Jul 8, 2005, 9:04 AM
Post #10 of 10
Good questions all. I don't know the exact answers; that is one of the reasons actually that I wanted to get involved in this thread... perhaps in time someone will be able to help us with this. Because we are in Mexico, I cannot phrase my questions directly to StarChoice without having to worry about our location issues. There are some excellent satellite discussion websites, but very few "geeks" are actually experienced with the issue.
Let me answer what I can: as for using the larger Star Choice dish, at this point with one standard dish and one larger C Band dish, I am not prepared to spend any more than I already have... unless I absolutely have to. I just came back from Canada and could have purchased the gear at a much more reasonable price; as it is, I brought back three boxes and a dish. As a purchaser, Star Choice only "allows" you to buy one dish for your home, although my dealer certainly would have sold me more had I needed more at the time.
The reason for the Dual LNBs (the "quad" nomer simply indicates four outlets) is multi-fold, and shows where more knowledge is needed: I already owned one dual LNB and one single (flashlight) LNB, but was told by the local installer that duals were needed on both dishes because the Dual LNB is specifically designed to get both satellites. From my research, it appears that a Dual LNB is simply to allow more than one receiver to look at different stations using different transponders. I have not verified this conflicting info yet, and it comes from DirectTV, so *Choice may be completely different.
Apparently, an oval dish is only different from a round dish in that it can focus on more than one location in the sky. And the bigger the dish, the stronger the signal collection. However, various websites espouse using two larger round dishes to get a better signal.
LNB stands for Low Noise Block Converter, and as far as I know the "flashlight" designation is just a generally used term, due to it's shape. Once you check around you discover people calling the Dual LNBs "dual flashlights", so that may show you how misunderstood the whole system is.
I was also told two dishes were needed; one for each satellite... this of course is confusing in itself, since a Dual LNB and one dish is sufficient to get both sats. The reason seemed to suggest that we needed the strength of each dish to pull in the birds individually. This no longer seems to be the case, and tonight I will find out why and how.
In terms of hooking them up together, I found this on the Web: What about multiswitches with Elliptical dishes? If you have the oval dish with two "dual LNBs" (4 cables), each of the Dual LNB's look at different satellites (101 degree and 119 degree satellites). A multiswitch is needed to see the second satellite. A multiswitch comes with the dish and is usually have 4 outputs. Multiswitches for elliptical dishes need to have 4 inputs so it can switch between the 4 LNBs rather than 2.
What is a multiswitch? A multiswitch takes the input from both of the LNB's (both cables from a dual LNB dish HAVE to be connected to the multiswitch)...it then locks one of the LNB's to always look at the even transponders and the other LNB to always look at the odd transponders. This is why a multiswitch only works with Dual LNBs and not single LNB's. The switch then has multiple outputs to receivers (4,8,etc). When you connect the receiver to the multiswitch, the switch determines which of the two LNB's the receiver needs to look at depending if it needs to view odd or even transponders. When you change the channel, the switch then swaps your connection to the other LNB when needed. With a multiswitch, the LNB's never change which side they are looking at.
I would not be surprised if your rumours about "not all dealers have access to all Star Choice products" is indeed correct. The prices that are charged by individuals down here for reselling Star Choice gear can be outrageous. Supply and demand: cheap in Canada, but to get them to Mexico is another story. Many components are simply brought in by those visiting Canada and returning to Mexico, so there is both the problem of transportation and border checks.
As for the signal strength, *Choice getting a 60% signal vs. SKY getting much stronger may simply be a question of how the signal is relayed. I have seen maps showing the dispensation of the Anik signals, and here in Mexico we are on the edge of the sweep. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure that all the N.A. sat broadcasters use the same Anik signals. And, as I pointed out before, the round C dish actually got a 93% signal when we hooked it up. That signal dropped significantly when we coupled the two dishes together using (what is apparently the wrong) multiswitch.
I have seen your HD signal on your big screen, and it would quickly put to rest rumours that HD is not that much better than Standard def. Most important to me is answering the question of why I am not getting that quality. With any luck... although I don't have much faith at this point... I will know by tonight.