Voom install and first impression. (1 Viewer)

swetz00

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Jul 9, 2004
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Greetings,

Had a recent Voom install and wanted to share the experience and my first impressions. :)

Original install scheduled for 7/14. Installer called on 7/7..."can't install on 7/14, how about 7/12?". Cool, the sooner the better! Installer called back on 7/8..."can't install on 7/12, how about 7/9 4:00P?". So far so good.

After a few calls to say they would be a little late, installer arrives at 8:30P on 7/9. Not complaining, the install is still 5+ days ahead of the original schedule, but taking time off work to have the installer show up 4+ hours late is a PITA.

Hidden in all the rechedule conversations, I requested a SquareShooter to be installed instead of the default antenna, at my expense if necessary. To my suprise, the installer arrived with SqS in hand.

Next, we quickly discussed dish mounting options. It was a no brainer because the back of my house faces E/SE which gives me a clean look at the bird. No trees, no houses, nothing. Within minutes, the sub has an 18" dish slapped up on the wall and is asking where to poke the holes. I notice the mounting bracket isn't as level as it could be but not bad for installing the bracket in almost total darkness! He decided to enter the house about 40" below the dish mount bracket. I would have liked the cable hole to be within 12" knowing the "fashon police" would bring it up. Sigh. I probably wouldn't even notice many of these details, but I was standing over his shoulder!

Next, we discuss mounting options for the OTA antenna. Unfortunately, I live the furthest possible from my DMA's towers. Fortunately, I live on the highest part of town. According to www.2150.com/broadcast, I'm 29mi from the closest towers and 47mi from the farthest.

My original plan was to mount the SqS slightly down from the peek on the back side of my roof. I chose that position for the usual reason...make sure it passes heavy scrutiny from the fashon police (a.k.a WAF). Wife's only requirement is "NO BFA ON THE ROOF!".

I talked the installer into testing OTA reception on the railing of my deck before deciding on a final position. I eyeball the alignment as close to 210 degrees as I could and turned on the TV. I got all stations from the close towers but nothing from the far tower. After looking closer at FCC data, the far tower is only running at 4.9kW where the close towers are 324kW and 60kW. A few seconds later the installer had the SqS mounted to my deck and the cable tucked under the siding. The SqS ended up about 8' from the ground, pointed directly at a neighbor's house. Maybe from the roof peak I could get the far tower, I'll have to try.

All things considered, the outdoor portion of the install went pretty smooth. In terms of workmanship, I'm guessing my install was about average or slightly better than average. The installer did mention he has installed about 100 or so Vooms.

Next we move inside to tackle the indoor stuff. First order of business was to wire everything up. Things were straight forward since my catv input and 8-way splitter is also right there in my util room. The installer connected a grounding block to the ground on my breaker box. Next a Winegard diplexer was installed and the two combined signals were run to the two STBs I ordered using my existing in-house coax. It was almost 11PM and I wasnt about to figure out how to run a 50' cable with a finished basement.

I still have digital cable which uses a Moto DCT-5100 that was already connected to my HT system. Seconds later the installer disconnected my DCT-5100, harvested the cables and had the Voom STB connected.

After a while I noticed ESPN-HD and HBOW were swapped. That's odd. Everything worked fine, just mapped wrong. My other TV worked fine so I though I had a bad box. Later I realized I had the coax running thru a Panamax surge/line conditioner. Connecting the coax direct to the STB fixed that problem.

After using Voom over the weekend my first impressions are:

Good:

1) PQ is much better then the digital cable I had prior (cable HD content was 2 OTA channels, HDNet, HDNet Movie, ESPN, HBOHD, SHOHD).

2) I like the guide layout. The color scheme is descent, I dig the "HD" symbol and the "star rating" is kinda cool too. Not sure what the HD symbol means yet as some HD programs had it and some didn't.

3) So far the HD content is good. But I have a feeling the looped content on the Voom original channels will get old fast.

4) After reading about all the horror stories, I expected terrible CS. The 3 times I called, I was never on hold more than 10 mins. Maybe I called during off peek hours, I don't know.

Bad:

0) No DIY install option for the techno oriented folks.

1) Voom STB GUI is sluggish. I'm not convinced its an underpowered CPU in the box but it could be. Definetly sluggish compared to the DCT-5100.

2) Where is the guide info? Whoever writes the program descriptions, must charge by the word!

3) I like the layout of the guide but it lacks polish. E.g. remember cursor position when [re]rendering the guide.

4) Unless I misunderstand, the "Watch" button seems unnecessary.

5) STB hangs. I write embedded firmware for a living so I understand the challanges of that environment, but for crying out loud, debug some of that hangs!

6) "Stuck" pixels are annoying. If I switch inputs to my HTPC and back it clears the problem.

7) Mapped OTA channels that I cannot tune. Wish there was a way to mark a channel to be excluded from the channel list.

8) Requirement for the land lines. I only have one RJ-11 in my house and its used for by my cordless phone base station. All the rest have been converted to RJ-45 eth. Voom/Moto if your listening, add an eth port to your
STB for upstream communication!! Analog modem should be the failsafe option where broadband is unavailable. Argh!

-S
 

The Stone Man

Centennial, Colorado
Supporting Founder
Feb 15, 2004
872
0
Centennial, Colorado
Welcome aboard swetz00. When you get the stuck pixels, you can press VOOM and the WATCH and it will clear them. Mods will probably move your post to the Voom installations thread.
 

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