Why does a DIRECTV receiver get slower over time?

After all, it’s not like they have gears that get stuck.

A DIRECTV receiver or DVR is basically a computer. In fact, they run a specialized version of Linux, the same operating system that runs the majority of web servers. That’s good, because it makes it possible for a programmer to get right to the business of making the thing work, without having to start by building all the modules it takes to decode video, display text, and all that basic stuff.

Unfortunately, it means that a DVR is also not immune to some of the issues that plague computers. It’s not going to catch a virus, because it’s a closed system. However, as years of upgrades pile up, log files grow, and new features get added on, it just stops being up to the task. Even the operating system’s upgrades, most of which have nothing to do with the DVR’s functions, will slow the whole thing down over time.

The other thing that happens, believe it or not, is that your expectations change. What seemed fast at first doesn’t seem so great when you see something even faster. I know it sounds amazing but there was a time when we were all amazed when a computer only took two minutes to start, where now we get anxious after two seconds. We expect everything to be faster and more responsive, so if your DVR doesn’t change, it begins to seem slower and slower.

Unfortunately there isn’t going to be a whole lot you can do to speed up a slow receiver other than upgrade it. DIRECTV has gone through three distinct generations of receiver/DVRs… and the original HR20/H21 generation seems really really slow now even if you were to take one out of the box without ever having used it. Today’s HR54 Genies will probably seem arthritic in 5 years, too. It’s just the way of the world.

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 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.