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High Definition Satellite TV Requirements
What you'll need to go HIGH-DEF

Whether you're a current DirecTV or DISH Network subscriber, or you're new to the market and haven't chosen a High Definition Satellite TV provider yet, you'll be happy to know that the basic HD requirements are pretty much the same for both companies. There are, however, slight differences regarding the hardware and program packages of each provider. No matter which provider you choose, there are 4 essential items you will need to experience the world of HDTV:

  • High-Definition Television
  • High-Definition Satellite Receiver
  • HD Compatible Satellite Antenna
  • Subscription to an HD Channel Package

Below you will find these items discussed in greater detail, and how they differ between DirecTV and DISH Network.


High Definition Televisions

For High-Def Channel reception, DirecTV and DISH Network require that you have a television set capable of displaying a High Definition image at 1080i and 720p. Since you will be using a High Definition Satellite Receiver to feed the image to the TV, it may be wise to go with an HD Ready set since these do not have integrated HD Receivers, and therefore usually cost less.


HD Satellite Receivers

A High-Definition Satellite Receiver is necessary to receive HD Programming. It takes a signal from an antenna and processes it so that it can be displayed on a TV or a monitor. HD receivers typically support 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i, but they vary in their methods to convert from the broadcast resolution and scan format to a format that's compatible with your digital television, so shop and compare before buying. Both DirecTV and DISH Network offer HD Satellite receivers with built in tuners for NTSC, ATSC, and Satellite signals. When connected to an off-air antenna, these receivers will integrate your off-air digital local channels into the satellite Program Guide. This allows you to seamlessly tune to all satellite as well as off-air digital local channels using your HD receiver. In addition to standard HD receivers, both providers also offer state of the art HD receiver models with dual satellite tuners and integrated DVR's.


HD Compatible Dish

DirecTV: DirecTV requires the use of their 18"x20" oval dish known as the "Phase 3" for reception of High Definition programming. The reason for the slightly larger dish is because the satellite that DirecTV transmits its HD channels from is at a slightly different elevation than the satellites used for their regular programming. By enlarging the dish slightly, a single antenna can be used for both regular and HD programming. The dish must be equipped with triple LNB's for HD Reception. Current DirecTV customers can check if they have the HD-compatible dish with a simple test. If you can view the DirecTV logo on channel 99, then you don't have to do anything. If you can't, you'll need to install a SAT-C kit on your existing DirecTV dish (providing it is the 18"x20" dish).

DISH Network: DISH Network uses their DISH 500 Antenna for High-Definition program reception. It is a 20" dish with a dual LNB. HD Satellite signals are transmitted from the 110 and 119 satellites, which are also the primary satellites used for DISH Network's regular programming. The good news is you won't need a new dish for HD reception, though DISH Network is now offering a "SuperDISH" which will be capable of receiving more HD channels when they are available.


HD Program Packages

DirecTV: DirecTV's High-Definition Channel Package costs $10.99 per month. It includes 4 HD channels, and many HD Special Events such as the "Pro Golf Master's Tournament", and "NFL Films Presents". DirecTV also offers High-Definition PPV, HBO HDTV and SHOWTIME HDTV. (HBO HDTV and SHOWTIME HDTV are included with their respective premium programming subscriptions.) NFL SUNDAY TICKET customers will also receive select games in HD with their NFL SUNDAY TICKET subscription.

DISH Network: DISH Network's High-Definition Channel Package costs $9.99 per month. DISH Network also includes the same 4 basic HD channels, and offers a variety of HD programming such as theater-quality movie channels, educational and nature programming, PPV HD movies, and HD broadcasts of special events, including concerts, boxing matches and professional sporting events.


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