DIRECTV Beats everyone else to 4K – and only we have the facts

DIRECTV put out a press release confirming that On Demand Content will be available today for select Samsung 4K televisions. We didn’t comment, because like you, we wanted the facts. What does this mean? What televisions will work? Why only Samsung? Is this all marketing hype? Rather than rush to press like some of our competitors, we took the time to get everything straight, and we’re happy to share our findings with you.

Is this true 4K?
Yes, DIRECTV is the first multichannel provider to offer its customers true 4K content, and if you have the right equipment, there’s nothing more to buy. It will “just work.”

What is the right equipment?
You will need an HR34 or HR44 Genie DVR and a 2014 Samsung DIRECTV-Ready 4K TV. You must be using the TV as a client for the Genie, in other words, without a separate box.

How do I know if my Samsung TV will work?
It has to be a 4K television for 4K content (pretty obvious) and it has to be this year’s model, meaning you bought it this spring or later. Your model should be listed on Samsung’s site. With your Genie HD DVR connected to another TV, you should be able to push the INPUT or SOURCE button on your remote (or remote app) and see the DIRECTV logo as one of the sources. Note: this will not work through the standalone clients, they can’t output 4K.

Why only Samsung? What if I try this with my Sony 4K TV?
It won’t work with any other TV. No other manufacturer has built in this capability yet, and in fact no other manufacturer has publicly stated that they will do this with their TVs. It’s a fair bet you’ll see this on other DIRECTV-Ready TVs in 2015, but your 2013 or 2014 4K television may never have this capability.

What if my Samsung TV doesn’t work?
You may need to download the latest firmware using the software update menu on your TV.

Where will I find this new content?
From what I’m told, Press {MENU}, scroll to Search&Browse, then On Demand. 4K will be one of the choices in the menu. There will also be 4K badging replacing the HD badging on 4K content.

What content is available?
Right now it’s only movies. A full list is in DIRECTV’s press release here. Live TV content will be available later, after DIRECTV launches its next satellite.

Will there ever be a way to play DIRECTV 4K content on my non-supported TV?
It’s very likely there will be a receiver or DVR that supports 4K over HDMI, but details there are very scarce. 4K is only expected to be supported on DIRECTV-Ready TVs for the time being.

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.