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Wednesday, July 15, 2020
 Solid Signal  Satellite FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Satellite FAQs

Welcome to our Satellite FAQ page. This is our home for the most frequently asked questions regarding DIRECTV and DISH Network satellite. Many of the same principles such as cable type and amplification apply to both, but for everything else please click on one of the logos below to find your answers.

DIRECTV - Satellite Dishes
DIRECTV - Receivers
DIRECTV - Cable Distribution
DIRECTV - Mounting
DIRECTV - Networking

DISH Network - Receivers!

DIRECTV - Satellite Dishes
If I purchase a satellite dish, can I install it myself?
Many customers have made the choice to purchase the equipment themselves and install it themselves, it just depends on your skill level. We have helped many people install a satellite dish for the first time. While installing the dish may not be that difficult, it does take some patience and a lot of fine tuning.  Contact the Solid Signal Tech Support for documentation, and videos on how to install your dish.

What satellite dish do I need for DIRECTV HD?
This depends on what satellite your local HD Channels are broadcast. This information is not easy to find. One way is to call DIRECTV to find out where your locals are coming from.

Currently there are two main types of satellite dishes. The SL3 or Slim Line 3 Dish receives satellite 99, 101, and 103. The SL5 or Slim Line 5 Dish receivers all the same satellites as the SL3 (99, 101, 103) Plus satellite 110 and 119. So if you are unsure we recommend getting the SL5 Dish that covers all satellites necessary to get DIRECTV HD

Does the SWM Dish work with the SWM Switches?
No, it is either a standard SL3 or SL5 dish going into a SWM Switch, like the SWM8 SWM16 or SWM32, or you can buy a SWM Dish which has the technology built-in.

What are my options for getting DIRECTV HD in my RV?
Currently there are two options:

For an RV Mounted system the Trav´ler by Winegard is the solution. It has access to all five of the DIRECTV satellites.

For a mobile setup that is not vehicle mounted, you can get a standard SL3 or SL5 dish and a tripod kit. Like this one.

How do I ground my DIRECTV Satellite Dish?

Grounding in most DIRECTV setups consists of a high frequency grounding block to ground all the cables before they enter a building. However if you wish to ground the satellite dish itself you will need scrape off some of the powder coating on the J-mount around one of the screws, so the metal surface is exposed.

Now you can make sufficient contact between the ground wire and mount by wrapping the ground wire around the bolt before tightening it in. We recommend running a separate ground wire from the satellite dish to the grounding rod.

What is this SWM feature I keep reading about?
SWM stands for Single Wire Multi switch. It signifies the ability to take a single coax cable and split it up to eight times using special satellite splitters. The distribution is similar to that of cable TV. Allowing for less holes in the walls, and the ability to run one line to feed both tuners in a DVR.

What Satellite Dish do I have?
We have created a page with picture to help you identify what satellite dish you currently have. Visit this page to find out.

What satellite signal meter do you recommend for alligning a SL3 or SL5 satellite dish?
Good: Acutrac22Pro Satellite Signal Meter
Better: Acutrac III Plus Satellite Meter
Best: Birdog USB Plus

DIRECTV - Receivers
Do these receivers include an access card?
Yes, all receivers purchased through solid signal include a DIRECTV Access Card

Are these receivers brand new?
Neither DIRECTV nor DISH make a distinction between new and refurbished units. Unfortunately, we are not able to guarantee that a particular receiver will be brand new. The best way to get a brand new receiver is to choose "the latest and greatest " one because it probably won´t be old enough to have refurbished units in stock. If you are unhappy with the operation or appearance of your receiver please contact us right away.

Does a DVR require two satellite lines?

DVR´s require two separate coax cables, one for each tuner, unless you have a SWM or Single Wire Multiswitch, in which case a single line would only be required.

So once I buy this receiver from you, how do I activate it?
Since we are a DIRECTV authorized dealer, all you have to do is call DIRECTV To activate it over the phone if you already have the receiver hooked up to satellite.

What is your top-of-the-line DVR?
Currently that would be our HR34 receiver, the super powered five-tuner DVR, that holds up to 200 hours of HD and 800 hours of SD. In a whole-home DVR setup this receiver feeds your HDTV, plus any other compatible HD receiver, PC´s or Tablets on the network.

