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Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert

I too enjoy the convenience of cable. And service has steadily improved over the 6 years we've been here. We've had cable boxes fail 3 times and each time a 1 hour stop at Innovative solved the problem at no charge.

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Posted : March 22, 2009 11:34 am
Neil
 Neil
(@Neil)
Trusted Member

Regarding "why"....
I strongly suspect that the quality of Cable varies from island to island, and from location to location on each island.
When we lived at Carambola Villas on StX for six months, the Innovative video quality was generally poor, and some channels were worse. And it went on the fritz a few times a week.

When Alan from Paradise Satellite connected our Dish where we are now on the East End, he noted that the signal was a bit weak "probably due to tree" near the dish, in addition to the relatively low orbital position of the satellites here in the VI. Yet, I thought the picture was GREAT compared to what I was used to.

For the brief two weeks we lived on the West end we had Choice. The menu system was slow and the picture quality was mediocre.
The quality of the Dish menu system and DVR is excellent.

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Posted : March 22, 2009 12:51 pm
Jim Dandy
(@jim_dandy)
Trusted Member

With the end of Choice everyone that lives in an apartment or condo that wants Dish or satellite service should contact Donna Christensen and ask her to work on getting the law amended so apartment and condo owners in the VI are permitted to have larger dishes. The law currently allows larger dishes in Alaska so why not the VI?

The law permits 1 meter all we need is 1.2 meters.

Donna's contact info:

St. Croix District Office
P.O. Box 5980
Space #25
Sunny Isle Shopping Center
St.Croix, Virgin Islands 00823
Phone: 340-778-5900
Fax: 340-778-5111

St.Thomas District Office
Suite #207, Second Floor
Nisky Business Center
St.Thomas, Virgin Islands 00802
Phone: 340-774-4408
Fax: 340-774-8033

Jim

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Posted : March 22, 2009 12:56 pm
Trade
(@Trade)
Expert

It would be a condo association rule that could be changed by the owners IF they so choose.

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Posted : March 22, 2009 1:30 pm
sloop jones
(@sloop_jones)
Advanced Member

The law allows up to 1 meter dishes. An association can specify a larger size limit. An association cannot prevent a member from having a dish. However it may place restrictions on location. Go to the FCC website to view the rule.

Dish offers special program packages for Condos and apartments. http://commercial.dishnetwork.com/

sloop Jones

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Posted : March 22, 2009 2:36 pm
Trade
(@Trade)
Expert

It doesn't matter because I'm not going to get one. 😀 And restricting where it's located is definitely the association's province. Again, it's up to the OWNERS to change the policy & not the province of a salesman.

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Posted : March 22, 2009 2:50 pm
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

rotorhead; If television is THAT important to someone, they might want to consider living in a more television friendly place. One does not live by television alone.

Do you get the winkie symbol? 😉

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Posted : March 22, 2009 2:56 pm
rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
Trusted Member

East Ender,

Are you suggesting that someone should not move to the VI unless they are willing to settle for 1980's vintage Innovative cable? Certainly one should have interests other than television, that's why the Internet was invented. The bottom line is that we do have choices here. If you don't care about HD television then you just set and watch your 4:3 shows on Innovative cable.

Just remember the next time that you "dial-up" the Internet that some us are watching 16:9 shows on Dish and surfing the Internet on Broadband and are glad that both are available. Technology is a wonderful thing, you can embrace it and enjoy it or be left in the dust. 😉

John

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Posted : March 22, 2009 5:08 pm
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

John: I am saying that if you can't stand living without 21st century technology, the Virgin Islands may not be a good fit for you. If you are haranguing people on tech issues, you may be frustrated with the pace of life here.

Interestingly, the folks who moved many years ago were looking for a different lifestyle than they could find on the US mainland. Many newcomers seem to want to recreate the lifestyle they had back home.

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Posted : March 22, 2009 5:21 pm
SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
Trusted Member

Province of a salesman? FCC law would override an assn's rules and bylaws. Most people don't want to rock the boat and I'm certainly not looking to hang dishes on people's railings. Before that happens and people start fighting the assn., condo boards should contact a competent Dish retailer to learn more about bulk programming.
Whenever I get approached by a condo owner I ask to meet with some board members to explain the options. This service is free.

I don't approach condo complexes. They contact me. On STX 340-718-2488 or paradisesatellite@yahoo.com

Most properties could benefit financially by building a headend with one 6 ft antenna pointing at 119, 110 , and (118 for international programming of all kinds) We understand not wanting to see the dish so we'll help you hide it in the best location. Then the OWNERS decide what channels to feed the complex. Buying Bulk programming from Dishnetwork can cost very little. I recently had a property shopping and the 48 channels they picked would be $11.00 a month per unit. And it was a great package. The Classic 200 pac is $16.00 per drop in bulk. Commit to 24 months and get the first 2 months free and a sizable equipment rebate. Add a rack and bump to 72 channels. If the cables in your complex are reliable then you simply connect the headend to it and you're done. No need for a box in your unit. Just change the channels on your TV. Every 24 channel rack is 6 ft tall and the base is about 20 x 20 inches. Needs to be in a climate controlled room.

