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DIRECTV Programming Bar
directv faq
Here you'll find the most frequently asked questions we receive regarding DIRECTV® programming, services and equipment. Just browse the relevant category below to find the answers to your questions.
DIRECTV® System Basics
  Whom can I call for assistance?
General Information
Getting Started
Using Your DIRECTV® System
Online Hardware Ordering
Installation & Equipment
  Installing Your DIRECTV® Satellite Dish
Installing Your DIRECTV® Receiver
Features of Your DIRECTV® Receiver

DIRECTV® Programming
  General Programming
DIRECTV® Packages
Local Channel Programming
Sports Programming
Programming in Other Languages
Programming in Hawaii

Q: Whom can I call for assistance?
A: Hardware and Installation 1- 800- 57-ORBIT
SONY 1-800-838-7669
RCA 1-800-679-4776
Hughes 1-800-274-8995

Orbit Technical Support
1-978-440-8899 Press 6

Programming orders 1-800-D531-5000 Before activating your DIRECTV® service  sure to logon to your account online and obtain your pending DIRECTV account.
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Q:  What is DIRECTV?
A:  DIRECTV is the nation's #1 digital satellite entertainment service provider. Using the most advanced satellite technology, DIRECTV delivers access to more than 225 channels of programming to homes and businesses that have DIRECTV® receiving equipment, which features a small satellite dish, a digital set-top receiver and a remote control. The DIRECTV® service offers an incredible selection of entertainment for every member of the family all in the digital-quality picture and sound that DIRECTV is known for.

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Q:  What programming does DIRECTV offer?
A:  DIRECTV® programming and service features access to more than 225 available channels of entertainment. Customers have access to popular networks like Disney Channel, CNN, ESPN and TNT, as well as up to 55 pay per view choices a day, including major Hollywood films and special events. Hit movies start as often as every 30 minutes and they cost only $3.99 each when you use your remote control to order. DIRECTV also offers an unprecedented professional and collegiate sports subscription lineup, including NFL SUNDAY TICKET™, NBA LEAGUE PASS, NHL® CENTER ICE®, MLB EXTRA INNINGSSM, MLS/ESPN SHOOTOUT™, ESPN GamePlan and ESPN FULL COURT. There's even more! DIRECTV's SPORTS Pack premium service and TOTAL CHOICE® PREMIER package deliver sports action from across the nation. Plus, adult channels like PLAYBOY TV are available on an a la carte basis.

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Q:  How much will DIRECTV® service cost me each month?
A:  It's more affordable than you might think. Our basic TOTAL CHOICE® with Local Channels programming package, which includes over 115 channels, is just $37.99 per month. The cost to "mirror" that service to additional receivers in your home is $4.99 per receiver (as long as you keep all your receivers continuously connected to the same land-based phone line). If your state charges a sales tax, we'll add that to your bill. That's it. But of course, you can select from many other packages as well.

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Q:  How does DIRECTV® service compare with cable?
A:  DIRECTV® has created a programming service specifically driven to offer customers more choice and value for their entertainment dollar. The DIRECTV® service combines America's favorite network channels, other popular networks not available from many cable services, a pay per view service with up to 55 choices of movies and special events a day, local channels in many markets, and an unprecedented sports subscription lineup. No other system offers as many quality program options.

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Q:  Where can I purchase a DIRECTV® System?
A:  You can buy on this website by clicking here or by calling us at 1-800-576-7248 (9 a.m. -8 pm ET Monday thru Saturday).

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Q:  Can I get Internet access from DIRECTV?
A:  For those without a land-based phone connection, we offer satellite-based Internet service through DIRECWAY®. You can also get Internet content on your TV with some of our advanced products.

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Q:  Does DIRECTV® offer programming in other languages?
A:  Yes! DIRECTV® offers a Spanish-language programming service and a Chinese-language programming service.

The DIRECTV PARA TODOS™ service features more than 45 Spanish-language channels*, including sports, movies, news, music and educational networks. DIRECTV is also proud to offer Phoenix TV, a 24-hour channel broadcast in Mandarin.

(*Includes English-language broadcast channels with alternate Spanish-language audio access.)

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Q:  Is DIRECTV® service available in Canada or Mexico?
A:  DIRECTV ® is legally prohibited from offering service outside the United States.

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Q:  Is DIRECTV® service available in Alaska?
A:  DIRECTV does offer programming in Alaska. However, because of Alaska's location in relation to DIRECTV's satellites, you may need a larger satellite dish. For example, viewers in Anchorage or Fairbanks may need an eight-foot dish to get good reception. In the Juneau area, a four-foot dish may do the trick. Areas north and west of these locations will experience an even greater reduction in signal acuity. Residents of Alaska should check with their local DIRECTV retailer for more information and programming availability.

