Forum > DStv Forum Archive (12 May 2014) > DStv Products > Installation > Installation Issues – how to eliminate them and to check for them
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  #1  
Old 2010-05-13 , 18:03
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Sandtonman Sandtonman is offline
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Question Installation Issues – how to eliminate them and to check for them

Let’s face it the HD PVR is not a simple beast to have installed. As a result and because there are known issues with the HD PVRs (different on each version), the decoder, “new software” and MC itself sometime get the blame when they are not at fault.

Some installers don’t seem to appreciate the complexity, and definitely do not do all the necessary checks, before bolting out the front door of the soon-to-be frustrated viewer. After the fact (and payment), it’s easy to blame the equipment. This is certainly not true of some of the excellent installers we see commenting here on the forum and who go that extra mile for customer service; but the standard appears not to be consistently high.

Here are a few salient questions to mull over.........

Is accreditation perpetual? or, do installers have to be retrained re-evaluated and re-accredited as technology evolves (becomes much more complex) and is replaced? If not, why not?

Does every member of the installation company have to be trained & accredited, or just the Boss, who is often not even on-site participating or even supervising?

All staff should attend and pass suitable training courses and be accredited by name (like with Microsoft, Cisco etc.); Does this happen? It would make the accredited individuals very marketable!

A simple training exercise would be “how to strip coax and fit an F-type connector without shorting it out with strands of screening, or cutting the core conductor too short so it makes poor contact”. Fundamental stuff, yes; but responsible for (I hesitate to say), at least ½ of the reported installation issues reported on the forum. Are there practical exams, or just multiple choice theory?

Does the written accreditation exam include a step-by-step checklist to verify the install prior to leaving? Not just testing “live TV”, but making successful recordings using both tuners 2 and 3 and checking that the EPG and DOD are functioning via tuner-4. The checking of the status (signal strength & quality) of all four tuners while active. These, again are fundamentals which we see, time and again, have not been followed in the field.

Checking that XV has been properly activated and that the heartbeat is functioning properly particularly if and old SDPVR is the secondary decoder; is this done as a matter of course?

It’s the installer's duty to give sage advice about the placement of equipment and the importance of airflow. Does this happen? Does it happen prior to the install and heat issues surfacing?

Checking that TV eyes are properly powered (not blocked by splitters and boosters) and that decoders can be consistently controlled from other rooms, is this part of the training?

Are the installers policed in any way? Can they (do they) get dis-approved?

All basics, but clearly not happening consistently in the field

Those of us who comment frequently (Geoff (where would the forum be without him), Merv, Ken, me and others) must sound like old “gramophone records” (granddad) as we are constantly having to doll out the same advice, slightly rehashed to suit individual members. It’s becoming a waste of time and what’s more, some subscribers are becoming belligerent when the advice in meted out.

To Kick off a way forward here I’m suggesting two things.

1) That all the above accreditation basics are answered by MC.

2) That “we” (and this should also really be driven from MC's training documentation), produce a Noddy Guide of things for new installs to have checked out before asking the forum for personalised advice; a sort of READ THIS FIRST! A simple flowchart for what to do when you get a specific symptom. And yes part of that would to be including a signature with your equipment details before making your first post; why not? That could even become part of the forum registration process.

I believe that by working on the above 2 bullets which contain many, many sub elements for sure, would reduce the issues being discussed on the forum by at least a half.

MC's reputation could only improve by fully supporting such an inititative

How does MC view this and how does the forum community see the way forward.
Cheers, S
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Bedroom: Unicable Feeds from lounge: 2 x Explora-1s, Sony V-Series TV, HDMI + Fibre audio, Sony Blu-ray HT System, Slingbox Solo; Chromecast

Last edited by Sandtonman; 2010-05-13 at 18:10. . Reason: spelling
  #2  
Old 2010-05-13 , 18:41
gwalker gwalker is offline
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Very good questions and hope to see the answer from MC on this one!

