What is a B-Band Converter?

Every new DIRECTV HDTV receiver is being shipped with a little device installed on the satellite inputs at the rear of the receiver. These little devices are called B-band converters. A B-band converter is required if you wish to receive any Ka band programming from the Ka satellite located at 102.7 degrees, aka 103. To understand the B-band converter, you need to understand how satellite signals are distributed from the dish/LNB to your satellite receivers.

 

As more satellite channel capacity has been developed over the the last decade through the addition of additional satellites and dishes to receive multiple satellite simultaneously. Both Dish Network and DIRECTV have developed varies means to transfer those signals to the users Integrated Receiver Decoder (IRD). Also known as the satellite receiver box on top of the TV.

 

Dish Network has developed a whole variety of switches and LNB technologies to address their needs. More on Dish Network Technology.

 

DIRECTV has created their own means to switch between satellites using a single dish or a series of dishes and a switch box, commonly called a Multi-Switch.

DIRECTV uses three main satellites for their core programming and several additional satellites for delivery of local channels. The primary satellites are 101, 110 and 119. DIRECTV only has a few channels on 119 and 110. The LNB's on the dish combined these signals to form a single group of channels. The channels received by 101 and the 110/119 combo are converted to an intermediate frequency (IF) for transfer to the IRD for signal decoding. By converting the signals to a lower frequency range, a smaller cable can be used. Without using an IF, the cable from your dish to our receiver would be 1/2" in diameter and would have to be very short.

 

The IF for DIRECTV 101 and 110/119 LNB's is 950-1450 MHZ. Since both 101 and 110/119 use the same IF, the receiver must tell the LNB, or switch, which group of channels it needs, either 101 or 110/119. The IRD does this by sending a 22 KHz tone down the coax. When the LNB or Switch senses the 22KHz tone, it switches the IF to the 110/119 channel group.

 

DIRECTV recently started using Ka band satellites. These new satellites will allow DIRECTV to dramatically increase the number of HDTV local channels to local markets. While the traditional Ku-band 101,110, and 119 satellites broadcast a 500 MHZ wide signal. The Ka-band satellites can transmit a full 1000 MHZ wide signal spread over two bands. Ka-High (19.7 - 20.2 GHz )and Ka-Low (18.3 - 18.8). The IF for these two bands is 1650 - 2150 MHz for the Ka-High and 250 MHz - 750MHz for the Ka-Low. Respectfully called the A-band and the B-band.

 

Newer DIRECTV IRD's are capable of receiving and process IF signals in the A-band. To receive and process B-band signals, a converter is required to up convert the B-band signals to the A-band, thereby replacing he A-band signals with those of the B-band. The IRD switches the B-band converter using the same 22 KHz signal used to switch from 101 to 110/119. When the 22KHz tone is present, the receiver can process the B-band signals, now upconverted to A-band, by process them in the A-band (1650-2150 MHz) IF. When the 22 KHz tone is turned off, the converter allows the A-band to pass through to the receiver.

 

The table below shows which satellite/channel group is selected with the 22KHz tone.

 

22 KHz tone
OFF
ON
Ku-101 and Ka-99
Ku-110/119 and Ka-103

 

 

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