What’s the difference between the Red button and the Record button?

Even the latest and DIRECTV remote has both a red button and a button with an “R” in the middle. This can be sort of confusing for folks who grew up thinking a red dot always means “record.” I’ll explain it for you.

When color buttons ruled the world

At one time all DIRECTV remotes had four colored buttons: red, green, blue, and yellow. This was following the common practice in Europe, where connected TVs took hold far earlier than they did here. The four colored buttons gave some interactive features, but the green, yellow and blue button functions were eventually moved to other buttons as part of a plan to simplify the remote. The red button remained, however, because it had become very popular for DIRECTV’s interactive features. You’ll often see it mentioned in a pop-up screen where you can see scores, or even set up standard reporting.

The red button brings up ScoreGuide on interactive channels and has several other features throughout the system. DIRECTV’s marketing panels showed that people didn’t want to give up the red button – they wanted to keep a separate button that did the interactive stuff. So, it stayed on the new remote, although there is some confusion between the orange-red record button and the red button.

The Record button

The record button on DIRECTV remotes is designed to look a lot like like the record icon on the screen. On a Genie it looks like this:

…and on a non-Genie it looks like this:

On DIRECTV remotes, the RECORD icon is orange, which is different of course from virtually anyone else’s remote. Hey, don’t blame the messenger, it’s what we’ve been handed.

When to use RED and when to use RECORD

Here’s where it gets confusing. For the most part, RED is used for interactive features. It’s how you get to ScoreGuide when you’re on a sports channel. However, you may occasionally see a banner that says something like Press to Record This Series. Yeah, they mean the RED button not the RECORD button. Yeah I agree that doesn’t make it easier to understand the difference between the two.

See, if they had you press the RECORD button, it would start recording what you were actually watching. You might actually want to do that, as opposed to recording the entire series. It’s one of those things where no matter how you do it, it’s confusing.

For the most part, though, RED is used for interactive features while RECORD is used for recordings. When in doubt, just read the screen and do what it tells you to do.

A word about universal remote controls

If you use a universal remote, it’s even more confusing because there’s probably a button on the remote that has a red circle and it’s actually the RECORD button. If that remote has colored buttons at all they’re probably differently labeled. That’s all the more reason not to use a generic universal remote and to get a genuine DIRECTV remote by shopping at Solid Signal.

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.