The thing to remember is people want the install for as cheap as possible, The installer wants to do many installs a day. Clients don't understand that they must pay more for a checklist suggested. They think they don't need it. Also some of the installers don't know everything and every system. Installers can't afford staff to handle this and I would guess a small % are complex or have issues.
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  #3  
Old 2010-05-13 , 20:40
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Thanks for an extremely constructive post. I have sent it off to the team that manage the installers and have asked them to post a response.
  #4  
Old 2010-05-14 , 08:10
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Installations are actually very simple provided the basics are covered competently. Here's a basic checklist for installers.

1. Determine what the customer actually wants and how he wishes to operate the equipment being installed.
2. Ensure that the LNB receives a signal that has the greatest possible difference between information and noise.
3. Ensure that good quality cabling and connectors are used and that they are waterproofed at the LNB end.
4. Ensure that the connections to the decoder are sound and secure.
5. Ensure that the decoder is connected to ancillary equipment with cabling concomitant with the level of the ancillary equipment. I.e. Always go for the highest level possible starting from the top. HDMI, Component, S-Video, composite. Don't just plug in composite AV cables and walk away when the other equipment can handle component cabling.
6. Ensure that the customer knows how to operate the decoder to its fullest potential.

The problem is finding installers who actually care.
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  #5  
Old 2010-05-14 , 08:21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandtonman View Post
checking that the EPG and DOD are functioning via tuner-4.
100% agree Keith, the DOD will be unrealistic to check though seeing as it takes ages to download, but now if they were able to add a download progress section.... that would definitely help with installation issues some are experiencing now
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  #6  
Old 2010-05-14 , 08:43
Geoff D Geoff D is online now
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I have over the years, posted many such appeals to MC and mpost have been acknwoledged but never acted upon.

Intsead I posted items on LNBs, on MS,s on cbale choices, on the basics of making off connectors, on the issues with TVLINKS and the powering of devices from decoders, on issues of spliting and combining signals (much of this was incorporated into the spiltting and combining sticky), on installations, ( some of which was added into the installation manual), on the basics of satellite communications.

But the issues come back time and again, because in general the SA public cointinually believe that a cheap install is all that is necessasry and it is not.

The installation costs are made up of materials, travel costs, time and labour, NONE of these are cheap anymore!

The lower the installations are driven, cheaper components are used and the faster an installer wants to get in and get out. It has got to the point where the installers with the knowledge are no longer prepared to work for these figures - they have in general spent a lot of money on their training and they need a return on investment.

These cheap Installation vouchers are also a source of the problem. The public is not aware of the true costs involved anymore.

So we all get what get, bad work done with cheap components = lots of trouble.

What I can't undertand, at the top end persons will spend R 60 000 plus on home entertainment and then ***** about a R1 200 antenna instead install a R300 piece of junk and then expect perfect performance. We can go thru every compoment that way.

Then we talk about the installation process the public want the guy to come in an in an hour install the antenna, point it, run the cables ( sometimes in the most extreme of conditions), connect up the decoders, fight with MCs call centre for activation, and then connect to a TV to show it works.

IT CANNOT BE DONE IN 1hour! So there is a maximum of installs per day don't forget travelling time. A competent installer doing a proper CANNOT doe more than 4 installs a day!

And then we not even begun to talk about the "MESS" one sometines finds at a cutomers premises!

In the VSAT business ( of which I am A MASTER TRAINER), we have learned that the way out of this mess is we set up a VSAT demonstrate the service on our own equipment prove to customer ALL the service delivery aspects are working and that is it. If the customer wants support to connect his local LAN and PC to that connection, it is a separate job costed totally separately and is done by another person , NOT the VSAT installer, BECAUSE of the incredible mess that one finds

And this is the same here. it takes a sound and video expert to properly avaluate, install and configure modern entertainment systems, these things are NOT plug n play.

In Australia the whole matter of consumer protection has been taken very seriously by their equivalent if ICASA, ALL installers HAVE to pass and regularly get their accredition re-assesed by an external source.

That certficate entitles the installer to charge a fee structure in line with the work and epxertise being delivered, AND the process ensures that the consumer has recourse IF the installtion was done by such a person.

