DISH users: Can you upgrade your old dish to a Hybrid LNB?

This one goes out to the DISH crowd. If you use DISH for your RV or boat, you might not be aware of some of the recent upgrades to the technology. Home users with Hopper 3 or Wally now use a different dish. It looks the same and acts the same with the new equipment, but it’s as big of a change as DIRECTV’s SWM technology. It’s called the Hybrid Dish and it’s been out for a few years.

What’s the difference between Hybrid and regular?

The hybrid dish is designed to offer extra functionality to Hopper 3 and Wally users. Older dishes were really similar to the satellite dishes used globally. The only difference was that they were designed to pull in signals from three different satellites at once. Which three satellites depended on which part of the country you are in.

That’s still true with the Hybrid dish. DISH also did a bit more magic to support the Hopper 3 and its 16 tuners. This is the largest DVR ever offered to DISH customers and it took a little bit of special engineering to make it happen.

Hybrid dishes put all the signals from all satellites on a single wire. This wire can be run into a Hopper 3 to supply all 16 tuners, or it can be split to support a lot of Wallys in the same location, using stackable  splitters.

How can you upgrade to the Hybrid dish?

Start by getting the Eastern Arc Hybrid (Slimline) LNB if you’re on the right side of the country or Western Arc Hybrid (Slimline) LNB if you’re on the left side. It’s very easy using a screwdriver to disconnect the old LNB, disconnect the cables coming from it, and reconnect the new LNB. I usually mark the position of the dish’s aiming bolts (found on the back and bottom) with a marker or pencil to make sure I don’t accidentally move them.

If you have only one cable coming out of your dish, this is the easiest option. However, if you have multiple cables coming out of the dish it is usually easier to upgrade to the DPH42 multiswitch instead. This multiswitch gives an older dish Hybrid capabilities and it can often be an easier install. With a DPH42 you don’t need to know if you need an Eastern Arc or Western Arc LNB. You’re leaving your existing LNB in place.

One bit of warning however

Remember that the Hybrid LNB can only support Hopper 3, Hopper Duo, and Wally. If you are still holding onto older equipment, you do not want to use this LNB. It simply won’t work with the older stuff. There isn’t really any receiver that is going to work with both. Wallys will usually work with older LNBs but they are happiest with Hybrid LNBs.

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.