DIRECTV equipment made before 2010? Time to upgrade

Does this receiver look familiar? If it looks familiar because it’s in your living room, it’s time to think about making some changes.

In the late 2000s, DIRECTV embarked on a program to modernize everything about their operations. They’d started in the 1990s, when they moved all receivers and equipment under the DIRECTV brand. However, it took until 2010 before they could simplify their operations down to two receivers and one DVR, plus a very small number of dishes and multiswitches.

Modernizing and simplifying made installations go faster. Yes there was less choice for the customer but the remaining choices were so good that customer satisfaction improved.

If you have any of this stuff in your home, it’s time for an upgrade from Solid Signal:

Old receivers

If you have a receiver with any other company logo but the DIRECTV logo, it’s time to retire it. Receivers built before 2003 have been obsolete for some time but it’s time for you to look at what you have in the house and really address it. These old Hughes, RCA and Philips receivers aren’t compatible with today’s technology and they’re holding you back.

I tell people that they should also retire the second-generation HD equipment like HR20 HR21, HR23, H20, H21, and H23. The first generation has been gone for a long time but it’s time for these older receivers to get a well-deserved rest. They do still work out in the field and are still current today but might not be as futureproof as you think. It’s best to upgrade them on your schedule, rather than waiting for the day when they stop working.

Old multiswitches

Today, in 2019, it’s SWM or nothing. If you haven’t upgraded to DIRECTV Single Wire Multiswitch technology yet, you really need to be thinking about it. Obviously there are some cases like RV and marine dishes where it creates problems but for regular home and commercial use, there is practically no reason to avoid SWM today. Granted that there are cases where there are very long runs, but there are ways around almost every issue relating to that.

SWM technology is the only approved distribution technology for DIRECTV at this point and if you want to move forward into the world of 4K, it’s what you use.

The current multiswitches are the SWM-30 and the SWM built into the Reverse Band dish. The SWM-8 and SWM-16 will still work but aren’t considered futureproof.

Old dishes

Right now the only dish approved for new DIRECTV installs is the Slimline and there are two variants. The Reverse Band SWM-enabled dish works for 99% or more of residential installs and gives you access to 4K and international programming over a single wire. The Reverse Band Legacy Dish is the right choice for commercial installs and for people who have large, custom installations. If you’re not using one of these dishes it’s time to upgrade.

Even the Slimline 3 and Slimline 5 dishes are now on their way out. Iin the near future you’ll see more and more content moving to the reverse band. You’ll need the new dish for that.

When you’re ready to upgrade, check out for the best parts! We still do stock the older parts for people who aren’t ready to make the jump. Of course we’re always happy to help when people are ready to upgrade.

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.