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

How To Access Live 4K Programming Via Satellite On DirecTV

DirecTV 4K-Enabled HR54 HD/DVR
DirecTV 4K-Enabled HR54 HD/DVR. Image provided by DirecTV

4K Ultra HD has been with us for a few years now, with a large selection of both high-end and affordable TVs, and with that, content availability is finally starting to pick up.

4K content is available via internet streaming, downloads via Sony's 4K Media Server, and now via Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc.

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

However, two areas where the availability of 4K content is still lagging behind is over-the-air broadcast and cable. Standards have been adopted for 4K over-the-air TV broadcasts, and actual field testing has begun. However, as of 2017, it looks like it will be around 2020 before we see both routine broadcasts and a sufficient number of available TVs with tuners that can receive them.

On cable, things are also progressing slowly as Comcast is the only major cable provider to offer a 4K service, which includes access to Netflix 4K streaming content. However, Comcast 4K content can only be viewed on some LG and Samsung 4K UHD TVs.

4K Live Via Satellite

DirecTV offers up three 4K Ultra HD Channels. Channels 104 and 105 are full-time channels, and Channel 106 is a part-time channel. Channel 104 offers up a mix of pre-recorded and live content, channel 105 provides pre-recorded pay-per-view movies, and channel 106 is primarily reserved for special live events.

As of 2017, DirecTV's Live 4K TV programming offerings are limited but does include Major League Baseball, the NBA, College Football, English Premier League Soccer, the annual Masters Golf Tournament, and more. Check out their continually updated schedule (includes live and pre-recorded programs).

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

Of course, to receive DirecTV's live 4K channel, you need to have a Direct-TV compatible 4K Ultra HD TV (specific DirecTV 4K-Ready TVs are provided by Samsung, LG, and Sony) in conjunction with the DirecTV Genie Model HR54 4K compatible Satellite receiver/DVR. You also have to subscribe to DirecTV's Select or above program package. If you have all the pieces to the puzzle already, then you are set to go.

For those that own a 4K Ultra HD TV that is not DirecTV 4K certified, you may still be able to receive 4K broadcasts and content, with the addition of an extra 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 two 4K channels available - the pre-recorded on-demand channel, and the live channel.
  • 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 side-by-side display format).
  • Movies via the Internet: DirecTV offers extensive Movie titles and TV shows-on-Demand available when the HR54 is connected to the internet via Ethernet connection.
  • Transport Control: The HR54 allows pausing and rewinding of live TV programming 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.O 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.

For specific details on the additional DirecTV equipment you need, including installation, for a complete DirecTV system, refer to the Official DirecTV Main and 4K Technology Pages.

The Bottom Line

If you have a 4K Ultra HD TV and you desire to access a lot of 4K content, the most flexible options are via internet streaming services (especially Netflix, Amazon, Vudu, and YouTube), or via 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs. As of 2017, and going into 2018, accessing 4K via over-the-air TV broadcasts are not yet available, and 4K via cable and satellite is still scarce. However, if you are DirecTV subscriber, and you have a compatible LG, Samsung, or Sony TV, upgrading to their 4K service is an option to consider.