That time I took over DIRECTV’s broadcast center

Oh yeah, I did it. It was, believe it or not, almost ten years ago that I was invited to go to DIRECTV’s Los Angeles Broadcast Center for a private tour. Did I say yes? Let’s say I waited all of about 15 seconds before accepting the invite. I got access to tons of incredibly cool stuff and for an extremely short moment in time, the fate of every single DIRECTV customer was in my hands.

OK that’s overstating it a bit. They let me push one button under heavy supervision. But, I proudly pushed it and the world as we know it continued on.

I haven’t been back…

which makes you wonder if I misbehaved too much. But, I can imagine that things have changed a lot. The number of channels has probably gone down a bit. That’s due to standard-definition locals going offline in some cities. But, the number of on-demand titles has probably quadrupled. That means there has to have been a massive improvement in internet speeds going into and out of that building.

At the same time, DIRECTV has rolled out 4K, which required new and different computers to process that high bandwidth. It’s probably fair to say the technology in that whole building has been replaced three times over since I’ve been there.

With the coming of “New DIRECTV…”

AT&T’s put a lot of money into infrastructure, but there’s still work to be done. I’m willing to bet that places like the Los Angeles Broadcast Center will be massively upgraded when we start to see what the “New DIRECTV” will be up to. It’s an extremely exciting time for satellite enthusiasts, as I’ve said before. Since DIRECTV Satellite will have to report its own profits and losses, there will be a much bigger emphasis on getting things right. Satellite won’t just be part of a larger portfolio. Just like the early days when DIRECTV was called “the great disruptor,” the company will have to perform every single day in order to make it through.

That means new technology.

You know that all of that DIRECTV infrastructure will be upgraded in new ways. I think of the days when I used to spend time at LABC and at the uber-secret labs in DIRECTV’s El Segundo, California headquarters. There’s a new generation in place there now, and they’re already doing incredibly exciting things. That’s just the beginning, though.

And that’s why places like LABC are still important

Visiting LABC was the epitome of geek coolness. The article couldn’t contain all my excitement. Still, it’s still a great article. Even a lot of the stuff at the broadcast center hasn’t changed a whole lot, the basic idea hasn’t. Take a look at what I saw and decide for yourself… is there a much cooler place to be?

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.