When do you need a “Legacy” dish for your DIRECTV installation?

This Reverse Band 5 Legacy LNB for DIRECTV is the best, baddest LNB ever made for DIRECTV service. It’s also the biggest. Blame all the many different electronics inside it. This one device is capable of picking up three different frequency ranges from five different locations, in two polarities. That’s a lot for it to do.

Most folks don’t need something that big and fancy. Even if you see 4K in your future you probably only need a Reverse Band 3 LNB which is smaller and much easier to wire. Commercial installations use this LNB to get virtually unlimited receivers from one dish, but the Reverse Band 3 will reliably handle up to 13 tuners – which translates out to an HR54 Genie, two HR24 DVRs, two receivers, and three clients. If you can’t get it done with 8 rooms, there are options but most folks will definitely be able to “settle” for 8 rooms of DIRECTV service.

Why so many wires?

Connecting this LNB takes six wires. Connecting up your average LNB for home use takes only one. The difference is that the typical home LNB uses the “SWM” system to put all the signals from all the satellites on one line. A “legacy” LNB uses four wires for the four main types of signals and two more wires for 4K signals. That ends up being a lot of wiring and probably not something you would want to do unless you really felt like you needed to. The Reverse Band 3 LNB does 4K, so that’s not the issue. In fact…

There is one reason to use this LNB for home…

The real reason to use this LNB or any “legacy” LNB is to be able to see the 95 degree satellite location. AT&T’s satellite at 95 degrees carries international programming and if you have someone in your home who speaks Russian, Arabic, Korean, or any of the other international channels carried by DIRECTV, you’ll need a separate dish. Your regular satellite dish won’t get signals from that satellite location no matter what you do.

The single wire from the separate dish is combined with the #5 line from the Legacy LNB using this diplexer:

And the resulting line is fed into the #5 position on a SWM-30 multiswitch.

The resulting wiring looks something like this:

DSWM30 Diplexing

This is a lot of work obviously and carries a bit of expense for all the extra equipment. Generally you see a setup like this in hotels but not in regular homes unless it’s really needed.

The good news however is that there is a solution and that it does work really well.

Or if you just love TV…

You can use the legacy dish and as many SWM-30 multiswitches as you want to get the ultimate DIRECTV system. Each SWM-30 can support two banks of 13 tuners each which can all share programming with each other. You could very easily scale this up to over 100 receivers if you wanted to.

One last thing:

You’ll notice that I talk about “tuners” not “receivers” because they’re not the same thing. When you’re deciding how to build a large DIRECTV system you have to count tuners. Luckily, here’s a great tutorial on just how to do that.

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.