Can you record over-the-air TV with a satellite receiver?

You can but it’s getting harder. Both DIRECTV and DISH have already discontinued their OTA antenna adapters. It’s a shame because these little accessories are very useful when you have channel blackouts… you can still watch and record your favorite programs right through your satellite box. But I do understand, the hardware was getting old and with streaming alternatives, a lot of people think they’re covered for channel blackouts.

Of course, that’s not true. Hulu gives you primetime programming, and not all of it. Apps like NewsOn cover local news but not necessarily in your area. There’s still a lot of local programming you’ll miss out on if your channel is blacked out.

Of course you can put in a standalone DVR solution like our 3500STB which will let you record antenna TV onto your supplied hard drive or flash drive. That’s a great short-term solution but it’s not as convenient as just having the programs in your guide.

Luckily for DIRECTV subscribers, Solid Signal still has a small number of AM21 Antenna Modules available. These modules connect to any current DIRECTV receiver, even Genie DVRs, and give you the ability to watch and record over-the-air programs with your satellite DVR. You still need a satellite subscription of course.

If this sounds interesting at all, then you need to act on this right away. As I said, the DISH over the air modules are already all gone and no more will be made. Now, if you want something for a DISH receiver or DVR you have to risk finding an older used one somewhere. If you want new stock, you definitely need to check out the ones at Solid Signal, and I can’t guarantee that we’ll have these for much longer.

Yes, I get it, it sounds like I’m giving you the hard sell. That’s only because I care! I’ve had one of these modules since 2009, in fact I was in the room when they were shown for the first time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used them, and how much entertainment value I’ve gotten out of the ones I have. I don’t want to see you, my Solid Signal Blog faithful, miss out on the same experiences I have had. Generally, using an AM21 module will give to 20-30 more channels than you can get with satellite, and they’re all free. So, even at a high price, the unit pays for itself fairly quickly.

Hurry, because as I said I don’t know if we’re going to have these forever and I don’t know if DIRECTV will ever make more.

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.