TIP: Do you need a Slimline-5 Dish or Slimline-3 Dish?

DIRECTV holds leases for several satellite locations. There is so much programming available that doing with one satellite, or even a cluster of satellites in one location, wouldn’t work. So, DIRECTV uses a fleet of satellites in five locations for US English programming, plus several others for global, non-English programming. Each satellite location is identified by its position in the sky. All communications satellites sit in orbit approximately 22,500 miles above earth. This is due to a the mathematics of orbiting objects.

Orbiting is really just falling. Gravity always pulls things down, but something that already moves in a direction of its own will not fall straight down. instead, its path of movement will bend toward whatever is pulling it down. In order to avoid falling down completely, an object must move more quickly as it gets closer to the source of gravity. In this way it will keep moving away at the same time it is falling, thereby staying at the same distance. It’s easy to see this work in a draining tub or toilet; things spin faster as they move closer to the center.

It was Arthur C. Clarke, the great science fiction writer, who first posed this question: If everything in a stable orbit moves at a speed defined by its distance from the earth, where is the point where a satellite will orbit the earth in exactly one day? If you could do this, then you could put a radio transmitter in a permanent orbit over one spot on earth, and a radio antenna wouldn’t have to move to find its signal.

Mr. Clarke found his answer and we’re glad he did, since it’s what makes all satellite communications possible. So, since DIRECTV (and everyone else) can put a satellite exactly where they want, we can use dishes to get signals from those satellites. We refer to the satellites by their position in latitude, rounded up to a whole number. DIRECTV operates satellites at the 99, 101, 103, 110, and 119 degree locations for its US English programming.

That’s a lot of sky to cover with one antenna. 101 degrees west longitude is a little bit west of Dallas, while 119 degrees is over California. You need not only a wide dish but a lot of clear sky for one antenna to see all five locations. DIRECTV knows this and while their Slimline-5 series dish does the trick nicely, they have concentrated on moving as much programming as possible to satellites in the 99, 101, and 103 locations so that dishes are easier to aim. The Slimline-3 dish reads only these three locations and is recommended for most markets. If you’re in a market where your local channels are on satellites in the 99, 101, or 103 locations only, you can save money with a Slimline-3 dish and save time aiming.

As of August 2017, you will need a Slimline-5 dish for US English programming from the following cities. Also, please note that some music channels are on the 119 satellite so if you use a Slimline-3 dish, those channels will be lost to you. Note that in markets with HD channels, you can use the Slimline-3 dish if you do not use SD channels. The list is organized by state to make it easier.

ALABAMA
Mobile

ARKANSAS
Little Rock

ARIZONA
Tucson

CALIFORNIA
Bakersfield
Chico
Fresno
Monterey
Santa Barbara

CONNECTICUT
Hartford

FLORIDA
Ft Myers/Naples
Jacksonville
Pensacola
Tallahassee

GEORGIA
Savannah

INDIANA
Indianapolis
South Bend

KANSAS
Topeka
Wichita

KENTUCKY
Louisville
Paducah

LOUISIANA
Baton Rouge
Lafayette
New Orleans
Shreveport

OHIO
Dayton

OREGON
Eugene

MAINE
Portland

MASSACHUSETTS
Springfield

MICHIGAN
Flint
Grand Rapids
Lansing

MISSISSIPPI
Jackson

MINNESOTA
Duluth

NEBRASKA
Omaha

NEW YORK
Albany
Buffalo
Rochester

NEW MEXICO
Albuquerque

NEVADA
Las Vegas
Reno

NORTH DAKOTA
Fargo

OKLAHOMA
Oklahoma City
Tulsa

OREGON
Medford

RHODE ISLAND
Providence

TENNESSEE
Knoxville

TEXAS
Corpus Christi
El Paso
Harlingen
Houston
Laredo
Tyler

VIRGINIA
Norfolk
Richmond
Roanoke

WEST VIRGINIA
Charleston

WASHINGTON
Spokane
Yakima

WISCONSIN
Green Bay
Madison

As of August 2017, you will need a Slimline-5 dish for the following music channels. Note that there is no longer national, English-language programming coming from the 119 satellite, but several international and Spanish-language channels are available only on the 119 satellite.

SonicTap: Rat Pack
SonicTap: Holidays & Happenings
SonicTap: Groove Lounge
SonicTap: Jazz
SonicTap: Metro Blend
SonicTap: Great Standards
SonicTap: PUMP!
SonicTap: Piano
SonicTap: Fiesta Tropical
SonicTap: Regional Mexican
SonicTap: Mariachi
SonicTap: Carnaval Brasileiro
SonicTap: Familiar Favorites
SonicTap: Italian Bistro Blend
SonicTap: Italian Contemporary
SonicTap: Irish
SonicTap: Tranquility
SonicTap: Tranquility 9560
SonicTap: Rat Pack 9561
SonicTap: Great Standards 9562
SonicTap: Groove Lounge 9563
SonicTap: Familiar Fav. 9564
SonicTap: Irish 9565
SonicTap: PUMP! 9566
SonicTap: Holidays 9567
SonicTap: Metro Blend 9568
SonicTap: Italian Bistro 9569
SonicTap: Jazz 9572
SonicTap: Italian Contemp 9573
SonicTap: Piano 9574

Disclaimer:This data comes from publicly available sources. We believe it to be accurate but the data published here should not be construed as a warranty.