TRUTH TO POWER: DIRECTV Remotes aren’t so great on DIRECTV-Ready TVs

Here’s how they want you to do it. DIRECTV would love it if you put a Genie DVR in your home and used DIRECTV Ready smart TVs for the three other viewing locations in your home. If you get the TV hooked up by a tech, he’ll leave you a DIRECTV remote programmed to run that TV, and he’ll be happy to do it since he doesn’t have to leave an expensive client box with you.

That’s right, DIRECTV Ready TVs are cheaper for the company than leaving you a box. That’s just common sense.

It’s a win for the customer as well really because it’s a cleaner installation and the current model smart TVs are just as fast or faster than the client boxes. Except, there’s the matter of the remote.

A helpful Solid Signal Blog reader pointed out to me that the DIRECTV remote really isn’t a great remote for the other things the TV does. It doesn’t change inputs (something it does do if you’re using a client box), it doesn’t have a button for the Smart Hub or other connected features, it doesn’t work unless pointed at the TV (unlike some TVs’ Bluetooth remotes) and it won’t control other connected devices well, or at all. This leaves customers with a two-remote solution or the need to buy a universal remote.

And you know what, I agree. I mean, how can I argue? I think the current DIRECTV remote is great forpeople who want a simple experience, but get away from that and it’s not great. More and more people want to stream and you can’t blame DIRECTV for structuring the remote to keep people in the DIRECTV experience, but people want to stream. That’s the simple fact of it. Streaming isn’t just a fringe thing anymore.

Now, you can use the TV’s own remote a lot of the time but it’s not going to get you into the menus or playlist which sort of defeats the purpose. Using the TV’s mobile app isn’t a solution either. Really as I said the only solutions are a two-remote tango or a universal remote.

I’ve said this for a long time, and I’ll say it again: DIRECTV is smart to have a simple, powerful, inexpensive remote that they can give away (and that we can sell cheap.) I think they’d be even smarter to sell a full-function remote that not only grants a lot of wishes (dedicated stop button, skip, button, pause button not tied to play button, etc.) but gives people access to ALL their TV’s functions and lets them control multiple devices. Even if your customer is watching Netflix, there’s a benefit to having that DIRECTV logo on the remote. Since people’s only choices now are put down the DIRECTV remote temporarily or put it down permanently, it seems like it would make sense to cater to this growing market.

As I said, there was a time when the number of people who used streaming boxes, audio/video receivers, and other tech outside of the DIRECTV experience was fairly small. However, the impact of these devices can’t be ignored, and it really seems to me that DIRECTV needs to be thinking about that. This isn’t a fringe group anymore.

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.