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Living with a (DirecTV) Genie in the House


A while back, I told you guys about the release of DirecTV’s top-of-the-line HD DVR, the Genie. Shortly after that announcement, I got my hands on one of the boxes, and have been using it as my main DVR for the last 6 months or so. I figured now that I’ve been using it for a while, I’d share some of my experiences.

directv genie 11

I’ll start out by saying that I’ve been a DirecTV subscriber for over 10 years now, so I’m pretty familiar with all of the receivers and DVRs they’ve offered over the years. I have to say that their hardware and software has truly come a long way in that time.

The Genie itself is a fairly non-descript black box, with touch-sensitive blue backlit controls on front. But under the hood, it’s a real powerhorse. This single box is capable of recording not one or two shows at the same time, but five. This means it’s almost impossible that a conflict will ever prevent you from missing a show. If you want to take advantage of the whole-home capability of the Genie, there’s a small network adapter box called a DECA that sits on top of the Genie, which basically creates a LAN over satellite wiring so it can stream content to other locations in your home.

On the back of the Genie, you’ll find a single satellite Coax connector, an Ethernet port, HDMI, S-Video, Composite and Component outputs, as well as a coax digital audio output. There’s also an SATA port for adding more hard drive space, a USB port (for future use), and a phone jack (which isn’t really necessary if you have it hooked up to the Internet). It’s also got an IR port so you can add an IR receiver inside of a media cabinet, though the remote supports RF mode, so this isn’t really needed.

direct genie menu

Thanks to its generous 1TB hard drive, you’re able to record up to 200 hours of HD programming or 800 hours of SD. I’m an avid TV and movie watcher, and so far, I’ve yet to fill up more than 20% of the Genie. Despite recording dozens of HD programs each week, most of the time, I’m only using about 15 to 18% most of the time. I’ve even saved some movies and programs from many months ago that I haven’t gotten around to, since I never have to worry about running out of space. And the live TV buffer is great, constantly recording up to 90 minutes of programming, so you can even record a program which started as much as an hour and a half ago – assuming you were tuned to that channel.

The HD DVR capability is as good as I’ve experienced on any box, with fast, responsive play, pause, fast-forward and rewind controls with four selectable speeds. There’s also the ability to jump in 15 minute increments if you want to quickly jump ahead. It’s also smart enough to jump back a second or so when you resume playing from fast-forwarding, accounting for your reaction time. It also supports frame-by-frame, slow-motion playback, a 30-second skip and a 6-second replay capability.

directv genie dvr

Searching for programming on the Genie is fast and easy, with an interface DirecTV calls “Smart Search.” This allows you to alphabetically search for programming based on program name, actors and even directors in one unified view. The interface is even smart enough to sort the results based on popularity. For instance – keying in a “W” brings up “The Walking Dead” right at the top of the list.

directv genie smart search 3

You can record individual programs, set up a series pass, and decide whether or not you want to record new episodes, repeats or both. There’s also the ability to record extra time at the beginning or end of a program in case you’re recording a show which might be delayed by a sporting event – as happens with The Amazing Race virtually every week.

directv genie scheduler

To Record a program directly from live TV or the program guide, simply press the orange “R” button on the remote, and to record the entire series, press it a second time.

The Genie can also recommend programs on the basis of your viewing history. While the interface for this is nice and easy to use, I found the results to be pretty hit or miss. My wife and I mostly watch shows like Game of Thrones and Breaking Bad, but most of the recommendations I got were for reality shows – presumably because when we do record those, there are more episodes of those programs than the dramas we watch. To be honest, I didn’t get much value out of these recommendations.

directv genie recommends

On the other hand, the contextual recommendation capability is absolutely brilliant. You can be looking at the details for a specific program or series, and you can get recommendations related to that show or movie. You can even choose programs based on the same cast or crew.

directv contextual recommendations

The Genie also provides access to DirecTV’s library of Pay-Per-View and On Demand programming. I’ve always liked how they integrate the titles of movies and shows directly into the interface, so you can immediately access the show without digging for it inside of deeper menus.

directv genie ppv

There’s also direct access to a full On Demand library for premium channels like HBO, Showtime, Cinemax and Starz – assuming you subscribe to these services. Keep in mind that On Demand programs require a broadband Internet connection, and if you have a slow connection, you might have to allow the program to buffer for a while before watching. I have a fast cable Internet connection, so this wasn’t a problem for me.

