FINALLY, the TV Gets Mounted on the Wall

I have had a big TV since a VERY good sale at GranCasa, when I first arrived, and finally got around to the task of getting it mounted to the wall and hooked up to some type of reception. I asked around here and everyone told me to go to Paradisi, the guy who does all of the TV and satellite work around Spello, from a small business located just below the city walls.

For two weeks, I went into the shop over and over, and Luciano was never there—the guy who does all the work. Finally, I left my number for him, and he called me. I came to the shop and told him what I wanted, and he came to the house to see the old antenna, the TV, the spot on the wall where I wanted it mounted, and possible locations on the roof for mounting a new parabola (satellite dish) to receive a signal. He found no suitable site, and suggested I hook up to a neighbor’s dish, so I had to call the neighbor, get his permission, and then call Luciano back.

In 4 hours, I had permission with “a catch”—the couple living above me was happy to share their parabola if I’d get my old antenna out of their view (Dennis, a German MD/medical researcher, and his wife Helen, a American biological researcher). I agreed, and I called Luciano to tell him that I had gotten permission.

Then, the games began. Each time I called him or went to the shop, he was coming as soon as the weather was good enough to climb on the roof. After two weeks, it was “next week.” Finally, I got no replies at all—no contact from him. I kept calling and reminding him that I was still waiting, and that’s when he asked me the wrong question, “When are you leaving for the US?” Apparently, buying my TV from someone else left me at the bottom of the priority list, as he took care of his own customers first.

Paola’s cousin had another contact, and she gave me the number for Signor Donatti, who came in an hour to take a look at the job. After deciding that having my own dish was the best option, he agreed to come the next day and do the job.

Of course, it was raining, so I thought I wouldn’t see him that next day. Instead, he came to do the inside work of mounting the TV, but the weather cleared and he and his assistant jumped right in and used the few hours of blue skies between downpours to get the parabola installed on the old antenna pole. At least the second dish was the idea of Dennis, when we consulted him about the use of HIS parabola. He thought that having my own dish would make any maintenance or repairs easier for me in the future.

The first task was removing the old antenna.

First, the old antenna had to come down

With a ladder, they were able to access a terrace of the young newlyweds in the building, who were not home. I had rung their bell, but there had been no answer. The men climbed the terrace fence and had access to the antenna without ever going on the roof, and could stand safely on the terrace. The assistant put the satellite dish together in my “ingresso,” and Donatti worked on straightening the pole of the old antenna, to use it for the dish.

Putting the parabola together in the ingresso

The parabola heading up the ladder to be installed

Donatti attaching the parabola to the antenna post

Once the new pole was clamped onto the stump of the old, rusted one, Donatti used a computerized receiver to find the satellite with the dish. He could see which angle for the dish got the strongest signal, watching a small screen, and catch the signal from one of a variety of satellites.

Aiming the parabola at the satellite using a computer

If I wanted to hear English TV, and CNN, it was one satellite. I chose the RAI satellite, so that I can know what’s going on in Italy, and see the weather forecasts. I do get BBC and a few other channels in English, too.

Final tightening of the parabola installation

Next was the wiring to the inside TV jacks. First, they ran wire from the old box up on the wall near the old antenna, through the same conduits, and pulled it through inside the house.

Threading wires through the old antenna conduits into the house

At each outlet in the house (about 4 of them), they threaded the wire to the NEXT outlet, finally reaching the one up on the wall that would allow me to put the TV up on the wall nearby.

Pulling the wires in to the TV jacks in the house

This is my cardboard TV, cut to the exact dimensions of the real one, that I had taped to the wall to tell Paradisi (who never showed up, never called—and I think never wanted the job) exactly where I had wanted the TV to be mounted. I had to turn off the radiator so that heat would not be flowing into the TV above, but with the kitchen order arriving soon is a shelf over the radiator to deflect the heat from the TV.

My cardboard "Mock TV" used to determine placement on the wall

Once wiring was threaded though, all the cables were spliced together from the outside to the TV, and it was time to figure out how to mount the TV with the bracket that I had purchased with the TV. The two of them poured over the instruction booklet, and figured it out from the diagrams and directions.

Connecting the wiring from the outside wall

Learning how to install the wall bracket to affix the TV

Once the bracket was on the wall, and the other hardware was on the back of the TV, it was just a matter of hanging it on the wall, plugging it in, and letting the decoder box initialize. In 10 minutes, I had hundreds of free stations—most of them in Arabic, Hindu and Chinese, but all of the Italian stations I had wanted, and BBC.

Up onto the wall, and all connected to the satellite and decoder box

A last step was a surprise to me—from Leonardo, after the Donatti crew had left and been paid. In Italy, I have to pay a tax to have a television—even to receive only free stations. It is supposed to be one of the most frequently ignored taxes in Italy, but I stood in line at the post office and paid my share for November and December, and will have to pay more for next year when I return. I’m legal, and have the receipt to prove it.

WHAT a difference the satellite dish has made over the reception from the antenna! All stations are clear, and some are clearly in HD. This TV is larger than any one I have at home in California, and having it mounted up on the wall keeps the floor open, and the layout of the furniture facing the door and the TV—I like it!

It’s been interesting watching old TV shows (Hunter, Colombo, Murder She Wrote, Starsky and Hutch, Charlie’s Angels) and finding out they speak fluent Italian! The dubbing here is quite good, and even John Wayne speaks the language well, as did Moses (Charlton Heston) bringing the commandments down the mountain to his people. News, weather, sports, and movies—I’m all hooked up! (And hoping Paradisi finally shows up, to find someone else already did the job!)

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