Buying Hughes E86 HD system, need help

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Steve Day, Aug 3, 2003.

  1. Steve Day

    Steve Day Auditioning

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    For those that have DirecTV and are watching HD programs on it, what did you end up paying for it? Did you have to pay for pro install? Is self install "Easy" ?

    I'm thinking of buying the E86 and 18 x 20 satellite dish combo on eBay for $550 new. Seems to be the best deal i can find, although the very best deals are for those that are new to DirecTV and only them....

    So, if anyone can give me helpful tips on what i need to do to install this system and what to do to get it activated, i'd be greatful. Also a place to buy the hardware for under 600 bucks combined other than eBay would be nice.
     
  2. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    I have the Hughes E86. Purchased about a year ago for $450. It was a replacement for a Hughes SD, 5.1 tuner, which I had purchased as a part of a DirecTv package that included professional installation. The installation was free, so long as I agreed to sign up for a year’s DirecTV subscription.

    The E86 works pretty good, but it has been supplanted by some of the newer receivers. There is no DVI output, it only outputs 480i or 1080i (no native 720p or 480p—everything is unconverted) and it won’t output 1080i and 480i at the same time (which means that you can’t watch any program via the component inputs and tape at the same time).

    But within those limitations, it works well enough.
     
  3. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Steve,

    I'm assuming you are a current DirecTv customer? If so and your current system is operating ok, you should be able so swap out the dish and receiver yourself if you're at all handy and can access your current dish.

    Aiming the oval dish is a bit trickier as it must be adjusted for tilt as well as elevation and compass angle.

    If you've never messed with dish installation you might want to get a pro to do it for you.

    The box itself is a simple swapout with the exception of having to connect component as well as S-video cables from the box to your display.

    If you want local HD you will also need to use a separate antenna for that.

    $550 for all the hardware is about as good a price as you're likely to find. Normal prices for box and dish are $650 total. Make sure your hardware includes the "Sat-C" kit consisting of a 3rd LNB and a special multiswitch, the oval dish only comes with 2 LNBS and won't pick up the 3rd satellite which carries the HD stuff.

    I had a Toshiba DST-3000 (a clone of the Hughes) for almost 2 years and for DirecTV it worked fine. It was lousy at local ota HD however and never gave a reliable picture on any of the 9 local digital stations in my area. I have since upgraded to a Sony HD-200 (also available as Zenith 520) which receives all my locals flawlessly.

    These boxes are more expensive, but if you want reliable local HD, well worth the extra money.
     
  4. Steve Day

    Steve Day Auditioning

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    Yup, i am currently part of the DirecTV family.

    Soooo i don't have to do any crazy install stuff? Like digging or running cables under the house? Just a dish and receiver switch from my current equipment, plus dish aimming(which i assume the manual will tell me the correct aim) and i'm good to go? I don't need to call in to DTV to activate my system? You know, it being HDTV and using different satellites and all.... Obviously i'll need to order the HD package but anyway...

    I'd hate to pay 200 dollars for a fella to aim my dish sooooo i'm down with doing it myself.
     
  5. TimDav

    TimDav Auditioning

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    I just upgraded to HD last week and this is what I did:
    I saw all the offers for "new " customers only and became infuriated considering that I have spent well over $3000 over the last few years on Directv. I sent e-mails ,but the timing was off, so I just called their customer service and told them how it was unfair to only give the deals to new customers. After the rep. searched for a while he offered me a free upgraded dish with free professional installation. All I had to do was pay some $49 charge and buy myself a receiver. I did this and within 4 days I was watching HD. They also threw in Showtime for 3 months since I already have HBO. I went with the Zenith HD receiver for $599. It is basically the same receiver as the Sony which cost $100 more.

    TD
     
  6. Steve Day

    Steve Day Auditioning

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    Just a quicky, i rent my current equipment for like 3 bucks a month, i think. 3 or 10 bucks, whatever. By buying this E86 or whatever i decide on, i don't have to pay rent fees anymore, do I?

