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SWM Switch…Directv’s Best Kept Secret!!! Learn to Swim and quit Running (extra cabling)!!!! March 18, 2008

Posted by Tell it like it TI is! in Directv, dvr, multi-switch, sat 1, sat 2, single wire multi-switch, swim, swm-8, swm8, Tivo.

Sorry I have been gone for a while and left you at the hands and silly comments from Fast Follower!  I have been moving into a new home and getting things in order.    But I am back.

Just like everything, this has been a learning experience for me.  And as always, I never listen to the advise of Fast Follower!!!

Wanna here the story?  Here it goes…

 – Moved into house about a week ago.  Previous owner had a REAL nice home theatre.
 – However, noticed that the previous owner had a non-HD Directv Dish
 – Also noticed that the each room was prewired to accommodate one sat input per TV
 – I call Fast Follower to see what he would do to get two sat inputs into each DVR because I want to watch shows an-d record at the same time!

Let me stop here for a second to explain.  My new house has a fully finished basement which is very restrictive when it comes to running new cable and wires… OK…

 – After about 5 minutes of talking with Fast Follower, he had my entire basement with holes and walls knocked out!!!  His only advise was, “you gotta do it if you want two sat inputs per room”…..

Here is the difference between Fast Follower and me.   Fast Follower says, I gotta get two sats in one room.   I say, “I can’t be the only guy with a finished basement, and I can’t be the only one with the issue, and there has to be a solution!”.  Bottomline…. Everyone isn’t busting the walls to their finished basement!!! 

Sure enough, I made one of the coolest discoveries since getting Directv, the “Swim Switch”!  PTIers this is the coolest thing.   Simply put, it increases the signal to each Sat 1 input, enabling the DVR to get two signals from one input.   From a user perspective you see no difference. You have a sat 1 and sat 2 signal, but there is only one cable going into the DVR!   How simple is that?  Now I have plenty of outlets on my switch (only need one for each dvr!).   Problem solved!!

Now the official name of the switch is the SWM8 or SWM-8 switch.  SWM stands for Single Wire Multi-switch, and it works great!!!  As this blog is about solutions and gadgets and not the technical detail, I didn’t too much care about what was going on.  My understanding is that it boosts the signal to a point that the second input is no longer needed!  As close as I am too cool stuff, I am surprised that I had never heard of it.

I asked the tech, and I wasn’t surprised at the response that I received.  He told me that there is really no benefit for the two money-making entities involved.  The switch is obviously more costly than the old type switches, and the installation folks lose the labor hours that it takes to run additional lines!!!!  Go figure.  The customer is last to know again!  Think how pissed I would have been if I would have started bustin up walls as suggested by Fast Follower!!!!

I have looked around, and found a few sites on the swim switch (that’s what the tech called it).  Here are a couple of sites that I found.  I was surprised that there isn’t much information on the SWM switch solution.



 There is one drawback, however.  My older TIVO units have to be replaced.  The tech said that the older boxes can’t take the increased signal power, but the newer non-hd Directv DVRs do.  So looks like Best Buy is going to get a huge order from me tomorrow!!!

The tech said that you can tell if your box is “Swim-compatable” by looking right above or below the Sat 1 input.  If you see the letters SWM, you’re compatible.  That simple. 

So if you have limited number of outlets and it is difficult to run two lines per box,, don’t call Fast Follower, learn to SWIM!!!!

It is great to be back Telling It Like It Is!!!!!!! 

Directv On Demand February 7, 2008

Posted by Fast Follower in Apple TV, beta, Directv, Directv On Demand, DirectvOnDemand, dtv, hr20, video on demand, VideoOnDemand, vod.

I just connected my HD Directv DRV to my home network using a powerline adapter.  The reason I did this was to try out the beta version of Directv On Demand.   If given a choice, I would rather download the latest DVD release of American Gangster directly on my DVR as opposed to going to Blockbuster to get it or ordering it from Netflix – again, if given an equal choice.  Presently, there’s decent content to download from On Demand (including movies like the newest Bourne Supremacy movie or content like 3 minute to 9 minute golf tips which are free).  I realize Apple TV is re-launching their new service.  This On Demand product could give it a run for it’s money for Directv users (at least those with the HD DVR during this beta period)

Fear, Hope, and Love with Electronic Gadgets and the Companies who Make Them February 5, 2008

Posted by Fast Follower in Apple, Blackberry, Dell, Directv, iPhone, iPod, Mac, Marketing, Microsoft, Quicken, Sprint, Verizon.

