How to install a legacy DIRECTV system

While it’s true that the DIRECTV world has moved to SWM technology, there are times when a plain legacy install is the best way to go. You may be replacing parts and have no need for whole-home sharing or other advanced features.

Here’s the basic information to get you going:

You’ll need a dish like the AU9 Slimline Dish. This dish does not have SWM technology built in and is the correct choice for HD programming. It also may be needed to get local channels in some markets.

If you have more than four tuners you will need a WB68 Multiswitch. Remember, count tuners not boxes. A DVR counts as two tuners, while a regular receiver counts as one.

If you have HD receivers or DVRs (even if you are using them only to receive SD programming) you will need B-Band Converters. The B-Band converter is an essential part of the system and without it your HD receivers will not work properly. You will need one for each receiver and two for each DVR. It’s true, these are expensive parts but beware of used ones — they break easily if handled roughly.

Start by running four wires from your dish. (If you have fewer than four tuners you only need to run as many wires as you have tuners.) If this is the first time you have aimed a dish, read up on the terms you need to know first. It might be worth getting a pro involved the first time just so that it’s right. Satellite meters are expensive and the built-in meters on the receivers aren’t as effective as a professional meter.

Run the wires from the dish to the input side of the multiswitch. You want the 18v and 13v ports, not the Flex 1 and 2 ports. Then, run wires from the output side to each receiver. Remember, DVRs get two wires while regular receivers get only one.

If you’re using HD receivers or DVRs you must use the B-Band Converters at the end of every line, and then feed the output of the B-Band converter to the receiver or DVR.

Finally, terminate any unused ports on the dish or multiswitch. Why? Because it’s super important.

Here’s a diagram which shows a DIRECTV legacy system properly wired.

Legacy Install LR



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.