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Definitive DIRECTV Genie Review

So you're looking for an affordable, premium DVR? Well, with the DIRECTV Genie DVR, consider your wish granted.

With 500 hours of HD storage and the capacity to record five shows at once, the DIRECTV Genie is a steal for the price. Everybody loves a free, premium add-on, right? But, as we all know, there’s always a catch.

Because the DIRECTV Genie DVR comes included with DIRECTV packages, you’ll wanna make sure that service from DIRECTV is right for you.

Read on to find out more about the DIRECTV Genie and DIRECTV plans and pricing.

DIRECTV Genie vs. the competition

Compare top premium DVRs at a glance

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ProviderDVR modelsSimultaneous recordingsStorage limitHD storageCost
DIRECTVGenie51 TB200 hrs.Included in service
DISHHopper 3162 TB500 hrs.$10.00/mo.
CoxRecord 662 TB250 hrs.$19.99 /mo.
RCNTiVo 661 TB150 hrs.$6.00 /mo.
XfinityX16500 GB100 hrs.$5.00/mo.

Data effective as of 08/28/20.

Find out more about 2020’s top DVRs in our DVR buyers guide.

What is DIRECTV’s Genie DVR?

The Genie is a whole-home HD-DVR from DIRECTV. In 2018, we ranked it as one of the top five DVRs in the industry because every DIRECTV plan comes with an included Genie DVR at no extra cost.

If you’re thinking about getting a Genie but aren’t convinced it’s as great as the hype suggests, keep reading. We’ll break down each part of this whole-home DVR system, including details about the equipment hardware.

Our goal is to give you a clear sense of what’s superior and what’s standard about the Genie so you can know what you’re getting into.

DIRECTV Genie equipment

The Genie can support up to eight rooms with the same unit, thanks to its high-def receiver that connects to mini-clients. Please note that while you can include up to eight TVs as part of your system, the Genie can provide signal to only four at a time.

The Genie comes in both HR44 and HR54 models. The major difference is how they power your satellite dish. The HR44 has an external SWiM power inserter, while the HR54’s is built in. The SWiM inserter powers your satellite dish with such efficiency that the Genie earned ENERGY STAR certification.

Genie HR44

Genie HR45

Genie primary features

  • Record up to 5 shows at once
  • Store up to 200 hours of HD programming in 1080p
  • Watch up to 8 channels on one screen
  • Watch live and recorded programming on up to 8 TVs via DIRECTV’s Genie Minis

 

Genie ports

  • Satellite in
  • Infrared receiver
  • Ethernet in
  • Component video out
  • Composite video out
  • S-video out
  • Digital coax out
  • Serial AT attachment in
  • HDMI out
  • USB in
  • RJ11/phone out
  • AC power in

DIRECTV’s DVR falls behind the competition in storage capacity. Both the HR44 and HR54 have only around 1 TB of storage (1,024 GB). This means you can record only 200 hours of HD programming (800 standard), so you may find yourself having to delete old recordings frequently.

In comparison, DIRECTV’s competitor DISH offers the Hopper 3 with 2 TB of storage—that’s double the Genie’s. But if DIRECTV can get its Genie 2 model off the ground, it may finally give the Hopper 3 a run for its money.

See how DISH’s Hopper 3 and DIRECTV’s Genie compare.

Genie 2 is in beta

The Genie 2 HS17, or Genie Server, could be a game changer for DIRECTV. With 2 TB of storage, it has to the potential to take on the best DVR out there—the DISH Hopper 3.

Unfortunately, customers have had trouble connecting the new Genie to the DIRECTV App. Without this connection, you can’t watch your recordings on the go.

But if you still want to experiment with it, the Genie 2 requires a one-time activation fee of $99.00, and the first Genie 2 Mini comes included in your service.

During checkout, let your DIRECTV customer service representative know that you’d like the Genie 2 HS17 model. Based on availability, they can possibly set you up with this next generation of the DIRECTV DVR.

