Help me find the best TV and/or Internet solution(s) for a multi dwelling unit
April 30, 2007 12:49 PM   Subscribe

I need help with crafting a multi-dwelling (Condo) solution for TV and/or Internet service

The short version: 24 unit condo looking for both business and technical advice on serving TV and/or Internet to all units in the most cost effective manner possible.

The long version:

I need help with both the technical AND business / search aspects here because google has not been my friend. I can't seem to find companies that specialize in providing TV or internet to multi dwelling units. However, I know they exist because my condo building currently has a contract with a company for DirecTV installations which requires we buy equipment from them if we want Satellite TV. Therefore, while everyone else gets free DVRs and other stuff, we have to pay hundreds of dollars (they quoted me $350) to get set up.

Individual units can opt for Comcast, but not Dish Network because there is no Dish Network satellite on our roof.

Details on that from a technical perspective: Not all units face the right direction to have their own dishes, and the condo has rules against mounting dishes to the masonry so basically a lot of the units absolutely have to connect to the big dish on the roof. Since we (currently) have an exclusive contract with this one DirecTV contractor, we're stuck.

What I want to know:

1) Is it realistic to expect to find some kind of a discounted deal on TV and/or internet service for a 5 story condo building with 24 units if we can get with some company on it?

2) From a technical perspective, this current company insists that the reason we need to buy hardware from them is that it requires special tuners to work with the dish on our roof. Is this true?

3) Is it technically feasible to install our own dish(es) on the roof and just let people sign up for DirecTV or Dish Network on their own? Do both companies require you point your dish in the same direction - allowing us to save on costs there by using one dish to serve people options?

4) This stems from the fact that Comcast is a godawful nightmare for myself and several of our residents, but the ridiculous up front costs from this company, and being limited to DirecTV and not Dish, is causing us to seek out alternative solutions.

5) Does anyone have an inside track on what the deal is/will be with WiMax? Sprint is supposed to roll it out in Chicago within the next year, but nobody knows: Is this just going to be cell-phone-internet stuff, or will people actually sign up for WiMax like they do DSL / Cable internet?

While a group discount would be great, we'd also be happy just to have a technical solution where people could sign up for Dish, DirecTV or Comcast just like everyone else can and for the same prices. Paying this premium for boxes just because they connect to a shared dish seems to be a wasteful expense, and being locked out of Dish as an option is unattractive as well.
posted by twiggy to Home & Garden (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Unfortunately you need to have a DirecTV dish for MDUs, a Dish Network dish for MDUs, or allow everyone to put up their own individual dishes. Dish seems to have their own offering.
posted by jules1651 at 2:55 PM on April 30, 2007

Here are a few companies that my condo associate has used for this:

Consolidated Smart Systems
posted by willnot at 3:15 PM on April 30, 2007

Response by poster: Silly me, because such companies existed I just sort of neglected to imagine that Dish and DirecTV might offer their own solutions. Here is DirecTV's offering for anyone interested.

I'm still very interested in hearing thoughts on solutions, anecdotes about what others have done/tried, etc...

Thanks so far!
posted by twiggy at 4:21 PM on April 30, 2007

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