You might have noticed that the DIRECTV SWM-30 multiswitch is in short supply around the country. We have a good supply of them at Solid Signal for now. This has led keen DIRECTV fans to wonder if there is a new multiswitch in the works.
About the SWM-30
The SWM-30 was released into the market in 2017. It was originally designed as a product for the burgeoning apartment market. In that install, it would allow six apartments to each have a 5-tuner Genie. The hitch with this of course is that the HR44 Genie was the last of the truly 5-tuner products. The HR54 can pull 7 tuners in some cases, and the HS17 Genie 2 also pulls 7.
At the same time, a limitation was discovered that keeps non-Genie hardware from seeing all 15 available tuners on a SWM-30 leg. That meant that in practical terms, the SWM-30 was limited to supporting 26 tuners in a single user install.
The SWM-30 was designed not to allow cross traffic between the two legs, meaning that a typical install could have no more than 13 devices sharing programming. The previous generation SWM-16 allowed up to 15 devices to share programming.
There has also been some concern among people with larger installs that the output power of the SWM-30 is not any higher than previous SWMs, meaning that the limitation of 200 cable-feet between devices and a maximum run of 200 feet are still on the table. The SWM-30 does come in a high-power version. It’s generally not recommended for DIYers as it can fry receivers if used the wrong way. (Voice of experience here folks.)
A new SWM in ’22?
I’m sorry to break the bad news but as far as I know there is not a new SWM on the horizon for 2022. The majority of residential installs use the Reverse Band 3 LNB which provides 13-tuner support. This is enough for a Genie 2 installation which accounts for over 95% of new installs.
The reason for the shortage of SWMs seems to be a supply chain issue and let’s be honest folks, there are a lot of those in 2021.
Commercial customers should still use the SWM-30. They should plan to place the multiswitches where they need to go in order to keep signal levels strong. Using a SWM Expander will let you feed 104 tuners in the same footprint as a single SWM-30, and multiple expanders can be used for a virtually limitless install.
This leave DIYers, people with very large homes, and home theater enthusiasts as the only people who are truly concerned with the limitations of the current SWM-30. Perhaps at some point DIRECTV will once again cater to that market as they did in the ’00s. Today, the products are really good, but the focus is not on that small group of customers. If you want to have more than just a Genie system, you can do it, but you have to plan your options so that banks of receivers can see the programming you want. You may also choose to have multiple dishes to allow for service to distant parts of the home.
It still looks like an exciting year
2022 will be the first full year in which DIRECTV is completely independent of AT&T control. This means the first opportunity for innovation since 2014 when the initial AT&T discussions started. I think we all agree that the DIRECTV hardware selection is good. Personally I expect it to be even better by the end of 2022. Unfortunately though I don’t expect the SWM situation to change.