Scott's VOOM install and first impressions

Scott Greczkowski

Welcome HOME to SatelliteGuys!
Original poster
Staff member
Cutting Edge
Sep 7, 2003
Newington, CT
Scott's VOOM Install and First Impressions

For quite awhile I have wanted VOOM, I don’t understand why as I don’t watch much TV, but I have wanted VOOM. I have held out on VOOM because I wasn’t dropping $800 on an unknown service. However with the recent introduction of VOOM’s zero down, no commitment deal I couldn’t help myself, and after I got my wife’s blessing I ran to the phone and ordered VOOM.

The ordering process with VOOM was pleasant and quick, they even set me up a user account on VOOM’s website while I was on the phone. In just a few minutes on the phone I was given an install date.

As I have read on the SatelliteGuys.US VOOM forum it was recommended to try talking to your installer BEFORE the install to make sure everything was ok. The worst thing that could happen is you take the day off from work and the installer never shows up. I called Installs INC about my install and was told that they were not doing the install, a company named Three O’Clock installs was doing my install. I was given their phone number and told to call them.

I called Three O’Clock Installs twice and never received a call back from them. Up until the day of the install I was not sure if they were going to show up. I took the day off from work having faith that they would show up.

My install was scheduled between NOON and 5PM, at 12:30 I got a call and it was the installer, he wanted to know what the weather was like at my house, as where he was at it was snowing, I looked out the window and it was not snowing at all, the installer sounded disappointed that it was not snowing but said he would be on his way.

At around one in the afternoon my installers showed up, two men driving a white truck with no identification on the truck, the installers also had no ID on them stating they were from VOOM, and had nothing like a VOOM hat. Their only way of identifying themselves from VOOM was that they had my VOOM receiver in their hands.

I let them in and was anxious to have them do the install. They were quite impressed with my setup, when I showed them my Dish 921 they freaked out saying they have never seen anything like that before.

I took them outside and showed them my Dish Farm and asked them if they could use my existing 61.5 Dish and was told no they had to use the VOOM Dish. They decided to place the VOOM Dish on my roof above my existing 61.5 dish. I left them alone to get to work.

They decided to run the cable down to my basement, and then up into my living room. In doing this they drilled 2 half inch holes into my house, the first hole they filled back in with waterproof caulking because they couldn’t reach the hole inside the house. (I think they should have checked out things better before popping holes in the house..)

One installer climbed up on a ladder and he stood between the cable tv lines and power lines attached to the house, I was concerned about the way the installer was positioned because he was dangerously close to the power lines. I voice my concern to the installer about the power lines and his safety and he told me not to worry and actually touched the power lines with his back to show me that it was ok. :shocked

I went back in the house and was chatting with folks on SatelliteGuys, about an hour or so went by and I went outside, they had the dish up. They said they were about to finish up on the roof so I went outside (at this time some slight snow flurries were starting to fall)

I went back in and chatted some more on SatelliteGuys. After 15 / 20 minutes I heard the installers down the stairs talking. They were trying to figure out the diplexor and also trying to figure out how to plug in the power inserter needed for the antenna. I asked them to not use the Diplexor but they said that it was required.

They were down there for quite awhile, by the time they got upstairs it was almost 4 O’clock. When they went behind my equipment rack they looked confused, so I told them I would hook it up for them, I pulled the component cables and Optical Audio cable out of my 921 and plugged them into the VOOM box. Both installers watched closely as I did this. As I was doing this I asked the installers if they have been doing many VOOM installs lately and was told that I was their first VOOM install!

I plugged in the box and the front panel had blinking red bars on it. One of the installers took the VOOM remote and turned it on, the VOOM menu appeared on the screen, I was happy to see this!

However they never got the green light on the box. I asked them what the signal level was that the box was receiving, and the installer said that was a good idea. He went to a menu and I only had a signal strength of 13. One installer went outside and started playing with the Dish, they were having a hell of a time getting a signal. I asked them again if the diplexor had anything to do with it and again was told it was required.