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Q:  Is DIRECTV® service available in Hawaii?
A:  Yes! Hawaii residents can enjoy select DIRECTV® programming.

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Q:  I have another satellite service. How do I convert to the DIRECTV® service?
A:  DIRECTV advises new customers to use DIRECTV equipment only. DIRECTV hardware has been designed to meet DIRECTV's service quality standards. Please visit our product section for more information.

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Q:  Where is DIRECTV located?
A:  The DIRECTV corporate office is located in El Segundo, California. It serves as the headquarters to many of their regional sales offices and two broadcast centers located in Los Angeles, California, and Castle Rock, Colorado.

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Q:  How can I contact DIRECTV® ?
A:  Please see DIRECTV's contact list.

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Q: Can I install the DIRECTV® System myself or should I hire someone?
A: DIRECTV's® customers who use professional installers typically have fewer technical concerns later on, and professional installation is quite affordable. If you're purchasing an oval-shaped satellite dish, that installation is more complicated so you'll definitely want a professional to take care of it. For more information on installing the dish yourself, please visit our online self-install section, which explains how to position your dish for the best reception.
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Q: How can I arrange for a professional installation?
A: To purchase professional installation please Click Here
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Q: Can I install the satellite dish inside my house?
A: In order to receive the signal, the dish must have a direct line of sight to the south through a window. However, many types of window glass degrade the satellite signal. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you install your satellite dish outside in a suitable location.
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Q: If I install my satellite dish outside, will it get stolen?
A: The satellite dish is the least expensive component of the DIRECTV® System and is basically useless without the set-top receiver. Also keep in mind that the dish is small enough to be placed in an inconspicuous location on your home or property.
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Q: Can I use my existing wiring for DIRECTV® ?
A: If the cable in your house is RG-6 coax cable, you can use it to connect your DIRECTV® Receiver to your satellite dish. If your cable is not RG6 coax, you will need to run new cable. It is important that you use RG6 cable due to the frequency of the digital signals it must carry.
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Q: How do I install the DIRECTV® System on my RV or boat?
A: You can either purchase a self-installation kit or hire a professional installer. Contact your local satellite TV, RV or boat dealer for more information about professional installation.
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Q: Can I paint the satellite dish?
A: It's okay to paint your dish if you don't use lead-based or glossy paint. Glossy paint could damage the Low Noise Block (LNB) converter by increasing the signal reflection. You should not paint the LNB itself.
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Q: What is the DIRECTV® INTERACTIVE  service?
A: It's a free service available on select DIRECTV® Receivers that gives you access to up-to-the-minute news, sports and weather information, plus the ability to interact with programs and order products and free samples right from your television using a remote control. The technology is made possible through a partnership between DIRECTV® and Wink Communications, Inc., a leading developer of interactive television applications.
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Q: How does the DIRECTV® INTERACTIVE service work?
A: The service works through special "enhanced" programs and commercials on select DIRECTV® channels. You'll know a program is enhanced when you see this symbol on your screen:

Then you simply use your remote control to request information from the program on your TV screen. The DIRECTV® INTERACTIVE service will also offer exclusive interactive channels that deliver additional entertainment and electronic shopping services.
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Q: What channels have enhanced programs?
A: You'll find enhanced programs on popular DIRECTV® channels like The Weather Channel, ESPN, CNN, TBS Superstation, CNBC, USA Network, TNT and E! Entertainment Television. Some of these networks offer enhanced programs throughout the day, while other channels offer the enhanced features during select programs.
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Q: How secure is my personal information when I shop through the DIRECTV® INTERACTIVE service?
A: Your personal information is always protected by your Personal Identification Number that you set. If you make a purchase, the merchant will use your DIRECTV® customer address, phone number and the credit card information you provide to process your order. You'll also have an opportunity to request that the merchant not share your information with other companies.
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Q: How much does the DIRECTV ® INTERACTIVE  service cost?
A: There's no monthly charge to use the DIRECTV® INTERACTIVE service. All you need is a DIRECTV programming subscription and an appropriate receiver. You're only responsible for products you buy through the interactive shopping service.
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Q: What equipment do I need?
A: You need a DIRECTV ® INTERACTIVE  - enabled digital set-top receiver, a mini satellite dish antenna and a continuous land-based phone connection.
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Q: What programming does DIRECTV® offer?
A: The DIRECTV service features more than 225 available channels of entertainment. Customers have access to popular networks like Disney Channel, CNN, ESPN and TNT, as well as up to 55 pay per view choices a day including major Hollywood films and special events. Hit movies start as often as every 30 minutes and they cost only $3.99 each when you use your remote control to order. DIRECTV® also offer an unprecedented professional and collegiate sports subscription lineup, including NFL SUNDAY TICKET, NBA LEAGUE PASS, NHL CENTER ICE, MLB EXTRA INNINGSSM, MLS/ESPN SHOOTOUT, WNBA SEASON PASS, ESPN GamePlan and ESPN FULL COURT. There's even more! DIRECTV's SPORTS Pack premium service and TOTAL CHOICE PREMIER programming deliver sports action from across the nation. Plus, adult channels like PLAYBOY TV are available on an a la carte basis.
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Q: How can I find out what programming is coming up?
A: There are four easy ways:

1. You'll find complete monthly listings in the SEE section right here at You can also check out the online program guide, which is customizable when you register on

2. The on-screen guide lists programs up to 36 hours ahead of time.

3. Your monthly DIRECTV® bill contains an insert with a listing of upcoming movies and special events.

4. DIRECTV® - The Guide is published monthly and offers more than 350 pages filled with in-depth listings of the thousands of movie, sports and entertainment choices available using the DIRECTV® System. Plus you can use DIRECTV® - The Guide as a companion to your on-screen program guide and even plan your viewing. Call 1-877-669-7334 to order DIRECTV® - The Guide.
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Q: What programming is available in my RV or boat?
A: DIRECTV® offers select programming for RV and boat owners. However, DIRECTV® requires that your DIRECTV ® System be continuously connected to a land-based phone line to be eligible for some programming services (such as seasonal sports subscriptions), for ordering with your remote control and for 'mirroring' subscriptions to additional receivers. Therefore, most RV and boat customers are not eligible for these benefits.


Distant NetworkService for Recreational Vehicles (With Residential Accounts Only)

DIRECTV® is pleased to offer our mobile customers DNS (distant network service) programming of ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC stations from New York and Los Angeles (eight channels) for $4.68 per month. One national PBS service may also be available, depending upon your location, for an additional $1.08 per month.

Commercial Trucks please call.

Before DIRECTV® can add the DNS networks to your DIRECTV® programming, federal law requires that you send DIRECTV® the following information:

Photocopy of your vehicle registration.
This Mobile Vehicle Affidavit Declaration of Intent form (please print and complete).
Photocopy of commercial driver's license (if you're requesting service for a commercial vehicle such as a tractor trailer).

Here's what you need to know before you send DIRECTV® this information:

To take advantage of some DIRECTV® services, you must keep your DIRECTV® System receiver continuously connected to a land-based phone line. Since this isn't possible while your system is in your vehicle, you won't have access to these services:

All professional and college sports subscriptions, such as NFL SUNDAY TICKET, NBA LEAGUE PASS, MLB EXTRA INNINGSSM and NHL CENTER ICE.
Your local regional sports network, if you subscribe to a TOTAL CHOICE® package or the SPORTS Pack.
Ordering pay per view movies by remote control.

When you return the Declaration of Intent form, DIRECTV® will review your account for these services. If you currently have any sports subscriptions, you will no longer be able to watch them from the receiver in your mobile vehicle. The sports and other programming you watch on receivers in your permanent residence will not change.

However, if your permanent residence account lists more than one receiver and one of these is located in your vehicle, you will no longer be able to "mirror" the services on the additional receiver in your vehicle. DIRECTV® will need to charge you the full monthly programming package price for this additional receiver, instead of the $4.99 a month programming mirroring fee you may be paying currently.

If these terms and conditions are acceptable, please send your information to:

Attn: Mobile Network Services
P.O. Box 92600
Los Angeles, CA 90009

After DIRECTV® receives your paperwork, DIRECTV® will need 11 to 14 days to verify that the information is complete and to activate your DNS programming package.

It is important for you to know that your dish must be pointed to the satellite located at 101 degrees West longitude at the time DIRECTV® activates the package, or your system will not be able to receive the signals.

If you are not receiving DNS programming after 14 days, first check to make sure your dish is pointed to the correct position and then call us to request activation.

Please note that boats and other marine vessels are not eligible to receive distant network service from DIRECTV® . According to federal regulations, DIRECTV® may offer this service only to specific types of recreational vehicles. Only residential accounts are eligible.

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Q: Why doesn't DIRECTV® present every channel I want to see?
A: Programming commitments are driven by customer preference. They are designed to balance the interests of adults, children, and the whole family. DIRECTV ® regularly polls customers to determine their interests.
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Q: Does DIRECTV® offer channels on an a la carte basis?
A: You may add individual premium services to your TOTAL CHOICE® or TOTAL CHOICE® PLUS base package. DIRECTV offers these premium options: HBO, STARZ Super Pak SM, SHOWTIME UNLIMITED , Cinemax, and DIRECTV's SPORTS Pack. Adult channels like PLAYBOY TV are also available on an a la carte basis. To find out more, click here.

