Dubbed the Genie, the satellite company's latest piece of hardware comes packed full of digital video recording goodness. With five tuners and a full terabyte of storage, DirecTV has provided subscribers with the ability to not only record a lot of content, but keep it stored for awhile as well.
The Genie goes beyond simply providing a DVR for your living room however. With the ability to control up to three extender devices, this is a whole-home solution that doesn't necessarily require you to have a set-top box on every TV in your home. Using DirecTV's RVU technology, other devices such as HDTVs and A/V receivers with RVU built in will be able to access live and recorded TV without needing an actual satellite receiver being connected.
Detailed some time ago, RVU is a technology pushed by DirecTV that allows their gateway DVR to send content to other devices in your home. If your HDTV has RVU built in, you don't need an STB from DirecTV since the TV itself becomes the STB.
While DirecTV is claiming the Genie to be the most advanced DVR available today (and they're almost right) one feature it doesn't have is Dish Network's AutoHop feature. As that particular part of Dish's system is under attack, even if DirecTV has some sort of auto commercial skip available, you can bet they won't turn it on until the pending suits against Dish are resolved.
If you are a DirecTV subscriber, the company is pushing hard and wants as many customers a possible using the new device. Special deals are flying out the door. Even if you do have to use STBs on your TVs throughout your home, the company has deals that will keep them free for some time but eventually you'll have to pay monthly for each device including the Genie. This is typical however and new subscribers should be sure and read the fine print. What you pay for the first year is never the same as what you'll pay down the road.
Many people have lately been claiming that the DVR is dying. That between streaming content from the internet, video-on demand services that MSOs provide and features such as "Look Back" and others, DVRs are no longer needed. Looking at overall trends however, it's easy to see that the DVR is just hitting its stride. Whole-home solutions, more storage and more tuners are things that users have been begging for for years and MSOs are finally starting to respond.
Hopefully this is a trend that we see continue. While there's certainly a limit on the number of tuners you could use, continually adding more storage and increasing the number of TVs that can be run from a single DVR are features that many people will continue to want and pay for. While streaming content is great, it doesn't beat having the exact shows you want to watch available to you at any time after they've aired. The DVR is the only device that allows you to maintain control and ensure that your favorite shows are available to you when you want to watch them and you can bet that it'll be quite a long time before many people are ready to give them up.