DirecTV's Live 4K TV Channel - What You Need To Know

How to get live and pre-recorded 4K programming via satellite on DirecTV

Illustration of a person watching DirecTV channel 104 on an HDTV

Lifewire / Alex Dos Diaz


4K Ultra HD has been with us for a while, with a large selection of both high-end and affordable TVs. Content is available on a more consistent basis but still needs to grow for Ultra HD TV owners to get the full benefit 4K.

4K content is primarily available via internet streaming and Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc.

Two areas where availability of 4K content is still lagging is over-the-air broadcast and cable.

Comcast 4K content can only be viewed on some LG and Samsung, and other select 4K UHD TVs.

  • On the satellite front, both Dish, and DirecTV offer pre-recorded 4K movie content.

4K Live via DirecTV Satellite

DirecTV offers three 4K Ultra HD Channels. Channels 104 and 105 are full-time channels, and Channel 106 is a part-time channel.

  • Channel 104 offers pre-recorded content with an emphasis on documentaries, travel, and original series, as well as a Saturday night concert series.
  • Channel 105 provides pre-recorded pay-per-view movies.
  • Channel 106 is primarily reserved for special live events.

DirecTV's Live 4K TV programming is limited but growing. Some events are seasonal and include Major League Baseball, the NBA, College Football and Basketball (including select March Madness matches) English Premier League Soccer, the annual Masters Golf Tournament, and more. Check out their continually updated schedule (includes live and pre-recorded programs).

Select live programming is HDR-encoded (HLG format). If your 4K TV is not compatible with HLG, you are still able to view the content in 4K without that extra benefit.

What You Need To Receive DirecTV's Live 4K Channel

To receive DirecTV's 4K channels, you need to have a Direct-TV compatible 4K Ultra HD "RVU" TV (specific DirecTV 4K-Ready TVs are provided by Samsung, LG, and Sony) in conjunction with the DirecTV Genie Model HR54 or HS17 Set-Top box. You also have to subscribe to DirecTV's Select or above program package.

For those that own a 4K Ultra HD TV that is not DirecTV 4K certified, you are still able to receive 4K broadcasts and content, with the addition of an extra client box (Genie Mini C61K or later) — Contact DirecTV for specific installation details.

Features of the DirecTV Genie HR54

If you have the required DirecTV 4K-ready TV and need to upgrade to the DirecTV Genie HR54 Receiver/HD-DVR, here are some other features that you will get:

  • Tuners: The Genie HR54 has 5 Built-in Tuners. However, keep in mind that there are only three 4K channels available.
  • Built-in DVR Storage: 1 Terabyte
  • HDMI-CEC: This is a control feature available via HDMI that will automatically set your TV to the correct input when turned on.
  • Picture-in-Picture: You can watch two channels (up to 1080p) on the screen at the same time in a side-by-side display format.
  • Movies via the Internet: DirecTV offers movie titles and TV shows-on-Demand available when the HR54 is connected to the internet via Ethernet connection.
  • Transport Control: Pause and rewind live TV for up to 90 minutes as well as slow-motion, and instant replay. You can also Fast-forward in 30-second intervals and get a high-speed look at the show you've recorded (or pass through any commercials).
  • Off-Site Control: You can enable recording from via a cell phone or PC with a special app installed.
  • TV Program Recording Options: For TV programs, you can record single TV episodes or an entire season or series.
  • Connectivity - Video: 1 HDMI Output (meets HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 specifications), 1 set component video outputs (not 4K compatible), 1 composite video output (standard resolution only).
  • Connectivity - Audio: 1 digital coaxial, 1 digital optical, 1 analog stereo (Note: The HDMI output also transfers audio signals).
  • Additional Connectivity: 1 satellite In, 1 RF antenna, 2 USB ports (front/rear), 1 Ethernet port, 1 eSATA port (for connection of compatible external hard drives, 1 AC power inlet connector.
  • Alexa Control: Some features of the HR54 can be voice controlled via an Amazon Echo device via the enabling of the DirecTV Alexa Skill.

For specific details on any additional DirecTV equipment you might need, including installation (DirecTV requires professional installation for its 4K equipment), refer to the Official DirecTV Main and 4K Technology Pages.

The Bottom Line

If you have a 4K Ultra HD TV, the most flexible 4K viewing options are via internet streaming services (especially Netflix, Amazon, Vudu, and YouTube), or via 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs.

As of 2019, 4K via over-the-air TV broadcasts are not yet available, and 4K via cable and satellite is scarce. However, if you are DirecTV subscriber, and have a compatible TV, upgrading to their 4K service is an option to consider.