What DIRECTV products support 8K and HDMI 2.1a?

If you’re a real home theater enthusiast, you’re probably really amped up about 8K video. 8K will enable incredible amounts of detail even on gigantic screens. It’s not that far away, surprisingly. There are a small number of 8K televisions already on the market and there’s already a version of the HDMI standard that’s designed to handle it.

Say hello to HDMI 2.1a

HDMI 2.1a is a new version of the standard that we have all been using for over 15 years. It will support features like Dynamic HDR, which will allow HDR and non-HDR (also called SDR) content on the same screen to show properly. You’ll also get the ability to see 4K content at 120 frames per second. For those 8K fans, you’ll be able to see 60 frames per second at an astounding 7,680 x 4,320 resolution. That is astounding 16 times better than HD resolution. Put differently, it’s a 33 megapixel image 60 times a second.

Of course, HDMI 2.1a requires equipment that support it, as well as an ultra high speed HDMI cable. That’s right, if you thought that HDMI cable you bought in 2006 was going to last forever, I’m sorry to have to break it to you. You’ll need all new stuff to use this latest standard.

Does DIRECTV support 8K and HDMI 2.1a?

At this time, there is no DIRECTV product that outputs 8K, or even 4K at rates higher than 60 frames per second. In order to use DIRECTV equipment, you will need cables and hardware that support HDMI 2.0a, the previous generation of HDMI. That was rolled out in 2014 or so.

So far, there has been no content generated for satellite TV in 8K, at least not in this country. I’ve read about some tests in Japan, but nothing here. Here in the US we still don’t really have a lot of 4K content on satellite. Over-the-air 4K is still in the testing phase. So until all that ramps up, there’s no reason to think 8K is around the corner.

You can choose to be futureproof

If you want to put in an 8K TV and a home theater receiver with HDMI 2.1a, you’ll find that your DIRECTV equipment will still work with it. In fact pretty much any device that outputs HDMI will work with it. So break out that Oppo Blu-ray Disc player you paid $1,500 for in 2008. I will work with your latest stuff, don’t worry.

However, for those who choose not to be on the bleeding edge, you don’t have to worry. HDMI 2.0a equipment is everywhere now, and it’s all you need for today’s 4K programming. It’s also probably all you need for the next five years and beyond, unless you’re a gamer who wants to get serious about your rig.

Will DIRECTV ever have an 8K product?

Hey, never say never. What I can tell you is that it’s not on the roadmap now. DIRECTV could do 8K if there was demand, and if there was content. They have plenty of satellite capacity to make it happen. So far that’s not something they’re moving toward, but plans change.

Of course in order for DIRECTV to really move in that direction they would need some content. The company tried to be a leader in 3D back in the 2010s, and that fizzled. They’ve championed 4K and even offered the only live 4K channels in the pay-TV world. So far no one else has jumped on the bandwagon. So I have a feeling that the bean counters in El Segundo, California might just wait to see if there’s real demand for 8K before moving forward

Don’t wait for 8K

If you want the best DIRECTV equipment and the easiest and most supportive customer service, don’t call their overseas call center. Call the experts at Solid Signal. We’re DIRECTV dealers and we can help you create the system of your dreams. Rather than wait for 8K that may never come, call us now at 888-233-7563 during East Coast business hours and we’ll treat you like royalty.

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.