BEWARE: H25 receivers and SWM-30 multiswitch

Pretty much everyone agrees that the SWM-30 multiswitch is a big upgrade from the older versions. With it, you can use up to 30 tuners, where the older SWM-16 only allowed you 16. Using a single SWM-30 instead of multiple SWM-16s will help you get stronger signals to all receivers and DVRs and also help you clean up your equipment rack by getting rid of unused cables and splitters.

There’s only one thing you need to know first.

Although it’s called a SWM-30, it’s possible you could only have access to 26 tuners if you use older equipment. The SWM-30 was designed to provide six apartments with Genie DVRs and clients, but if it’s used for a single installation it may only be able to support 26 receivers.

There is a limitation in older DIRECTV DVRs that causes them to see only 13 tuners out of the 15 in each bank of the SWM-30. Officially, this limitation applies to all DIRECTV receivers except Genies, but some people have reported success using HR24 DVRs instead of H24 or H25 receivers.

Other people have reported that by making sure that the Genie DVR is the last thing powered up, this forces the older receivers to use “lower numbered” SWM channels and Genie DVR uses channels 11-15 which it can see.

As I said, DIRECTV’s only official word is that no more than 13 tuners can exist on the line if anything other than Genie DVRs are used. Also, it’s worth noting that the HS17 Genie 2 can pull up to 13 tuners even though it only uses 7 to record.

This is definitely something to consider when you’re planning your installation. Personally I would not be inclined to play the game of “power this one up first then…” unless everyone in the household is as careful as you would be. If you are looking at a large installation in your home or workplace, I would count on being able to use the SWM-30 for only 26 tuners (26 receivers or a combination of receivers, DVRs, and Genie DVRs.) If you’re at home, you can put up to 8 clients on a Genie DVR, and use 3 at the same time. Combine those 3 with, for example, 6 other DVRs and 9 other receivers and that’s going to give you 19 rooms of DIRECTV service. If you feel you need more than that, I salute you.

In a commercial environment like a sports bar the SWM-30 should definitely only be used to support 26 tuners at once, since commercial customers have no access to Genie DVRs. That’s 26 TVs from one multiswitch that costs less than the old SWM devices. If you need a second one, add a second one and get 26 more TVs. That ought to keep your customers happy.

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.