Here’s the easy way to find a channel on DIRECTV

Here’s the problem with satellite TV. When you have hundreds of channels, it gets hard to find the one you want. Yes, you can make a favorites list. I think you should and here’s a tutorial on how to do it. But that may not be enough. I know that my preferred favorites list has about 100 channels. That’s enough that it can get hard to find what I’m looking for. I also sometimes want to look at channels outside my favorites list… at that point it’s like the wild west out there.

Here’s the solution

DIRECTV gives you three very good options for finding the channel number. It just depends on where you are, and what devices you have in front of you.

Option 1: (or Google)

DIRECTV’s own web site has recently been upgraded quite a bit. It’s had an online guide for a long time, but the guide is now as flexible as any you’ll find out there. Go to and you’ll find an option to view it.

At the upper right corner of the guide you’ll see the option to sort alphabetically. This option disappears if you scroll down the guide so make sure you’re at the top of the guide and it will display. From there you’ll see the channels alphabetically and their channel numbers. It’s that easy.

The folks at DIRECTV are smart. If you click on the name of the channel you’ll find out a little more about that channel. You’ll also find a snippet of text like what you see above. That’s there for the folks at Google. When you search for “what channel is HBO2 on DIRECTV” in your browser, you’ll get results based on that little chunk of text. If you’re just looking for a channel number, this can be the fastest way to do it.

Option 2: DIRECTV app

If you’re holding your phone (and you probably are) there’s another way you can get this same information. Yes, Google will still work. But you can get a full guide and figure out channel numbers without bothering anyone else who is watching. The DIRECTV app is incredibly full-featured, and one of those features is a sortable guide.

When you go to the guide, tap on where it says “Date and Time.” This will give you the option to view the guide by alphabetical instead. From there you can search for channels by tapping on the letter you’re looking for.

Here you see all the channels that start with H, with channel numbers next to each of them.

Option 3: On-screen guide

DIRECTV has included a helpful way for you to find channels using the on-screen guide. Simply press the DASH button to the left of the zero to search (on older receivers, use the BLUE button) and you can search by channel name.

Here you can see I’ve searched for “HBO” and I have a list of HBO channels and their channel numbers. Highlighting any of them gives me the opportunity to go directly to them.

The question I know you’re asking

Yes, I can hear it from here as I’m writing this article? Why doesn’t DIRECTV just let you sort the guide alphabetically? Yep, that would be a lot easier. But, apparently they can’t do that. I was told at one point that different channels have contracts which guarantee them specific placement in the guide. Maybe that’s why. At least they realize people want something like this and so they give it to you on the web site and the app. They also built in that search function which does help a lot.


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.