Do you still need a phone line for DIRECTV equipment?

Easy answer: no.

Like millions of folks, you might be thinking of ditching traditional phone service. Most people have cell phones and they’re just as reliable as land lines (and sometimes easier to use.) If you’re on that path, you’re probably thinking about all the devices that use your phone line and whether or not they’ll continue to work. Don’t worry, your DIRECTV equipment will work fine.

In the early days of DIRECTV, phone lines were used for ordering pay-per-view. Later, they were used for downloading guide data and service data for early DVRs. Today, they’re really only used for caller ID.

If you have an internet connection to your DIRECTV receiver, it does all its business that way. Ordering pay-per-view can be done from the receiver or through your computer or mobile device. If your receiver isn’t connected to the internet, you will still need a phone line connection if you order pay-per-view using your remote, but if you order through a phone call or from your computer, you don’t need a phone line.

So, the next question you’re asking is probably, can it be a cell phone line, Vonage/Ooma/Skype sort of thing or does it have to be a real, plain old telephone service line? In most cases it has to be a real plain old service line. If you have fiber internet like FiOS or U-Verse that also comes with phone service, that does work, but those services like MagicJack and Skype don’t work at all because the modem inside the DIRECTV receivers is just too primitive for that sort of thing.

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 5,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.