directv on demand

Additional, though less frequently used bells and whistles of the Genie include a picture-in-picture capability, as well as YouTube and Pandora support. All three work admirably, but are pretty utilitarian in their interfaces.

directv genie pip

PIP is handy at times, but if you’ve got YouTube or Pandora on other devices, these versions are nothing to write home about. That said, it’s great to be able to occasionally access these services without having to switch to another device. You can also access photos and music stored on PCs on your network if you’ve connected the Genie to your home computer network.

directv genie extras

One of the nifty things about the Genie is that when you add on the whole-home DVR service is that it allows you to fully replicate all of the capabilities of the main unit in other rooms. All you do is plug in a small digital adapter box called the “Genie Mini” in each room with a TV, connect it to the satellite cabling and your TV, and you can watch anything from the main DVR. You can even pause a show in one room and resume it in another. In addition, you can record and manage programs from other rooms as well. It’s really just like using the main Genie box.

directv genie remote stb

In order to use the Genie, you’ll need to have a SWM compatible slimline dish from DirecTV, and in my case, they came out and upgraded my old giant 5-LNB dish to a more compact SWM dish. The Genie also offers support for receiving 3D programming, and I can confirm that even if the TV hooked up to your main Genie box doesn’t support 3D and other TVs in the house do, you can still watch 3D on those other sets.

The Genie integrates with DirecTV’s mobile apps, available for iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices. These apps allow you to search for programs remotely and set them to record even when you’re away from home. They also offer limited support for playback of some content directly on your mobile device – though it would be nice to be able to use the apps as a true Genie client. There’s no technical reason this can’t be done in future – but there may be licensing limitations which prevent this.

directv mobile

Overall, I’ve been extremely impressed with the Genie. It’s much faster and more stable than my past DVRs, and certainly way more capable. Its user interface is easy to use, fast and responsive, and it really does provide tremendous flexibility – especially in a multi-TV home.

The five tuner capability has eliminated the worry about potentially missing a program that is only run once – which used to happen to me during my busy Sunday night programming schedule. I can’t tell you how nice it is to never have to go in and adjust the priority of recordings, because it’s really a non-issue for all but the most voracious of TV viewers. Plus, its seemingly unending storage capacity gives you the freedom to truly watch a program when you want – even if it’s six months later (assuming it’s not a PPV program which can have an expiration date.)

You can find out more information about the Genie and how to order or upgrade to one over at DirecTV.

Disclosure: DirecTV provided the equipment for review in this article. However, all reviews are the unbiased views of our editorial staff, and we will only recommend products or services we have used personally, and believe will be good for our readers.

Comments (84):

  1. H.T.II says:

    Good review. A note of correction though;

    The “Genie” (Specifically the model “HR34″ receiver or its successor the new “HR44″) does not require an external DECA for streaming programming to other networked receivers or RVU clients (such as the “Genie Minis”) in the “Whole Home” environment. But is internal as are the DECAs for other of the latest receivers released by DIRECTV.

    Not sure what the small box atop the Genie you referred to in the article is, but perhaps is a “Cinema Connection Kit” (CCK) which is not needed for Whole Home sharing, but to allow the networked receivers comprising an overall “DECA cloud” access to the internet or rest of the home network. And if the Genie is sufficiently close to the router or other home network ethernet switch which leads back to the router is also not necessary since the Genie actually has a CCK functionality built in, and only requires a single ethernet patch from the Genie’s ethernet port to a home network’s router or switch to provide a CCK shared by the entire DECA cloud of networked receivers.

    • Paul Strauss says:

      Thanks for the clarification about the Cinema Connection Kit. My router is on the other side of the room and the installer plugged my wi-fi to ethernet bridge into the CCK box, so that makes sense.

      • H.T.II says:

        While that is certainly a workable solution for a wireless CCK connection, a CCK ethernet patched to a WiFi adapter. The installer/technician really should have given you a WiFi-enabled CCK (“DCCK-W”) which has the CCK and WiFi adapter functionality integrated into one unit along with a variety of flexible connection options to the networked receivers and/or RVU clients (like the Genie Minis) of the DECA cloud.

