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Satellite TV FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question about satellite dishes, receivers, cable distribution, mounting, or networking?  There’s a good chance you’ll find your answers here in our satellite TV FAQ file. 

This is the home for our most frequently asked questions regarding DIRECTV and DISH satellite TV.  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.  If you need further clarification on any of these answers or have other questions, feel free to call our product experts at 877.312.4547.  We’re always happy to help you make the right choice in satellite dishes, receivers, cable distribution, mounting, or networking.  We’ve listed the most common questions and answers that most people have about satellite TV installation and provided detailed answers for each.

Press the to find the answer to a specific question.


DIRECTV dish Questions

If I purchase a satellite dish, can I install it myself?

Many customers have chosen to purchase the equipment and install it themselves.  You could, too.  It just depends upon your skill level. We’ve helped many people install a satellite dish for the first time. While installing the dish might not be that difficult, it does take some patience and a lot of fine tuning.  Contact Solid Signal Tech Support for documentation and videos to help you install your dish.

Which type satellite dish do I need for DIRECTV HD?

In almost every case, you will need a SWM-enabled dish. The most popular one allows for 4K, HD and SD reception and supports both the Genie and older receivers. In some cases with a much older receiver or large commercial installation, you will need another dish. Call us at 877.312.4547 if you have questions.

Does the SWM Dish work with the SWM Switch?

External multiswitches are very rarely used for home, but if you do need one, you’ll need a standard SL3 or SL5 dish and an external multiswitch.

What are my options for getting DIRECTV HD in my RV?

There are several options! If you’re going to use this system occasionally, you can choose a dish on a tripod.  This is harder to aim but far less expensive. There are also a number of different dishes that permanently mount to the RV itself and are aimed manually or automatically. The newest and best dishes allow you to watch satellite TV while the RV is moving! There are so many choices that it’s really best to call us at 877.312.4547 and we’ll recommend the best one for your needs.

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’ll need to scrape off some of the powder coating on the J-mount around one of the screws so the metal surface is exposed.  Once that’s done, you can make sufficient contact between the ground wire and mount by wrapping the ground wire around the bolt before tightening it.  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 Multiswitch.  It signifies the ability to take a single coax cable and split it up to eight times using special satellite splitters.  This is the standard installation scheme for DIRECTV and only receivers made before 2005 don’t support it.

What Satellite Dish do I have?

We have created a satellite TV identification page with pictures to help you identify what satellite dish you currently have.  Visit here to find out which satellite dish you have.

Which meter do you recommend for aligning an SL3 or SL5 DIRECTV satellite dish?

We recommend the SATLOOKLITE for occasional use and the AIM for people seeking a more professional solution.


DIRECTV – Receiver Questions & Answers

Do these receivers include an access card?

Yes.  All receivers purchased through solid signal include a DIRECTV Access Card. Note that Genie Mini Clients don’t need an 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’re unhappy with the operation or appearance of your receiver, please contact us right away.

Does a DVR require two satellite lines?

It’s true that in the past, DVRs did require more than one line but no longer do, as long as you’re using a current dish.

So how do I activate this receiver once I buy it from you?

Since we are a DIRECTV Authorized Dealer, all you have to do is call DIRECTV to activate your receiver over the phone.  Make sure you already have the receiver hooked up to satellite.

What is your top-of-the-line DVR?

Of course this changes whenever there is new hardware from DIRECTV, but as of this writing it’s the HR54 4K Genie DVR.  This DVR gives you 200 hours of recording space and the ability to output 4K via smart TVs or the C61K Genie Mini Client.

Do I need a B-Band Converter for my receiver?

Only if you have a very old dish. Your receiver will alert you to the need for a B-Band converter on the screen if you do need one. Most people don’t.

What is required to get multi-room viewing or whole home DVR?

All of DIRECTV’s current hardware supports multi-room viewing and the fees you pay to DIRECTV also enable this service. From a technical point of view, as long as you’re using a current DIRECTV dish with SWM technology built in, you can use multi-room viewing.

How can I tell if I have an RF Remote?

All current models of the Genie Remote are RF-compatible. If you are using an older DIRECTV remote, look for an R as the last or second-to-last letter, like RC66RX. The model number is at the top left of the remote.

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

Check out our complete tutorial on programming your remote to use RF mode.

Can I use two TVs 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 might see a message on the SDTV screen that explains how to use the remote.

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

If you have a Genie DVR, you can connect wired or wireless internet straight to the Genie DVR without additional hardware. For other hardware, or if your Genie is not in internet range, use a Broadband DECA to connect a coaxial cable and Ethernet cable. Other options are also available. Call us at 877.312.4547 or read our exclusive White Paper.

Can I pause live TV on every DIRECTV receiver?

If you are using a Genie system you can pause live TV everywhere. If you are using an older receiver such as the DIRECTV H25, you cannot pause live TV.

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

Any DIRECTV DVR can record up to two off-air programs simultaneously with the use of the AM21 antenna module. While this part is no longer made, it is still supported by Genie DVRs and older hardware as well.


DIRECTV Cable Distribution Questions & Answers

How do I get more than four lines out of my dish?

In most cases, there is only one wire from the dish and DIRECTV-approved splitters are used to connect multiple receivers, DVRs, and clients. If you need more capacity, you will have to replace your dish with one with four outputs and use a SWM16.  You can use more than one multiswitch, and appropriate splitters to get as many receivers, DVRs, and clients as you need.

