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  • What do the Legacy Ports do on a DIRECTV multiswitch?

    If you have an external DIRECTV multiswitch, in other words one that's not built into the dish, you've probably noticed a set of ports on the side marked "Legacy." There are three legacy ports on the SWM-8, and four on the SWM-16. Chances are, you've never had a reason to use them, and maybe just now you've gotten bored enough to wonder what they do, so you did a google search and landed here.

    The Legacy ports are designed to allow you to use older receivers with your SWM multiswitch. At this point, the number of receivers that still work but aren't SWM-compatible is pretty slim, since DIRECTV discontinued support for all pre-2003 receivers and started supporting SWM with its 2006 models. Still, even with old receivers breaking and being retired, there are still probably hundreds of thousands of DIRECTV receivers from that three year period. People like to hang onto them because they like the user interface or because they actually own the receiver (DIRECTV moved to a lease model in about 2007.)

    That's what the legacy ports are for. You can plug any receiver into them that's designed to work with a non-SWM dish and it will work. In fact, it's an easy way to add a few more receivers to your system, as long as you don't mind that they won't be able to share programming.

    There are two more reasons to use those ports. Professionals who install the SWM-8 will use the Legacy 3 port connected to the power inserter so that they can use a single 1x8 switch and connect 8 receivers. The SWM-16 has a dedicated power port so the Legacy ports aren't used that way.

    However, if you understand the risks, you can connect a second SWM to the four legacy ports on a SWM-16. It's called "cascading" and we explain what you'll need to know in this handy tutorial.

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    Comments 5 Comments
    1. Curt84302's Avatar
      Curt84302 -
      while we are at it, lets talk about the flex ports as well. they are interchangeable, and handle signals from the 95 satellite (International) and 72.5 which was, and maybe still is, a local in some areas of the country.
    1. VOS's Avatar
      VOS -
      The legacy ports on the SWM8 don't pass the Ka-lo so you're pretty much stuck with SD.
      The legacy ports on the SWiM-16 do pass Ka-lo but these ports are -10 dB below the input levels so feeding another switch isn't the best idea.
    1. Renaysmt's Avatar
      Renaysmt -
      Hi we are going from Direct to an Ota antenna and have this multi switch that our 4 tvs are connected to. We bought an omni directional antena that supports up to 8 tvs and came with a really directional switch. Can i use the Direct tv multi switch and the existing coax to connect the antena to my 4 tvs?
    1. Renaysmt's Avatar
      Renaysmt -
      Sorry a re directional power switch.
    1. Stuart Sweet's Avatar
      Stuart Sweet -
      I'm sorry you cannot use a DIRECTV multiswitch for that purpose. Any cheap splitter will do fine.