What’s the difference between a DIRECTV C61 and a DIRECTV C61K?

It’s more than just the K. DIRECTV has had a long run of rather boring names for its equipment, going back to the original D10 which was the first truly DIRECTV-branded receiver. Still, you could almost always get some idea what you had by looking at the model number, and the model numbers marched ever upward. D10, the standard-definition receiver, begat D11 and D12; H10, the first DIRECTV-branded HD receiver, begat H20, H21, and on to H25. HR10, the first DIRECTV-branded HD DVR, gave us HR20, HR21, and up to HR24.

From there it gets a little dicey. HR34 wasn’t a followup to HR24 but a whole new type of DVR, and it was followed by HR44 and HR54. Now there’s HS17, which is definitely a totally new thing but at least has a model number that screams it.

But where the whole matter breaks down is with the clients. Genie Mini Clients are the tiny boxes that connect to your DIRECTV system and let you do everything a DVR does but quietly and without a big box. Clients always start with the letter C. The first one was C31, and it looked like this.

This was followed by C41, which looked like this:

Yes it’s the same picture. The only difference was the kind of remote it shipped with. So that was followed up by C51 which looked like this:

Still the same picture, because there’s absolutely no difference at all between a C41 and a C51.

Finally, with C61 you get a little visual difference:

Really the only difference is the logo on the front. That’s it.

But then…
DIRECTV’s 4K client isn’t called K61 which would make it super easy. No, they called it C61K, which is confusing because you have to be sure you’re talking about the C61K if you want 4K, the C61 if you don’t. To make matters worse the C61K came out before the C61 so for about a year everyone just said C61 and thought they were talking about the 4K client. All of a sudden the real C61 came out and people had to be more careful.

So long story short, C61K is 4K. C61 isn’t. It’s not that hard.