        • Paul Strauss says:

          Oddly enough, the box actually does say DECA Broadband Adapter on the bottom, and not anything about being a CCK. Everything works great though, so I don’t want to mess with it :P

  2. Hunter says:

    Thanks for the great write up on the Genie, Paul. I thought it might be good to read up on the competition since I work for DISH. The Genie is impressive, and it has some cool sounding features. I could probably go back and forth comparing them to my DISH Hopper DVR, but I think the Hopper’s built in Sling wins it for me. I can stream all of my live TV channels, and DVR recordings to my phone/tablet and pc. I use mine when I go fishing, because I would rather watch a Rockies baseball game, than listen to it on the radio.

    • Shill Murderer says:

      Nice on-the-job plug for work Hunter. I’ll give you a crumb for actually stating where you work. But, it’s still an inappropriate shill advertising post none the less, and a blatant one at that. There isn’t a shred of integrity or honesty available in anything you’ve just written.

      It would be wonderful to just once read the comments from a product review online, and not see any evidence of disgusting shills. This was the absolute best review of the Genie that I’ve read so far by the way (though, it still doesn’t give me any info. on possible conflicts with separate viewers in the home on one single DVR). I’m really surprised that the Technabob staff haven’t deleted this obvious shill’s post by now, though.

      I mean he might as well have had made his username “Dish Satellite Propaganda Commercial”, because it’s just a poorly constructed ruse that is no different, to me, than “Hunter” coming here and simply posting a link to Dish’s website, their phone number, and the prices of their deals. That is basically all his post is, why allow this pathetic spam in your comment section? Is it because complimented your review, in a veiled attempt at gaining your favor and not deleting his spam.

      • Paul Strauss says:

        The only reason we didn’t remove the comment was that it didn’t include any spammy links. While I agree that it is a thinly-veiled attempt to plug a competitor, it doesn’t do anything which explicitly violates our spam or offensive comment policies.

  3. George says:

    Paul, how does the Genie perform as far as recording properly? The Hopper does very poorly. Many shows are chopped off at various places. I have had it chop a show in two, only record a few minutes, chop off the end. Also do the minis work good? The Joey locks up occasionally, it does not show the same status that the main Hopper does, lots of pixelation when starting. It looks like one of the pictures above you can have a list of shows to scroll through instead of the giant icons that the Hopper fills the screen with that takes forever to wade through. Oh and the Hopper is only 1TB unless you use the Primetime anytime which is unusable for other reasons.

    • Paul Strauss says:

      I’ve never had any problem with the Genie missing any recordings or cutting them off. Sure, if you set a program to record that runs over its allotted time slot, and don’t tell it in advance that you want to record extra, that could be an issue, but other than that, it has no problem with recordings.

      I’ve had no issues with the mini either – though it’s just a hair slower to respond to the remote than the main base station.

  4. mike says:

    Question: If the genie is stored in a closed cabinet under a book shelf, does the remote still work?

  5. Scott says:

    Paul: I am moving this week and am in the process of updating my TV capabilities. I just bought a Smart TV and I’m 100% sold on going with Direct TV and the Genie. I am far from savvy regarding technology. Should I have my high-speed internet already hooked up before having the Direct TV agent install my satelite, Genie, etc? I just want to be sure I have all of the great bells and whistles that Direct TV and the Genie offer without having any bumps in the process…

    • Paul Strauss says:

      Scott: Yes, ideally, you should have your high-speed Internet installed first, or else you won’t be able to utilize the streamed on-demand content features. It should also make setup easier if you already have the Internet connection, so you won’t have to do any configuration yourself, and the installer can do it all.

  6. Rich Y says:

    “And the live TV buffer is great, constantly recording up to 90 minutes of programming, so you can even record a program which started as much as an hour and a half ago – assuming you were tuned to that channel.”

    Could someone clarify the above statement. I previously had two HR24′s and two receivers all running stand alone. I upgraded my system by replacing one HR24 with a HR34 and the two receivers with mini clients keeping one of the HR24′s with all now connected whole home.

    With the HR24 you can back up as much as 90 minutes if the receiver has been tuned to a channel for that long with no requirement to “record”. For instance, my wife tuned the DVR to NBC before turning it off at night. When she got up the next morning, even as late as 8:30, she could back up that channel as much as 90 minutes to the start of the Today show. If she wanted to she could watch NBC all day delayed by 90 minutes as long as she didn’t switch the DVR off that channel. It appears that you can’t do that with the Genie(or at least she tells me you can’t do it).