Do I need a B-Band Converter for my receiver?
Only if you do NOT have a SWiM Switch/LNB. One B-Band per cable, so DVR´s often take two and standard receivers take one.

What is required to get Multi-Room Viewing or Whole Home DVR
The first requirement of MRV or Multi-Room Viewing is a SWM System. That is, either a SWM Multiswitch or a SWM LNB. The next requirement is internet to each receiver, for that we recommend the DECA-BB. This single unit can feed every receiver on your SWM System through the existing coax cable. Finally once all equipment is in place to support MRV you will need to contact DIRECTV to start MRV service, which currently costs about 3 dollars a month.

How can I tell if I have an RF Remote

On a standard DIRECTV remote, there is a model number at the upper left. All DIRECTV remotes start with RC and a number (like RC65). If there is an “R” after the number, you have an RF remote.

Do I have to do anything to use my remote in RF mode?

Almost every DIRECTV receiver can receive RF signals without an antenna. If you have the H25 receiver, you will need an external antenna kit. If you have an RF remote (see above), Go to the System Setup menu, then go to “Remote Control.” From there you can tell your receiver to use RF mode. If you make a mistake, use the front panel, follow the same instructions to set it back to IR mode.

Can I use two TV’s at the same time with my DIRECTV receiver?

Yes you can. However, if one is a standard-definition TV and the other is an HDTV, you may see a message on the SDTV screen explaining how to use the remote.

How do I get an internet connection to my DIRECTV receiver?

If you have a SWM system, buy a Cinema Connection Kit or Wireless Cinema Connection Kit  and connect it to your router and to an open coax line. If you have an HR34, you can connect Ethernet to the HR34 directly. Going though the System Setup menu will allow you to connect to the internet. This must be done on every receiver.

If you do not have a SWM system you may run a network cable to every receiver (note: H25 receivers cannot accept a network cable.)

Can I pause live TV on every DIRECTV receiver?

Only DVRs can pause live TV. However, if your system is configured for Whole-Home viewing you can pause recorded content on any receiver.

Can I record off-air (ATSC) programs with my DIRECTV receiver?

Any DIRECTV DVR can record up to two off-air programs simultaniously with the use of the AM21 antenna module

DIRECTV - Cable Distribution

How do I get more then four lines out of my dish

Standard SL3 and SL5 dishes have just four outputs, and for anyone with more than two DVR´s that leaves you needing extra outputs. To turn those original four lines into more you need a multiswitch.

We recommend either the WB68 Multiswitch which takes four inputs and and has eight outputs. (WB68 is not compatible with HR34 or H25). Or better yet try the SWM8 (or SWM16) These are Single Wire Multiswitches. They take four inputs, and output a single line that can be split up to eight times, similar to how cable TV is distributed. That means compatible DVRS will require only one line, but still take up two of the eight tuners available on a SWM8.

How can I run my satellite cable 250ft and still get signal
The coax cable coming from the satellite dish can hold signal up until 120 feet or so. We recommend using amplifiers to make up for the signal loss and extend the cable much further.

Does purchasing a receiver extend my contact with DIRECTV
In most cases, purchasing a DIRECTV Receiver from an authorized dealer like ourselves, extends the contract by 2-years.

Can I combine my off air TV antenna with my satellite dish onto the same coaxial cable?
DIRECTV does not recommend the diplexing or combining of OTA (TV Antenna) with a satellite signal. Although the SWM8 multi-switch has an input for off-air antenna, it has been known to cause issues with the HD Broadcasts.

If you wish to try diplexing over-the-air with satellite we recommend the STD-9501. This Diplexer has low loss, and passes signals necessary for SWM and KA. Another thing to consider is that even with a low-loss diplexer you will still lose 3.5dB on satellite and antenna for every diplexer you use. This isn´t too bad for satellite, but on antenna it will strongly reduce the signal, and an amplifier is recommend before diplexing.

