2007-09-06, 12:48 AM
Tony, all the guys here I'm sure would just love to see some photos of your head end setup.... :p
2007-09-06, 12:48 AM
Tony, all the guys here I'm sure would just love to see some photos of your head end setup.... :p
2009-02-03, 05:03 PM
Okay, I'm not sure where this should be posted, but here's a thought.
With DTV in the US being a reality, what about those of us that live in condos or apartments with MATV's.
I have a DTV box and planning to hook it up to my MATV system in my bldg. My property manager is curious about this as he's gotten different stories.
It looks like I will be a test case to see if it works. In theory, I think it should even though there are a stack of amplifiers etc in the basement.
It would be interesting to know what has happened in the US in MDU's with MATV systems.
Thoughts on this??
2009-02-05, 05:46 PM
Most MATV systems will have an antenna array on the roof with an antenna aimed at each channel cut to frequency. They will then use a combiner that will take the feeds from each channel and ‘band pass’ it through using the combiner. The combiner has a bunch of filters in it only allowing the frequencies of that antenna connected to pass. Now if a station is on channel 9 analog but using channel 55 for digital you’ll most likely not have any antenna or band pass filter of that MATV system for any of the digital channels so you’ll not receiver channel 55… however after the cutover (now in June) if the station reverts back to using channel 9 now for it’s digital signal you’ll then receive that digital signal using the MATV system.
2009-03-13, 02:59 AM
In my friend's highrise building there is a huge VHF/UHF/FM TV antenna on the roof and a centralized TV signal distribution system with 300 Ohm TV Terminals in each apartment. However, the signal coming from his terminal appears to be weak, especially in UHF range. When TV set is connected to it with a Balun, there is a lot of interference on many analog channels, and others have somewhat faded colors. It may be that centralized old signal amplification system was switched off a long ago. How to check that, and what's the best way to clean and amplify that signal in his apartment? He needs all the range, as HDTV stations are available in his area in VHF and UHF, and he has an FM Receiver.
- Can you recommend a low noise Balun model to hook-up the TV set?
- Would it be better to use VHF/UHF & FM Band Separator with 300 Ohm and 75 Ohm Outs instead of the Balun to hook-up his TV Set and the FM Receiver, and what low noise make & model to use?
- Also, there are mostly talks about pre-amps in this thread despite its title, but what would be the best 1:1 or 1:2 local low noise Amp in the apartment, as there is no access to the Antenna mast, and the signal may be insufficiently preamped with added noise? How to clean a noisy signal before amplification?
- Generally, what are the best makes & models of local and distribution Amplifiers currently on the market?
2009-05-24, 09:56 PM
I'm looking to distribute OTA to interested residences in my condo (possible 250 units). I'm looking for:
1. Comments/ Ideas/ Suggested products for distribution plan
2. Recommended Installers and Maintenance contractors
I took some photo's of our existing installation which might be helpful for background.
CableCo distributes to individual distribution closets via black cables from central communications room. (Based on Laser risk warning on cables, I'm assuming this is laser over fibre optic). (picture below)
Distribution Closets on every third floor. See black cable come from bottom right, and goes into distribution boxes. White Coax cables are distribution to individual units. Blue cables are telephone.
Here's a zoom up of the distribution units:
My rough plan for installation is as below:
a\ CM-4228 on roof (CN tower and Buffalo should both line up)
b\ Pre-Amplifier to distribute cables down 25 stories (~275 feet)
c\ Distribution boxes (splitters?)
d\ Use existing coax cables to individual units
Does the above sound right in principle? I'm wondering
..b.. should I be looking at alternative cabling instead of coax, e.g. CableCo used fibre
..c.. As the number of users is unknown, and variable with time, I think the distribution signal levels should be adjustable. For instance, I need to avoid that when 10 news users are added, the existing users signals are affected, OR vice versa, 10 users are removed and then signal level jumps up.
..d.. Some people use the CableCo for TV, phone, and internet. Those interested in OTA would need to use a DSL phone/ internet solution. Unless they paid to pull a new coax from the distribution closet to their unit.
Your comments are welcome and appreciated. Thanks!
2009-05-25, 12:03 AM
The compexity of an MATV system can really get away from you in a hurry if you're new to it. An MATV system of the scale you're talking about is best engineered by a telecom contractor who can engineer the whole installation (not your average antenna installer).
My advice is to publish a call for estimates within the commercial telecom industry and sort through the quotations. There are plenty of telecom companies in Toronto who would be interested in the contract. :)
A typical MATV system will have a backbone RG11 cable driven with very high amplification and a sequence of taps at each floor with individual home runs
from each suite. The runs from the suites would be attenuated as needed. This way other suites can join/cancel with no signal strength drop being noticed by other residents. The option of using CATV and/or MATV is provided to your residents by dual wallplates marked Cable and Antenna that the occupant would choose.