    Did the simple backup function go away on the Genie?

  7. Susan L says:

    I’m having the same problem not being able to back up my show the next morning on the same channel I left it on when I went to bed. Every once in a while the screen will prompt me to press the reverse arrow to watch from the beginning, but there is no rhyme or reason when the message will appear. I’ve called Directv 4 times, and no one could give me an answer, even when transferred to a supervisor. This happens on my main tv with the Genie and my bedroom TV with the mini. In my old HD DVR I could also flip between the two timers with the button the top right hand side so I could watch two programs that were buffered. My other problem is that the mini skips and freezes. I’m about ready to give the whole thing back and switch to my old equipment. Does anyone know where I can get help from someone who not only knows how to operate the equipment but who will also admit to its flaws? Thanks for any help and suggestions.

    • Rich Y says:

      I think you get the prompt that you can back up to the beginning of the program if you turn the tuner on and you are recording the program that’s on the tuned channel.

  8. Susan L says:

    I wish it was that easy. It happens on programs I don’t record. Anyone else out there?

  9. Jordy says:

    Thanks for the review! I LOVE how you have TOP GEAR on there :)

  10. whatup says:

    Does this Genie have the listening/watching in house function? That is, can Directv watch/hear/record you in your house? Is that why they are offering a free upgrade?

  11. Matt says:

    I have a question about the types of tvs needed. Do they all need to be smart tvs, or can I use my older (like 5 years not 30) tvs with the “Genie mini” boxes. I love the idea of the Genie, but don’t really want to buy all new tvs.

    • Brenda says:

      You could hook it up to an old black & white if ya wanted to. There’s no need to buy new TV’s, it’ll hook up to the ones you already have.

  12. jon says:

    we just got the genie and 3 mini genies. is there a way to just record a show on one of the mini genies but not let it show on the main genie and the rest of the mini genies?

    • Rich Y says:

      You aren’t recording anything on the mini. Everything is on the Genie. The minis are just devices that access the Genie.

  13. Ashley says:

    Getting the genie and 2 mini genies set up next week and was just wondering if you can pause live tv from the mini genies? This will help me determine what room I want the genie set up in. Thanks!

  14. Rusty Shackleford. says:

    Here’s a good Genie review for you. We had the Genie and Genie ‘mini’ installed in the house yesterday…YESTERDAY. Installation guy was nice and everything went smooth as can be. But the remote on the mini has already stopped working with the reciever. Looked online, saw that LOTS of other ppl have had the same problem, tried every BS ‘reset’ suggestion for the reciever and the remote, and now I’m really looking forward to calling customer service & most likely being put on hold with the promise of a new new remote. My only comfort is the last channel I was on was ESPN. If it had been QVC or Lifetime I might literally ram my head through the wall. The truth is I was really having GREAT FUN with the whole Genie system and On Demand for the 8 hours or so that it worked. My whole beef is everything is brand-spankin’ new. Spankin’ is right. Like I said. Cant wait, can’t wait to call customer service & can’t wait for that first bill. Thanks DirecTv.

  15. Eddie says:

    I have some questions regarding the Genie:
    Let’s say I have the Genie in the Living rm and 3 other rooms the mini device that communicates back to the Genie, will I be able to have…

    1)Each TV have the option to record any show at the same time(on all TVs at once) and watch a view a different channel live.
    —I ask this since I currently have an HR22 and have two lines coming into both tuners which allow you to record a show on 1 tuner and watch another ch live on the 2nd.

    2)Block or privatize recordings to all other receivers all together or on a specific individual basis? (similar to what jon stated on 8/9)

    These are serious questions, so your feedback will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    • HoTat2 says:

      1) No, that would not be possible. The Genie Mini clients “borrow” from among the five tuners on the Genie server. So if four recordings are in progress (three initiated from the mini clients and one on the Genie server itself) that would be four tuners in use on the Genie server with only one remaining for viewing live TV on a channel not already being recorded by the other four. You would need more aggregate tuners in your setup by replacing the mini clients with HR2X DVRs for scenarios like this.