The TOTAL CHOICE PREMIER base package includes all premium services available on DIRECTV® so you don't have to worry about missing any of your favorite programs.
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Q: Does DIRECTV® offer music channels?
A: Yes! Through an alliance with Music Choice, DIRECTV® offers up to 30 different audio-only channels that range from choices like Soft Rock, Jazz and Country to Hit List, Easy Listening and many more. Visit DIRECTV®'s Music Choice page for more information about this service.
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Q: What channels will DIRECTV® be offering in the future?
A: It is a DIRECTV® policy not to disclose information about any pending or potential programming offers. However, DIRECTV® does speak with a wide array of programming providers and constantly evaluate services based on the level of customer interest. Customer feedback is very important to us and, in the past, this feedback has led to the addition of new programs and channels.
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Q: How do I order pay per view movies and special events?
A: The easiest way to order is with your remote control. Just make sure that you have a DIRECTV® subscription and that your receiver is continuously connected to a land-based phone line.

You can also order pay per view right here on If you call DIRECTV Customer Service to order, DIRECTV® has to apply a fee of up to $5 to each phone order to cover handling costs.
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Q: What is a letterbox movie?
A: The shape of a theater screen is wider than the shape of a TV screen. So, when movies appear on TV, the left and right sides of the image are usually cut off and you miss about 30 percent of the film's original picture. The letterbox format, preferred by many film buffs, displays movies on a television screen as originally intended by the films' directors. That's why you see black bars at the top and bottom of the screen when you watch a letterbox movie on your television. The TV screen has been adapted to accommodate the film's entire picture. In order to fit the whole picture on the screen, the image has to be reduced. There is no extra charge for letterbox movies with DIRECTV PAY PER VIEW DIRECTV's pay per view movie service.
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Q: Why do pay per view movies come out later than home videos?
A: What are the advantages of ordering pay per view movies? Movie studios release films to the video rental market before making them available to pay per view services. However, the period between the home video release and pay per view release now can be as little as 30 days.

And DIRECTV® is not just another pay per view provider!  DIRECTV PAY PER VIEW  offers a great selection of the latest pay per view movies well in advance of premium cable and broadcast television networks. You can even preview the first five minutes of non-adult movies so you can make an informed "rental" decision. DIRECTV® PAY PER VIEW  brings you the most exciting events like boxing, wrestling, soccer, music and more. With as many as 55 different movie and event choices a day, DIRECTV® PAY PER VIEW services offer you more viewing options than cable or any other satellite service.
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Q: Can weather interfere with my reception?
A: Television reception on the system is highly reliable year-round and nationwide. During heavy rain or snowfall, however, some DIRECTV® customers may experience a temporary loss of picture quality. This phenomenon also can occur if the dish or low noise block converter (LNB) accumulates too much wet snow. When snow accumulates on the dish, the service is not lost but the strength of the signal can be weakened by the snow's water content. This "signal fall-off" occurs when water content is at its highest. During colder winter months, when snow is drier, dishes usually do not experience such problems, even if there is substantial snow buildup.

So what can you do? Wait for the bad weather to pass and your signal should return to normal. If the signal doesn't return, re-set your receiver by turning it off, unplugging it for at least 15 seconds, then plugging it back in. If snow has built up on the dish or LNB, wait for it to melt. Or, if you can safely get to your dish, lightly brush it off with a broom. If this is not practical, you may consider installing an accessory designed to prevent snow buildup.

DIRECTV® has conducted tests of several different products, including dish covers, spray-on coatings, LNB covers, and heated dishes, which work very well and are quite reliable.

For more information about specific products to reduce snow-related outages, please consult with an Orbit Communication Representative
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Q: I've heard of Dolby AC-3 Audio. What is it?
A: Dolby AC-3, more commonly known as Dolby Digital, is the latest generation of surround-sound encoding from Dolby Laboratories. While Dolby Pro Logic was an analog encoding scheme, Dolby Digital uses digital encoding to produce five discrete full-range channels of surround information plus a bandwidth-limited subwoofer channel. DIRECTV® currently broadcasts many pay per view movies and other events with Dolby Digital formatted audio for those customers who have a special Dolby Digital audio receiver.
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Q: Is the DIRECTV® broadcast compatible with surround-sound technologies?
A: The DIRECTV® System is compatible with Dolby Pro Logic Surround-Sound and Dolby Digital. To get true surround-sound, you will need a Dolby Pro Logic or Dolby Digital surround sound processing unit. Basically, you will be able to experience surround-sound with DIRECTV® programming if your home theater system has surround-sound capability. If you have more questions, contact your equipment manufacturer or salesperson.