: Question about Technical Aspects of MDU Installations
2003-07-30, 08:53 PM
I am looking for a technician 'out there' to give a brief explaination of how satellite works in a multiple dwelling unit. I know that the same wire that used to carry cable video now carries ExpressVu to my apartment. How can this be? What does a 'downverter' do? Also what happens differently in the future, two-satellite setup?
Inquiring minds want to know (and I want a free education)!
2003-07-31, 04:04 AM
Coax cable used for CATV is similar to coax used for satellite. It is often a lower grade of cable so the signal will need boosting to compensate for line loss in long cable runs. Just disconnect the cable from the CATV distribution system and connect it to the satellite distribution system.
Dual LNB systems are more complicated. Two coax cables and a seperate switch for each receiver are required (more than one switch may be in one housing.) A single receiver may be fed with a single coax to the residential unit with the switch at the distribution system. Multiple receivers require two cables to each residential unit. The two cables would feed multiple switches, one for each receiver.
2003-07-31, 07:09 PM
The Multiple Dwelling Unit that Dennis (?) is posting about seems different than the system that is provided to individual homes or apartments. There is only one 76 cm dish to serve all units. Beyond that I am in complete ignorance. I, too, would like to know the basics of how the different channels are tuned, split and distributed to satellite boxes in the suscribing units. There is some sparse information on the Expressvu web site under the Multiple Dwelling Units page but it doesn't get into a technical discussion about how the signal is processed along the way to the satellite box.
Yesterday, I received a survey from my Strata counsel, asking for interest in investigating whether Expressvu could be offered to our Strata owners in addtion to Shaw cable. I checked on the Expressvu web site and they do offer a Mutiple Dwelling Unit service that is supposed to be available with up to one other TV provider for the building. Six years ago I was trying to get permssion to have a dish on my balconey but left it when the Strata Council did not want to get into the issue. Since then, some of the problems I was having with Shaw have been resolved but I still have issues, some of which should be resolved, if and when, HDTV service is provided by Shaw here in Kelown, BC.
I would therefore be interested in any thoughts, warnings or praise of this sytem. I should be fairly satisfied with Shaw cable TV and Internet access when HDTV is offered locally, if it ever is to me in my apartment building. As reported elsewhere on this forum, progress is being made. The Shaw HDTV demo channel is now on display at the local Future Shop through a DCT5100. Questioned as to when other channels would be available and its general availability, the saleman's response was over the next few months. I'll believe it when I can call Shaw and discuss specifics with them.
I'm not very up to speed on Satallite, but wouldn't the distribution network be similar to a large multiswitch?
2003-07-31, 07:45 PM
I've been getting ExpressVu in an MDU for around 18 months. I have a 5100 which I absolutely could NOT do without. I cannot imagine TV and movies the old way. I have a 2700 that is not an additional expense because it is grandfathered. I've been extremely happy with the technical side of Bell (although customer service leaves a lot to be desired). I don't know how many in my building switched to satellite.
Previously I had Shaw (which was once Rogers here) for basic cable and Internet. I had been an early adopter of Rogers high-speed (before they were part of @Home). It took quite a bit of time before TELUS provided ADSL here. But once it did, I realized I didn't need to be tied to analog cable nor buy digital cable box and receive SOME digital stations. Satellite just looked so much better with such a more complete selection (for the money).
Can a strata now prohibit satellite dishes nowadays? I seem to think not. Was this a US or Canadian ruling about 'equal access'? It'd be an easy install a dish on my balcony and it's allowed by my building ... it's just that it seemed easier to just plug into the wall.
2003-07-31, 07:51 PM
The normal house system for Bell uses horizontal frequencies and vertical frequencies, and the receivers outputs a voltage of 13vt or 18vt to make the dish switch from one to the other .. The LNBF on the dish has two connections allowing for 2 receivers to be connected. The LNBF on the dish does the switching from vertical to horizontal depending on the voltage it is receiving from the receiver...