What type of cable do you recommend using for DIRECTV?
We carry many DIRECTV Approved cables here, but the requirement is RG6 quad-shileded cable with a solid copper conductor. NOT copper coated steel. If you are doing your own install, this is not the place to cheap-out. Solid copper conductor allows for the required power from the receivers to the dish at a much greater distance.

What splitters can I use with my DIRECTV system?

Only DIRECTV-approved splitters may be used. Other splitters such as those you may find in an electronics or home store are not designed to handle the bandwidth of the DIRECTV signal.

Do I need to use terminators with my DIRECTV system?

All unused ports on all splitters should be terminated. We have a wide variety of terminators for home and professional installations.

DIRECTV - Mounting

What size pole does the SL3/SL5/AU9-S mount on?

All Slim Line satellite dishes (SL3 SL5 and AU9-S) require a 2" outer diameter mast. If you are searching out compatible mounts, make sure they take a 2" pole. DIRECTV has now made the Triple LNB (PHASE III) and the 18" Round single LNB dish to be 2" compatible now instead of 1.65" O.D.

I live in an apartment, what are my options for installing slim line dish?
In an apartment or similar situation where mounting is limited customers often use either a mount on the balcony, or a pole mount in the ground. For the balcony we recommend a non-penetrating roof mount like this, they weighted by cinder blocks and do not damage the balcony. Alternatively large landscaping plant pots filled with cement with a 2" pole centered in the middle will also work. For pole mounting a slim line dish in the yard, use a 2" pole cemented into the ground. 4X4 wooden posts are not acceptable as they warp and turn over time, moving the sensitive KA band satellites out of alignment.

My roof has a large over-hang, are there any mounts that can extend the slim dish beyond my 2 ft. eve?
We recommend this DIRECTV approved model shown here. It also includes two braces to keep the mount sturdy. 

Do you have any non-penetrating roof mounts for the slim line sl5/sl3 satellite dish??

VMP (Video Mount Pros) has a non penetarting roof mount that works great for flat roofs. It is the model FRM200 These type of mounts do not require putting holes in the roof. The frame is made to hold cinderblocks to weight it down.

DIRECTV - Networking

Do I need to connect my DIRECTV equipment to the internet?

All DIRECTV equipment does not need to be connected to the internet to function. However, if you´re not connected to the internet, you will need to connect to a phone line if you want to use pay-per-view. If you are internet connected, DIRECTV DVRs can share recorded programs, listen to Pandora, watch YouTube apps and get interactive sports scores.

Do I need to run ethernet cable to every room with a television?
If you are using a single-wire system, you can connect all your equipment by using one device that puts internet data on the same cable used for your satellite TV. If you need to upgrade to a single-wire system, our guide to upgrading will show you how

How can I connect all my receivers to the internet through a single wire?

If you are using a single-wire system, you just need to use a Cinema Connection Kit. Connect a coax wire to it, and connect it to your router with an ethernet cable. Want to know more? Read our white paper.

Can I connect my DIRECTV receivers to the internet wirelessly?

Yes. Use the Wireless Cinema Connection Kit and connect it to a coaxial cable.

Can I still use ethernet cables to connect my receivers if I want to?

Yes. However, DIRECTV will not activate whole-home viewing (sharing programs between receivers) through ethernet.

What is a DECA, and do I need one?
DECA or DECA II are used to let older receivers connect to the internet through a single wire. Either can be used. DIRECTV HR20, HR21, HR22, HR23, H21, and H23 receivers need a DECA... newer receivers do not.

Can I diplex my antenna signal into a DIRECTV system if connect my receivers to the internet?
No. Using DIRECTV´s coaxial networking system makes it impossible to diplex an antenna signal, since the antenna signal interferes with the networking signal.

What is a Band Stop Filter?

Band Stop Filter is used to block the network signal. If you are using a standard definition receiver or the H10 or H20 receivers, you will need to attach one between the cable and your receiver. This is because the strong coax network signal will overpower the electronics in receivers that aren´t designed for that. 

I need more help about DIRECTV networking. How can I get it?

Our support forums are open 24 hours a day and are staffed by dedicated Signal Pros and volunteers who can help you get up and running. Click here to go to our support forums.

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