      2) No that would not be possible either. The playlist of an RVU client, whether the Genie mini or an RVU enabled TV, is essentially a mirror of whatever is on the Genie server.

      Again, essentially here as well, you would need separate H/HR2X receivers for options to block or allow playlist sharing instead of RVU clients.

      • Eddie says:

        Thank you. I have decided just to go with stand alone hddvrs for my required setup. DTV employees freaked out when I declined their much touted Genie with minie genie setup. They are really pushing for that type of setup. Unfortunately, my necessities do not fall in line with their agenda. Thanks again for your help.

        • Breeze says:

          You can block playlist s each client can have there own.
          Also you can use parental controls for ratings, specific channels, or shows.

          • Sheri Taylor says:

            How do I block playlists so each person can have their own? I have the big receiver and 2 minis, and don’t want my 7 yr old nephew to have my playlist on his TV. Direct told me I couldn’t block it, that we would all 3 have to have the same playlist on all of our TV’s.

  16. Brian 90065 says:

    I just got a Genie with the built in wifi and 2 Genie Mini units.

    So far I am very happy with the setup, this all replaced to older Directv HD DVRs so I was concerned.

    I love the single coax connection only requirement, makes wiring super easy, tried to order wireless Genie Mini’s but not available in Los Angeles as of 2 months ago.

    Picture seems great on both main Genie and Mini Genies……have had to reboot Mini’s a couple of times early on due to not being able to FF or rewind properly, also lots of Firmware updates were applying in the early going.

    Highly recommended.

  17. georgetv says:

    i have several stand alone dtv boxes would this replace all of them?

    • Paul Strauss says:

      Yes. You’ll just have a single base station Genie, and then the small Genie Minis in every other room.

      • georgetv says:

        so i set up the feeds to the various tv’s through the genie mini’s as if they were the boxes? and i can watch different channels from different sets?

        • Paul Strauss says:

          Well, DirecTV will have to install the system, since it’s a bit complex, but yeah, they’ll remove the old boxes, and in each room, you’ll get a Genie Mini which connects to the video input on your TV and to the satellite jack on the wall.

          The main Genie unit connects to the internet, so you’ll need to either have wired (preferred) or wireless internet connectivity where that’s placed.

          And yes, you can watch different channels on each one.

      • Fieldtech says:

        It may not be necessary to replace all of your boxes, but instead only replace the ones that are not Whole-Home compatible. if it were me, I would keep all of my existing HD-DVRs (excluding THR22) as they are Whole-Home compatible. If you keep them in your system, you will not lose any of your recordings, and you will be able to add their recording power to your system.

        For Example. If you had 3HR24′s and an H25, and you added a Genie to the system as a replacement for the H25. You would be able to keep ALL of your recordings, the 6 Recording tuners you have with the 3 HR24s would be added to the 5 that the Genie has, so you would be able to record up to 11 shows at a time. Also, you would have a combined total of 2.5TB of recording storage.

  18. Bob Wilson says:

    i have three receivers in my house. If I have a PROBLEM WITH one of them I have back up If i only have the Genie and it goes out am I of TV until I get Direct to come make repairs?

    • HoTat2 says:


      If you only have the Genie and the mini clients or RVU TVs, if the Genie as the WH server goes out all your TV viewing goes with it unfortunately.

      Thus the main drawback to the central home TV server approach.

      This is why many have chosen not to use the mini clients or RVU TVs, or at least have some mix between the two with the mini clients and TVs relegated to situations where space limitations are a concern and/or at locations where TV viewing is considered to be low.

    • Fieldtech says:

      In my opinion the optimal configuration with the Genie is to have 1 Genie, 1HD-DVR, and one HD Reciever. This will actually allow you to record up to 7 shows simultaneously, and you will not need to have any extra wires on the outside of your house. Also this gives you 3 technically independent receivers. Also DirecTV strives to make sure that customers have the shortest amount of downtime when there is a problem, in some cases Same-Day service is available.

  19. corey says:

    Can a mini Genie be placed on top or attached to a wall mounted tv. I have one tv that has no entertainment cabinet under?

    • Rich Y says:

      That would probably work. The mini is about 6″x4″ and 1″ thick and very light.

    • Paul Strauss says:

      You could certainly stick some heavy duty Velcro or 3M Command removable tape on it mount it on the back of a TV or your wall. Just be sure to find a cool spot on the back of your display if that’s where you decide to put it. You wouldn’t want to put it somewhere that the heat could damage the Genie or the adhesive.

