Should you choose the HR44 Genie or the HR54 Genie?

Two generations ago, Clint Eastwood’s “Dirty Harry” uttered the immortal words we all still know and quote… “Do I feel lucky?” Really that’s the question you need to ask yourself if you’re trying to decide between DIRECTV’s HR44 Genie DVR and its HR54 Genie DVR. Both are available now at Solid Signal, and both cost the same. Let’s look at your choices.

What’s the same
Both DVRs are almost identical in size, both use the same remote, and both have almost all of the same features. They work at the same speed, both let you record five things at once and watch two programs at the same time. Both support clients and both can use DIRECTV’s interactive apps. In fact if you didn’t see the box you’d never know which one you were using.

They’re both also the same price and as with all DIRECTV technology, there’s only one place you can be sure you’re getting the exact model you want:

What’s different
The HR54 Genie DVR’s lot in life is to one day record 4K live programming. Not that there is any today, but there will be one day. DIRECTV launched two new satellites and has plenty of capacity in store for when networks start broadcasting in 4K. It’s worth pointing out that while the HR54 will record in 4K, it won’t play back in 4K; you’ll need a C61K client for that. But you will need it for recording, and you’ll probably need a new dish that isn’t available yet.

In order to be ready for 4K, the HR54 takes up 7 of the 8 available tuners on your average dish. That means if you have any other receivers (not clients, but true receivers) you’ll have to upgrade to a SWM13LNB or an external SWM16 multiswitch. Those extra tuners aren’t available for your use, but they’re still counted against you.

On the other hand the HR44 only uses 5 tuners, leaving room for another DVR in your system without upgrading. So, you can actually use 7 tuners to record 7 things, although you’ll need an HR24 DVR to make it happen. Or, you could just leave that extra capacity alone for the future.

Do you feel lucky?
So you have to decide if it’s worth the time to be futureproof now, or if it’s better to wait and see if there really will be any 4K programming in the next two years. Remember that DIRECTV released its first HD DVR in 2004 when there were only 4 HD channels; it would be another 3 years before a flood of HD came into our homes. In the meantime, that original HD DVR became obsolete because it took new technology to receive that HD programming.

I’m not saying that’s going to happen this time, but no one knows. Either way you could need an upgrade anyway in two years if you want the latest and greatest programs, that’s just the way stuff works now. So roll the dice and decide for yourself, then head to Solid Signal and make your choice!

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 6,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.