SOUND OFF: Still having problems with “channels I get?”

My friends, if you told me I’d be blogging about this issue in 2020, I wouldn’t have believed you. But, here we are. And on balance, this is probably the least surprising thing about this incredibly surprising year.

Let’s define the problem, and the history

Starting with DIRECTV’s first branded devices in the early 2000s, there has been a feature which should be an easy slam-dunk, or so you would think. In addition to looking at all channels available on DIRECTV, and setting up a favorites list of your own design, you can set the guide to show you only the channels you get.

This would be a very useful feature, right?

Of course it would be. Except for some bizarre reason, it never worked from day one. If you had two receivers in the home, it was possible they would have different lists of “channels I get.” In the early days, these lists were bizarrely different. One receiver could potentially show that you got 100 more channels than another.

To make matters worse, once DVRs came into the equation, this ended up creating problems. Your DVR would record something on a channel you didn’t get, and then not record something on a channel you did get. This was A. BIG. PROBLEM. And it wasn’t fixed right away.

Issues persisted for way too long

By 2010 — five years after the bug was first identified — a lot of the issues with the “Channels I Get” system seemed to have been smoothed out. Most importantly, it became very rare to see a program recorded on a channel you didn’t get instead of one you did get. The rest of it was less important.

Unfortunately though, things didn’t get a lot better after that. The next time that there was some real work put into squashing this bug was 2015. I reported in early 2016 that there had been a lot of work done and challenged our readers to comment on whether or not the issue was still there.

At that time quite a few people commented, although our blog changeover in 2018 wiped out all the comments. But, it seemed like the problem was mostly solved, if you were willing to put up with a few extra channels in the guide. In the last four years I’ve seen the problem come back a few times, but it always gets better quickly.

So, here we are.

The other day I was contacted by a reader who was upset that their “Channels I Get” list was several hundred channels too long. It was full of channels they simply didn’t get.

In this case, the reader chose to completely reset their receiver to its factory state. Although this doesn’t generally work to fix “Channels I Get” issues, it did for them. I’m glad it was a good resolution.

But, it makes me wonder how many other readers are still having any sort of issue here. Who else has this problem? If you set the guide to “Channels I Get,” that there are channels you don’t get? Is it a source of stress for you? Have you found a workaround? Leave a comment below and let’s see if we can get this bug squashed once and for all.


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.