      Also, since the Genie mini has small rubber feet on it, you’ll either need to remove those or put a few layers of foam tape or 3M Command tape to build up some thickness for the adhesive.

    • Fieldtech says:

      There is actually a wall mount kit for the Genie-Mini. It can be used in conjunction with an RF remote so you do not need to have direct line of sight. Personally i carry them on my truck, but you can also order them online.

  20. Jose Corona says:

    Everything is fine I love D Tv’s new boxes but, why can’t they up date the instructions, channel guide pamphlet what ever. All the remote program guides and customer info channel tips show the old remote. Thats great now how im i supposed to use the color buttons.

    • Fieldtech says:

      There is a new tip & tricks handbook out now. Just got them in recently for the Fall 2013 season. If you see a tech in the field just ask for a new one.

  21. Tiffany says:

    Hi there…I understand that the genie can record multiple shows but do you know if I am able to watch two different RECORDED shows at the same time in different rooms? Thanks!

    • HoTat2 says:


      The Genie as a Whole Home server can supply up to three simultaneous recorded (and live for RVU) program streams via MRV and/or RVU protocols for remote viewing on other networked clients such as DIRECTV H/HR2X receivers, Genie minis, and RVU enabled TVs.

  22. John says:

    I switched from Tivo to Genie with Directv. I agree, better than Tivo truly top line. One thing that I miss with the Genie is that on the Tivo you could have the time of day and the time of the recorded program that you are watching on the bottom of the screen. Is that possible with the Genie?

    • HoTat2 says:


      You just have to use the channel banner for current “time of day” and the “time of recording” stamp posted at the bottom under a show’s info. in your playlist.

  23. xxlightzoutxx says:

    Is there a way to flip the order of the channels with the genie… Just switched and its all backwards to me… Can that be changed at all (assuming not) I know dish had that option… So far the genie is great in quality

    • Fieldtech says:

      As of now, No…there just isn’t the Channels are always in Numerical order.

      However you can set up a Favorites list to eliminate a bunch of channels that you do not want to see in your guide…Personally i take out all of the Cinema Plus channels, and the Home Shopping channels….reduces the channel list a bunch.

  24. Katie says:

    We’ve been very happy with the Genie, except for the remote. The channel toggle switch is super sensitive and we’ve bumped it a number of times while watching a show slightly behind live mode, so we completely lose the recorded progress. We used to have Dish and it asked “do you want to switch to live mode?” which prevented accidental channel changes. Is there a setting I can change? Or is there a different remote I can get?

    • HoTat2 says:

      Regrettably no;

      Though there certainly have been requests to DIRECTV STB engineering to add this feature (even from me personally :) ) nothing has come of it unfortunately.

      And I well know the annoyance of it too. You accidentally sit on the remote, the pet jumps up on the bed or sofa and hits the channel change button, or you mistake the volume toggle button for the channel change one, or some other mishap, and you lose the buffer.

      I’ve actually missed this feature every since ReplayTV had it in the first PVR I ever owned circa 1999-2000.

      No, you simply have to discipline yourself to never place much reliance on the LB in DIRECTV’s boxes for an important program (though TIVO’s boxes behave the same way I think). Always record them or at least make sure you put the remote on a nearby sofa table or bedroom night stand when not in use to prevent accidental pressing of the keys.

  25. Fred says:

    Great review, I think that I’m ready to switch from Dish/Home-made DRV (Beyond TV)
    I have some questions:
    1. What DON’T you like about the Genie?
    2. Is internet required? How much bandwidth does it use (I have a mobile hotspot/limited data)
    3. How long Can I save recorded shows/movies PPV/HBO?
    4. Is the remote RF or IR? (think the answer is yes for both, but need to confirm)
    5. Does the box need to reboot at a certain time of the day to update the guide?
    6. Can the Genie/genie mini read DNLA devices?
    7. How big of a HD can be added to device for extra Storage (ie: 2, 3, 4TB, NAS)?
    8. What format are shows recorded in? MP4, H2.64, TP, etc.? can they be transferred/stored on multiple Ext-HDs?
    9. Does the Genie/genie mini meet ENERGY STAR?

