How can you connect a 4K Genie client to an old TV?

Easy answer: you can’t. The DIRECTV 4K Genie Mini Client, model C61K, does not have any standard definition or analog HD outputs. It’s essentially HDMI or nothing.

Is that fair?

AT&T offers a Genie client that has standard definition output. There is an A/V out connection on the back that can give any user a way to output to an older TV or other standard definition device if you use the right cable. That’s your best, and only, option for connecting the Genie system to a standard definition device.

The 4K Genie Mini does not work with devices that downsample to SD or convert from HDMI to component, unless those devices support HDCP 2.2. At this point in time I don’t think there are any such devices. So, unfortunately, it looks like your dreams of recording 4K programming by converting it to low-quality SD and putting it on a VCR have been dashed.

Why not?

I think that the simple answer is that it didn’t make sense. The C61K is larger, heavier, and runs hotter than other Genie hardware. Adding even more chips to it probably didn’t make sense. Keep in mind that high definition TV has been “the new normal” for a decade now and that pretty much every TV you’ll buy today is 4K. There’s no reason to look back at a technology that hasn’t been current for a very long time.

I know there are still people out there who like using one DIRECTV receiver to power multiple TVs. I salute you, because you’re willing to put up with complex wiring and remote control setups just to save $7 a month for an extra receiver. The great thing about Solid Signal is that we try to cater to every need, and if that’s you’re need, we’re here for you. We’ll help you get that HD Genie client configured for you, but there isn’t much we can do to help you go from 4K to SD no matter what.

The copy protection police

AT&T and other pay-TV companies have been making it aggressively harder to get any sort of signal except a direct cable connection to the TV. There’s still this fear that if you could get a clean digital signal from the receiver, you would steal all the programming and redistribute it over the internet.

Unfortunately, “black hat” products make it all to easy to do this anyway, and that’s why AT&T has a very active “fraud squad” seeking out people who are trying to make money doing just that.

The copy protection scheme baked into every 4K device now makes it practically impossible to split a signal without costly devices. It’s not worth the time or money to do it. I’m not sure this has done anything to stop piracy since it seems like it’s possible to get practically anything you want online if you’re willing to visit some fairly skeevy places. It does stop honest folks from using their equipment the way they want.

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.