2022 EDITION: Can you have more than one DIRECTV Genie DVR?

I’m revisiting this topic by popular demand. DIRECTV rolled out its first Genie in late 2011, although they wouldn’t use the term “Genie” until 2012. Since then, the world has changed a lot. Many people record less than they used to, but those who do record actually want more capacity. DISH rolled out its Hopper 3 with sixteen tuners five whole years ago. I’m willing to bet that’s probably the highest tuner count you’ll ever see in a consumer DVR. It’s left DIRECTV faithful asking, “what about us?”

The bad news

Let’s just get this out of the way now — you still can’t have more than one Genie DVR on your account. Not only that, but recent policy changes have made it harder to add DVRs, if you can add one at all.

I had sincerely hoped that this situation would have changed by now but the simple fact is that it hasn’t. There is still no way for a regular person to have two Genies on an account. In fact it’s gotten harder in the last six months. It used to be that there were fairly minor issues with running two Genies, mostly having to do with the clients not knowing which Genie they should attach to, but now all Genies are most definitely not created equal.

A quick look back

The original Genie model HR34 is completely obsolete now but it’s still around in a few homes. This Genie doesn’t have wireless networking and it’s fairly slow by today’s standards. It is also missing a few interactive features that its newer brethren have. If you still have this Genie DVR and it still works, it’s probably time to think about an upgrade.

The short-lived H44 Genie is just as capable as its newer brethren, but it’s not made anymore. It was built because DIRECTV thought there might be a demand for a receiver that could be upgraded to a DVR later. There wasn’t.

The HR44 Genie was a transitional step. It does everything the older Genies do plus adds some interactive features and wireless networking. However, it’s not 4K capable.

Today’s modern Genies

The minimalist looking HR54 is the Genie of choice for those who want to continue using regular receivers alongside their Genie DVR. It doesn’t have as many A/V outputs as the other models but you can use a special cable to get either component or composite out. It supports 4K on one TV at a time and you can have a total of four devices (three clients and the DVR itself) showing TV at one time.

The top of the line is the sleek HS17 tower. The HS17 is a server only. It doesn’t output a TV signal. However it will support up to 7 clients at a time, with three showing 4K. It will also record 7 programs at once, while older Genies only recorded 5 at once.

The problem today

With so many different models, there’s a new problem. If you were to have multiple Genies, one of them has to be “the primary one.” That’s the way accounts are set up. Whichever Genie is the primary, all the other Genies behave the same way. There continues to be the issue with how the clients connect, and it’s only been made worse by the fact that clients can be bound to the HS17 in your account but they can’t be bound to any other Genie in your account. If a client box that’s supposed to connect to the HS17 tries to connect to a different Genie, it just plain won’t work at all.

Really this is an issue of resources, not a technical limitation. There’s every reason to think that you could effectively and efficiently have multiple Genies on your account. The truth is that the cost to support that configuration is higher than the benefit that comes from the few people who really want it. It would take some serious software development to fix this longstanding problem, and there just isn’t any profit in it.

After ten years, it doesn’t seem like this is going to change. Since 2012, we’ve become less reliant on our DVRs and more reliant on on-demand and streaming. The HS17 Genie 2 is really popular among DIRECTV customers for its simple installation and it seems to have enough recording capacity for most people. So, I don’t see there being any change made here.

Call us for the DIRECTV system of your dreams

On the other hand, if you still haven’t upgraded to a Genie system, let us help! Call our team at 888-233-7563 and we’ll help you build the DIRECTV system of your dreams! If it’s after hours, fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you, usually within one business day.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.