How can I run my satellite cable 250ft and still get signal?

There are a number of strategies that can be used, but unfortunately, you can’t use amplifiers in most cases. Here’s our exclusive white paper showing how to manage long lines for DIRECTV systems.

Does purchasing a receiver extend my contact with DIRECTV?

In most cases, purchasing a DIRECTV Receiver from an authorized dealer such as us extends your contract by two years.

Can I combine my off-air TV antenna with my satellite dish onto the same coaxial cable?

This does not work in almost every case. It is best to run a second cable.

What type of cable do you recommend for DIRECTV?

We carry many DIRECTV-approved cables but the requirement is RG6 dual-shielded cable with a solid copper conductor.  We do NOT recommend using copper-coated steel.  If you’re doing your own installation, this is not the place to go cheap.  Solid copper conductors allow 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 Questions & Answers

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

All Slimline satellite dishes (SL3 or SL5 AU9-S) require a 2-inch outer diameter mast.  If you are searching for compatible mounts, make sure the ones you get and compatible with a 2-i9nch pole. DIRECTV has now made the Triple LNB (PHASE III) and the 18-inch Round single LNB dish to be 2-inch compatible instead of 1.65-inch O.D.

If I live in an apartment, what are my options for installing a Slimline dish?

In an apartment or similar situation, mounting is limited.  Customers often use a mount on the balcony or a pole mount in the ground.  For the balcony, we recommend a non-penetrating roof mount.  These are weighted by cinder blocks and do not damage the balcony.  Alternatively, large landscaping plant pots filled with cement with a 2-inch pole centered in the middle will also work.  For pole mounting a Slimline dish in the yard, use a 2-inch pole cemented into the ground.  4 x 4 wooden posts are not acceptable, as they warp and turn over time, which moves these sensitive KA band satellites out of alignment.

My roof has a large over-hang.  Are there any mounts that can extend the Slimline dish beyond my two-foot eave?

We recommend this DIRECTV-approved model

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

Video Mount Pros’ (VMP) FRM200 non-penetrating roof mount that works great for flat roofs.  These type of mounts don’t require putting holes in the roof because the frame is made to hold cinderblocks to weigh it down.


DIRECTV Networking Questions & Answers

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’ll need to connect to a phone line if you want to use Pay-Per-View.  If you’re Internet connected, DIRECTV DVRs will allow you to share recorded programs, listen to Pandora, use interactive features, watch on demand, and get interactive sports scores.

Do I need to run Ethernet cable to every room with a television?

A: Ethernet cable should not be used between receivers.  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’re using a Genie system, you can connect the Genie DVR to the internet and all other receivers (even non-Genies) will get internet as well. There are other options as well. 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?

Using Ethernet between receivers is not recommended and DIRECTV may not activate a receiver that is connected via internet.

What is a DECA? And do I need one?

DECA or DECA II are used to allow older receivers to connect to the Internet through a single wire.  If your receiver was made after 2009, you should not need this.

Can I diplex my antenna signal into a DIRECTV system if I 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?

A band stop filter is used to block the network signal.  If you’re using a receiver made before 2009 that does not support DIRECTV whole-home sharing, or if you still have any standard definition 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 with 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.


DISH Receiver Questions and Answers

Does DISH Network make a dual output receiver that feeds two HDTVs?

For years, DISH has made receivers with dual outputs, but this technology is falling by the wayside in favor of the Hopper architecture. With Hopper, a single DVR feeds up to 8 TVs through the use of small client boxes or an app on a smart TV. Contact your Solid Signal rep to talk about an upgrade to DISH’s latest technology.

I live in an apartment, what are my options for installing the latest DISH dish?

The federal government’s OTARD rule guarantees that you can put up an antenna or satellite dish up to 39” in size in a private location if you don’t damage the building you’re in, even if you’re in an apartment building. Your apartment manager, condo board, or HOA can’t stop you. Your dish needs to be in a private place that can’t be seen from the street, and you can’t drill holes in the building.

My roof has a large over-hang, are there any mounts that can extend the slim dish beyond my 2’ eve?

Yes, Solid Signal has a variety of mounting solutions that can help you attach a dish nearly anywhere. Call your rep at 877.312.4547 for more information.

Do you have any non-penetrating roof mounts for DISH Network?

Yes, absolutely. A non-penetrating mounting solution uses sandbags, water jugs or concrete blocks to put a dish on nearly any flat surface without worrying that it will fall over. We have a variety of solutions that will work with Slimline dishes, DISH HD dishes, and even larger dishes such as the 1.2 meter Alaska/Hawaii dish for DIRECTV. Call us at 877.312.4547 for details.



Don´t see a section for your question?

We covered all of the frequently asked questions about DIRECTV and DISH satellite TV installation, networking, and more.  As is always the case, most questions are bound to come up.  If you need more information, please click here to ask your question and we will personally respond to you.

Dish Network Authorized Retailer Solid Signal is an authorized retailer of DISH Network L.L.C. DISH, DISH Network and DISH Network logos are trademarks, registered trademarks and/or service marks of DISH Network L.L.C. and/or its affiliate(s). The DISH Network trademarks, registered trademarks and/or service marks are used under license of DISH Network L.L.C. and/or its affiliate(s).
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