After 15 minutes or so they finally got a signal of 44. which they said was good enough. I asked in the SatelliteGuys Chat room is a 44 was ok and I was told that a signal of 40 or above was acceptable.

Next they called in to have my box activated, and we on hold for 20 minutes before someone answered. With a quick reading of the box serial numbers I saw video pop up behind the menu they were in! I was excited. They were instructed to flip to a couple of channels, whenever they tried they had a smart card error on the screen. One of the installers started to tell me that it looked like I had a bad box. I told the installer to take out the smart card and put it back in, they asked on the phone if taking out the card was ok and got the ok from the person on the phone. When they did this all the channels appeared!

With a couple of signatures the installers we off and I was free to play around with my new VOOM service.

While the installers seemed new to this and admitted this was their first install they were both very nice and polite and did try to do their best. I think with a little more practice they will become more confident in installing VOOM. These guys could become very good installers.

I had about 15 minutes to play with VOOM after they left before I had to go pick up the kids from daycare.

My first impression was I hated the remote! Whenever I pressed a button it did that command 3 or 4 times.

The first thing I looked at was the HD, on some channels the picture was breathtaking, on other channels it was hard to tell they were HD. The sound was great, on one of the Movie Channels they were running an add for WorldSportHD and the surround sound on this commercial put a smile on my face!

I then checked out the standard definition channels, and I am glad I didn’t get VOOM for their SD Channels, the picture quality on the SD channels was worse then anything I have seen on DirecTV or Dish Network. The SD channels such as VH1 and Nick look like they are being received via a bad UHF signal, I even noticed some shadowing or ghosting on the screen on the SD channels. The picture also seemed to have a screen door type effect like you are looking through a screen door. I also noticed that on red objects on the screen there is video noise (sparklies) on the red. I found this annoying.

I then checked out the Music choice channels, it appears that VOOM has a bunch of Digital Cable boxes turned to Music choice channels and are uplinking the audio and video of these channels. I do not believe that the VOOM boxes have the interactive software to display the Music Choice screens so that is why they are sending the audio and video like that.

I then checked out the OTA Digital stations. I was disappointed I could only receive 3 of the 10 Digital Signals in my area, and they had some signals listed which I could never pick up even using the best antenna. However while I was disappointed I was not surprised as I have seen many VOOMERS mention the same problem.

I then went out and picked up the kids. I left VOOM on the Animation Channel which was running some GREAT Classic Cartoons! Roger Ramjet, Felix the Cat, Popeye etc.. (Between cartoons they would run an ad saying that this channel was in Dolby Digital Surround Sound, I don’t know why, I don’t think any of these cartoons were in surround sound. :)

(Speaking of sound I was getting an occasional click or pop in the sound, even though the picture was perfect)

When I got home I took the first look at my new VOOM install on the roof, and was not too happy with what I saw. Take a look…


I do not like the way the Stealth Antenna was put in, and I can’t believe they used a Dish Mast to put the antenna on. I would think there was a better way of putting up the antenna without installing 4 more holes in my roof. Also I was shocked to see the installers left their trash from the install over the yard. I picked up the boxes and plastic bags and put them in the big box which they also left behind. Take a look…

When I got home the audio coming from my Denon 3802 was all garbled, I tried changing channels but the audio was the same. I went into the setting and switched the audio from Dolby Surround to PCM and the sound was fine.

We were watching the animation channel some more and then later when we lost audio all together, the audio would stay out for 20 or 30 seconds then come back on for a few minutes then go back out again. I changed channels and it was the same on other channels. I went into the setup and changed from PCM to Dolby Digital but it did not help. After a while of screwing with it I went to bed.

And that was my first day with VOOM, so far I am NOT impressed, although the HD I did see was VERY impressive. I really need to go through and wire the VOOM box in properly. After that I will make a better decision on if I like VOOM or not.

So far I love the HD!!!!!!!

