“I'd rather regret the things that I have done than the things that I have not.”
― Lucille Ball

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Cignal additional Set Top Boxes

Early this week I picked up my second STB (Set Top Box) in Magic Appliances, Nepo Mall, Dagupan.

The box is a HS8871 from Skyworth and looks like the unit on the picture, only the front controls are a bit different.
So it is different from the first box I got with my initial contract, see also my earlier post here.

To my surprise I got as well a new satellite dish, single standard LNB and mounting brackets. It seems to be new policy to use a dedicated dish for each STB with a single standard LNB. Would you like to have as many dishes as STB's and TV's in your house? The more dishes visible, the more attractive for burglars!!!! 

I had told the sales boy already that I had prepared all hardware (cabling, quad LNB and a splitter) and didn't need an installation, and hence was not prepared to pay an installation fee, which he confirmed.

So my initial fee (cash out as they call it) would be 1000 peso enrollment (administrative costs) and first month outlet fee of 230 peso.

Initially I wanted to go for purchasing the STB, as I indicated on my order form. But after the approval of my request (by Cignal HQ in Manila a few days later) he stated that it was not possible anymore, new policy said that leasing (2 year for HD) was the only option. He argued that it was much better, however I am not sure what happens with the maintenance when the warranty expires after one year. He told me that the outlet fee did not include a maintenance fee.

So I checked the Cignal website, but I could not find anything on policy for 2nd/3rd box, except that the installation fee is 500 peso if you order the box with your initial contract, but if you do it later, as in my case, 1000 peso per installation.

I also sent an email to Cignal, on September 19th, with some questions about their set top box policy and technical solutions, but so far no feedback, and even a reminder on October 8th, but still no answer yet. The answers however, if any, are not so relevant anymore as I decided already to lease a second box and did the technical infrastructure myself. The box is working well now, and activated by Cignal within 24 hours.

I have a wall outlet in all (bed)rooms, including a wired Internet connection for smart TV's. Below is a schematic view added of the satellite TV cabling project I did recently.

The reason for using direct lines to the living and master bedroom (BR1) is that I want quality HD view in these rooms; the other rooms connected via a splitter might have a less quality signal, although the tests I did showed that this is not the case, perfect view as well, at least with one TV on the splitter. The outlet-4 (spare) of the LNB may be used later for the study room.

All cables are protected for mice and rats damage by using pvc pipes and even the splitter is put in a twin junction box. This is done because I had quite some damage before with my UTP computer cables, which run in the attic without any protection. Luckily it seems that we have exterminated them well in the attic since a couple of weeks.

I am considering to install an IR camera in the attic as part of my surveillance project (one of the next posts) to be able to detect mice/rats if they pop-up again. Better to see them before you hear them gnawing cables and wood.

The QUAD standard LNB I had on stock since I brought it from the Netherlands when we moved here, is used for the ASTRA satellite in Europe. I don't believe you can buy this type in the Philippines (let me if you can and where), but you can order it from abroad, from Europe or the US.

The specs are in conformance with SES-7 (the Cignal satellite), but Cignal is using only horizontal polarized transponders. See below copy from Wikipedia about the universal LNB that I used.

For the splitter I used a Zinwell Multi-Switch which I had on stock, see picture. As you can see it has a satellite input plug for Horizontal (18 volts) and Vertical (13 volts) polarization. As Cignal is using only horizontal polarization, the LNB should be connected to the 18 volts port. I tested it with an STB directly to the LNB and another (non-Cignal STB) via the splitter. It worked well in the test and now since I have two Cignal STB's operational it's still working fine, no quality loss for the splitter outlet..


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