Regarding an antenna, I think you'd be best off to run a separate VHF/FM with a UHF like a CM4228 so that people can run FM radio receivers too and their VHF-HI reception is very strong and stable.
I hope you'll be able to keep us informed of the whole process, and the photos are greatly appreciated.
2009-05-27, 12:00 PM
Stampeder is right on the money when he advises getting a professional contractor. Engineering MATV for a 250 suite building is not a task for amateurs.
Your condo board will have to make a number of decisions when they specify the requirements for the MATV system:
What channels will be carried? Toronto, Buffalo and Hamilton? How about Barrie, Kitchener and Peterborough?
Will analog services be carried as well as digital?
Will the FM band be carried?
Will any security cameras be carried on the system?
What overall system reliability is needed?
What individual channel reliability is required?
Who will maintain the system?
Who will provide customer support for trouble calls and in-suite hookups, wall jack to TV jumper cables, splitters, etc?
All the questions have price tags attached. More channels means higher cost. Individual channel processing requires equipment for each channel. Higher reliability may mean more antennas and bigger tower structure on the roof.
The real issue comes down to paying for the system. A BDU will probably have made a deal with the condo developer and already have their equipment in place. The BDU deal may be a bulk agreement where everybody gets a basic set of TV services paid from the monthly condo fee. You won't save any money putting an MATV system in place if you have a bulk agreement. A direct payment agreement means the BDU fees are paid by the occupant of the unit so some saving is theoretically possible.
The real challenge will be convincing the condo board that making an investment in an MATV system is worthwhile. They will have to put the proposal to a vote of condo owners because an MATV system for a 250 suite building will cost well over $50 thousand. You will need to find some allies to help promote the idea. Expect substantial opposition to this kind of spending from people who own condos as an investment rather than to occupy them.
2009-10-31, 03:23 PM
A one time fee of $200 per unit for permanent reliable reception of all stations in sight sounds like a pretty good investment.
Then if the rules could be changed so that pick and pay cable can be available as an extra with no basic service required it would be ideal.
2009-11-01, 07:54 AM
Thank you Stampeder and GeorgeMX for your comments. I had hoped to update you after the system was setup, but it is taking longer than expected. Here is an update on what is planned, and the order of magnitute cost.
CM4228 on roof with cable distributed to each of the distribution closets. Based on a system survey, it seems that more than 50% of the building does not have cable tv and so the system would be initially setup for 2/3 of the building with abiliity to expand. The common cost to the condo would be just the backbone distribution and antenna. The cabling cost from the distribution closet to the condo unit would be paid directly by the unit owner. Unit owners would also have the option to opt-out of any services by cableco and use the copper telephone/dsl instead- and use the existing coax for OTA.
Quotations received (approximate):
Antenna, backbone distribution, and distribution amplifiers - < $10k
Cost of cabling from closets to unit - < $100
It's taking longer than expected to setup the system because the condo board meets once a month and this gets pushed back behind more pressing issues.
2009-11-01, 11:46 AM
Thanks for giving us an update - it provides valuable insight for folks thinking of the same thing in their own locations.
2010-03-02, 08:35 PM
I live in a 10 story condo that had an MMDS TV service up until last Nov. The wirless antenna is still top-side along with the connection to those units that used their service. If that antenna was replaced with a standard OTA antenna and hooked up to the existing cable, would I be able to get OTA reception? Secondly since my 2nd floor unit is essentially directly below the site of the existing antenna, would more than one amp be req'd for that distance?
2010-03-21, 01:30 AM
My son had a hockey tournament in Niagara Falls ON. Man, Niagara Falls has a ton of OTA antennas. Most common was the yagi style. We stayed at a hotel that had two large sized VHF/UHF combo antennas on the roof- one pointed for TO, the other for BUF. The hotel had it's own custom made cable service. Looked like a combination of cable and OTA. Had two sports channels, but also had some OTA channels- all the regular BUFs, but also WGRZ 2.2 Universal Sports Network, RTN 2.3 (which was listed as RTN11 in the room guide), 17.3 Thinkbright, and ION- main channel 51.1, but no sub channels. The picture quality of all the channels was terrible- some had major snow. My wife was astounded with how terrible the picture quality was; but it seems like the hotel is paying almost next to nothing to get these channels. I wonder what kind of amp/distribution amp the hotel was using to feed 60 or so units? I also wonder what percentage of hotels/apartment run OTA still? There's got to be some new incentive, now that you can get digital and HD signals? Anyways, it was pretty neat to see these somewhat obscure (for Canadians) TV channels (USN, RTV, ION) in a Canadian hotel.
