What DIRECTV dish do I have?

How do you know what DIRECTV dish is up on your roof? If you’re looking to upgrade your satellite dish, it helps to know what you already have. Most HD DIRECTV dishes made since 2009 can be upgraded to the latest technology easily. Follow the visual guide below to find the DIRECTV dish that looks like the one on your roof. If it’s a current Slimline dish, it can be upgraded easily by most do-it-yourselfers. If not, the team at Solid Signal can help you find the right dish for your needs.

Current Satellite Dishes

Slimline-3 dishesSince 2012, DIRECTV has installed nothing but Slimline dishes in the continental US. The Slimline Dish is designed for SD and HD channels and is the only dish you should need for home.

The Slimline-3 dish is all you need in most markets. It receives SD and HD programs from DIRECTV’s 99,101, and 103 locations. These satellite locations carry all of DIRECTV’s English-language national channels.


Slimline-5 dishes

The Slimline-5 dish is used for commercial installations and for some international installations. In addition to receiving signals from the three main locations, it also receives signals from the 119 location which is used for some standard definition channels in some markets, and for some channels used only in commercial installation. The Slimline-5 dish can be identified by a wider LNB, the front part of the dish. Even if you currently use a Slimline-5 dish you may not need more than a Slimline-3 dish. Here’s a guide to see if you need the Slimline-5 dish for your residential installation.


SWM-Enabled Dishes

Most dishes today have a single wire coming from them instead of the traditional four wires. A Slimline dish with a single wire is referred to as “SWM-enabled” and can use splitters to run lines more easily. SWM-enabled dishes come in Slimline-3 and Slimline-5 varieties.


Obsolete Dishes

If you have a non-Slimline dish, it’s time to upgrade! All other DIRECTV dishes will become obsolete sometime in 2019. If you have one of these dishes, consider upgrading to a Slimline dish before it’s too late.



In most cases, a multiswitch isn’t needed for DIRECTV service at home because it’s built into the LNB itself. However, if you choose to use a “Legacy” dish that has four outputs, you will need a multiswitch to distribute signals to the receivers, DVRs, and clients you use.

The DSWM30 multiswitch supports up to 30 devices in two banks of 15. It is recommended for commercial use. It also allows 4K service to be combined with international satellite service.

The SWM-8 multiswitch supports up to 8 devices (find out more) and distributes the signal on a single wire that can be split to make installation easier.The SWM-16 multiswitch is just like the SWM-8 but supports 16 devices (find out more).

The SWM-32 multiswitch is only recommended for commercial use and is not intended to be used for homes at all. Unless you have a very specific need, you should not choose this multiswitch.


Multiswitches for Older Dishes

While you should be considering a dish upgrade at this time, replacing a multiswitch can help you last a few more years while you plan for a new system. These multiswitches only work with older systems or marine/RV systems and cannot be used with H25 or Genie systems.

Use the DTV3X4 to give four outputs to a round dish, the S-2180CE to give eight outputs to a round dish, or the WB68 to give eight outputs to a Slimline dish that connects to older receivers.

Obsolete multiswitches

If you have any of the following multiswitches, you should replace them with one of the available alternatives above:

BMS-58, DTV4X8, MS-WB616, PVMS5X8, S-4180-GX, SKY5120A, SKY5160A, SKY5800, SWA-48, SWM5, WB616
as well as any Eagle Aspen, Pro Brand, Skywalker, or Zinwell multiswitch not listed.

Spaun Multiswitches

Multiswitches from Spaun were very popular in the 2000s owing to their durability and compatibility with systems from many countries. Unfortunately Spaun has completely pulled out of the US market and DIRECTV’s new technology is not compatible with Spaun multiswitches.

You don’t have to worry, we can help!

If you have a Spaun multiswitch, contact Solid Signal at 888-233-7563. We have experts with over a decade of experience working with Spaun multiswitches. We do have very limited supplies of some Spaun products and we will do our best to help you find the best solution. The following multiswitches are no longer available:

DMS51202NF, DMS5802NF, SMS41209WBP, SMS41609WBP, SMS5602NF, WBS41202NF, WBS41602NF
as well as most other Spaun multiswitches.

Upgrading the LNB

In many cases, a dish problem can be solved by replacing only the LNB and not the whole dish. This is not only cheaper but also easier. This is an excellent way to upgrade to 4K or to take an older dish and upgrade it to SWM technology to make installation easier. Here’s a guide to upgrading your LNB. Only Slimline dishes can accept an upgraded LNB. Older dishes should be completely replaced.

Gen1 Slimline-3


This LNB is the easiest to install and aim. It comes in SWM (1-wire) and Legacy (4-wire) versions. The SWM version supports up to 8 devices (find out more), and the Legacy version can be combined with a multiswitch for virtually unlimited receiver use.

Gen1 Slimline-5


This LNB is recommended for commercial installations and for some local markets. It also comes in SWM (1-wire) and Legacy (4-wire) versions, and just like the SL3, the SWM-enabled SL5 can support up to 8 devices (find out more) while the Legacy version can be upgraded to limitless possibilities.

Gen2 Slimline-3


This LNB can support up to 13 devices (find out more). It only receives signals from the same satellite locations as the SL3 LNB.


Gen3 Slimline-3


This LNB can support up to 21 devices (find out more). It also only receives signals from the same satellite locations as the SL3 LNB


4K Ready Slimline-3


With these LNBs, you have everything you need to receive 4K programming. This LNB supports up to 9 devices (one must be a Genie DVR) and comes in SL3-compatible and SL5-compatible versions.


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 9,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.