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    by Published on 06-19-2017 12:29 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Satellite

    DIRECTV doesn't want you to do it, but you can. In response to some YouTube commenters, I produced this video showing the HS17 Genie 2 connected to a SWM-16. This video is pretty raw but that's the point; other than some work to blur out personal details I kept it pretty much the way I shot it, with every "uh" and "um" and crooked screencap. This is as real as it gets.

    The HS17 Genie 2 is expected at Solid Signal in the next few weeks and yes, I do recommend you swap out your LNB for a reverse-band one, but if you can't, here's the proof that it still works.
    by Published on 06-19-2017 10:43 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Satellite,
    3. Online/MobileTV
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    There's no one right answer. That's the cool thing, though -- depending on who you are you might like DIRECTV satellite service or DIRECTV NOW, the streaming service that works on your mobile devices. If you ask yourself a few questions, you can come up with an answer that works for you.

    Do you need a DVR?
    While DIRECTV NOW has gotten better ...
    by Published on 06-18-2017 02:36 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Satellite
    Article Preview

    Image courtesy Earl Bonovich

    It was the new hotness in 2006, but the earth has gone around the sun 11 long times since then. I know it's hard giving up an old friend, but sometimes you just have to let go.

    If you're not using the latest DIRECTV hardware -- the Genie DVR, the HR24 DVR, and the H25 receiver -- you're playing ...
    by Published on 06-17-2017 12:50 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Satellite

    Solid Signal doesn't sell Bell equipment. Some of our dishes and accessories are Bell compatible, but we don't sell it and we don't support it.

    Why? Because Bell equipment is designed for Canada and it's not legal for a retailer like us to import it into the US. It's not approved by the FCC, and everything that works with any sort of radio signal needs their approval.

    The truth is, though, if you had a Bell satellite system in the US and you were within 100 or so miles from the Canadian border it would probably work. I don't have any hard data, but satellites don't know what country they're beaming down into. You can focus a satellite beam so it stops short of covering the entire continent, but if you're going to service the people of Toronto with strong signal, it's practically impossible to keep that signal from leaking over to Michigan, New York, even Ohio.

    It's not legal for you to bring that stuff into the US. But hey, I'm not a border agent. I don't know what you're bringing. All I can tell you is that there's some really good satellite TV systems for the US and I can only sell you equipment for the US. The rest is up to you.
    by Published on 06-16-2017 04:01 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Satellite

    It's a good question. In years past, conventional wisdom suggested rebooting the receiver about once a week or so to make sure things worked right. Receivers left on too long tended to be slow and cranky and a simple reboot tended to solve a lot of problems.

    In fact, DISH receivers used to schedule themselves to reboot as often as once a day (usually in the middle of the night) to keep themselves fresh.

    That wisdom has all but faded and truthfully there's hardly a need to reboot the receiver manually as long as you're satisfied overall. Even if you are unhappy, there's only about a 50/50 chance a reboot is going to help you. It's possible and worth a try, but the kinds of problems solved by a reboot are much less common today.

    It turns out that with today's receivers, clients, and DVRs, the right schedule for rebooting is about once a quarter which (not surprisingly) is about the same schedule as DIRECTV's software updates. So what I'm saying here is you don't need to manually reboot ever because the box will reboot itself when there's a software update.

    If you find yourself rebooting a lot, it could be a sign of something else that's really wrong. The device could be slowing down due to bad wiring, for example, and filling up system logs that slow down the whole device. Or, a hard drive could be failing and the reboot could repair and recover bad sectors temporarily. That sort of thing means it's probably getting time to either replace the receiver or look at some of the wiring issues you may have.
    by Published on 06-16-2017 03:51 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. TV Antennas,
    3. Auto/Marine,
    4. Satellite
    Article Preview

    So first, you have to have a yacht. Yeah, I know not everyone is so lucky. But let's say you have done well for yourself and you not only have a yacht, you also have enough left over to put a sweet satellite TV system in. If you're outfitting one of these bad boys, then a few thousand more for satellite is going to seem ...
    by Published on 06-15-2017 11:34 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Satellite

    In Throwback Thursday, we're looking back at the articles we're most proud of from the first ten years of The Solid Signal Blog, as well as other old stuff we think is super-neato.

    Wow, the world changes quickly. It was just about three years ago that we first started talking about AT&T buying DIRECTV. Back then it was the cause of a lot of speculation, and if you read what I wrote back then, it's actually pretty close to the way things have happened. AT&T still rules in wireless infrastructure but they're getting rid of their homegrown video product, and DIRECTV brought technical expertise and critical contracts that have allowed the company to continue growing in a very mature market where most competitors are shrinking.

    Not only that, but changes in the regulatory environment have made it possible to have a live TV service that's practically free (if you bundle it with AT&T's Unlimited Plus plan) and doesn't count toward your mobile data caps, even if you don't have an unlimited plan. That's the kind of corporate synergy that I like to see.

    In the early days it wasn't clear exactly how the deal would shake out, how many people would lose jobs and how much the whole communications industry would be affected. A few years later and we see that the new company is very stable, the dealer network is still intact and stronger than ever, and the layoffs have been pretty minimal. Not only that there's been relatively little disruption, especially compared to high-profile deals like Time Warner Cable, Bright House and Charter all becoming Spectrum or Verizon divesting its west coast residential operations to Frontier. In those two cases, massive customer service interruptions, billing problems, and service outages were the norm for months until things settled down a few months in.

    The AT&T/DIRECTV deal took a long time to close but in hindsight that may have been a good thing because it gave both teams a lot of time to plan for the future. The transition has been smoother than anyone expected and for all those who thought that DIRECTV would turn into a low-rent copy of U-Verse TV, they've been pleasantly surprised.
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