UPDATED: Can you use a Genie DVR in your bar or restaurant (or tire shop, or hotel, or…)

DIRECTV just doesn’t allow it. There’s a big difference between commercial accounts and home ones. It’s not just in the DIRECTV world, it’s in all pay television. Commercial accounts are singled out because a lot of them put television in public areas. That opens up a whole different set of copyright laws.

Remember this?

You know this image, that appears in one way or another on pretty much every movie you’ve ever seen on disc? (It’s not super clear why it’s not on streaming media but let’s not complain.) It’s there because copyright holders have the right to make a profit if you show their stuff in public. They don’t have the same right if stuff is shown in a private home… in that case they are paid once and only once per item. With public viewing they get paid once per performance so essentially every time you show something in a bar, someone’s making money off it.

And that’s the real issue with any sort of DVR in a bar or restaurant. If you recorded it, you would have to pay every time you played it, and that would get to be a big mess, right? So DIRECTV’s solution is simple: no DVRs in public spaces, period.

For years, though, there’s been a loophole and it involves what we call “private viewing” accounts. These are commercial accounts where the customer is a business, but the TV is somewhere private. Think of the TV in the boss’s office or the company lunchroom. If the public isn’t invited in without a specific invitation, it’s a “private viewing” account and DIRECTV does allow a DVR.

HR24 is the norm

Traditionally, we’ve been told that we can’t activate HR54 Genies or Genie 2s at all on commercial accounts. The default DVR, when one is allowed, has been the older HR24s. However there have been cases where supply issues have allowed us to activate an HR54. It’s very rare and the device is software-limited. But it’s not completely unheard of.

Really this is just a holdover from the days when HR24s were the norm. Genies were being sent to customers’ homes as fast as they could be made, so business accounts weren’t given them. You have to think the supply of Genie DVRs has stablilized somewhat since 2011 when the first one came out, but the policy is still there.

Let’s hope that at some point, things change

The hope would be that there would be some sort of updated hardware that gave business customers their due. Right now business customers are still using last-generation H25 receivers and HR24 DVRs. Let’s hope that with other changes in the world of DIRECTV, we’ll see an updated receiver and 2-tuner DVR.

So, friends, be patient. I don’t know when it will happen but sooner or later… it’s going to happen. In the meantime if you’re ready to update your bar or restaurant system, give us a call at 888-233-5834 and we’ll get you what you need! If it’s after East Coast business hours, fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you.

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 7,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.