• SOUND OFF: Are DIRECTV 4K Genie Mini audio drops any better for you?

    So, DIRECTV 4K is great. You're just not going to get anything better without buying a UHD Blu-ray player (and most of you don't seem interested in that.) It beats Netflix and Amazon's streaming options, hands down.

    If you want 4K from DIRECTV, you'll need the DIRECTV C61K 4K Genie Mini Client. Connected to an HR54 or HS17 DVR, it's the only way to see 4K from DIRECTV. While this client box is fast, relatively small, and simple to use, many users have complained of audio drops.

    What I mean by "audio drops" is that every so often the sound will just drop out, even on non-4K sources. It's gone for a few seconds and then it comes back. This mostly happens on live TV, and the generally accepted solution if it bothers you is to watch a few seconds behind live. So it's not a big deal...

    ...except after a few months it does become kind of a drag. The problem seems to be even worse on DIRECTV 4K Ready smart TVs.

    I've had a C61K client for over a year now and at least as far as I can see, the problem has gotten a lot better in the last month with the release of client software 0x8B6. I have still heard an occasional audio drop, but I think there have been whole days of watching TV when I didn't hear even one. That's a stark change from several months ago.

    Unfortunately DIRECTV does not allow you to download client software manually so there's no way to get this version if you don't already have it. To check, while watching live TV press {MENU} then scroll down to Settings&Help, Press {SELECT}, make sure Settings is highlighted, press {SELECT} again. You'll see both the client and server software versions. If you don't, unfortunately you'll have to wait and see.

    Has this version helped the audio drop problem for you? Or do you still have it, or did it go away for you as well? Let me know and I'll pass this information along to some friends in DIRECTV's engineering department.

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    Comments 5 Comments
    1. MysteryMan's Avatar
      MysteryMan -
      My C61K-700 was upgraded to 0x8b6 on 8 August 16. It did absolutely nothing to eliminate the dreaded audio drop out issue that affects both live TV and recordings. Very frustrating.
    1. rad's Avatar
      rad -
      I never really noticed any audio issues with the C61K, where are my Samsung RVU sets were horrible (yea I had both active for awhile). I finally gave up with RVU and will stick with the DIRECTV supplied and maintained clients.

      I do wish that DIRECTV would fix the problem where changing channels is much slower when changing channels that are sent in different resolutions. It's almost like the client things NATIVE is set to on the way it acts.
    1. hancox's Avatar
      hancox -
      Connected to an HR54 or HS17 DVR, it's the only way to see 4K from DIRECTV.
      I know this blog is meant to be simplistic, but that's just wrong...

      I also have doubts that this is a client-only issue, anyway, as RVU sets get different, but similar, flavors of audio drops.
    1. Stuart Sweet's Avatar
      Stuart Sweet -
      I presume you're referring to DIRECTV 4K-Ready smart TVs when you say "just wrong." At this point I can't recommend them.
    1. GLS's Avatar
      GLS -
      I upgraded to an HS17 DVR server unit and 3 each, C61K-700 4K Genie Mini's in April 2017. They are connected to SONY TV's with 4K HDR capability. It was part of a free upgrade to 4K TV service from DIRECTV. I also have 3 other C41W-500 Genie Mini's connected to the HS17 server to get regular HDTV. The problem I have had ever since the upgrade in April is what I would call an "audio dropout" that is rapid, causing the sound to be broken up so much that the viewer cannot understand the dialog. The dropouts are about 2-3 times per second. I've noticed the picture is also freezing but is less noticeable since its happening rapidly. The quick fix is to PAUSE, wait a couple of seconds, then PLAY. The problem occurs intermittently throughout the day on any channel including 4K or regular HDTV. The problem occurs on live and recorded programming. The dropouts are not in the recordings themselves, but can occur at any time when playing back. Needless to say, it's very annoying and quite unacceptable.

      I had a service call on the issue in June. At the time, the technician did the usual troubleshooting, checking equipment, settings, satellite, etc. He gave up and called the office and was informed there was a known audio problem with the HS17 and they were working on a software fix. Then, I noticed on 8/1/17, the HS17 server software was updated from 0xd12 to 0xd7f. The client software for the C61K genie minis is still the same (0xa0a).

      As of today, 8/8/17, the server software upgrade has not fixed the audio problem. I'm not sure what to do next. Maybe I'll ask for the HR55 Genie to replace the HS17 server. But I think I'll wait, as the HS17 is the newest and most advance DVR unit. Hopefully, they will work out the bugs soon. It's worth noting that I don't have the dropouts on the C41W-500 clients. It causes me to wonder if the problem is really with the C61K's or is it an interface problem with the HS17 server?

      I have read some comments here on the RVU's. I once activated an RVU on a SONY 4K TV. It worked fine, but I don't think I could watch the 4K channels, so I'm not sure it was a 4K RVU. Maybe on the newer models they are 4K. I went back to a genie mini instead of the RVU. You still have to pay the $7/mo fee, so there's not any advantage to using the RVU and you still need the DIRECTV remote to use the RVU.

      On the 4K content, there are 3 channels currently running 4K on DIRECTV. Ch 104 is regular 4K content that repeats often and goes 24 hours. Most of the content is special programming, such as nature programs, extreme sports, etc. Ch 105 is pay per view movies in 4K running 24/7. Ch 106 is reserved for live sports and concerts. I've watched live major league baseball, soccer, and rugby in 4K live. It's awesome. In fact, all three channels have awesome 4K pictures. And ch. 104 and 106 are free to watch 4K. No extra charge. I watch Netflix in 4K via the Netflix app built into the SONY TV's. But the DIRECTV 4K channels look amazing and definitely better than the Netflix 4K on the same TV. I'm not sure why other than perhaps the Netflix programming is not true 4K??.

      I hope to hear of any comments on the sound dropouts. It really should be fixed soon. I ended up with a new 2-year contract with DIRECTV when I did the free upgrade, so it really wasn't free. But I'm sure they would charge early cancellation fees, even with the HS17/C61K technical issue unresolved.

      Comments are welcome!