If you have more than 2 receivers you can buy a multi switch or a number of multi switches, but this arrangement still requires two cables from the LNBF on the dish be connected to each or any multi switches, giving both horizontal and vertical frequencies to the switch or switches.. then each cable that comes off of a switch can feed one receiver only... This still doesn't work in most larger buildings that have been pre wired for cable...Since there will be only one cable running in places were 2 are required...
The method used in multi dwelling units that have been pre-wired for cable require a different configuration..
They use some specialized equipment to stack the vertical and horizontal frequencies up at the dish...so instead of having a vertical signal of 950-1450 Mhz and a horizontal signal of 950-1450, they stack them into a signal that ranges from 950-2050...allowing all the signals to travel down one cable...Then using High Frequency splitters the signal can be distributes throughout the building...
This can pose other problems...One being the quality of cable that is rated for cable television needs to be able to pass a signal of up to 1000Mhz, and the cable used in a stacked system for BellExpressVu needs to pass a higher frequency, up to 2050Mhz...Although the cables that have been used by the cable company over the past 15-20 years will usually pass these higher frequencies...
Once the signal gets to the apartment it needs to be unstacked so the BellExpressVu receiver can use it...
I hope this helps you understand what is involved...
I do not do MDU's so if there are any errors in my explanation I will apologize now:):)
2003-07-31, 07:56 PM
Can a strata now prohibit satellite dishes nowadays? I seem to think not. Was this a US or Canadian ruling about 'equal access'?
Found this in a newsgroup posting...
CONDO BOARDS CAN CHOOSE TV PROVIDERS: In 1997, the CRTC ruled that in Multiple Unit Dwellings (MUD), the end-user must be able to choose which TV distribution service to use. Last week the Commission ruled that in a condominium MUD the Board of Directors or Strata Council represents the end-users and so can make that decision.
2003-07-31, 09:36 PM
I just noticed an article posted on the www.cablecastermagazine.com web site reporting on the CRTC's response to Expressvu's complaint about Rogers TV and their tactics to repulse satellite TV providers from competing nin the Multiple Dwelling Unit market.
In it they do mention that there are two ways of giving service from a satellite dish. The one way is that outlined by Skyway in more detail. The second is to have a central dish and use VDSL to distribute to the different buildings via optical cable. I doubt the latter option would be available in a small market like Kelowna.
Re prohibition of satellite dishes. I know there is a federal US law prohibiting building owners from banning the use of satellite dishes for TV reception if certain basic guideleines are met. There isn't a similar law in Canada that I am aware of. I wasn't aware of the CRTC ruling on Multiple Dwelling Units until I saw reference to it on the Expressvu web site. As usual the devil is in the details, some of which are raised in the Cable Caster Magazine article. Who pays the installation and infrastructure upgrades required for allowing the end-user to have the option of two services? Troubling for old buildings that were not designed for this.
bolmsted's most recent posting is interesting in saying that the the individual owners aren't the end-user with the selection right but that the Condominium Corporation is the entity with the right. So much for condo owners. However, I can see the problem that would arise if one owner wanted a second TV provider and there was a significant cost to getting the extra service and all owners were forced to pay their share of the cost.
2003-07-31, 09:48 PM
In our city if bell puts a dish on a mdu they make the building owner sign an agreement that no other competiters dishes are allowed on the building . So whats up bell I read the cablecaster story this morning
Alot of townhouse and condo managers don't allow satellite dishes on the building and balconies for visual reasons.
Having tons of satelite dishes all over the building looks terrible and would negatively affect the look and resale value of the unit.
I for one thing a sea of dishes on the side of a building would look horrible. Luckily my building bans the installation of them as well.
(I've only seen 1 resident try to use one reasonly. It was gone before I could report it...)
2003-08-01, 08:46 PM
Who pays the installation and infrastructure upgrades required for allowing the end-user to have the option of two services?
BEV and *C will pay for the installation cost of a MDU system provided a minimum number of residents commit to buying the service.
In theory, both cable and satellite can use the same coax at the same time with diplexing. Devices are available for homeowners to do this so I am sure it is possible with commercial systems. One issue with older CATV coax and satellite is higher loss at the higher frequencies used for satellite with long coax runs in MDU systems. This can be overcome by boosting the signal at the distribution end. Digital CATV systems also boost higher frequencies to overcome coax loss.
