Can you dim the front panel lights on a DIRECTV receiver? (2019 edition)

Back in 2014 I wrote a tutorial about dimming the lights on your DIRECTV receiver. You can still read it here. The lights on the original DIRECTV HR20 DVR were super bright, and there were a lot of them. They were also animated.

Those lights spun around every time you used the fast forward and rewind. It was fun for about a week and then it got pretty annoying. Luckily there was an easy way to turn down or turn off the front panel lights by using the front buttons.

The Genie Generation

This little trick worked well for HR34 DVRs. I honestly don’t remember it being an issue with HR44 DVRs and HR54 DVRs don’t have as many lights.

I do know that with the current crop of AT&T products, there’s no way to turn off the front panel lights. The trick in that earlier article doesn’t work with any current Genie clients or DVRs.

So what can be done?

Honestly it’s been years since I heard anyone sincerely complain about the lights on the front of the equipment. I think they’re reasonably dim, but if they do give you trouble, there are a few options.

Personally I have an old roll of Scotch/3M 616 Lithographer’s tape that I use for this sort of thing. It’s available at Amazon (what isn’t?). This is a dark red transparent tape that was used back in the 20th century for the printing industry. People can see through it but lithographer’s film doesn’t get ruined by it. If you’re an old photographer, you’ll understand this is the same principle as the dark red light in the darkroom.

This tape is perfect for covering up pretty much any bright indicator light. It’s just dark enough that it covers things up, but not so dark that you can’t see the light if you try.

I’ll admit it’s not a perfect solution, because tape leaves residue when you take it off. I bet there’s a static cling material that’s even better, but it’s probably more expensive and harder to find. If you have a friend who works at a sign shop, you could ask them and see if they might have a few scraps you could use. But, for us regular folks, this seems like a lot of work when a $5 roll of tape is going to do the job.