    Thanks, Fred

    • HoTat2 says:

      1) Just some annoying bugs at present, such as the random nature of the live buffer when exiting a recorded show or tuning the box back on after sitting off for a while, the buffer information of a show airing that the Genie happens to be tuned to is sometimes there and other times not or empty. Also the new “HD” TV apps does not work well right now, nor is it customizable or is an Apps store for choice selections available any longer.

      2) No, but then you won’t have access to features like VOD (mostly anyhow), TV apps, DIRECTV2PC, a GenieGo cannot be installed, etc, without internet access. The bandwidth required varies depending on your connection speed, what internet required feature you are using, DIRECTV’s server conditions at the time, etc. And I would not recommend VOD downloads over mobile hotspot services as you will max-out your cap allotments very quickly.

      3)PPVs keep times vary from 48 hours to around a month or so depending on how recent the show’s addition. HBO programs may be kept indefinitely as can all VODs of any subscribed to premium channel.

      4) Either one, however only the HR44 and C41 mini client work in RF mode with the new RC71 remote. And in turn the RC71 does not work with RF for any other receivers and clients besides those two.

      5) No. not normally anyhow.

      6) While the Genie, and Mini clients use DLNA as a part of their Whole Home and RVU protocols, they can only see and communicate with other DIRECTV compatible WH/RVU devices. Which at this time are only DIRECTV HD STB receivers, DVRs, the Mini clients, and RVU enabled TVs

      7) The current operating systems of the DIRECTV HD-DVRs are designed to see up to 3 TB.

      8) MPEG-4 for HD and a few SD, MPEG-2 for all other SD, and MPEG-2 for OTA broadcast through an add-on external tuner module. All recorded files on the HDD are encrypted of course.

      And no, you cannot transfer recorded programs to multiple HDDs. Only one e-SATA ext. HDD is allowed per HD-DVR which is then wedded to that box. So if that HD-DVR ever fails the recorded programs on that ext. HDD are useless and cannot be played back on another HD-DVR.

      9) Yes, AFAIK.

  26. H.T.II says:

    Needs to be e-SATA.

  27. Need Help says:

    Long question: I have recently signed up for Directv at my new house. I have the Genie and two mini genies. My house is being finished and is behind schedule. My equipment works fine and has been set up for my house. We will have to move into my wife’s parents; house for a little while. They have Directv but not the DVR feature. Can I bring my box to their house to use? Any insight would be helpful

    • H.T.II says:

      Yes, but it would be against your “Terms of Service” (TOS) to do this without informing DIRECTV of the change in location. DIRECTV’s policy requires a formal change in your account’s service address to your parent’s home so now there will be two separate bills to your parent’s home address. One in their name and one in yours.

      What type of DIRECTV installation do your parent’s have by the way? As if its an older legacy one or if SWiM, but not enough available tuner support, the Genie will not work with in it.

  28. Kelly says:

    Ok Direct TV just called with a sales call and claims the Genie requires no external wiring to the other 3 TV’s which will require the mini’s. Says EVERYTHING is wireless except for the main TV which will be attached to the dish I believe? Is this true? and how far can that satellite signal travel without any interference? I have a VERY long house so currently with DISH I have one receiver for 2 of my TV’s and another reciever for the other two TV’s and one wire that connects the two sets which goes thru my attic area. This was buried during construction so any new wires would all have to be external. Which I refuse. Considering my wireless for my computer needs a booster and still is not the greatest in some of the far areas of my house how well does the genie system work at reaching my entire house wirelessly? Dish is requiring me to rent their equipment so all these extra fees are attached on. Direct said 4 tvs, 225 channels for 1/2 the price of DISH. I currently also cannot get the Hopper due to the new wiring it would require. So call it vain but I’m not having wires stretch across my siding or underhang. Also heard more negative comments about Direct service or hidden fees and price jumps. thanks and answer so I can understand. Not a techie! :)

    • HoTat2 says:

      If you get the Genie with the wireless “C41W” mini clients, then yes, what the sales rep. stated is essentially correct. One wire from the dish to the Genie as the main server with perhaps a power inserter (PI) which powers the dish and a “Wireless Video Bridge” (WVB) to communicate with the mini Genies can be placed in line somewhere.

      So your current wiring should be sufficient. See here for more info. on the setup;

      As for its actual performance, well … while it uses wireless-N, like all other applications which use WiFi, YMMV.