Another way to approach it is a L-band system where the people that want dish can get there own receiver and account off a centrally located dish. The owners in a complex that built this sytem would have the options of Innovative, Dishnetwork bulk "cheap" programming, or all the bells and whistles. The 722DVR is amesome. HD with HD upconversion on the SD. Hundreds of hrs of harddrive storage. Operates 2 tvs independently........................................................................
This system has several benefits but adds the issue of recabling parts of ,..or the entire property due to cable limitations and configurations..

All we're trying to do is inform you of the option of satellite.
Bars, restaurants, hotels, offices, waiting rooms, condos, apt. buildings, residential...........All have current promotions and plans.
Did I mention CHEAP bulk programming??

Paradise Satellite can provide local references on request.

Dishnetwork Rocks!
On STX Call Alan

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Posted : March 22, 2009 5:34 pm
Trade
(@Trade)
Expert

Nice ad...

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Posted : March 22, 2009 5:54 pm
SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
Trusted Member

You think this is NOT a topic of interest to people on this board?? Especially now?
You may be on cable and be happy with it but many went to Choice due to serious frustration with Innovative. They now need to make a decision. Many are calling now saying NO WAY will they go back to Innovative for one reason or another. I'm glad some cable customers like yourself are getting there monies worth. You must have a clean cable on your street. Some properties don't even have an Innovative cable to the property.
When I moved here in 2000 I was told I was 18 WAPA poles from having a feed. $5000 and I could have had cable TV Whoopee!! That's like $1000 for cable and $4000 to hang it!
Of course I went satellite and every time I heard cable was out I had to grin.:D

People on this board that will move here will have a decision to make about tv when they arrive. Many are spoiled and don't want to give it up.
With Dishnetwork you don't have to.

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Posted : March 22, 2009 6:54 pm
Jim Dandy
(@jim_dandy)
Trusted Member

The reason the FCC should change the law is so that we as US Citizens have the same right as everyone else to subscribe to satellite TV.

Why should we be second class citizens in yet another arena?

While you maybe able to change the rules at a condo association to allow for large dishes, changing by-laws is a cumbersome process and usually requires an affirmative vote of a super majority to do so. Same for getting approval to purchase and install a master antennae system. If you live in an apartment getting your landlord to agree to something may be even tougher.

The Federal law was passed so everyone , where ever they lived, would have the right to subscribe to satellite TV. In part the law was to counter the monopoly of CATV. In the USVI, if you live in an MDU, you only have one choice currently for TV and that is Innovative.

Jim

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Posted : March 22, 2009 7:49 pm
Trade
(@Trade)
Expert

It may be a topic of interest but by far, most of your posts are strictly about satellite which is certainly not the ONLY topic of interest here. It would be nice if you'd contact Islander. I don't think Islander's advertising rates are terribly expensive since people with rooms to let, etc. do have real ads on here.

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Posted : March 22, 2009 8:21 pm
rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
Trusted Member

Sky, shame on you. You have been caught by the Hall Monitor. That will mean detention for you! And if you get caught again you will be turned in to Islander for disciplinary action, or maybe Trade will just paddle you. Bad boy!

And shame on you for only giving advice on your area of expertise. Don't you know that you are supposed to comment on everything, even if you have nothing useful to add? How else do you expect to get thousands of posts in just a few years?

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Posted : March 23, 2009 12:23 am
DUN
 DUN
(@DUN)
Trusted Member

I welcome the choice of newer technologies!
Though I don`t NEED it.
And, competition is good for the customer, it keeps everyone more honest!
I`d love to take advantage of my HD big screen on regular broadcasts.

Still,I wonder if a REAL company will buy Innovative & do this whole thing properly.
With the right company, at the right price!

On the topic, how many Choice customers need cable???5,10K?
Does Innovative have that many boxes? NOW?
I`m glad I got my other DSL set up before the inrush of people there!
I wouldn`t want to be needing to go to Innovative for some time!
O cable box, don`t let me down for a couple of months!!!

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Posted : March 23, 2009 1:01 am
SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
Trusted Member

Dun,
Someone could certainly take over operations at innovative and do a better job. I welcome that. I have an innovative ph. line. Most my neighbors depend on an Innovative ph line and several have cable tv with them. The challenges will be the existing cable on the poles keeping up with technology and getting the customer service up to par.