However I hate the following…

The VOOM Remote – its way to damn sensitive!
The VOOM guide – Its SLOW and does not show a lot of channels.
VOOM SD Channels – They looks REALLY bad

Now while my comments have been leaning on the negative side, please understand I did not play with the system long and the unit is not wired into the system the way I want it, once I fix things and have some time I will really site down and evaluate the service. And I must admit that the HD Quality of VOOM (When its working properly) outweighs all the negatives above.
Im using the batteries that came with the VOOM box. I will try new ones when I get home from work tonight. :)

Welcome to a typical install experience, but I must say mine was much better/more cooperative with a manager of technicians (Installs). I assume you have a regular OTA antenna & can split it easily and go direct into the box (no diplexor).

Denon & sound issues has been a recurrent theme (not Voom unique either), but your receiver is fairly new. Not typical.

I think grabbing a straight 61.5 LNB shot will be better (and save you a dish), Voom is more sensitive. A 100+ Dish signal still needed tweaking to get Voom in sweet spot.

I would gripe to corporate about the trash/holes/etc. It doesn't do Voom any favors to have customers treated like that as a "welcome to Voom" experience.

I would check the channels you should be getting and Sean or I can forward on for correct mapping. There are always channels in a footprint that will have guide data, but because of power of the station, direction, or whatever, you know from experience you will not get OTA. But the ones you should get they can fix the mapping.

Factory Reset + front panel power cycling MAY help (but will not fix OTA until they fix mapping back at the ranch). Guide data takes a while to come down each recycle.

I hate the Voom remote too, but MX600/800 & CCF files are posted under the Voom remotes thread.

Things will look & sound better, but I do feel for the average Joe w/o the DBS self install experience,
Maybe ditching the diplexor and running a second line will help with the OTA/SD issues. Who knows.. with the tech's level of experience, they might have hooked that up wrong.

Will the power lines affect OTA reception?

Is it possible to try the coaxial audio output from the receiver (instead of optical) to see if that clears up the audio glitches? I have a Denon AVR-5800 updated to a quasi 5803. The jack is below the UHF input.

Since the Diplexor is DIRECTLY under the TV in the basement, I am going to try taking it out of the line this weekend to see if my satellite signal goes up at all.

My wife just called me and asked me if we can call VOOM and have them fix or take down the stealth antenna, she does not like the look of the mount.
Voom Install Nightmare

Installs Inc's subcontractor, Crave Electronics out of Fresno, CA, missed our first appointment. And, yes, I had taken the day off from work. They rescheduled for 7 days later. The next install date, they call at 10 pm the night before to tell me that can't be at my house between 12-5, but, they could be there at 10 a.m. This really screwed me up, I ended up having to take the day off again. The guy ends up showing up at 1 pm, with his wife and kids in the car. He gets up to my house and says, "nope, it's not going to work here". He starts trying to use "big" terminology with me, like the coordinates and etc.....He says I don't have a clear line to the voom satellite, which is almost directly east. Well, I live up on a hill and there is nothing, NOTHING, within 1000 feet of my house to the east. There is a hill, that is of equal height to my house, at about 1/2 mile away. I tell him that we should make an effort to investigate the ability to get the signal a little less subjectively. He says, "huh"? I say, don't you have guidelines and compasses and such? He, says, "dude, i've been installing satellites for 2 years, i know what i'm talking about". So, I get on the internet and i learn about how california is in a not-so-particularly wonderful area to get voom. But, the csr at voom assures me it will work. So, I have to literally BEG him to not leave. He gives me a bunch of talk about he doesn't get paid if he can't get a signal and it would just be wasting his time. I tell him i've invested to much time and money for him to walk away. All in all, it cost me 600 bucks of work wages to miss work for 2 days. So, instead of installing it in a permenant place, he drills it into my deck. And, bam, i get a 55 signal rating. He says it's the wrong satellite, and it's pinging from a different one. B/c this guy has yet to pull out a compass, I tell him it's time to check the programming. He makes ME call the install activation number, and yes, it works. He then drills a hole in my carpet 3 inches by 1/5 inches, and leaves all the boxes and plastic that he's thrown on the ground. I just installed that carpet 2 weeks ago. Oh, the pain.
Oh, that was after he tells me how he has no idea how to run the voom features. I asked about output resolutions, 1080 vs 720 etc....he has no clue. I would give the service of the install a 1 out of 10. I think voom is pretty cool though. Discovery looks incredible, but, of course the movie channels they have don't look hd to me. HBOHD looks good depending on the program. The world sports station looks spectacular. No cbs and no espn in hi def. Horrible install. Decent services, not worth the money though.
K4LK said:
Is it possible to try the coaxial audio output from the receiver (instead of optical) to see if that clears up the audio glitches? I have a Denon AVR-5800 updated to a quasi 5803. The jack is below the UHF input.
I ultimately am going to hook it up with the digital coax output as my Denon only has 1 Optical Input and that I use with my Dish 921.

