DirecTV Receiver Problems

By Russell Huebsch

Updated September 28, 2017

DirecTV offers consumer entertainment packages through receivers that draw signals from orbiting satellites. New users unfamiliar with this relatively recent technology may experience problems receiving signals or setting up their receiver to work with a home theater system. Most problems with DirecTV receivers are easily corrected user errors.


DirecTV provides cable programming and High Definition channels through a satellite system. DirecTV's company information page claims that its satellite technology was the first to offer a remote controlled programming guide and remote pay per view ordering. They claim to employ more than 16,000 people and have been awarded several Emmys for their television technology.

Blank Screen

One of the most common issues with a DirecTV receiver is a display problem that results in a blank or static screen. On rare occasions the receiver might actually be defective, but the vast majority of cases are either wrong settings or an improper set up by the user. Most televisions need to be set to channel 3 or 4 for the DirecTV receiver to output a signal.

Can't Find Signal

A user may also suspect that the DirecTV is malfunctioning when they receive an on-screen message that the system is searching for a signal. This can be a temporary problem or an issue with the installation. Inclement weather can often disrupt the feed that the satellite sends to the dish, but usually only for a few moments. This message also appears when the receiver is not properly connected to the satellite dish.

Sound Issues

A third major type of problem is audio distortion or no audio delivered with the picture. This is almost always a user side problem, assuming that you are receiving a picture without any issues. Audio problems often result from TV sound settings being too low or damage to the cables connecting the receiver and the TV. For surround sound, some DirecTV receivers do not possess surround sound capabilities and, thus give the illusion of a malfunction.


According to the DirecTV troubleshooting page, for signal issues, waiting a few minutes for the system to correct for any disruptions is the first step one should take before calling support. If that does not work, turning off the receiver and unplugging it, and then turning the system back on after 15 seconds should resolve any internal errors with the system. Other problems are also usually user-based and require a quick check to ensure that everything is connected, powered on and adjusted for the correct settings.