Trade,
The cable boxes I've seen at homes look to be at least 10 year old refurbs. that they bought in bulk for probably $20 each at a trade show. If you don't return one or it gets stolen they charge you $350. Hmmm! Think about it. When a city like Dallas, NY, Chicago, LA.... with a large population upgrades they need to sell those boxes to someone. A friend of mine works for one of the cable box manufacturers and spelled it all out.

There's my plug for Innovative!

Now in fairness I will plug Choice. 11000 Tvs will go dark May 31

Nuff said!!

Jim Dandy,
A one meter dish is a bit small here but with tolerence to rain fade it could work. That would get you within the current FCC regs..
I used to sell a 1.1 meter but decided the extra db gain from the 1.2 was about as small as I wanted to represent. I quit selling those about 5 years ago. Those customers with the 1.1 for the past 5 years still love having Dish and still use the same dish. A few have upgraded. I'm just not comfortable selling a borderline sized dish. Sat 110 would work fine but 119 would be weak.
The best option is a 1.8 meter dish here but the 1.2 meter is the most popular for several reasons. Cost, ease of removal, more versatile installation..............

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Posted : March 23, 2009 2:40 am
Trade
(@Trade)
Expert

Wrong, Rotorhead it's one of your little buddies who runs to Islander but it''s usually after sending nasty PMs. I think maybe those rotors are making your head spin. :@)

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Posted : March 23, 2009 8:42 am
Jim Dandy
(@jim_dandy)
Trusted Member

Innovative's future is uncertain.

In May 2008 there were a half dozen well financed and experienced telecommunications groups willing to purchase Innovative for $400 - $500 million. Interested companies included ATN which is the parent of Choice Communications. The sale was delayed until December 2008. The financial markets went to hell and Innovative's value went down. The trustee selling the Innovative properties canceled the sale even though there will still a couple of interested bidders. Many of these bidders had spent a year and hundreds of thousands of dollars or lawyers, consultants and accounts doing due diligence. ATN wrote off one million they had spent on their efforts. The arbitrary postponement and cancellation of the sale has angered many potential bidders so it is unlikely that they will be interested in buying Innovative any time soon.

The largest creditor (Rural Telephone Finance Co-op) is instead going to take over Innovative and run it. The have had to write down their investment from over $500 million to $250 million. The financial advisers that the trustee hired estimated that over $100 million would needed immediately to correct for all the differed maintenance. Will the RTFC be willing to spend this amount when they have written off $250 million? Spending this amount won't substantially improve Innovative's systems but simply bring their technology up to 1990's standards.

The second challenge that Innovative faces is its unionized labor force. With almost 500 employees Innovative is overstaffed. A technician working for Innovative might on a good day be assigned four jobs. Stateside a tech would be assigned eight or more jobs daily depending on the complexity of the jobs assigned.

To maximize the subsidies Innovative receives all the technical staff is on the telephone companies payroll. All the techs consider themselves telephone workers. Most of them care very little about the cable system. That is the primary reason the Innovative had to bring in contractors from Puerto Rico to rebuild the cable system after Omar. Innovative's employees couldn't even be bothered to remove the downed cable plant from the roadways after Omar. On several occasions I observed Innovative trucks just drive over their downed CATV cables on South Shore road.

In my opinion there is no reason to anticipate Innovative CATV advancing beyond its 1980's technology and starting to offer HDTV, VOD, DVRs, Interactive PPV. Nor is there any reason to believe that Innovative's customer service will improve.

The telephone system isn't much better and Innovative's cell service customer base has declined from 10,000 customers to less than 1,000 because Innovative hasn't upgraded their technology.

Jim

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Posted : March 23, 2009 11:35 am
Edward
(@Edward)
Trusted Member

This is a great conversation. Thanks to all the experts and to the just-plain-users like me for all your input!

Currently, my Tbilisi flat has only eastern exposure. The satellite is in the western sky. So I can't mount a dish outside my window. I was told that rooftop mounting is out of the question because someone would steal it. (Stealing was not frowned upon during Soviet occupation.)

My questions: (1) Are there such mounting issues for condos on STT or STX? (2) How do the dishes hold up during storms?

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Posted : March 23, 2009 11:58 am
Juanita
(@Juanita)
Expert

I've never heard of a dish being stolen here.

We didn't mount our dishes on our roof because we don't want holes in the roof.

During a "bad" storm, we don't worry about the dishes. During Hurricane Omar, we took them down. Put them back the next day, and we were up and running in no time.

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Posted : March 23, 2009 1:00 pm
rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
Trusted Member

Wrong, Rotorhead it's one of your little buddies who runs to Islander but it''s usually after sending nasty PMs. I think maybe those rotors are making your head spin. :@)

I have no idea what you are talking about.

