Should you buy a DIRECTV AIM Meter?

This is DIRECTV’s Advanced Installation Meter, better known as AIM. It’s one serious piece of equipment, and you can tell because it comes at a serious price. It’s nowhere near the most expensive satellite meter you can buy, but it’s quite a bit more coin than our SatLookLite, the recommended meter for most amateurs. If you’re considering the purchase of a meter, you have some decisions to make. We’re here to help you make them.

Who needs a satellite meter?
Obviously, installers are the number one market for satellite meters. If you’re putting dishes up all day every day it seems a little silly to be without one. Still, a lot of non-installers choose to have a meter close at hand for those times when the dish needs a quick re-alignment. If you tailgate, you should definitely have a good meter with you. Those inexpensive satellite finders work well for SD dishes but if you’re going to graduate to full HD in your travels, you’ll need a meter. Using a receiver to aim the dish is just going to slow you down.

What does the AIM bring to the table?
The AIM is the deluxe meter for all DIRECTV installations. It’s designed to make installations as fast as possible and that means plain instructions in English to help you get finished up. It’s also the only meter that can give you signal strength on individual transponders and the only meter that’s going to be able to aim the 99 and 103 satellites when a SWM dish is used.

When is a SatLookLite enough?
The SatLookLite is perfect for the casual user who wants a quick aim for tailgating or temporary use. It will aim a SWM dish easily, especially the Slimline-5, because it can read SWM signals from 101 and 119. It won’t help you get the level of precision you’ll get from an AIM but that usually isn’t necessary for a temporary installation.

What about DIRECTV’s new satellites?
Right now, DIRECTV’s AIM won’t read the new satellites yet but it is firmware upgradeable so it’s expected that won’t be a problem as we move forward. The SatLookLite is also upgradeable but because it won’t read any satellites in the 99 or 103 slots in SWM mode it’s not expected to read the new ones either. With the SatLookLite it’s not always possible to know which of DIRECTV’s satellites you’re keyed in on, but again that isn’t usually a problem since a “good enough” aim for one satellite in a location is going to be good enough for all of them.

My personal preference…
I’m a bit of a connoisseur of meters. I’m lucky to have four of them. My go-to is the SatLookLite because it starts up fast and gets me finished. Still, I love the AIM. If I had to choose only one meter to keep it would be that one. There is just nothing you can’t do with it, if you have the time. So, even I can’t make a decision. But for you, decide how you’re going to use it, and if you can save a few bucks I would do that. Just don’t cheat yourself out of a really great experience.

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 5,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.