EXCLUSIVE: DIRECTV shows 5D2 Reverse Band 4K LNB

Look but don’t touch… and don’t ask when you can buy. That was the message from the DIRECTV Revolution Dealer Expo show floor. This is the annual meeting of DIRECTV dealers where upper management spells out the future of the operation. It’s going on now and while the show usually promises very little by way of new equipment, it was certainly nice to see this little chunk of plastic and metal staring back at me.

See, by the time DIRECTV shows something to dealers, it’s probably already been reviewed by Solid Signal and other leading tech blogs, because we’re just totally obsessed about this kind of stuff (I know you are too.) So when I go to the show I usually lay back and sometimes try to help DIRECTV staffers explain to the lay people just what they’re looking at. Sometimes though, even I get surprised.

This is a prototype of the new LNB that will bring 4K to people who also need programming from the 119 satellite. Today, you can buy the new 3D2RB Reverse Band 3 LNB, which will pick up 4K broadcasts as DIRECTV adds them, but for the moment those who need the 119 satellite are locked out. It’s all good, as DIRECTV’s 3 channels of 4K still don’t need this new LNB, but make no mistake they will. As DIRECTV adds content this year it’s all going to their new satellites which will need the new LNB. So this is the time to get futureproof if you can.

The most notable design change in the new LNB is that unlike the older Slimline-5 LNB there isn’t a blank piece of plastic to balance it out visually. The electronics of the LNB have always been offset from center due to the spacing required to pull in that 119 satellite but now it’s going to be super-obvious to people who look at the dish. If you’re a little bit OCD it might seem unbalanced to you, but the payoff will be all that great 4K programming.

The word on the street is that we’ll see these LNBs in the early fall if all goes right. In previous hardware rollouts, DIRECTV has put stuff in the hands of a select few new customers in specific regions in order to make sure the product is ready for mass market. That’s the case here too. Often times product gets out to eBay through this process but buyer beware — a lot of times there’s a hardware revision before a product goes national and the “beta test” product is obsolete before it hits wide distribution. We’ll have these LNBs before you need them for 4K programming so it’s best to wait.

In the meantime, they sure are pretty….