Genie 2 can support 8 clients, kind of. Is 7 better?

There’s a bit of confusion around Genie clients. Ever since the days of the first Genie DVR in 2011, it’s been possible to have 8 clients on your account. However, early Genie systems could only support 3 at a time. For that reason, I recommended that people only use 3 clients and use traditional receivers instead.

However, if you have a Genie 2 system, you’re not allowed to have any other receivers on your account. That changes things somewhat. The Genie 2 supports 7 clients, of which 2 can be showing 4K at any time. However, you can’t choose to use regular receivers. They simply can’t be added to your account.

Why doesn’t AT&T let you have other receivers on your account if you have a Genie 2?

I have to admit I don’t see a technical reason why not. Even if you chose to put all your traditional receivers on one side of a SWM-30 and only had the Genie 2 on the other side, that should still work. I have some guesses but they’re just that… guesses.

Maybe they’re looking to standardize and reduce their support costs.

This seems like the most likely reason to me. There are over 4 different models of receiver and DVR released since DIRECTV started branding their own hardware. That’s a lot of support they need to do. With Genie 2 they’re saying, you have have this super-powered box, but you have to give up your old receivers. This might take a lot of receivers out of service and that would cut down on support costs.

Maybe they’re hoping to keep the supply of receivers for commercial customers.

Because of complex contracts, most commercial customers can’t have DVRs in their businesses. So, they’re left to using H25 receivers instead. However, the H25 receiver hasn’t been made in some time. By making sure most home customers don’t want (or can’t get) a receiver, they’re keeping the supply flowing to restaurants, bars, and hotels.

Maybe their research is telling them something.

Even with recent subscriber losses, AT&T has about 24 million paying customers in its satellite portfolio. My guess is over 99.5% of home customers would be fine with a single system that supports 7 rooms at once. That means about 100,000 homes give or take that would want a bigger system.

Luckily, those 100,000 people have places like Solid Signal where they can get exactly what they want. You can still get the HR54 Genie DVR if you want a Genie and also want to keep your older receivers. AT&T hasn’t taken that away from you. Solid Signal has always been here to cater to those people who don’t fit into the DIRECTV mold, and we will keep doing it until there’s no mold left.

However, we know that AT&T’s research probably makes sense to them. It probably makes sense to look at a solution that satisfies 199 out of every 200 customers and worry less about that one out of 200. That’s great unless you’re the 1, right?

So, 8 clients or 7?

It is technically possible to have 8 clients on your account and everything will work well with a Genie 2 as long as you have only 7 of them on at any given time. The system won’t blow up or anything. That 8th client won’t be able to connect. In some cases you’ll get a message asking you which client to disconnect and in some cases it won’t work at all.

Still, this seems like it’s not really a good solution for that eighth room. It’s up to you, but I’d rather know that when I go to turn on the TV it’s going to work. I’d be looking at other options like a streaming box or an antenna for room number 8. Why not keep the entire system nice and stable?

In a pinch, you could always have one of those clients be a wireless one and take it from room to room if you want. That way you know, again, that you’ll get TV service. Another option is the use of the DIRECTV app for smartphones or tablets. You can mirror or cast it to a TV if needed.

But hey it’s your TV. As I said the system won’t self destruct if you add client number 8. The worst case scenario for you is explaining to a houseguest why they’re locked out of live and recorded TV. If you’re ok with that, then no problem.

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.