Solid Signal’s HANDS ON Review: DIRECTV SWM-13 LNB

So easy to install, there was almost no need for a review. IRECTV’s latest outdoor hardware makes installation easy and takes away the need to run extra lines and an external SWM. It’s the DIRECTV SWM-13 LNB. This is an early review; the product will be available at Solid Signal later this year.

The purpose of the SWM-13LNB is to allow you to run 13 tuners on a single wire, without the need for an external multiswitch. Right now, it’s designed for people who want a Genie and two HR24 DVRs, but we believe that it will eventually replace the SWMLNB which only gives 8 tuners from a single line.

This review is available in PDF format for viewing or downloading. Get it now!

A Look at the LNB

There’s really not much to see here. The LNB itself is a little bigger than a regular Slimline-3 LNB, with a single feed horn. The larger size lets DIRECTV emboss their logo into the LNB, and that’s really the only visual difference. This is also a 3-location LNB; there may be a 5-location version later but for now it’s only for people with no need to see the 119 satellite.

The SWM-13LNB should fit on any Slimline dish, but is not designed for use with any of the older reflectors. If you have a standard definition dish or non-Slimline HD dish, you’ll need to replace the whole dish assembly.

About now, you’re probably asking yourself, “How can they fit 13 tuners on one wire? I thought the limit was 8.” There’s a lot of technical stuff behind it, but by switching to digital filtering as in the SWM13LNB lets you use 14 channels in the same space allocated for the 9 channels currently used in SWM technology. This is done by reducing the spacing between channels. Making the system digital allows the space between channels to be cut in half, and that makes room for five more channels.

If you’re wondering why we’re talking about 9 channels and 14 channels… there is always a control channel that is not used for tuning.

The most important tip is to use as few splitters as possible. You will get the best possible performance by running the LNB straight into an 8-way splitter and running all your devices from there. Also, remember “tuner math” — you can run thirteen regular receivers, six DVRs+ 1 receiver, a Genie plus three DVRs, or anything where the number of tuners doesn’t exceed thirteen.

At this time there are no amplifiers certified to run with this LNB so it shouldn’t be run in cases where an amplifier is used.

Also, this product should not be confused with the DSWM13 multiswitch which is used exclusively in hotels. That multiswitch has a much higher power level which allows it to be used with special taps. Taps cannot be used with this LNB.

Conclusion

This LNB was incredibly easy to install and should break down barriers for people who have an existing SWM LNB (which is the default installation for DIRECTV) but want to add a second or third DVR. It’s self-configuring and worked right away out of the box. It’s definitely a worthwhile upgrade.