Definitive DIRECTV Genie Review
So you're looking for an affordable, premium DVR? Well, with the DIRECTV Genie DVR, consider your wish granted.
DIRECTV Genie comes included with your DIRECTV service, so you don’t have to worry about extra charges. With its 200 hours of HD storage and the capacity to record five shows at once, the DIRECTV Genie is a top-notch free DVR.
DIRECTV Genie vs. the competition
Compare top premium DVRs at a glance
|Provider||DVR models||Simultaneous recordings||Storage limit||HD storage||Cost|
|DIRECTV||Genie||5||1 TB||200 hrs.||Included in service|
|DISH||Hopper 3||16||2 TB||500 hrs.||$10.00/mo.|
|Cox||Record 6||6||2 TB||250 hrs.||$19.99 /mo.|
|RCN||TiVo 6||6||1 TB||150 hrs.||$6.00 /mo.|
|Xfinity||X1||6||500 GB||100 hrs.||$5.00/mo.|
Data effective as of 08/28/20.
What is DIRECTV’s Genie DVR?
The Genie is a whole-home HD-DVR from DIRECTV. 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.
- 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
- 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.
DIRECTV Genie remote
- 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
- Network with Genie to watch live TV
- Watch Genie recordings
- A/V out
- 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
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
Apple Store Rating: 4.7/5
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.
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.
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.
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You can find all our reviews on DVRs and TV equipment in our equipment guides section.