DIRECTV Users – 771 error on just one channel?

Here’s a problem that most folks don’t have. I’m guessing you do, though, because you found this article. You’re going through the channels on your DIRECTV receiver and all of a sudden…

This is the dreaded “771” error. It says you’ve lost satellite signal. But, as you flip to another channel, the problem goes away. As you look even deeper, you realize that the error is confined to just one or two channels. What could be happening?

Here’s what’s going on

It’s pretty simple really. The satellite receiver is constantly looking for video from one of many satellites, in three different locations. On each satellite there are a number of transponders. (Here’s an article on transponders.) What this error is saying is that the receiver looked in its database and tried to listen to a specific transponder on a specific satellite in a specific location. If it doesn’t get the channel it’s expecting, or if it doesn’t get anything at all, you get that error. Simple as that.

The real question is, what causes this issue, right? If you get this message on every channel it’s pretty obvious. You have no satellite reception. This can be a wiring issue, a problem with the dish, or just something temporarily blocking the signal. Even heavy clouds or heavy rain can do this. However, with one channel giving you trouble while others aren’t, you have to look a little further.

Most likely culprit: The LNB

The LNB is the front part of your dish and contains all the receiving equipment you need. The rest of the dish is really just metal parts that aim the signal at the LNB. If you’re receiving all the channels but one or two, it’s usually a problem with the LNB itself. Some part inside it has gone bad, and it’s time to replace it. You can get a new one at Solid Signal and learn how to replace it with our Ultimate Guide.

What else could be going on

There are other things that could be going on, but they’re less likely. Still, if you’re thinking about paying money for a new LNB, it’s worth taking a look at what could be happening. So, let’s run down those possibilities quickly.

It could be a bad cable

Cables can get pinched and broken if they’re not handled right. Over time a connector can become corroded. A bad cable can cause problems receiving particular frequencies. Generally that’s not the cause of a problem like this, but it’s a great opportunity to look at all your cables and see if they are in good shape.

It could be a simple as a reboot

771 errors can happen when a receiver looks for a channel and it’s not there anymore. This happens more than you would expect. Channels are moved from satellite to satellite, from transponder to transponder, as needed. Your satellite system is constantly getting information from a specific satellite transponder about what’s on the other transponders. Sometimes that information can become corrupt or get out of date. It’s rare, but it does happen.

To make sure this isn’t your problem, reboot the receiver twice. Find the red reset button on the DIRECTV box. It may be hidden behind a door on the front, or it may be obvious on the side or back. If you have a Genie 2 (the tall triangular box) you’ll need to reset that as well as the other boxes. Press the reset button and wait until you get to live TV. Then, press the reset button again.

What if none of this is working?

Your friends at Solid Signal can help you get a technician out to the house, or can give you other DIY ideas that might get you up and running. Call us at 888-233-7563 and we’ll help you get set up! Or, if it’s after East Coast business hours, fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you, usually 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.