Why do they call it a SWM-30 if it only supports 26 tuners?

It’s about time you asked.

The SWM-30 multiswitch has been out for a while now. It’s the only approved multiswitch for most DIRECTV installations. While we still have supplies of the older SWM-16 and SWM-8 switches, those parts haven’t been made in a long time. When supplies run out, they’re gone.

But that’s ok, the SWM-30 is awesome.

Why the SWM-30 is awesome

DIRECTV’s older multiswitches were good but until the SWM-30 came along none was perfect. The SWM-8 worked fine but 8 tuners wasn’t enough for a lot of people. The SWM-16 worked really well but it runs so hot you could burn yourself touching it. The SWM-32, designed for commercial accounts, was big, wasteful of power, and didn’t work well in homes.

SWM-30 fixes all that. It’s the size of a SWM-8. It delivers signal to 26 tuners, and the power consumption is half of a SWM-16’s. It’s the first solution where you can feed 104 tuners and take up the same wall space as one SWM-8. (How? With this expander.)

But what about the 30 part?

Previous multiswitches, going back to the original WB68, told you how many tuners they supported. (Confused about the difference between tuners and receivers? Read this article.) WB68 supported 8 tuners (from up to 6 lines.) WB616 supported 16 tuners. SWM-8=8, SWM-16=16, SWM-32=32. Even the rarely seen SWM-13 supported (you guessed it) 13 tuners.

So why does a SWM-30 support 26 tuners?

Easy answer, it doesn’t. It supports 30. Kinda.


OK. The SWM-30 allows for two runs of 15 tuners each, meaning that it can support a total of 30 tuners. However, we quote the number 26 as its tuner count. In real-world installs it supports two runs of 13 tuners.

The difference is that while it can supply tuners #14 and #15, most devices can’t see those channels. The pre-Genie receivers can only see up to 13 SWM channels. If the SWM tries to assign a receiver channel 14, the receiver just throws up an error message. It doesn’t work. So the problem isn’t with the SWM, it’s with the older receivers.

The original purpose of a SWM-30 was to support six HR44 Genies in an apartment complex. It was thought of as a repacement for SWM-32. Because of the funny way SWM-32s worked, you could only support four HR44 Genies with a single SWM-32. With SWM-30s and SWM Expanders, you can support 96 HR44 Genies in the same wall space as a single SWM-32. That’s a pretty big upgrade.

Can a SWM-30 support 30 tuners in a home?

The answer there is no. However if you have an HR54 Genie you can get it to support 28 tuners. The key is making sure that all your older equipment is powered up first, and powering up the HR54 Genie last. Also make sure you take into account that the HR54 draws 7 tuners. That leaves you 8 tuner capacity for the line that has the HR54 on it. The other line will have 13 tuners capacity since you can’t have multiple Genies on your account.

If you’re looking for the SWM-30 or any DIRECTV accessories, you’ll find everything you’re looking for by shopping at SolidSignal.com.

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.