Will “New DIRECTV” add streaming to their DVRs?

As I’m sure you know by now, AT&T will be spinning off its DIRECTV unit as soon as it gets regulatory approval. That could be as early as the end of 2021. It’s an exciting time. Forced to make its own profits rather than relying on the corporate balance sheet, DIRECTV will have to innovate harder and faster than ever before. This means customers will probably see new hardware and new services. And let me tell you, I’m excited.

It’s been a long road, getting from there to here

Generally speaking, DIRECTV’s hardware is very good. That’s why I don’t complain that there really hasn’t been a hardware refresh since 2017. The overall look and feel of the menus and screens hasn’t really changed much since 2017 either. Looked at another way, if you’d bought a car in 2017 you might be thinking about getting another one by now. You certainly would be looking at changing the tires and doing some serious maintenance.

But, DIRECTV and other home theater hardware tends to have a pretty long life. There are DIRECTV boxes out there that are over 10 years old and still kicking around happily. There’s nothing wrong with them… we’re just conditioned to think it’s time for an upgrade.

DIRECTV’s old, old philosophy

In the days before AT&T, indeed before smartphones, DIRECTV boxes were working toward a “one box to rule them all” strategy. Your 2007 DIRECTV DVR could share music, photos, and videos from a local hard drive. By 2009 you could stream YouTube videos, and by 2012 you could use Pandora. For the most part that sort of strategy has slowed in the AT&T days. Yes, there’s iHeartRadio now, but that’s not much consolation when you find out the competition lets you use Netflix or Hulu on their boxes.

It would probably be possible to put Netflix, Hulu, or other apps on a DIRECTV box, at least the newer ones. But you have to ask yourself, is that what people want? I know people with the competition’s boxes. They still use a separate streaming box because the experience is better.

If you don’t want to wait…

If you don’t want to wait and see, you could move from DIRECTV to AT&T TV. AT&T TV is the streaming version of DIRECTV, and it uses a box that not only gives you live TV but thousands of the streaming apps you want. It’s available right now and your friends at Solid Signal can get you switched over quickly. I’ll tell you more about that later.

Looking toward the future

I don’t know if I want to see Netflix on my Genie 2. I’d rather see DIRECTV on my Roku, to be honest. There isn’t any technical reason why the DIRECTV Genie client couldn’t be ported over to Roku, AppleTV, or any other streaming platform. DIRECTV tried this in the ’10s and the tech wasn’t quite there, but I bet they could do it now if they wanted. This would be a lot easier than trying to shoehorn streaming apps onto a DIRECTV box. I bet it would work better, too.

Now about that AT&T TV

As I said there’s already a solution that lets you use AT&T content as an app on a streaming platform. It’s available now, and the pricing is very similar to what you pay now. You get virtually unlimited cloud-based DVR and a sleek, modern box. If you want to know more, call the experts at Signal Connect. They can show you the difference between DIRECTV and AT&T TV and help you decide what’s best for you. The number is 888-233-5834 and they’re around during East Coast business hours. Why wait for the future? It’s already here.

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.