Let's hope it clears up these sound issues... Because as Don King would say in a VOOM ad a "VOOM HDTV without sound is only a pretty picture." :cool:

if you are missing non-OTA channels from PG, a factory reset needs to be done. If you could list what you are missing, it will help. Regarding the installation, I will send a report to Wilt (if I were you). That Stealth Antenna looks awful and if you have another antenna, it will be better just to split the signal to both, receivers that you have (921 and VOOM). As to the mapping, it will need to be corrected and there are probably a few that need to be requested.

Regarding the SD channels, I have almost no opinion about them. The only ones that I have seen constantly to make a comment are NFLNet (312) and the premium HD movies channels when they are showing SD content. The others like VH1, CNN, MTV, etc... I have never bother to make an inference to them because they are all compressed SD channels that look bad just as the Dish SD channels look. One major reason why I stopped watching these channels all together. I believe that I have never said the SD channels look better in VOOM because that was not true. As I said the only ones, I made an opinion about was those movie premium channels.

As to the audio, do not know what's going with that. I know that I have experienced audio drop in HDnews and there other channels as well where the digital audio drops. As to the noise you are hearing, not too sure.

The 21 HD Exclusive channels: All of them show True HD content. The content suffers from the master being an old movie and in those old movies you will see grainy and you wonder if you are watching a True HD movie. Just compare that to the amount of details that you can see in HD movie or program.

Let me know which non-ota channels you are missing...Maybe you do not have a good box.

As other pointed the tuning of channel is slow but it's supposed to improve with the next software update.

I am not trying to be an apologists for VOOM. I am just saying what I think it's happenning.
rang1995 said:
taking the diplexer out for me didnt help the sat signal but improved OTA 35-40%!!!

When taking the dplexor off what input did you put the antenna, I was told that I wont rec the OTA HD without using it. I am thinking of doing the same.
K4LK said:

I am curious about the SD channels. I've read that they're better than D* or E*.


Not talking for Scott, but I think he said they look crappy. There is a temporary reason they look bad for the last week or so until some testing gets done & format changes.

xboxer said:
When taking the dplexor off what input did you put the antenna, I was told that I wont rec the OTA HD without using it. I am thinking of doing the same.

There are two inputs on the back of receiver. One of them has a satellite picture and that's where the satellite feed goes. The OTA feed (coax) goes to the OTA module. You need to run a separate like for your OTA feed (the antenna).

See a picture of the Back of receiver

the two inputs to the left are the satellite input and the OTA module input (where the antenna coax goes)
Sean Mota said:
There are two inputs on the back of receiver. One of them has a satellite picture and that's where the satellite feed goes. The OTA feed (coax) goes to the OTA module. You need to run a separate like for your OTA feed (the antenna).

See a picture of the Back of receiver

the two inputs to the left are the satellite input and the OTA module input (where the antenna coax goes)

Thanks Sean thats what I thought I was just being mislead by the installer.
I will try this when I get home.

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