Should you choose the HR54 Genie or the HS17 Genie 2??

Two generations ago, Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry” uttered the immortal words we all still know and quote… “Do I feel lucky?” Really that’s the question you need to ask yourself if you’re trying to decide between DIRECTV’s HR54 Genie DVR and its HS17 Genie 2. Both are available now at Solid Signal, and both cost the same. Let’s look at your choices.

What’s the same

Both DVRs have the same operating system. They work the same. Both use the same remote, and both have almost all of the same features. They work at the same speed, both let you record at least five things at once and watch two programs at the same time. Both support clients and both can use DIRECTV’s interactive apps. As with all DIRECTV technology, there’s only one place you can be sure you’re getting the exact model you want:

What’s different

For starters, the HR54 and Genie 2 look very different. This is the HR54:

This is the Genie 2.

The HR54 is designed to sit in your home theater. It puts out a live TV signal and acts like a traditional DVR. The HS17 Genie 2 doesn’t output live TV. It’s designed to be a server, providing TV to all your client boxes.

The Genie 2 is designed to minimize the number of extra boxes in your system. It has built-in Wi-Fi and a video bridge so that it supports wireless clients. Both the HR54 and Genie 2 can be used without a power inserter in most cases.

The biggest difference

Without a doubt the biggest difference between the HR54 and the Genie 2 is the way both fit into your overall home theater strategy. Genie 2 is designed to be the one-size-fits-most solution. You can have up to seven rooms of TV going at one time using only client boxes, and three of those can be 4K at the same time. That’s probably enough for over 99% of people.

The HR54 can support a total of four rooms, using the DVR and three client boxes. One of those can be 4K. That’s considerably less than the Genie 2, but the HR54 has an extra benefit. AT&T doesn’t allow customers to add any other receivers if they have a Genie 2. That means you’re out of luck if seven rooms isn’t enough for you. However, with an HR54, you can continue to upgrade your system to almost limitless levels and create the system of  your dreams.

Do you feel lucky?

There’s no question that HR54 is sort of “yesterday’s tech.” It’s designed to help people make a transition to the Genie era. Genie 2 is the future. It’s been around for three years and its proven technology, and it’s really the only choice for most customers.

But on the other hand, HR54 is still supported and new software is being developed for it. That’s not likely to change for years to come. So you have to ask yourself if you want to be confined by AT&T’s vision of your home theater, or if you want to leave the door open to a virtually limitless home theater.

Whichever you choose, you’ll get the best product and selection when you shop the great selection you’ll find at the all new, massively renovated

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.