I have always been willing to participate in a process with MC to set up a training course along these lines ( and I have seen some of the early material supplied by MC) which can be built on.
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Last edited by Geoff D; 2010-05-14 at 08:49. .
  #7  
Old 2010-05-14 , 10:00
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Ken, Merv, Geoff; as usual we are all in violent agreement! The additional comments are all valid.

I don't see us as in any way a pressure group on this matter; simply voices of sanity for the ears of MC.

The problem must be tackled at source per the comments in this thread. I to would be willing to invest some effort into this challenge! It can only benefit the community at large. It will also become a necessity as consumer legislation is passed here in SA.

I'll make a point of checking out the accreditation process in the UK when I get there at the end of the month. I'll be on the receiving end of a Freesat installation. I won't be looking for the cheapest installer in the area, but the one with most recommendations from the Ashford community.
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Last edited by Sandtonman; 2010-05-14 at 10:04. . Reason: spelling
  #8  
Old 2010-05-14 , 10:50
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Above all, what puts me off most are actually the users. They come here rightfully with complaints. One is of the opinion that the forum is meant to assist one another. Now the same person with need for help gets a couple of feedback on how to trouble shoot his/ her problem and what do they do?..........they start shouting and writing CAPITAL letter phrases against the same people that are trying to help. I stand to be corrected but I find this to be really appalling. Is a simple thing like being told to check on your installation warrant such?
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  #9  
Old 2010-05-18 , 14:35
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MC Sifiso MC Sifiso is offline
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PLEASE SEE MY COMMENTS IN RED.

Let’s face it the HD PVR is not a simple beast to have installed. As a result and because there are known issues with the HD PVRs (different on each version), the decoder, “new software” and MC itself sometime get the blame when they are not at fault.

Some installers don’t seem to appreciate the complexity, and definitely do not do all the necessary checks, before bolting out the front door of the soon-to-be frustrated viewer. After the fact (and payment), it’s easy to blame the equipment. This is certainly not true of some of the excellent installers we see commenting here on the forum and who go that extra mile for customer service; but the standard appears not to be consistently high.

Here are a few salient questions to mull over.........

Is accreditation perpetual? or, do installers have to be retrained re-evaluated and re-accredited as technology evolves (becomes much more complex) and is replaced? If not, why not?
Yes accreditation is perpetual until such time that the company defaults, goes out of business or no longer interested in doing installations.Training sessions are hosted nationally on all new products that MultiChoice launches, training sessions are hosted nationally in all Provinces for each installation company and their technical/installation teams. All training hosted and conducted is at our cost.

We train and retrain on an ongoing basis, refresher training are also conducted, when there’s staff movement and when installation company employs new staff, on the job training is conducted.

Technology has evolved since inception and rightfully so has become more and more complex and for this reason we ensure that our staff and our business partners are trained and fully understand the technology as well as the basics.

MultiChoice has a team of Technical Specialists in all regions and this team is responsible for Quality Assurance on installations done by our MultiChoice Accredited Installers. The purpose of quality assurance is to ensure that the installations are done correctly and that the standard of workmanship is upheld and not deteriorated.

Does every member of the installation company have to be trained & accredited, or just the Boss, who is often not even on-site participating or even supervising?


Every staff members needs to be trained and retrained not just the Admin Staff or the Owner of each company. Our training sessions are compulsory for each person employed must under-go our training session.

All staff should attend and pass suitable training courses and be accredited by name (like with Microsoft, Cisco etc.); Does this happen? It would make the accredited individuals very marketable!

MultiChoice has put plans in place a year ago to accredit all technical personnel employed at each installation company.

A simple training exercise would be “how to strip coax and fit an F-type connector without shorting it out with strands of screening, or cutting the core conductor too short so it makes poor contact”. Fundamental stuff, yes; but responsible for (I hesitate to say), at least ½ of the reported installation issues reported on the forum. Are there practical exams, or just multiple choice theory?