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Posted : March 23, 2009 1:41 pm
SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
Trusted Member

I can say with all honesty that Omar slightly moved one of my installations on a concrete roof, quick retune and she was back in business. Cracked a mount on one in Grapetree where it was the strongest winds. Had one on a pergalla that the bolts had rusted and pulled loose from the wood. And the best one was a huge tree that smashed one in my yard into several pieces.

Not a single dish that was tap conned to a concrete wall budged. In ground installations held up very well. Had a few "leaners" that required retuning but those were installed by someone else. Evidently they didn't dig deep enough before cementing in the pole.
As for roof mounts in wood they held up very well. Didn't get called to tune a single one. I suppose many of these were taken down but know that most were not.

I wouldn't worry about losing the dish unless we had another storm like Hugo or Marilyn. I would be concerned about trees and flying debris more that it flying away.

Once installed 4 carriage bolts that penetrate the dish can easily be removed and re-installed. That way the bracket stays pointed and you'll be tuned in when you re-install.

I can have one down in less than 5 minutes. A novice might take 15 to 20 minutes to disassemble.

I haven't heard of a single dish being stolen. Not sure why..... they'll steal anything else??????

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Posted : March 23, 2009 4:08 pm
stiphy
(@stiphy)
Trusted Member

To those who asked about the advantages of Dish, I will give the number one advantage, DVR service. If you've never used Tivo, Replay TV or other DVR service you don't understand how this device literally buys you back precious time. For instance, I can watch a football game in 40 minutes. That means that rather then spend all Sunday watching football, which I enjoy but don't have the time to do, I can get in all the parts I want to see for the say 3 games that I'd like to watch in about 3 hours time vs 10 hours time. That extra 7 hours I get to do the things I "should" be doing, like mowing my lawn, fixing up the house etc, or maybe just going to the beach 🙂

I don't know how many times people stare at TV watching something they aren't interested in because "nothings on" but they want to relax in front of the TV. With a DVR, you can watch the shows you want during these rare occassions where you have downtime...so rather than starting at the boob tube you are actually getting something out of your relaxation time. The Dish DVR is the best DVR I've owned (I had the original Replay TV in 2000). You can record 2 programs at once while you watch 2 recorded programs at the same time. One box works on 2 TV's so whether you are in the living room or bedroom you can watch your shows. It's just a great machine.

Outside the DVR, I'm a huge hockey fan, and the ability to keep up with my teams and watch Hockey night in Canada while enjoying 80 degree weather in the middle of winter is amazing.

Finally, I work in the TV field, have had a High Definition Television since 2003, and really love the improved picture and sound quality available on Dish. I get many of my hockey games, movies etc. in HD which is fantastic. The guides and menus on the box are sleek and modern, as opposed to Choice's Atari 2600 looking guide, and Innovatives 1999 Digital Cable boxes. And if service goes "down" you just repoint your Dish, no waiting for Innovative to fix the problem in 2 weeks.

One other thing, PPV, while not something I do a whole lot of, is at least an option here. On Demand movies (although too expensive IMO), real time access to fights etc. are nice to have. A big group of friends were extremely disappointed when they called Innovative one Saturday to order the UFC fight only to have no one answer. They were unable to order the fight so desperate they called me and I let them setup shop in my living room. 5 seconds after they walked in I pressed 2 buttons on the remote and they were happily watching the fight.

If none of those things are important to you then I think you would be foolish to spend the $$ on the Dish setup if you can get Innovative. But these things are going to be important to more and more people as a basic expectation of what they should get for their hard earned dollars every month. Dish provides the only thing that resembles a level of service that the US or even other large Caribbean islands (PR, DR) have available to them. For that I am extremely greatful that they are offered here. Competition is a wonderful thing and if Innovative starts losing massive amounts of subscribers because of their inability to upgrade then maybe, just maybe, a real Cable operator will step in and take them over, making the necessary investments they need to be competitive in the 21st century.

I understand the comments about "if TV is that important to you maybe you should live somewhere else," but not everyone is here for the same reasons. Some are here because their job moved them here. Others love island life but also like TV. At the end of the day there are a lot of things most transplants "miss" from their life on the mainland. If we can take "good quality TV service" off that list for some then I think that is a positive development. The ability to receive good quality TV service on a single 4 foot Dish is something that us VI'ers should be happy about!

Sean

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Posted : March 23, 2009 4:28 pm
SkysTheLimit
(@SkysTheLimit)
Trusted Member

I agree Sean. I don't watch that much TV but with my DVR I can at least watch what I want and skip commercials. A 1 hr show has no more than 40 minutes of true content. The rest is intro, commercials, and credits. Great time saver!!

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Posted : March 24, 2009 9:47 am
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