I was told that BEV could not install a MDU system in this building because the building owner signed an agreement with Rogers. If such an agreement is invalid I would really like to know about it. Residents here have tried to get a BEV MDU system for years but the owner has blocked it. :evil:
The only option we have is to mount a dish on a patio stone or similar anchor. A heavy patio stone makes a fine dish anchor. Dishes may not be mounted on the side of the building for safety reasons or attached to the building due to possible building damage. That is ok for people on the south or west side of buildings but it leaves others out in the cold. Luckily, my balcony faces southwest so it is perfect for a dish. The only problem now is that between the dish and BBQ there is no room left. :cry:
2003-08-13, 01:26 PM
An MDU set-up is not all that different from a home installation. They differ mostly in the location of the individual components and the overall capacity.
On the roof of the building, you'll normally find a 30" satellite dish equipped with one or two dual output LNBs. The signal from each LNB output is carried to the cable TV distribution room in the basement on their own individual wire. From there, each wire is connected to the equivalent of an SW24 or SW44 switch which supports much more than just four satellite receivers.
As mentioned before, the signal from each individual receiver output must be boosted (actually, modulated differently) in order to reach each individual subscriber using the existing cable runs. Inside each apartment, another device demodulates the modified satellite signal for the benefit of the satellite receiver. These small modulators/demodulators do no affect the receiver's ability to request from the switch the appropriate polarity from the appropriate LNB.
Everything works just like in a home installation, but with many more receivers connected to the system.
We've had our BEV MDU set-up for two years now and we're extremely pleased with the results. We currently have a single dual-output LNB mounted on our dish, but no one is subscribed or planning to subscribe to any of the services on Nimiq 82 at this time. The only time the system ever goes down is when there's a torrential downpour, the same as for the existing cable service. :) As for snow on the dish, that's happened only once (wet, sticky snow that was falling horizontally). However, the dish is located close enough from one of the stairway doors that we can easily brush the snow off with a broom if necessary.
With this installation, we've avoided the potential dish clutter which would have ruined the look of our building, a textile mill built in 1909, something just about every one of us were dead set against no matter how badly we wanted satellite service. Now everyone in the building has the choice between two television service providers if they want satellite or cable TV at all, without the need to invest any money in the dish hardware. You can even rent a 2700 receiver if you're not sure you want to stay with the service, and purchase your own receiver whenever you want.
The cable companies have a reason to be worried about satellite MDU installations. Many in our building have dumped the cable company from day one and have never looked back. There were no lack of complaints from former cable subscribers who were totally fed up with the cable service and wanted something better. The cable companies can't handle that kind of competition.
2003-08-13, 02:16 PM
Can satellite (in MDUs?) work with splitters daisy chained like many condo setups where one main feed for the unit feeds the other rooms?
In my condo unit the cable feed comes into one bedroom, is split and then goes to the living room and I had another outlet installed in my second bedroom for my internet so it feeds off the living room.
I don't know if rewiring is really an option without tearing down the drywall, etc. All of the cable that was preinstalled goes through conduit (part of building code now?) in the wall similar to electrical installations. The outlet I had installed had to be run along the baseboard under the carpet and then fed under the baseboard on either side to the two jacks.
If Bell offered VDSL based telephone delivered television services this would be a mute point but currently they are only trialing this in a few condos in the Yonge St area and my understanding is that it will go to condos before single family dwellings.
2003-08-13, 09:03 PM
bolmsted, the limitations of an MDU installation is that you can connect only a single satellite receiver on your incoming cable line with NO SPLITTERS installed in the set-up. Also, because the cable company would be disconnected from your unit, you'd lose your Internet connection as well unless you're willing to switch to DSL service over your phone line.
If switching Internet service providers is not a problem (check with your neighbours first), and no one ever watches a different show on any of the other TV sets, you could use the remaining cable runs and splitters to feed the RF signal output from the satellite receiver to the other rooms (the sound will only be available in mono, and you might need a signal amplifier). If you get a satellite receiver with a radio frequency remote, you can change channels from any room in your home.