Currently there are no exam and I personally think this is a good adea however, when MCA technicians conduct QA’s they check the location of the dish, number on cable clip, quality of cables, BER, etc. There are quite a few fly by night installers out there who really mess up installation.

Does the written accreditation exam include a step-by-step checklist to verify the install prior to leaving? Not just testing “live TV”, but making successful recordings using both tuners 2 and 3 and checking that the EPG and DOD are functioning via tuner-4. The checking of the status (signal strength & quality) of all four tuners while active. These, again are fundamentals which we see, time and again, have not been followed in the field.

Currently there are no accreditation exam but MCA insist that installers give a demo to customers after installation and make sure everything is working fine.

Checking that XV has been properly activated and that the heartbeat is functioning properly particularly if and old SDPVR is the secondary decoder; is this done as a matter of course?

A tick list is available to make sure everything is working fine. MCA also recommends how installation should be conducted.

It’s the installer's duty to give sage advice about the placement of equipment and the importance of airflow. Does this happen? Does it happen prior to the install and heat issues surfacing?

Installers are sent update on all issues and the work around.

Checking that TV eyes are properly powered (not blocked by splitters and boosters) and that decoders can be consistently controlled from other rooms, is this part of the training?

Training is conducted every time a new product is launched for both agencies and installers, at times accredited and none accredited.


Are the installers policed in any way? Can they (do they) get dis-approved?

Yes, if it is found that an installer has conducted his business unethical, MCA intervenes and the installer can/will be suspended, ask to go fix the problem if technical, ask to refund the customer or even risk being disaccredited.


All basics, but clearly not happening consistently in the field

Those of us who comment frequently (Geoff (where would the forum be without him), Merv, Ken, me and others) must sound like old “gramophone records” (granddad) as we are constantly having to doll out the same advice, slightly rehashed to suit individual members. It’s becoming a waste of time and what’s more, some subscribers are becoming belligerent when the advice in meted out.

To Kick off a way forward here I’m suggesting two things.

1) That all the above accreditation basics are answered by MC.

2) That “we” (and this should also really be driven from MC's training documentation), produce a Noddy Guide of things for new installs to have checked out before asking the forum for personalised advice; a sort of READ THIS FIRST! A simple flowchart for what to do when you get a specific symptom. And yes part of that would to be including a signature with your equipment details before making your first post; why not? That could even become part of the forum registration process.

I believe that by working on the above 2 bullets which contain many, many sub elements for sure, would reduce the issues being discussed on the forum by at least a half.

MC's reputation could only improve by fully supporting such an inititative

How does MC view this and how does the forum community see the way forward.
Cheers, S

Even though I have commented on some of the issues you listed, I agree with you in all aspects, a lot still need to be done and we working hard on improving this. Without people like you we will never achieve what we aiming for. We have some strategy at hand that unfortunately I cannot share on the forum right now but would really like to discuss them via PM’s to you guys as the contributors to the forum.
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  #10  
Old 2010-05-18 , 18:46
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Sandtonman Sandtonman is offline
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Thanks MC Tech for taking the trouble to respond in detail and thanks for not trying to paste over the shortfalls in the current system.

One comment I feel compelled to make is, that without formal written and practical exams leading to certification and which needs to be kept up-to-date as new product are introduced, then there is no real way to measure the value or effectiveness of the training or to differentiate between different service providers or individual technicians.

The example I gave re. attaching F-connectors to a coax cable, for example is so fundamental and yet so frequently done badly resulting in intermittent problems. In the "old days" when there was a single coax cable involved, any problem was glaringly obvious. These days, well take a look behind a 2-decoder, multiroom installation and count the connectors! Any one of which can induce a different problem if badly wired.

I am sure that some of the regulars as well as myself would be keen to chat with you about some of your plans in this area and to contribute further ideas.

I'll kick something of with a PM. Cheers, S
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Bedroom: Unicable Feeds from lounge: 2 x Explora-1s, Sony V-Series TV, HDMI + Fibre audio, Sony Blu-ray HT System, Slingbox Solo; Chromecast

Last edited by Sandtonman; 2010-05-18 at 18:49. .
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