Can you add a splitter to your existing DIRECTV system?

A customer contacted me with an interesting question:

If I put in a DIRECTV system with just one receiver, do I need a splitter? And if I don’t, can I add one later?

First of all in most cases you will need a splitter unless you are using a legacy (non-SWM) dish. A SWM dish needs a power supply and so you would need one output for the power supply and one for the receiver. The only possibility for avoiding a splitter would be an HR54 DVR which can supply power to the dish. Most folks wouldn’t use one without adding Genie clients to it, though, and with those clients you need a splitter.

But can you add one later?

I think that’s the real question here. How much can you expand a DIRECTV satellite system once it’s installed.

DIRECTV Satellite is designed around the idea that a single wire can be split multiple times to feed multiple receivers. That technology has been around for over a decade and it’s fueled the company’s explosive success over that time when most competitors were already starting to shrink. Over the years, DIRECTV satellite has gotten both easier to install and more innovative.

So yes, you can add a splitter to any modern DIRECTV system and it will still work.

What splitter should you add?

The most popular choice is this 8-way splitter from AT&T. Not only does it allow a satellite signal to be split, but it also allows the power supply to be connected to the top left (red) port. This one splitter usually gives you all the expandability you may need.

If you don’t need 8 ports, you can use a 2-way splitter or 4-way splitter instead. Using a smaller splitter means more signal flows out of every port and that generally means better picture quality and a more reliable system.

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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.