What you see above you is the DIRECTV Local Channel Connector. For those who remember the AM21 module, this is basically the same thing. It allows you to integrate off-air antenna channels into your guide on your DIRECTV receiver. There are only a “few……” things you need to consider.
1. It only works on HR44 and HR54 Genies.
While the LCC does give local support to all your Genie clients, it only works if your DVR is a model HR44 or HR54. It doesn’t work with the HS17 Genie 2 or any other non-Genie receiver.
2. It only brings two tuners and doesn’t increase your recording capacity
Two tuners might have been plenty back when the HR21 was brand new in 2007, but today we expect a lot more than that. This device adds a total of two off-air tuners, but the maximum number of recordings doesn’t change. Your Genie DVR can still only record five things at once. Two of them can be off-air channels, or all five can be satellite-delivered. It doesn’t actually expand the recording capacity in any way.
3. Off-air recordings can take up to four times the space
When you record something from an off-air antenna to your DIRECTV DVR, you’re recording the exact signal that comes in. This can be a good thing, because you’re getting the purest possible form of that image and sound. However, while AT&T keeps improving its encoding technology for satellite, they aren’t doing anything for antennas. Satellite quality keeps getting better while file sizes stay the same or get smaller. Off-air quality is the same as it was, but it also takes up the same amount of space it always has.
I don’t know too many people today who complain about their DVRs running out of space, but if you’re this sort of person you might keep that in mind.
4. (and this is is the big one) You can’t get the Local Channel Connector.
Well, that’s a big statement. I should say “You probably can’t.” AT&T hasn’t made the LCC available for dealers. It’s only being provided to people who have lost a local channel in a programming dispute. You can’t call them and lie about it either. They know which channels they aren’t carrying. If you’re officially in one of those regions where there is a genuine blackout, calling AT&T directly should allow you to get a Local Channel Connector if you have qualifying hardware. However I’m sad to say we don’t offer them at Solid Signal.
I’m not sure why this is. The AM21 was designed to be a slight profit generator for the company. I’m guessing the LCC is provided at a loss and they only give them to customers who they need to give them to. Clearly this is something they could mass produce but maybe their numbers people tell them they wouldn’t make money no matter what.
Kind of a bummer because I’ve used one and it works well. It works just like the old AM21, not really faster or better, but it takes up a fraction of the space. It’s bigger than a flash drive but not much. It does still need its own power supply so there’s a bit of extra wire here or there but at least you don’t have that pizza box size device in your system.
If the LCC ever becomes generally available — and that’s a big if — we’ll have it at Solid Signal.