2010-03-21, 08:41 AM
I'm sure for a hotel to provide "pay tv" it costs them a significant amount of money to bring in the local BDU. Putting up a couple of antennas and MATV equipment may cost more up-front but you don't have recurring, monthly costs.
There's no reason to have a snowy picture unless the tv's were analog ones (sounds like it). All the signals from Buffalo/Batavia have been digital since last June, so the hotel's system is downconverting, multiplexing and sending (apparently crappily) through their in-house system.
There's a proper way to do a MATV system but it seems apparent these guys didn't do it right.
2010-03-21, 11:07 AM
Likely don't have the funds to replace all the analogue tv's with digital ones or converter boxes. Still a good idea just bad execution.
2010-03-21, 02:56 PM
Ya, the hotel was pretty cheap- 59 one night, 89 the other, and had a decent indoor pool, but no security guards which was good for partyers, I guess. Eventually they will have to replace the analog TVs and probably get a deal from sat/cab instead of OTA which might be too costly, but still there seemed to be a lot of hotels with antennas on the roof- who knows how many are still working...?
2010-06-11, 08:31 PM
I live in a new 35-story condo in Toronto; I'm also on the condo board. I want to get quotes on installing an MATV system for the building. This thread has been very helpful - thank you. We agreed that there were no legal issues surrounding this, right? We wouldn't charge for anything but installation.
"jb2008", since you're also in Toronto, I'm wondering if you can tell me who you got quotes from. And any other advice you may have.
2010-06-15, 09:13 PM
It's good to hear you will be trying this in your building. I wasn't originally able to convince a majority of condo board members that we should proceed with this. Happily, this item came up at our last board meeting and was passed- so we will now be getting quotes again. Regarding legality- I'm not a lawyer, but it's appears clear to me that it's fine if it isn't not for profit. Refer to http://liveweb.crtc.gc.ca/eng/archive/2002/PB2002-35.HTM
My first piece of advice is that you take an inventory of the existing services used in the building, i.e. go to each distribution closet and count the filter and direct connections. What I've found (our building was exclusively Rogers):
a\ Yellow filter - No (TV), Yes (Internet)
b\ Red filter - No (TV), Yes (Internet, Home Phone)
c\ Direct connection (no filters) - Yes (TV), Maybe (Internet, Phone)
d\ No colour *dummy* connection/ No Connection - No cable services.
The *dummy* connection connects the condo unit coax to a "filter" which blocks out all signals (acutally- it's just missing the center conductor), and it needs to be removed with a special tool. Service providers normally use these so that residents can't just connect there cable and steal television.
I found that the majority of our building (60%) didn't actually have cable tv which to me indicated a good justification that OTA would add value to the condo. It's a hard sell if the other board members are happy HDTV subscribers paying $90/ month. They won't get it.
I contacted www.tinlee.com and asked them for recommended installers. As I know that some of the bidders frequent this website, I'd rather not publish our bidders list to ensure that the bids are honest.
2010-08-09, 11:07 AM
In my apt there's two CATV wall plates. One is for the local cable co and the other appeared to be unused for ages as the output appeared to be painted over numerous times.
I cleaned off the paint from the connector, attached a cable, and did a channel scan only pulling in a very fuzzy TVO and analog CBLFT. No DTV signals although there should be a number of them.
I suspect that the antenna was removed ages ago (none are visable from doing a walk a round looking at the roof) and was wondering what the odds are of a MATV system already being in place in my building which is simply missing the antenna.
Does anybody think this is possible and, if I spoke with the super and offered to install myself and buy a small antenna , it would be as simple as just screwing in the leads and it'd be ready to go?
2010-08-09, 11:17 AM
With the dual wallplate it is likely that an MATV system was strung, but you'd need to ascertain if any of the "guts" (amplifiers, etc.) are still present and/or operational. I'd be leery of the coax cable's condition too if it is the original stuff. Also keep in mind that many of those MATV systems from waaay back only carried VHF channels, so the antenna(s) on the rooftop were likely not suited to UHF. Prior to the Cable TV age, the dual wallplate was probably for separate TV and FM Radio connections.
Let us know what you find out. :)
2010-08-09, 12:03 PM
Hmmm...The possible FM connector and missing/ancient backend equipment does complicate things. The building is between 40-50 units so I'm unsure even if they would need the back end equipment.
The super here is only a few months old so I certainly know he wasn't around when it was installed nor do I think he really know what I'm talking about to be honest.
How would you suggest I proceed to explain things to him so he don't think I'm a loon trying to peep into the boiler room (I'm guessing that's where the gear would be) or get up on the roof of the building?