Last week the Orby TV satellite system was professionally installed at my shop. The install was performed by a MasTec subcontractor, who is based in Sacramento, CA. The standard $150 install consisted of an Orby TV 18x27" dish, Aspen diplexer and a 6 element OTA antenna with approximately 75' of RG-6 dual shield copper clad steel coax. The dish was wall mounted and no extra hardware or custom services were requested.
There was a one week delay due to the regional contractor not having received the Orby TV dish/antenna kit from Mastec. Received a reminder text message and a voice message on the day before the scheduled install that my "DirecTV" install was scheduled between 8am - 12 noon. LOL!!! I knew better, but guess the local subcontractor needs to update their automated notification systems!
On scheduled day, I awoke to discover an overnight snowfall, so called the toll free number and told the scheduler that roof access would not be advised that AM, so they rescheduled for the following day between 12 noon and 5pm. Received a text and voicemail later that afternoon reminding me of the scheduled "DirecTV" install scheduled the next day.... LOL, love these notification systems! The installer was not notified of the cancellation, but he called around 12 noon and indicated that he was about an hour out. I told him about the snow on he pitched roof and he was happy to reschedule. He indicated that this was his first Orby TV install and asked if I had received my equipment. No I had not, so suggested that he check with his scheduler.
The next day the Installer called at about 1pm and indicated that he was on the way and had the dish/antenna kit that had been driven-up the night before by a representative of the local company contracted by Mastec, located a few hours away. He arrived as scheduled and did a quick survey of the proposed install location and cable run. He had a Birdog meter, but not programmed for 117w and no OTA meter. I offered for him to use a Dr. HD 1000+ sample and he was happy to use it! Showed him the satellite spectrum analyzer and the automatic satellite ID functions and also that he could aim the OTA antenna with the terrestrial spectrum display. I think that this job made a sale! LOL!!!
He assembled the dish and mount in the parking lot and I helped him rope up the supplies from he ground. Took him about 45 minutes to mount, install, aim the dish / terrestrial antenna and another 1/2 hour to do the coax run. I stayed back and didn't direct the install or interfere in any way. I wanted to see how the install would go without my "snupervision"... Once done outside, he came into the office and did a OTA channel scan, checked the Satellite and terrestrial signal readings. He needed to submit the STB SIM # and the LNBF serial number as proof of install.
My impression of the install and hardware is mostly favorable. The little install glitches seemed to be due to the local company and installer not providing the customer with a unified and organized Orby TV experience. While this is a new service, I would suggest that Orby TV and Mastec quickly review their processes and workflow to be sure that the booked local company and installers are properly prepared to represent Orby TV. Installers need an overview on the equipment, meter requirements and activation process. Everyone in the flow-down subcontracted process needs to represent the Orby TV service, have the required equipment on hand, the required meters (programmed) to not only complete, but to optimize the installation.
If not for the use of the sample Dr. HD meter, I don't see how this install would have been completed without numerous trips to the roof or the customer assisting with watching a signal on the TV screen and assisting the technician with signal call-outs to the roof for both the satellite and OTA antenna aiming. Either way, the install would not have come off very timely or done in a professional manner.
The Orby TV equipment was delivered to the installer in a single carton with protective foam material. The dish and mount are both very good quality hardware. The mount has skew and elevation setting scales. The mount could be improved by adding fine-tuning mechanism. The installer had some issue optimizing the elevation setting using only the lock nuts providing friction to make small movements. No different than the issues that we often deal with on FTA gear, but most subscription mounts have elevation fine-tuning resulting faster installs and happier installers.
The dish mast is standard 2" heavy duty j-pole with a large foot plate. The package did not include masts support arms, but the installer observed that the combo dish and OTA antenna needed more support. He installed a spare mast support arm from an extra DirecTV package in his truck. I would suggest that the support arm(s) be included as standard equipment with all kits. This would likely reduce future tech rolls for dish realignment.
The dish/antenna kit included a 1" L shaped raw aluminum mast for the OTA antenna. The OTA mast is attached to the dish mast using a single smooth u-bolt and butted against each other with no "toothbite" hardware. I can see the OTA antenna easily spinning out of alignment with little more than a stiff gust of wind. There needs to be a better solution developed for mounting the OTA antenna.
My OTA install location is fringe and in advance I had the expectation of zero OTA channels received with the small antenna and the loss introduced by a diplexer. I purchased the service with this expectation, but realize that I am definitely not their typical customer as I have realistic expectations... LOL!!! To my surprise, 4 OTA channels are reliably received from two frequencies. With that said, I believe the Orby TV service would be best served by advertising, educating and offering an upgrade OTA antenna and install package for fringe reception areas. This could be a great up sell for local installers if promoted as a cord cutting option.
Is the $150 install worth the cost? In my opinion, it is a great deal for not only the hardware, but to also have professional installation with a warranty. The install includes a high quality dish and linear LO 10750 voltage switching polarity LNBF with optimized scalar, a heavy duty AZ/EL mount, adequate 2" mast, OTA antenna (suitable for suburbia), short stand off OTA mast, a diplexer and distribution.