DIRECTV Genie remote

DIRECTV Genie Remote Image

The DIRECTV Genie remote is streamlined, with most of the navigation in the center. There are a bunch of helpful features that will make your watching experience easier:

  • Turn TV and DVR on and off together
  • Press “R” button to automatically record show
  • Press “R” button twice to record entire series
  • “Replay” button skips back 6 seconds
  • “Advance” button fast-forwards 30 seconds

This remote also comes with both infrared and radio frequency capabilities, which means you don’t need to worry about having line of sight to your DVR to turn it on or change the channel.

DIRECTV has both basic and backlit versions of the Genie remote and provides them based on availability. If you need the backlit version and DIRECTV doesn’t have it, you can pick one up on Amazon for about $30.00.

DIRECTV Genie Mini

To configure the setup that best fits your home, DIRECTV offers both wired and wireless mini-clients. These petite units can be tucked away discreetly, enabling the Genie to extend service without giant eyesore receivers all over your home.

Genie Mini (Wired)

Wireless Genie Mini

Genie Mini Primary Features

  • Network with Genie to watch live TV
  • Watch Genie recordings

 

Genie Mini Ports

  • A/V out
  • HDMI
  • USB
  • Digital audio
  • Network SWiM (wired model only)

When you hook up Genie Minis to secondary TVs, you’re free to wander into the kitchen to cook dinner and resume that episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives that made you hungry in the first place.

Unlike DIRECTV’s DVR, Genie Minis aren’t included in your service. Each device costs $7.00 per month. If you’re planning on sticking with DIRECTV for a while, buy your own Genie Minis. It’ll save money in the long run, and you can get both wireless and wired models on Amazon.

DIRECTV Genie user experience

DIRECTV’s DVR is more than just the hardware though. You might decide you can live with its average simultaneous recordings and storage space if you’re impressed by its extra features, like NFL SUNDAY TICKET, 4K Ultra HD content, and a smooth on-the-go experience.

NFL SUNDAY TICKET

DIRECTV packages from CHOICE™ on up come with a season of NFL SUNDAY TICKET at no extra cost. This gives you access to out-of-market NFL games each Sunday. With the Genie, you can create a “Mix Channel” to watch up to eight live sports programs at once. That’s a pretty sweet deal for sports fans—better than trying to fit eight TVs in your living room, for sure.

4K Ultra HD Content

If you love the cutting edge, know that DIRECTV offers select shows, sports, and on-demand movies in 4K Ultra HD. This is the highest visual quality available right now, and you can experience it if you have a 4K-capable TV and the Genie DVR in model HR54 or higher.

DIRECTV is the clear winner when it comes to 4K in the TV provider market because it offers 4K content all day long on channel 104. DISH and Xfinity are also 4K compatible, but neither have a dedicated 4K channel.

DIRECTV Genie mobile experience

DIRECTV App

The DIRECTV app works well with the Genie. You can stream DVR recordings in your home or download to watch on the go, and you can manage your recordings all from your phone. It even works as a remote, which is great for putting off the hunt for a misplaced Genie Remote for at least one day more.

Pro Tip: Reviews from Android-device users warn that the app can be a bit buggy. It seems DIRECTV updates its iOS version far more often. That’s not to say DIRECTV won’t eventually fix these problems, but it’s something to keep in mind if you have an Android phone.

DIRECTV snapshot

Whether you’re sold on the Genie or still unsure, it’s important to know if DIRECTV is the right provider for you. Take a quick look at DIRECTV’s specs below, or view all DIRECTV packages in detail.

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DIRECTV Logo

Type of service

Satellite

Channel count

330+

Price

$59.99–$134.99/mo. for 1st yr.

Contract

2 yrs.

Installation fee

$35.00 activation fee

Customer satisfaction

(3.97 /5)

Final take on the DIRECTV Genie

DIRECTV’s DVR gets the job done without any extra charges. While it can record only five channels at once and up to 200 hours of HD content, it’s great for 4K Ultra HD and good enough for on-the-go watching.

If you want to see which other providers you can get TV service and a DVR from, enter your zip code below:

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You can find all our reviews on DVRs and TV equipment in our equipment guides section.

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