    TimDav,

    Yeah, i know how you feel. I understand they want people to use their service and god knows these special service deals always work but still. I am a long time DirecTV customer. I'm as loyal as they come. And i can't get a deal? Whatever happened to the days when you and I could get a special discounted price for upgrading while the new customers had to pay more? To pay the price we had to when we were new customers? Now it's us customers paying full price while new folks enjoy the deal prices? .....What?

    I saw the deal American Satellite had. $569 i believe, for E86,dish, and free install. I was happy until i figured out it was for new customers only.

    Anyway, glad to hear about your luck. Or, was it luck? Jedi Mind Trick............. Tell me one thing though, when you saw HDTV for the first time, did you get a "WOW" feeling or a "OH MY GAWD!!!!!!!" feeling? GOd forbid a "Is this it?????" feeling.....I just hope HDDirecTV delivers.
     
  7. Dan_asdf

    Dan_asdf Agent

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  8. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    The Zenith 520 has a DVI output. The Sony 200 is a clone. Sony not doubt has a $100 higher list, because they can, but in practice shelf prices are close.

    Of course you will need an antenna for OTA. What kind depends on your location as regards the transmitting towers.
     
  9. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    Yes, you will need a separate antenna for local OTA stations. All of the DirecTV HD capable boxes will tune regular satellite, HD satellite, analog ntsc OTA and digital ATSC OTA. Performance on satellite is about the same for all of them though aspect ratio adjustability, output format versatility and quality of upconversion of non-HD stuff varies.

    Local OTA digital reception is very much better on newer models like the Zenith and Sony as well as Samsung in comparison to the Hughes boxes.

    Hughes boxes will output only 1080i via component cables, either natively from a 1080i HD broadcast or cross converted from 720p (this looks great, btw) or upconverted from 480i (very soft and artifacty especially for some overcompressed DirecTV channels). It will also output 480i, either natively or downconverted from any incoming HD format, but only via S-video. So in order to get a really decent picture on non-HD broadcasts you need to connect both Component and S-video cables to the monitor and switch inputs on the tv and output modes on the stb.

    I haven't seen Samsung's upconvert, but the Zenith/Sony boxes have a very much better 480i to 1080i upconvert, but can also be configured to output 1080i and 720p as either 1080i or 720p via component for HD channels and everything else as 480p via component automatically. So the box will output any incoming HD as either 720p or 1080i (your choice, most plasmas and dlp sets have a native scanrate of 720p so this choice is a good thing) and will either upconvert 480i to one of the HD scanrates or just convert it to 480p, depending on how you set the output mode.

    This eliminates the need to run both S-video and component to the set and manually switch box output modes and tv inputs when switching from an HD to an analog channel.

    The only functional difference between the Zenith 520 and Sony HD-200 is that with the Zenith you must hit a switch on the box to change output formats (1080i, 720p, 480p, and a number of variable choices) while the Sony will do it from the remote.

    I went with the Sony primarily because I couldn't find a Zenith 520 locally and like to buy this kind of thing locally so I can return it easily and quickly if there's a problem.
     
  10. Steve Day

    Steve Day Auditioning

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    alrighty guys, here's my current problem:

    Switched to new receiver. Switched to new dish. Took me 9 hours but i finally got the right satellite signals for DirecTV(can see DTV preview channels etc for proof, including Sat 110 test channel). Problem is, i can get Sat A and Sat C but there's no Sat B (119) to be found! INCONCEIVABLE!


    What will i ever do?


    To note: Sat A signal is very strong on tran.4 (95ish peak), pretty strong for most of the others(85+ish) Sat C signal strength peak is 60 to 70.

    Also to note, i am 110% sure i can still tweak Sat C's tilt etc, my work today ended due to night fall, so i just quickly set the sat dish in place for the two satellites i could get. For the record I live in Macon GA, 75 miles or so from atlanta.
     

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