What dish do you need for international programming on DIRECTV?

It’s called the WorldDIRECT dish and you can buy it here. This dish is designed to pick up DIRECTV standard definition service as well as most international programming, with the exception of those channels in the DIRECTV En Español package. That package doesn’t need a separate dish.

DIRECTV has packages for speakers Russian, Korean, Chinese, Arabic, and others, plus national channels from several Latin American countries. All of this programming sits on a satellite orbiting at the 95 degree orbital slot. Other DIRECTV programming destined for US audiences comes from satellites sitting at the 99, 101, 103, and 119 slots. As a result, a special dish is needed that can see both DIRECTV’s 101 slot and the 95 slot, and this dish can only see those satellite locations… meaning no HD service unless you add a second dish.

Why is it so hard to get international programming? DIRECTV added international programming at the same time they were doing a massive HD expansion, and at that time the HD channels ate up all of their capacity. International programs were mostly in SD, so DIRECTV used a satellite location that they were leasing for Latin American use. The satellite that carries DIRECTV’s international programming uses a slightly different broadcasting technology than other DIRECTV satellites, so adding the ability to see this location would have added cost for millions of subscribers who didn’t need it. It would also have made the DIRECTV dish larger than 1 meter (39″) wide, meaning some homeowners’ associations would not allow those dishes and there would be nothing the government could do to protect you.

If you do want both HD programming and international programing, you’ll need a second dish. Once you have both, they can be fed into the same SWM module so only one wire needs to go to each receiver. This is becoming a more common install for people with grandparents or other relatives who want programming from home but who still want to get great HD programing.

Other good news– DIRECTV’s international programming works with Genie DVRs and all the current equipment DIRECTV offers will receive both HD and internatonal. If you’re a 4K fan, though, you’ll need to wait just a few months because the current 4K dish can’t be combined with an international dish quite yet. Don’t fear though, there absolutely will be a solution that will let you get SD, HD, 4K and international programming using two dishes.

Will DIRECTV ever go to a single dish solution that will let you get international programming and other HD/4K programming? I tend to think the answer is “Yes.” Unfortunately, I don’t see it happening until early in the next decade. When DIRECTV stops SD service for English language programming they’ll be decommissioning several satellites. This will cause DIRECTV to rearrange a lot of channels and at that time they could easily move international programming to some of the remaining transponders at the 101 satellite location. While this location is mostly used for SD, it won’t be going away, as it’s used for several critical DIRECTV features like guide data and new software for the receivers. Certainly, DIRECTV’s bean counters would welcome the opportunity to stop leasing that 95 degree location for US usage.

If you’re looking for a solution that lets grandma watch programming from home while you watch the latest sports and premium channels, give Solid Signal a call at 888-233-7563 and we can help get you all the equipment you need, and even help arrange for installation if you can’t install it yourself..

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.