of the cable what it is. I only know of RG 6, not RG59.
 
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esmeet

Thread Starter
Active SatelliteGuys Member
Apr 12, 2009
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Las Vegas, NV
Unfortunately, they don't build houses in Vegas like they do back east. We do not have a basement, and we live in a single-story house with vaulted ceilings throughout the house. It's nearly impossible to access much of the crawlspace (since it's all vaulted), and there are no basements to use for sub-floor access.

Given that every room in the house that could use a receiver currently has coax cable running to it, I don't think we'd worry about further expanding the system, and I don't see any benefit of running additional cable myself. If the installer can use a SWM to tap into the existing cables, I would think the installation would be short and sweet.

As for the type of cable, I may try crawling up into one of the crawlspaces (it only accesses a small portion of the house) to see if I can look at the cable. (Would the installer be able to run some sort of diagnostic test when he comes to test the type of cable?)
 
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