A DIRECTV-approved antenna? Don’t believe it

In this panel antenna, the X's should be closer to the towers than the horizontal bars.

Here’s the latest scam. Believe it or not, there are installers out there who are telling customers that they don’t have a “DIRECTV-approved antenna” and then trying to sell them an antenna that’s already on their trucks. Folks, let me clear this up for you. DIRECTV does have specs for a lot of things, but there is no such thing as a DIRECTV-approved antenna. DIRECTV’s engineers don’t care what sort of antenna you have, as long as it gets good reception.

This is just another twist on an old scam. Believe me, in my younger days I fell for it too — pulled into a gas station and was told by the friendly mechanic that my radiator was shot but “they just happened” to have one for my car and could get me moving in no time. Chances are my radiator was just fine and the “evidence” that the mechanic gave me was nothing more than the normal function of the radiator. This is the same thing. If you’re getting good reception before the installer comes and magically he tells you or even tries to show you that you need a different antenna… it probably just isn’t true.

Here’s what they’ll tell you: … that only certain antennas will work with DIRECTV equipment. They may even show you that the antenna meters in DIRECTV’s own AM21 antenna module don’t go to 100%. You want 100%, right? With digital signals, you can get great reception at 60 or 70 percent, and I hate to be “that guy” but the percentage meter, as friendly as it is for average folks, doesn’t really equate to any real measurement that real engineers use. It’s DIRECTV’s way of trying to give customers a friendly way of knowing how their signal looks, but it can also be way, way off.

If the truck says DIRECTV on it in big blue letters, chances are that DIRECTV’s “Home Services Provider” division, and those guys should know better than that. In most cases they do. DIRECTV has put literally millions of dollars into training and bringing the best talent in house. They’ve bought installation companies and driven other ones out of business with superior business and skill. But there’s a huge need for installation professionals, and they’re always hiring. If someone comes in with the urge to make a little cash on the side, it can take a little while to know if they’re right for the job or if they’re preying on customers.

Don’t get me wrong. It doesn’t happen often. But if you suspect an installer is “feeding you a line of…” then call DIRECTV or call Solid Signal at 888-233-7563. Either way the person on the other end of the phone should be able to tell you if the installer is being legit.

If you’ve signed up for service with DIRECTV through Solid Signal, we have our own team of installation professionals but also rely on DIRECTV for areas of the country that we don’t service. If the person at your home or business isn’t making sense, give us a call immediately and we’ll get it straightened out. We’re the premier nationwide dealer for DIRECTV and we want to get it right for you!

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 9,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.