I wish I could take credit for this theory about why we as consumers engage with companies and their products. But I can’t. This comes from Seth Godin on his blog. It makes me think about many of the posts and comments on PTI about the electronic gadgets and services we all use. After reading Godin’s post, how many of the devices and the device makers fall into the Fear, Hope, and Love categories for PTIers?

What about Apple? Or iPod? Or iMac? Or iPhone? What about PPC-6700? What about Microsoft? Or Windows? Or Office? What about Sprint? What about Verizon?  What about Playstation? What about XBox? What about Slingbox? What about Blackberry? What about Directv? What about Quicken?  What about Dell?

Is there something missing from the 3 categories (fear, hope, love)? Interestingly, many of our posts are about complaints concerning the gadgets or services we use. Might there be another category called “Necessity” for why we buy and use certain gadgets (or continue to use certain gadgets and services while we face constant problems)?

DIRECTV HD Owners: Demand Your $5 Rebate! September 13, 2007

Posted by Tell it like it TI is! in Directv, Directv HD, HD, High Definition, Rebate, TNT HD.


Here is a little tidbit for you.   Call and get your $5 Directv Rebate!  After Eric Shanks, DIRECTV’s executive vice president for entertainment, committed that Directv would not drop a HD channel this year to make room for the NFL games, it has done so.  Apparently, TNT HD is dropped to make room for the NFL games on Sunday.   Here is one link http://www.tgdaily.com/content/view/33787/113/

and here is the one that references the $5 rebate


If you are successful in getting your rebate, please come back and let us know!! We will keep a running tally.  Let’s see how high we can get!!!!

 Just telling it like it is!!!!

Have Directv and Tivo Kissed and Made Up? September 11, 2007

Posted by Fast Follower in Directv, Tivo.
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Here’s a discussion on PVR Blog about upcoming Tivo upgrades to Directv DVRs.  I recently received a flyer from Directv confirming that Tivo upgrades are coming in early 2008.  If true, this is a good thing.

Avoiding DirecTv Deactivation Charges… Has anyone been successful? April 1, 2007

Posted by Tell it like it TI is! in Directv, Directv Deactivation Fee, HD, Satellite Television, Uncategorized.

OK PTIers,  Now DirecTv is on my list.   Want to hear my story?  Here it goes….

I bought my new DLP 62 inch television, and I was excited.   Now it was time to get some HD programming.  As a long time DirecTv customer (almost 10 years), I was excited to get the new HD dish and Receiver/DVR installed so that I could begin watching as much HD content.

I called Directv and scheduled an appointment for installation.  Needless to say they were so busy that I had to wait 10 days before someone could get out to the house with the dish and the box.  We got a Saturday appointment and they told me to be at home between noon and 4.  The installer arrived and went to work.  Three hours later, the guy had me up and running….well sort of.  For some reason I could only get a signal from the odd transponders!  This means that I only get about half of the channels that I was supposed to get! 

The installer told me that he did not have the right multi-switch and that I would have to call Directv and notify them of this and set up another appointment.  So now, I have two dishes on my roof!   An HD dish that is delivering half of the HD content to my new box, and my old tried and true round dish delivering the signal to my other TVs.   The neighbors aren’t real happy with the appearance, but it is only for a week, right?

The following Saturday, the guy shows up and says that he has the correct parts, and it will only take five minutes to install the correct switch and remove my round dish.  Great! I will be watching HD content on all my channels in not time, right?  Wrong.

It turns out that after installing the new multiswitch I now get half of the HD channels and my regular Directv televisions no longer get a signal!  What in the heck is going on?  I call the installer and he says reset my boxes…didn’t work.  He said that he would come back by to fix the issue…. never heard from him again.  Oh, by the way, my buddies are on the way over to watch the Final Four games.  Needless to say I didn’t see either of the games last night.  Can someone tell me who is going to be playing in the National Championship?

I called Directv to complain.  The very BEST that they could do for me is schedule another (the third mind you) installation…. NEXT SUNDAY!  Easter Sunday??  I told her to come get her dish and her box and cancel my subscription.  3 repair visits and I can’t get any priority treatment?  Not…  I told her that I was switching to Comcast.  She immediately told me that she could process the cancellation, but would be forced to charge me a $300 deactivation fee!  Can you believe this?  A deactivation fee for something that has not worked or been activated! Does she really think that I am going to miss the Masters and the National NCAA Championship cause they can’t get anyone out, and there equipment doesn’t work?

PTIers, I am leaving Directv.  Comcast, here is your chance. 

Can anyone give me the process to send this equipment back, and avoid the $300 charge!  Help me.  Any contract lawyers reading this?  I never signed anything.  Help me get out of this doggone contract PTIers.  Like Ryan Seacrest…. I am out!