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TV Answer Man: Can I Watch 4 Channels at Once?
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (March 4, 2013) - Editor's Note: TV's Answer Man, aka Swanni, takes your questions regarding how to best use the latest products and services in TV technology. If you have a question about TV technology, ask TV's Answer Man by sending an e-mail to

Q. I have DIRECTV and I like to follow several shows at the same time, particularly newscasts and sporting events. Is there a way to do this efficiently without hitting each program's channel number over and over again? Or, is there a way to watch four or five different channels on the screen at the same time? -- Bennie, Brooklyn, New York.

DIRECTV offers a channel (ch. 205) called Sports Mix that displays eight different sports channels on screen at the same time. (The satcaster used to have a similar news-oriented channel called News Mix, but removed it late last year.)

One caution, though: Sports Mix's eight channel display is in standard-definition and it's not pretty to look at. Downright ugly, actually. But if you just want to follow eight different sports channels at the same time, it does the trick. However, take note: You can't select the channels; DIRECTV does that for you. (By the way, other TV providers, such as
Cablevision, offer multiple-view channels as well.)

Of course, some TVs also have Picture-in-Picture capability which allows you to watch two channels at the same time.

Beside those options, DIRECTV also has a little trick that makes it a lot easier to follow four different channels at the same. Here's how it works:

1. Press the INFO button on the DIRECTV remote.

2. Press the ARROW button to scroll to the right.

3. Use the SELECT button to choose 'Last 4' -- the last four channels you've watched.

4. Then, pick the channel you want to watch from the list of channels that appears on screen. (See the example below.)

It may not be the same as watching four channels at once, but it does speed up the process of tracking four different games or news channels at the same.

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