Yeah, we all know it… DIRECTV is discontinuing SD service in 2019. That’s probably a non-issue for 95% of the people out there, since the company has been actively pushing HD for about six years, but for those people who tailgate or who use a second dish up in a cabin, this could be an issue. Luckily there’s time to address it.
There’s a myth that says when the SD programs go away, so does the satellite they come from, referred to as the 101 satellite because of its location in the sky, roughly 101 degrees longitude. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s true that most of the programming will go away, but we actually don’t know what that satellite location will be used for. It’s currently used for SD programming, guide data and software updates. It’s possible it could be configured to carry as many as 15 HD channels as needed.
One thing for sure DIRECTV is not going to let the multi-million-dollar investment it made on its satellite fleet go to waste. The satellites at that location have a lifespan that could keep them functioning until 2025, depending on conditions. That’s far enough away that there isn’t a real concern there… yet.
If you’re currently using a round dish or non-HD tailgating/RV dish, you do need to take action. You will want to replace any SD receivers you have with HD ones, and replace the dish with something that will receive programming from DIRECTV’s HD satellites at the 99 and 103 locations. There are already plenty of satellite dishes available and I know that our partners at the major manufacturers are working on ways to help you transition to a new dish easily.
But the one thing you don’t need to have is “101 Anxiety.” That satellite location is expected to stay viable for a very long time, and by the time it really becomes an issue, the world will have completely changed anyway, and whatever comes next will seem perfectly natural.