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The Dish on Dish, Part IV

10:15 AM -- Finally, the picture is clearing up.

Several in the telecom and cable industries have been enjoying this ongoing dissection of my experiences with DISH Network. "Why don't you just shut up," wrote one emailer. "Who cares about you and your stupid TV," wrote another. "If you don't stop this, I'll cancel my subscription to Lightwave," threatened a third.

As a seasoned (not to mention salty) editor, I know what it means when readers complain. It means I'm doing the right thing. So there. Cancel your Lightwave subscription. Cancel Network World and Telephony while your at it. Cancel 'em all!! You can't suppress my truth.

Anyway, back to the story.

Once my DISH Network HDTV tuner was installed, things were cool for a day or so. The picture was great. The HD channels are plentiful. And the whole home DVR thing is really nice. Now I can watch Stitchcraft in the bedroom while my wife watches NFL Europe in the living room. (I hate it when she goes on her "Drew Henson is a fraud" tirades.)

But a problem emerged. The tuner started having frequent signal losses during programs at random times of the day, on random channels. Several days, four calls to tech support, and three trips to Radio Shack later, I still had issues. With my receiver. Don't judge me.

In the process, I replaced two diplexers, and a ground block. None of these fixes, as recommended by the DISH customer service folks, worked. But it sure was nice exercise. I don't get up on the ladder nearly enough.

Finally, a DISH representative recommended sending a technician to work on the dish itself. This person is a genius and probably reads my blog. Truck rolls are good.

This past Friday, a uniformed technician (well, he had a DISH T-shirt with holes in it) visited my domicile and replaced yet another component -- something he called an "LMB." This, it turns out, is actually an LNB, a Low Noise Block downconverter. It's a device that converts a block of radio frequencies used by the satellite dish into a different frequency, one that's useable by the receiver.

The new LNB worked -- and it kept working all weekend! Once again, I am a happy DISH Network customer. The system that I shelled out hundreds for on February 17 is now working as advertised on Easter weekend.

Of course, DISH was kind enough to make it up to me. They offered to knock $15 off my next bill. That $15 should more than cover the cost of the two $20 diplexers, the $5 ground block, the time I spent on a ladder installing stuff, and the nearly two whole weeks I spent without a fully working TV system. For that, I will always love them. I'm putting them on my Christmas card list right this minute.

Yes, that was sarcastic. If sarcasm offends you, cancel your Computerworld subscription, you toad.

So what's the moral here? I'll tell you. In my next post.

— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading

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