DIRECTV-Ready TV or Genie Client? (2018/2019 edition)

A few years ago, DIRECTV and manufacturers like Samsung, Sony and LG were pushing “DIRECTV-Ready” TVs. The idea here is you wouldn’t need a client box at the TV. That sounds great, but is it the right way to go?

How does DIRECTV-Ready work?

DIRECTV-Ready, or “RVU” as it was once called, is a technology that duplicates the Genie client in software. That software can then be put into a smart TV as an app.

It’s a slick idea. Imagine a smart TV with Netflix, Hulu, and DIRECTV all built in. If you were able to connect it all over Wi-Fi, you wouldn’t have any cables at all other than the power cable.

Except you can’t do it that way.

DIRECTV satellite doesn’t buffer like Netflix or Hulu. It also doesn’t automatically drop the quality of the picture if the network gets congested. So, it needs a really clean connection on order to work. The specification has been to run coaxial cable to the TV site then convert it to wired ethernet. This installation nets as many cables as a regular Genie client system.

Can’t you use Wi-Fi?

Most smart TVs actually disable the built-in Wi-Fi when DIRECTV-Ready is used.  Your personal Wi-Fi may be stellar, but every installation is different. Early on in the process, techs discovered that they were spending a lot of time diagnosing home Wi-Fi problems that had nothing to do with the TV experience. So, Wi-Fi was taken out of the equation.

It’s been pointed out that AT&T’s wireless clients use a form of Wi-Fi and that the DIRECTV-Ready TVs could as well. However that would have taken more effort and cost from TV makers. I can only guess they didn’t want to do that.

Streaming can make things worse

Also, using smart TV features while the TV is connected to coax has the potential to make the TV experience worse. As I said, the DIRECTV satellite signal needs to be really good, and if someone on the same line is also streaming, it can create slower and faster pockets of data. You could have problems watching TV.

The state of DIRECTV Ready in 2018

Sony, Samsung, and LG have removed DIRECTV Ready from their 2018 TVs. There are still 2017 and earlier TVs in the pipeline if you want it, but I think this says a lot about where the technology is going.

I have received some words from the field that people are having trouble activating DIRECTV Ready TVs but I haven’t gotten any official word saying the technology is completely obsolete.

That’s why I’m saying that if you want TV in another room, you probably don’t want to use the DIRECTV Ready feature of your TV. It’s not worth all the trouble and I can’t guarantee you’ll be able to activate. Instead, put in a Genie client. I prefer the 4K client now because it’s futureproof and all the early concerns about using 4K clients on HD-only TVs have mostly gone away.

Overall, I think DIRECTV Ready is a great idea. Unfortunately the public didn’t embrace it. Ideally, TVs could have used RVU not just for AT&T products but for all sorts of devices. Technology just didn’t go that way. Instead, customers stopped buying most devices like Blu-ray Disc and other physical media players. Since it’s all moving to streaming, there isn’t much need for RVU.