Surprisingly, I miss the record light

I love my Genie 2. It’s hands down the best system ever from AT&T/DIRECTV. 7 rooms including two in 4K, that’s more than I’ll need, and I can record 8 things at once and store more programming than I could watch in a year. It’s all concentrated in one tower that takes the place of a bunch of little black boxes and wires. The client boxes are so tiny it’s easy to forget they’re there, and they work great without even a hint of noise.

With everything being so perfect, you know I’d have to find something to complain about.

The record light’s gone.

That’s right. When I had DVRs in every room, they were big and noisy and balancing out my recording schedules took some serious talent. But they did have one thing I surprisingly miss: a light that said when something was recording. The light itself was a remnant of the old VCR days, a vestigial bit that did no good, really. When you had a VCR on timers, turning it on when it was recording could stop the recording, and that could be a problem. So, there was a friendly light that warned you when to stay away. I’m sure many an episode of Charles in Charge was saved by people honoring that light.

Truth is, the record light on a DVR wasn’t going to stop you and it wasn’t going to hurt you if you ignored it. If you went to change the channel and all the tuners were in use, you would get an onscreen warning anyway. It was just a little light that told you that the digital video recorder (that’s what DVR stands for) was worth the money because it was doing its job.

And I kind of miss that.

Getting the red or orange record light on a DVR was like getting a shipping notification from Fedex or finding out your grandparents were coming. You knew that there was going to be something good on the way fairly soon. It stimulated the reward centers of the brain the same way hitting a slot machine for a small sum would. In short, it made you feel good.

Truth is, I’m not that excited about the green light on my Genie clients. Sure, it means there’s a good connection but I sort of take that for granted since the system is so reliable. There’s nothing to tell me that my playlist is going to get beefed up with some awesome programming anytime soon.

I got over the clock…

Like many of you, I came to satellite TV from the world of cable. Cable boxes generally have one feature that satellite receivers don’t: a big clock. This is a holdover from the VCR days, too; the clock let you know that the timers were ready. If you lost power, you’d get the scary

and you’d have to set the clock before recordings would work again. This was one of the perils of VCRs that satellite DVRs managed to erase.

Still, it was nice to have a big glowing clock in front of me when I watched TV so I could know when my shows were coming on. I got over it because, well, we all have phones now with clocks on them and they’re never far away.

…and I’ll get over this.

Really, I’m just still adjusting to the way things are today. Like all of you, I’m in the middle of big changes and this is just one of them. I suppose, give me another year and I won’t even remember the record light. For now though, I do kind of miss it.

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.