DIRECTV sent me 10 year old equipment? Why?

There’s a green label on the bottom of pretty much every DIRECTV receiver or client. It tells you the receiver ID, the model number, and the date it was made. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. But, some folks with new commercial accounts have noticed that some of these dates seem a little… surprising. As in, the year of manufacture is a little different than they expected.

The first thing you need to know

For about the last 15 years, DIRECTV and DISH have both used an equipment leasing model. It used to be that you went to your local store and literally bought your receivers for full price. They were expensive, too, and you had to do the install yourself. There are only so many people who wanted to go about things that way, and that’s why the lease model started.

The way it works is, residential customers don’t own their DIRECTV boxes. They’re leased with a single upfront payment and an indefinite term. From the customer perspective this doesn’t make much of a difference. It does mean the equipment gets into the customer’s hands for less money, but the big difference comes in the way DIRECTV does their accounting. They keep the equipment on their books meaning it depreciates, and eventually they get to depreciate away the entire cost of manufacturing. If you’re a business owner you’re probably familiar with that sort of thing.

How the lease model has worked in the last 10 years or so

In 2010 and 2011, DIRECTV invested millions to manufacture pretty much every receiver they thought they would ever need. The writing was already on the wall for the traditional receiver-based DIRECTV system, as the Genie system rolled out to residential customers in 2012. But since there was an immediate need, they brought out enough H24s, HR24s, and H25s to keep things going indefinitely.

A lot of these devices sat in warehouses for a long while. Others went out to customers but were returned when those same customers upgraded to Genie systems. Starting in 2017ish, the Genie 2 came out and you could only get one if you returned all your old equipment. So think about all those receivers coming back to DIRECTV for about a decade.

Refurbishment – it’s a thing

When DIRECTV boxes come back, they’re sent to a refurbishing center where they are extensively checked. If they are too beat up, they can get new cases. The electronics are tested, and for the most part they check out. These boxes are really well built, honestly, and they’re still as capable as they once were.

By about 2020, the supply of truly new boxes had run out, and 100% of what was going out was refurbished. New customers weren’t getting traditional receivers for the most part, so those refurbs were going to the commercial community.

Commercial customers still generally buy their equipment outright. This means that businesses are generally the “last stop” for these receivers as they’re not returned for refurbishing again. This has meant that slowly but surely, the supply has dried up a bit.

Is it ok that the receiver you get is 10 years old?

Yes, absolutely. As I said, these things are checked in a special refurbishing center before they go back out. The failure rate on refurbs is actually lower than the failure rate of new hardware. But yes, receivers whether refurbished or new do fail when they’re put into use again sometimes. That’s why commercial dealers like Signal Connect are important. We’ll work with you if something does happen to get you a replacement quickly.

In the next several months, we expect to see at least one, probably two, new receivers built specifically for the commercial market. For those customers who prefer to see a newer manufacture date, it’s going to make them feel better. But remember, the stuff that’s out there now is still very reliable.

Quality customer service from Signal Connect

Commercial DIRECTV and DISH customers can rely on Signal Connect to take care of them. Don’t bother calling DIRECTV’s main line, they don’t know how to handle commercial accounts. We specialize in taking care of people one at a time, and we hire experts, not script readers. If you’re curious about how we can help you or just have a question about your DIRECTV equipment, call us at 888-233-7563 during East Coast business hours. We’re here to help!

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.