      And as for being 1/2 the cost of DISH, be advised that’s almost certainly a new customer temporary discount which will ware off after some months up to maybe a year to where they may both end up costing around the same between the two providers as the Genie and mini clients are rented or leased per month as well and the monthly programming cost around the same too.

  29. Breeze says:

    You can block playlist s each client can have there own.
    Also you can use parental controls for ratings, specific channels, or shows.

  30. JC says:


    I am trying to connect my new genie to my wi fi but I am having issues because my security key is 13 characters long. I am not getting the continue menu. If they was 10 or 26 character it would work but it isn’t the case.
    Does anyone else is having the same issue?
    Thank you

  31. Sheri Taylor says:

    I have had the Genie for about a month now, and really like it except for the fact that Direct says you can’t keep the recording separate for each room. I have the big receiver and then there are 2 Genie minis in the living room and my nephews bedroom. Now of course there are shows that I, as a 40 year old woman, watch that I do not want my 7 year old nephew to have access to. I have put parental controls on his TV, but they prove to be useless when my shows are readily available on his playlist. Do you know of any way to stop this from happening? There are options on the settings of Genie to not share recordings to other TV’s, but they still do it no matter how many times I put “no” for the share option. I even called them and they said there was no way to stop it. Also, since it has the USB on the back of the box, is there any way to save shows to the USB drive from my satellite box? Thank you in advance for anything you can tell me.

    • Philz says:

      @Sheri Taylor
      I had the same thing going on but with Big receiver & 3 mini clients.
      The fix:
      I Spoke with directv and they swapped out one of the mini clients for a HR24.
      The HR24 DVR has whole home feature that can be disabled so no sharing between clients.
      So basically Keep the big receiver for everyone viewing that will feed clients and get the HR24 for your personal use.

  32. Clarence Davis says:

    Can you copy shows from the genie to a USB flash drive

  33. Jeff Hamlin says:

    Nice writeup technabob. I have had a Genie for some time, I have some issues:
    1.) My family is not crazy about the unreliability of the Whole-Home connection between DVR’s.
    2.) Too much of the guide is wasted space, and not configurable. Maybe I’m spoiled from the Tivo unit but this was an option, so if I want the entire screen to be the guide I can choose that instead of 2/3.
    3.) It would be nice to select a channel in the guide and see what will be on that channel like you can on a Tivo.

    Can we save events that are recorded to that external hard drive? I was told over a year ago that DirectTV was going to come up with a way to allow us to permanently save recordings with I believe a DVD burner, I’m so tired of erasing things that I would love to save.

    • Paul Strauss says:

      Jeff: I haven’t had any problem with connectivity between devices in my home, so you might want to have a DirecTV tech come out and check to make sure your wiring isn’t problematic in some way. As for the ability to see what will be on a channel, you can always move your cursor all the way to the left of the guide and click on the channel there for a list. Lastly, as far as I know, there are no plans to release a device for permanently saving recordings offline – I suspect there are copyright issues that will prevent them from doing this.

  34. Barbara says:

    Paul, I am getting the Genie installed this weekend. Do I need a phone line in the room that it is being installed in?

  35. james braselto says:

    hi there your right direct tv has still 3 3d channels and internet says direct tv will start 4k channels in 2014

  36. Gindy51 says:

    Does each Genie mini need a separate cable to attach it to the Genie main box? My house is wired with coax but all the rooms are run off the same cable and it comes out where the existing HD DVR we have. If I can only hook up one extra box, existing HD DVR to be replaced with the main Genie box, I won’t be able to use a Genie mini for another room if it needs a separate cable.

  37. Phil says:

    Mini clients can run on same cable as main

  38. Jeanette says:

    We recently had a new Genie and 3 clients installed on our whole home system. My husband and I both had our own remotes to operate our old HD DVR. Is it possible to use (2) RF remote’s to operate our main Genie so that both my husband and I can have our own remote without any conflicts?

  39. Ryan says:

    I would like to add another Genie mini and DTV wants $99 for the mini, an additional $6 per month, and me to sign another 2-year contract. New mini Genies are available on ebay for less than $50 and used for significantly less. If I by one, will DTV have to activate it (still requiring me to pay the $6 per month and extended contract)?

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