Can you put a DIRECTV receiver in a waterproof enclosure?

Our Signal Connect division does more marine satellite activations than anyone else in the world. So, this is the sort of question we get pretty often. People figure, if anyone knows the answer, it would be us, right? And they’ve nailed it… we do know the answer and we’re happy to share.

A waterproof receiver?

In general, I would not try to put a DIRECTV receiver in any sort of waterproof enclosure. DIRECTV boxes, especially non-DVRs such as receivers and clients, rely on passive cooling. They’re designed to let hot air flow out naturally and be replaced by cooler air. The chips inside them do get pretty darn hot, up to about 140 degrees. But the airflow helps them function for years without problems. If you take away that airflow, you’re going to have some serious issues.

The good news here is that these devices will generally shut themselves down before they are damaged or cause a fire. Of course, you can practically guarantee they will do so just when you want to watch TV. So the best option is to make sure there is plenty of airflow in the first place and not deliberately put the thing in a box where air can’t get in.

Options?

That doesn’t mean you can’t use a DIRECTV box on your boat. There are a lot of options for putting the receiver in a safe, dry place with plenty of airflow. You can use HDMI cables up to 50 feet in length. If that’s not enough, there are solutions that let you go hundreds of feet more. You can use an RF-capable remote so that you can change the channel through walls, or use an IR repeater to put a “target” right on the TV. Because there are TVs specifically designed to be weatherproof, this may be the best option for you.

I have no doubt that somewhere, for some amount of money, you can get a waterproof enclosure with its own ventilation system, something that would let the receiver operate safely. Although I’ve personally never seen one, there probably is something like that somewhere. If you can find something like that, tell me about it. I’ll see if I can get them listed at SolidSignal.com. But for now, I have to say that I can’t recommend anything like that without seeing it.

In the end, there are plenty of things on your boat that aren’t waterproof, including most of your marine electronics. That doesn’t stop you, and this shouldn’t stop you from getting the satellite service you want.

Speaking of which…

I really should put in a plug for Signal Connect. We’re the unquestioned leaders in marine satellite, both for TV and internet. If you’re ready to enjoy life on the water with a side of the best electronic entertainment, call us! The number is 888-233-7563. We’re here during East Coast business hours, and if it’s after hours, you can fill out the form below. We usually reply within one business day.

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.