In our building, these issues are not really a problem because all our apartments are one room lofts (no walls except around the washroom). And I believe I may be the only one in the building who has more than one active TV set in their unit (I have five including two capture cards), but I never try to watch two shows at the same time.
For families with multiple TV sets, a satellite service in an MDU installation may be the LAST thing they'd want unless the parents enjoy sibling wars! But if you live alone or have only a single TV set in the apartment, then satellite service may be worth the bother.
2003-08-13, 09:19 PM
Francois, I live in an MDU and I had 5800 and a 6000 conncted to the same TV, which could have been used on differenet TVs. I took back the 6000 to FutureShop because no one could tell me when the dish would be upgraded and therefore was not able to get any HDTV after they moved everything to the new satellite. I still have the ability to connect another receiver. This is not he first MDU I have lived in where I have had 2 receivers.
2003-08-13, 09:51 PM
hdtvvan, could you describe what extra equipment was connected inside your apartment for you to have two fully operational satellite receivers? Could they both work simultaneously? There's obviously an extra piece of MDU equipment out there that I've yet to discover. :) Or did you have two cable runs to your apartment instead of one?
2003-08-14, 12:33 AM
Francois....the cable coming out of the wall is split into two with a One port power passing (BGI) S2H-2, 5-2300MHZ spliiter. Each leg feeds a SCD-1U with 3 connectors. The cable from the spliiter goes to the middle connector of the SCD-1U. The connector on the SCD-1U furthest away from the middle connector goes to the BEV receiver. The third connector is suppose to go to your TV ant input if you have security cameras. The cable going from the SCD-1U on the power passing side of the splitter has a HPlF35DB NAS Image Filter before going to the reciever. Both receivers work simultaneously(at the same time) on the singe cable feed.
Hope that makes sense! :lol:
2003-08-14, 02:11 AM
the cable company would be disconnected from your unit
CATV and satellite can be multiplexed on the same coax. CATV uses 50-750 MZ and satellite uses 900-2050 MHZ. You need one multiplexer at each end of the coax. There is some loss and the satellite/cable companies might have some issues with these in a MDU installation though.
2003-08-14, 11:36 AM
Okay! My brain is partially updated now! :)
hdtvvan, I checked out the http:/www.bgi.ca Web site and believe I've found most of the components in your installation. I have the SCD-1U and HPIF35DB components in my set-up, but I don't have the S2H-2 splitter since I only need one satellite feed in my unit. By any chance would you know if you have an M2H-U/SAT coupler connected to your line in the building's distribution room? The device appears to be able to multiplex and distribute two separate high frequency signals down the same coaxial line. I knew there were devices that could easily combine cable and satellite signals down the same line mainly because they were operating on two entirely different frequency ranges, but I didn't know similar technology was available that could combine two high frequency signals that actually overlapped each other's frequency ranges.
I_want_my_hdtv, you're right. I just didn't properly clarify my statement. Although it's TECHNICALLY possible to deliver cable and satellite feeds down the same line, it's very doubtful the cable and satellite companies would ever go along with such a "shared" scheme. For example.
- Who pays for the extra equipment and installation?
- Whose fault is it when something breaks down?
- How much will you be gouged if you want to drop your cable TV but keep your high speed cable Internet connection?
- How many times will one company attempt to sabotage the other company's equipment out of spite? (hasn't happened here yet -- cross fingers)
The simplest solution would be to work with the idea that if you choose one service over another, the other service may not be available to you at all. This way you won't be disappointed if it doesn't work out in your favour.
Here's a bonus question. Just how much "stuff" can you jam into a single coaxial line before it all starts to break down?
2003-08-14, 11:56 AM
I didn't get a good look inside the cable room but I did see the cable for my suite disconnected from the Shaw system and then the Bell Guy just took my cable and plugged it into a copper coloured box with lots of fins for cooling. Sorry I can not be more specific on that part.