International channels and DIRECTV 4K? Can it be done?

Well… soon. If you’re looking for the large number of international channels on DIRECTV, you might find that you need a dish like the one you see above. It’s designed to pull in channels from DIRECTV’s satellite at 95 degrees. There’s some Spanish-language programming on the regular satellites but pretty much everything is on the other satellite.

If you’re still on an HD-only setup, you can easily combine this dish’s signal with one from a regular Slimline dish. Just use a SWM multiswitch and connect one cable to the “Flex 1” port from the second dish. It’s actually easy.

Unfortunately, as of today, in December 2016, the whole thing’s a little muddled. Right now, there is a dish designed for 4K that will let you see DIRECTV’s new satellites, but you don’t really need it “yet.” You’ll need it “soon” but you can get DIRECTV’s three live 4K channels using the regular dish. That’s a good thing, because the new dish isn’t compatible with the international dish.

In order to combine the signals from the 4K dish with those from the international dish, you need to be able to use a SWM multiswitch. The 4K dish has one built in, but you need an external one. There will definitely be a 4K dish that lets you do this, as well as a next-generation SWM multiswitch that will allow all of this to work right, but there’s no word from DIRECTV on when these will be released.

As I said, it’s complicated. If you want DIRECTV 4K service right now, you can do it and still keep your international channels. If DIRECTV adds more 4K channels, you might need to upgrade to a dish that won’t let you use those international channels. Eventually, this will all get sorted out, but right now it’s a little confusing. I would recommend people with international channels stay with the HD setup for just a little longer until all the right hardware is in place.

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.