Black screen on Genie but getting all menus? Here’s the fix

You turn on your DIRECTV Genie … and the menus look great but there’s no picture. What can you do? This is the exact scenario that some people face. It’s rare now, far less common than it was five years ago. But it does still happen.

Here’s the problem

The problem seems to be that the Genie server and Genie client aren’t communicating properly. You tend to think of that small client box as a DIRECTV receiver, but it isn’t. The folks at DIRECTV have engineered it so it looks and acts like a full-size DVR when you use it. But really it’s nothing more than a simple adapter that puts up some menu graphics and communicates your remote presses to the Genie DVR.

If you are familiar with a Chromecast device, it’s a lot like that It’s the simplest possible way to give you something in the room you’re in, without having a lot of complex and expensive parts. This is a win-win. It’s good for DIRECTV because it makes these devices very reliable, and that means they cost less to build and operate.

It should also make you wonder why these things aren’t even smaller than they are, since a Chromecast is about the size of an old silver dollar. But that’s an article for another day.

Here’s how to solve it

Luckily it’s very easy to address this problem with two easy steps.

First, reboot the Genie server. There is a red button on it somewhere. If you can’t find it, check out this tutorial. This will immediately cause all live TV to stop in every room.

If you are having problems with a Genie client, when the Genie server comes back to live TV, reboot the client. You’ll find its red button on the side. You’ll know it’s time to reboot the client when you start seeing live TV. If you don’t see live TV within ten minutes, reboot the client anyway.

When this is all done, you should have live TV on both the Genie DVR and client! If you’re still having problems, you can run a system test by pressing and holding the INFO button on any DIRECTV-branded remote. It will tell you more about what’s going on.

Need even more help?

If you need hands on assistance, call the experts now at 888-233-7563. It could be that you need an upgrade or a service call. We are DIRECTV dealers and can help with both. We can also give you advice over the phone that might help avoid that service call. Our Novi, Michigan corporate offices are open during East Coast business hours. We’re not a call center. We’re a small group of experts that specialize in helping people like you. It’s worth a try!

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.