It’s a rumor that comes up every few years. Certainly it’s something DIRECTV users talk about, especially when they know that DISH’s Hopper has Netflix built in. But is it really coming?
Short answer: probably not
It could be that there’s some secret skunk works at DIRECTV that’s putting together a way to use your Netflix subscription on your Genie. But it would be a real surprise to me. Since about 2014, DIRECTV has moved away from trying to be a media hub and focused on its own content. It’s true that DISH advertises Netflix and Prime through their Hopper 3s and it’s obviously appealing to some people. But, I don’t expect it to be something that moves over to Genie.
Is it a technical limitation?
I would say, no it is not. The Genie 2 is at least as capable as a mid-level streaming box and it’s built on fairly open standards like the Linux operating system and HTML-based rendering. It would probably be a bit of a challenge for anything but a Genie 2 to deal with Netflix’s software-based compression technologies, but it could be done.
Rendering the Netflix user interface in a satisfying way might be a little hard, but on the other hand it might not be. DIRECTV’s own user interface seems snappier and snappier lately, thanks to a lot of work from their engineering department. Netflix menus might be pretty easy for them at this point. The only challenge I can think of is that the lack of a proper touch pad means that swiping up and down for an hour would mean hundreds of button presses.
Is this something people want? Especially now?
Recent news cycles haven’t been kind to Netflix and neither have I. The company reported a few weeks ago that they lost over 200,000 subscribers, and that as many as 80% of those who use the service are using someone else’s passwords (and therefore not generating revenue.) Once the darling of the streaming world, people are beginning to key into the fact that a Netflix subscription isn’t a great value. At $20 for a 4K subscription, it’s just not worth it for one or two shows a month.
I’ve said before that I think Netflix should crack down hard on password sharing and then reduce their price to $9.99 or less a month. At that price, people might see the value.
My point here is that if the folks at DIRECTV added Netflix to their Genie systems, would that make people happier. The landscape for streaming today is so diverse. If you really want to get rid of your streaming box, you’ll need a lot more apps than that.
DIRECTV has already built a full streaming box that also uses its service. It’s the DIRECTV Stream device and it works excellently. It may not quite have as many apps as a Roku or AppleTV, but it covers all the major bases. If you want one device that looks and acts like a TV receiver and also lets you stream, it’s the one for you. Best of all it’s already here.
Bottom line here is…
I don’t see any evidence today that DIRECTV Satellite is planning on integrating apps. If they do, it will require new hardware that I haven’t seen yet. Anything’s possible for the future, but I would not advocate holding your breath.