Why Does Satellite TV Need a Telephone Land Line?

By Micah Gordon

Satellite TV installation usually requires a professional technician.
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Satellite television is a popular alternative to digital cable, especially in more remote areas that may have no access or limited access to wired cable. While satellite offers certain perks over cable, there are also certain limitations. For example, a land-based phone line is typically required to receive this service.


Most satellite television companies require a land-based phone line during initial installation and setup to gather certain information about your geography. For instance, the satellite company will use the area code from your phone line to determine which sports blackouts apply to your area. As this is typically the only time a phone line is mandatory, it may be possible to cancel your phone service after installation. Check with your satellite company before doing so.


Many satellite television companies require a phone line for DVRs to function properly. Depending on the service, a land line may only be required to order pay-per-view programming, or it may be required for all DVR functions. Typically, if you don't have a land line, you can still program your DVR through the satellite company's website.

Sports Packages

A phone line typically allows you to subscribe to sports packages such as NFL Sunday Ticket directly from your set-top receiver instead of through the website or over the phone. It may also give you near-instant access to these packages and services after ordering, whereas there may be a delay when ordering by other means. If you decide to purchase a package the day of an important game, a phone line could ensure that you don't miss any of the action.

Supplementary Services

Certain additional services may only be available with a land-based phone connection. For example, DirecTV requires a connection to create a profile, track performance, accumulate prizes and challenge friends in the Game Show Network Game Lounge.