No difference between channels I get and ones I don’t? (DIRECTV New Menus)

A few weeks ago, I began to hear comments online that people couldn’t tell the difference between the channels they did get in the DIRECTV guide and the ones they didn’t get.

Except, those comments aren’t true.

The screen capture at the top of this article clearly shows that there is a difference between “channels I get” and “channels I don’t get.” I went all the way down into the 400s, because I don’t subscribe to the Spanish package. You can see that I do get channel 402 and 404 but I don’t get channel 403. The screen background is darker on 403 and the numbers are darker. It’s subtle but it’s there.

If you’re not seeing the same contrast on your TV, it could be time to adjust the brightness and contrast. Personally I think DIRECTV hasn’t done people a lot of favors by using two different shades of grey, but nothing in the DIRECTV guide should show as black (except parts of the graphic banners.) If your guide looks black,  it’s not calibrated to industry standards. You may like it that way. That’s ok. It’s just not what AT&T expects you to see on the screen.

I’ll admit it used to be more obvious, as shown by this image I found online of the old menu system:

In the old menus there was a lot more contrast between the channels one gets and the channels one doesn’t.

What to do

Calibrating your TV isn’t the easiest thing in the world. There are a few downloadable calibration tools and a Blu-ray disc you can buy, but if your TV uses different settings per input, that may not help. Personally I’ve found the best thing to do is reset the TV to its factory state and make only tiny changes from there.

“Vivid” or “Demo” are right out

A lot of times a TV comes set to “Vivid” mode because that looks best in the store. If your TV is still set to “Vivid” mode (or something similar like “Demo”) you aren’t really looking at the picture that the content creator intended. You may like it, and it’s your TV — watch it your way. Still, before you give up on DIRECTV’s guide or anything else, look for a setting on your TV called “Standard.” It’s usually a pretty good simulation of what the broadcast industry wants you to see.

Yeah it’s true: “Standard” mode won’t make everyone look like it’s a sunny day on the surface of Venus. Colors will be a little flatter, but they’ll also be a bit more natural. And more importantly for this article, the menus will probably look better too.

Or, just hide the channels you don’t get

It’s actually easy to hide the channels you don’t get. Press the zero button on the remote while you’re in the guide and you can choose “Change favorites list.” One of the automatic lists is “Channels I Get.” It will show you only the channels you get.

I know there are a lot of people who don’t like the new menus. AT&T heard you: Since the first version was rolled out, in many cases logos have gotten easier to read and type has gotten bolder. Those are both good things. I simply say, if you continue to be unhappy, talk about it! Leave comments here, on facebook, and if you want call 1-800-DIRECTV to complain. If the amount of support beginst to cost AT&T money, they’ll do something about it. I doubt they’ll roll back to the old menus, but at the very least they can make changes to the new ones.

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.