Monday, February 7, 2011

TFTLM: Dishin' It Up 2.0 (Another Cautionary Tale) Part II

The next day, the Dish Dude arrived to install the new system. He called ahead for directions to the house and then rolled on in, not in the usual Dish Network truck but what looked like a civilian vehicle. I felt kind of sorry for him, as there was something of a cold drizzle falling. Quickly, he delivered some bad news, though. First he announced that the location our old satellite dish was in was no longer good, as it was aimed at non HD/non local-channel satellites.

He scouted out our property, pointing a doohickey at the sky on occasion, before finally announcing we had no line of sight for the three satellites he needed at any point in our back yard. He then revised this to say that he “might” be able to get at least a partial signal from a point in the very middle of our back yard. I explained to him that this would not work, because if I allowed him to install in that spot I’d be the recipient of a dish and a divorce, cause the wife would NOT want a satellite dish in the middle of the yard. I told him we’d have to decline service and look into other options.

“You can get a second opinion, if you want,” he offered. This meant a different technician would come up and have a look, perhaps finding something this man could not. Seemed a long shot to me, but what could it hurt? I gave him the go-ahead to sign us up for the 2nd OP and he departed.

I investigated some of the other local HD programming options available in our area, including our cable company that already provides our phone and internet. They also do HD and DVR service, but while their website listed a whole bunch of channels, the tiers they had them arranged in didn’t make it at all clear which ones I’d actually be receiving. I called them up to ask and they seemed kind of cagey on the topic.

“Well, you’ll get the 75 channels we offer, plus around 15 HD channels,” the rep said.

“Does that include BBC America?” I asked, staring right at that listing on their website.

“Uh, no,” they said. “But we are doing a big upgrade mid-December, so you’ll probably get it then.”

“But your website says BBC America is now,” I said.

“Yeahhhhh, but in mid-December.”

This seemed lame. I also felt guilty about having to ditch Dish Network after all this time, particularly when they were finally offering me networks. Local cable had those too, but they also had fewer than half the channels Dish offered. I decided the second opinion from Dish was my favorite option, but kept cable as a backup.

When I called Dish to ask when the second opinion would happen, they said it would have to be scheduled by the local Dish dispatcher, but would probably occur at the earliest on the following Saturday. So no HD for Thanksgiving. Ah, well.

By the time our Thanksgiving guests arrived, I’d rigged the new TV to receive our current receiver’s signal by running coax cable from the receiver directly to the TV, rather than first through our home theater setup. I then patched audio cable from the TV to the home theater. It worked, but it looked like crap and was far from HD. It would probably have looked better using HDMI cables, but our old Dish receiver didn’t offer that as an option for output. We even tried watching Planet Earth on it, but something in my Jerry rigging made it look less than pristine, too, and it all just pissed me off.

PERSPECTIVE BREAK: Current Death Toll from Australian Flooding = 23.

Saturday and Sunday came, our guests departed, and we'd still had no call from the local Dish dispatcher. On Monday I phoned Dish central back, explained the situation and asked if they had heard anything further about when we would receive our second opinion. The Dish rep on the phone had looked at the notes in our account, seemed confused, and then said, “Oh, I see it here. Yes, I see the order for installation of an HD dish and HD receiver for Tuesday, November 23, between 8 and noon.”

“Uh, November 23 was last week,” I pointed out. The phone rep got quiet, then asked to put me on hold. He came back on the line to explain he was now contacting the local hub to find out what the situation truly was. My impression from his urgent tone was that people on his end of the line were now hell bent on getting this thing solved for me ASAP. And, when he returned, this seemed to be the case, because he said they could have a guy come out that very afternoon. Again, awesome!

The second Dish dude arrived in quick time, calling ahead for directions and pulling up in his sparkly Dish Network official vehicle. (You’ll note this is the second time I’ve mentioned a Dish Dude calling ahead for directions. It’s an important fact to note for foreshadowing purposes.) Dish Dude #2 also had a doohickey and immediately used it to find the same line of sight in the middle of the back yard, exactly where the first guy had. However, he also found some places in the front yard and, intriguingly, on the back part of the roof. The roof option was an option I liked a lot, as it was one that had already been suggested by the wife. Dish Dude #2 said it was not a problem and that the dish could fit right at the edge of our roof and have clear line of sight, winter or summer. When I asked him why the first Dish Dude hadn't been able to see this, he explained that DD#1 worked for a subcontractor satellite installation service and very often if a job seems at all challenging they’ll run the other way and leave it for the official types to clean up. He assured me that the roof mount was not only possible, but would be an easy job. Unfortunately, he couldn’t do the job himself because he was one of their field managers in charge of second opinions, so I’d have to order the installation part from Dish central.

I went in, immediately made the order and they said they’d send someone out on Thursday morning.


No comments: