When DirecTV first launched their service they introduced the 18" Round Satellite Dish (seen right). The LNB, located at the front the dish, allowed for either one or two satellite receivers to connect to the dish.
18" Single Satellite Dish
LNB and Single Satellite Dish
The LNB seen here, is a dual LNB. The two coax connections on the LNB allow for two DirecTV satellite receivers to receive satellite signals. Each receiver is able to act independently from each other. If a LNB only has one coax connection, then it can only provide signal to one receiver. The only exception to that rule is with DISH PRO LNB's. See Dish Network Dishes and Switches for more details on Dish Pro.
Terk 3x4 Switch
When more then two receivers are required, or if using a dual tuner receiver, such as TIVO, a Multi Switch (also known as a Matrix Switch) is required when using a round dish. The switch will expand the two cable connection ability of a two-port LNB to four, or more ports. This allows for up to four standard receivers or two dual tuner receiver. The switch on the right is a TERK 3x4 switch. Two ports at the top connect to the two ports on the LNB. The third port on the top is for a Off-Air or CATV signal. When a off-air/CATV signal is connected to the switch, the signal is mixed into the cable running to the receivers. A diplexers is used behind the satellite receiver to separate the satellite signal and the off-air/CATV signal.
Eagle Aspen 3x8
The Eagle Aspen 3x8 Switch (seen right) has the same 3 inputs as the Terk 3x4 switch, but also has an optional power supply port. This switch provides signal for up to eight single tuner receivers. Using a separate power supply is good idea, when possible.
Original Oval Dish
The Primary satellite for DirecTV is located at the 101 longitude. That satellite is therefore called the 101 satellite. To expand channel capacity, DirecTV also has satellites at two additional locations. These are called 110 and 119. Dish Network also has satellites at 110 and 119. Since DirecTV and Dish network use different frequencies at 110 and 119, there is no interference between the two. To receive all three DirecTV satellites from a single satellite dish, you must use a Multi-Sat dish. The first DirecTV multi-sat dish is shown right. This dish used up to three LNB's, the dish pictured here only has two LNB's for reception of 101 and 119. This dish was not a good design and did not provide a good, balance signal level of all satellites. The first oval dish was originally only required for reception of Spanish and High Definition programming. With the separate LNB's, the use a Multi-Sat switch was required.
LNB Feed Horn
In 2003, antenna manufactures released the Phase III oval Dish (bottom right) . The Phase III oval dish was a vast improvement over the first oval dish. Besides the change in the dish face (reflector) design, the LNB configuration was replaced with a single LNB/switch combination (seen left). The Phase III LNB can provide satellite signal for up to 4 single tuner receivers or two dual tuner receivers or 1 dual tuner receiver and 2 single tuner receivers.
5x8 Multi-Sat Switch
The introduction of the Phase III LNB with a built in 4 receiver switch reduced a bunch of exposed wiring and provided a strong signal across all satellites. The only significant down side to this new design is when you need more then four ports.
To expand a phase III LNB to more then four ports, you will need a 5x8 switch. The 5 refers to 4 satellite inputs + 1 off-air. The 8 is the number of receiver ports. With a 5x8 switch, the use of an external power supply may be required mandatory.
DirecTV Phase III Oval Dish
With the expansion of Local Network and the emergence of HDTV, came the need for more channel capacity, DirecTV expanded its network of satellites. Satellites were located at 72.5 and 95.0 to accommodate additional local stations and International programming. This required the use of two or even three dishes for some consumers. To combine the signal from all these dishes, a 6x8 switch is required. The 6x8 Switch uses four inputs which accept signal from the four outputs of a phase III LNB and comes with 2 Flex ports. Each of these flex ports can used to receive signal from either the 72.5 or 95.
DirecTV 5 LNB Satellite KaKu Dish
5 LNB Satellite Dish
Even with all this satellite channel capacity. It is still not enough to meet the growing demand for HDTV. Released in early 2006, DirecTV has started using a 5-LNB Satellite dish to accept signals from 101, 110, 119 and two new KA-band satellites at 99.0 and 103.0. These new breed satellites represent the next generation in Satellite Television. The 5 LNB KaKu satellite dish will provide HDTV local channels for dozens of cities across the USA.
For more information about what dish receive which satellites, go here.
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