Can you “force a download” on the DIRECTV HS17 Genie 2?

It’s not even available nationally yet and the enthusiasts are just dying to see what it’s made of. The DIRECTV Genie 2, also known as the HS17, will give you the ability to watch live TV in 7 rooms including two 4K televisions. It’s still in the “pilot test” mode, meaning that it’s available in just a few markets while they are working out the final bugs.

But can you “force a download” on it?

There’s a lot to unpack in those few words, so let’s back up. First of all, it was common practice until about 2011 to force a DIRECTV receiver to pull the latest software down from the satellite. In those days, DIRECTV’s software was evolving rapidly and there were new features and bug fixes seemingly every week.

However, since 2013 I have recommended against this practice because it’s largely a waste of time and at least 99% of the issues solved by forcing a download are actually just solved by rebooting the device, which is faster anyway.

And now, with the HS17, it’s almost impossible.

There’s a field test procedure for forcing a download but it is practically impossible to do, believe me I’ve tried. It has to do with rebooting the DVR and then pressing the “Add Client” at just the right time. And then it may not do anything if it detects that there is no new software available, or if you have the latest.

HS17 Genie 2’s are unique because they can get software from the internet instead of just from the sky. This makes the download process 15-20x faster and so HS17s will download new software by themselves whenever it’s needed. In some cases a reboot may not even be necessary, all that might be needed is that no one is actively watching TV and that no recordings are taking place. The idea of “forcing a download” just doesn’t fit into the way the HS17 works.

Although it’s a new product, the HS17 does share a lot of commonality with the generation 1 Genies and so its software is already pretty mature. There’s little that can be accomplished by forcing a download, according to DIRECTV. I believe them, since there aren’t expected to be new features for the Genie 2 for some time and it’s already practically bug-free.

So, when it comes to forcing downloads on DIRECTV receivers, even the new Genie 2, think of it as just another step you used to take like cleaning your Nintendo cartridges with an eraser or shaking a floppy disk before using it. It’s just not something you need to do in today’s modern world.