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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Installing a DirecTV 5LNB Dish

Despite being "Mr. Hi Tech", I've made my family suffer with SDTV.   They don't much care about the picture, and the direcTV SD digital signal looks pretty good as it is.   Wifey loves the TiVo and all the channels, high recording capacity, etc so there has been no reason to upset the apple cart.   I've been buying used DVRs and upgrading storage (a hobby that predates starting this blog) and have recorders with 100s of hours of space and she has years of stuff saved.  You can buy these things for <$40 on ebay, people practically give them away.  There is no TiVo for directv HDTV, only knockoffs.  So no reason to break something that is working.

However I decided to upgrade my dish to HDTV capable, in case this Christmas I weaken and decide to move to HDTV.    Of course I don't want the directv install monkeys at my house, I'm going to do it myself.  Then I can just pick up a receiver at my leisure and activate it.  My plan is to install it myself and align it just using the signal meter on the screen. 

I have the older 2LNB and 3LNB dishes on my house that won't work with the current HDTV broadcast and HDTV local channels.  I need to upgrade to a 5LNB Slimline Dish.  These used to be expensive but have come down over the years.   5LNB is needed to receive 101°, 110°, 119° degree satellites, plus the new Ka Satellite (99°, 103°) for local HD MPEG4 programming.

There are two types of 5LNB.  The difference is only in the LNB head, and the heads can be swapped without taking down the dish.  The heads look like this.   Note the four connectors at the bottom.