THE END IS COMING: DIRECTV announces end of SD service

They couldn’t have been clearer. Almost 15 years after the company first rolled out HD channels, they’re pulling the plug on standard definition. There’s a firm cutoff here… DIRECTV will be stopping all SD service in 2019. While you have some time to plan, it’s time to start thinking about your options if you’re still rocking that round dish.

SD service for DIRECTV started in 1994 when HD was still a faraway hope. Throughout the years, DIRECTV launched more and more satellites to add SD, HD, and 4K capacity, but they made a decision some years ago that the future was HD-only and stopped adding SD capacity to new launches. That means the satellites that carry SD local and national channels are getting older and older. By 2019, the last of them will have reached its operational limits and DIRECTV will stop all SD service.

Satellites stop being useful when they run out of fuel. While the everyday work of a satellite is powered by the sun, a small amount of fuel is used to keep the satellite from drifting out of its assigned spot. When fuel supplies are low, a final command is sent to the satellite to either move it to a parking orbit high above other satellites or send it down to Earth. The final move exhausts the last bit of fuel and the satellite stops being useful. That’s what will happen, although to be honest I don’t know if they’ll park it or burn it up.

Starting today, DIRECTV is on a path to an SD-free life that started several years ago when they stopped lighting up new MPEG-2 markets. The list of markets that require HD boxes keeps growing, and in 2015 DIRECTV stopped activating new SD-only customers. Today the only way you can get an SD DIRECTV receiver activated is to use it to replace a broken one… but DIRECTV doesn’t want you to do it. They want you to move to HD, and right now.

It will take three years to swap out the remaining millions of boxes and get every customer HD-ready, and they’ll be working with manufacturers of mobile dishes as well to make sure that no one is left out. Your friends at Solid Signal will be here every step of the way to make sure the transition is smooth for you, and we do have three years to help you through it.

One by one, local markets will have their SD feeds shut off, and we’ll have lots of notice when it happens. That will be the time for you to get on the HD bandwagon if you haven’t, because without SD local feeds you’ll lose your local channels. At some point, national channels will start dropping off as well, ending with a complete SD shutdown.

For my part, I’m happy to see this change. I actually advocated for this ten years ago but I understand now it didn’t make financial sense. Today we’re more than 7 years since digital broadcasting came to local channels and the last SD-only TV was made close to 10 years ago. Seriously, it’s about time. I feel bad for those people who are still hanging on, but remember if you have an SD TV you don’t have to change it but you do have to change that SD receiver.

If you’re looking to make that jump, call your friends at Solid Signal at 877.312.4547 and we’ll make it easy. We can get your equipment swapped out and get you ready for the world to come!