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First post - new DirecTV subscriber

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Tips and Resources' started by kjjb0204, Jan 24, 2009.

  1. kjjb0204

    kjjb0204 Cool Member

    Jan 24, 2009
    Hi all. Just got DirecTV installed today after having cable my entire life. Just thought I would check in with a few early questions. Checked around the FAQ and searched, but there's almost TOO MUCH info for me to find specifics.

    1. Did I get good equipment? HR22-100 and the Slimline-3S(SWM)

    2. What is a transponder and why are there up to 32 of them per satellite?

    3. Is there a way to make SD programming automatically stretch to fill my 16:9 TV? I have a plasma and I'm worried about the black bars on the sides burning in if I'm watching a long program.

    4. Is the slow scrolling through the guide while holding the CHAN/PAGE button pressed something I just have to learn to live with? Comcast guide would scroll through 100 channels in 2 seconds if I held the button.

    I guess that's it for now. Thanks!
  2. bhelton71

    bhelton71 Cutting Edge: ECHELON '09

    Mar 7, 2007

    I believe the swm3 is the latest dish design, and the HR2x's are all identical in functionality. The newest 'in the wild' model is the HR23 - which basically is a cost reduced model compared to the 21/22 but has the same size hdd as the 22.

    You can press format on your remote to cycle thru 'stretch' and 'pillarbox' settings to get rid of the bars on any true 4:3 programming. However if it is a 4:3 picture on a black overlay that is originating from the broadcaster - I think your options are limited to using a zoom function on your tv.

    The transponder question is a little out my league - but if I understand correctly it is a physical device on the satellite that transmits a group of channels. I believe it may be some sort of wave guide. Also I believe the satellites have a lot more than 32 - but that is the number DirecTV uses in practice, the others being reserved as spares or spot beams.

    The guide is what it is. If you have your video settings on 'Native' you may try turning that off - it does speed it up some, but I don't think it will go thru 100 channels in 2 secs.
  3. dettxw

    dettxw MRVing

    Nov 21, 2007
    Choctaw, OK
    1 - The HR22-100 is a standard HD DVR, I think it comes with a little bigger hard drive than the stock drive in my HR20-700s. The HR20-700s are no longer made but they have an OTA tuner and I just added external 1TB eSATA hard drives. :)
    Also, the HR20-700s are the CE unit of choice.

    There are reports that the SWM3 is susceptible to having problems in really cold weather.

    2 - There is in the ballpark of 6 channels per transponder, search enough and you can find out for sure or someone who knows will post. Here is a place where you can find a transponder map.

    3 - Stretched SD!? God forbid! Don't do it!!
    Don't worry about plasma burn-in. Just don't leave the TV on 24/7.

    4 - Look and see if these undocumented tips & tricks help any.

    Welcome to DBSTalk!
  4. kjjb0204

    kjjb0204 Cool Member

    Jan 24, 2009
    Thanks for your replies! I don't know if I'll get into the technical side as to why and how it works, as long as it works. Picture is great. It will take me some time to memorize the channel numbers, and the slow guide will take some patience, but all-in-all, saving $60 per month for more HD is totally worth it!
  5. BattleZone

    BattleZone Hall Of Fame

    Nov 13, 2007
    A transponder is a transmitter that transmits a signal in response to a received signal. In this case, a signal is sent from a ground station to the satellite on one set of frequencies, and the satellite converts that signal to (in this case) a lower frequency and sends it back down to Earth. Each transponder is like a radio or TV station; it transmits its information on a set, known frequency that can be picked up with the proper reception equipment. Just like when you tune your radio to 101.5 FM, or your TV to channel 7.

    In the early days of satellite, the signals were analog, and only one TV channel was possible per transponder. Most early satellites only had 16 transponders, meaning they could carry 16 TV channel feeds. Later satellites used different, higher frequencies and had 24 transponders, and eventually even higher frequencies with 32 transponders.

    The other big change was digital TV signals. By converting signals to digital, and using "lossy" digital compression, it was possible to fit multiple TV channels on each transponder. Reducing the resolution of the TV signals, and/or increasing the rate of compression, allows more channels to fit on a transponder, but at the expense of picture quality. Sat TV providers (and increasingly cable and Uverse) have to balance their customers' desire for lots of channels with the desire for good picture quality, and each provider has found their own balance.

    A good resource for finding which channels are transmitted on which sat/transponder can be found at Lyngsat:


    While not always 100% up to date, it's usually pretty accurate.
  6. bakers12

    bakers12 ΔS > 0

    May 29, 2007
    Chicago -...
    You can turn off the slow scrolling in the Guide by going into the setup menu (Menu -> Parental, Fav's & Setup -> System Setup -> Display. Select the Scrolling Effects option and turn it Off.
  7. bakers12

    bakers12 ΔS > 0

    May 29, 2007
    Chicago -...
    I found that if I set my TV's aspect ratio to 16:9 and use the Format button on the remote to select Original format, then the picture will always fill the screen (personally, I prefer Pillar Box). As stated already, if the pillar bars are added in by a content provider, you're stuck with them.
  8. kevinturcotte

    kevinturcotte Active Member

    Dec 19, 2006
    Where in New England are you? Just curious about your locals with the SWM3. Must be in Boston if you're getting ALL of the locals (Including the SD ones).
  9. davring

    davring Hall Of Fame

    Jan 13, 2007
    Some TV sets will let you "zoom" which will eliminate the pillar bars along with the top and bottom portion of the picture, if you prefer.
  10. bwaldron

    bwaldron Impossible Dreamer

    Oct 24, 2005
    Correct, many recent HDTVs allow use of their various "stretch" modes to HD as well as SD channels.
  11. bobnielsen

    bobnielsen Éminence grise

    Jun 29, 2006
    Burn-in problems aren't much of an issue with recent Plasma sets. Occasionally I can see some effects after viewing pillar box content, but it goes away after a few minutes of full-screen viewing. OTOH, I hate stretched programming.

    The HR22 and HR23 aren't very different. The HR23 has a wideband tuner which doesn't require B-Band Converters, but with a SWM system you don't need them anyway.

    The cold temperature problem is with WNC LNBs. Eagle Aspen LNBs seem to do OK.

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