Everyone loves the DIRECTV Genie 2. One tower takes the place of a DVR, internet connection kit, dish power supply and wireless bridge. It’s an all-in-one solution that gives you TV in up to 7 rooms (with clients or smart TVs) including up to two rooms of 4K.
But folks, it really really wants to be connected to the internet.
If you don’t connect to the internet (or if you disconnect) every single menu page will have a “disconnected” image next to the clock, like this one:
That’s not too obtrusive, but it’s far from the only warning you’ll get. When you tune to any channel that has on-demand content, you’ll get a nag screen at the bottom like this one:
(By the way, these photos were taken at an angle to avoid glare, so they’re a little warpy. Sorry.)
I mean, every single time you tune to a channel you’ll get this reminder. It’s going to wear you down after a while, I promise.
Whenever you go to the menus, you’ll also see a tidy little nag next to the word “Settings” like this:
Trust me, you’re going to get tired of these little pinpricks and you’re going to want to connect to the internet.
Why is DIRECTV so all fired up about this internet connection business?
There are a few reasons. First of all, the Genie 2 can download software updates over the internet, which takes about 5% of the time of downloading them over satellite. This means less downtime when updates are being installed and more TV watching for you.
Second of all, internet connections allow a lot of features you might want to use. Restart lets you rewind past the beginning of a show, on demand gives you whole past seasons of TV plus over 20,000 movies, and you get a whole suite of apps to help you find the best sports and kids programming. When there are special events like The Masters, a lot of the enhanced content comes over the internet.
There’s another bit to this too, and it’s more about AT&T not about you. In some cases, AT&T downloads targeted commercials to your DVR which are put in place of regular ones during live TV or playback of recorded shows. An internet connection also allows AT&T to get information about your viewing habits (opt out of this at directv.com if you want) which they anonymize and sell. This kind of data gathering and advertising helps keep your bill down.
When you’re ready to stop looking at the massive number of naggy bits on your screen telling you to reconnect, just follow their instructions. Often times it’s as easy as connecting a network cable, but if you prefer to use Wi-Fi all you have to do is select the right network and enter in the password or passphrase.
Trust me, it’s worth it just to get rid of those dang messages.