Should you get a wireless DIRECTV box or use the app?

So you have a spare room. You don’t want to have to run another wire throughout the home just so someone can watch TV there four times a year. I get you, bro. So what to do?

You could put in a DIRECTV Wireless Genie Mini. Or, you could just give your guests access to a tablet or phone with the DIRECTV app installed. Either way they would have access to your playlist, a lot of live TV, and a ton of on-demand content. But which option is best for you?

Wireless Genie Mini

This is DIRECTV’s wireless client. It’s only a bit larger than their regular client, and it’s quiet and uses only a tiny bit of power. Most people find it pretty darn satisfying because it acts exactly like the wired client. That’s the good part of it. If your guests can use a remote they can watch TV pretty easily.

On the other hand, you have to pay to get it, and you have to pay a monthly fee even when you don’t use it. You can’t just turn it on when you want. You also will find yourself on the hook for a Wireless Video Bridge which is another expense and you’ll have to hook everything up. [If you have a Genie 2, you don’t need the video bridge.]

So over the course of the first year you’ll be our about $300 for the setup and it will keep costing you money month after month, but you’ll be able to give your guests a good experience.


It’s hard to beat the DIRECTV experience on a smartphone or tablet. The app is free, you get over 100 channels of live TV, access to the DVR playlist, a full-featured remote and a ton of on-demand. It just might be better to hand your guests a tablet on their way in for the night.

The DIRECTV app runs on almost any hardware so it’s a great use for that iPad you haven’t touched in a year or if you prefer you could buy a $100 tablet and be done with it. [By the way, it’s against the rules to just install it on your friend’s phone, so don’t do that.]

You can also give your guests a choice of entertainment by installing Netflix or any other streaming service. You’ll look like a great host that way.

On the other hand, it’s not a true TV experience. You can connect most tablets or phones to a TV but then you don’t really get a remote control and there’s a wire between the two devices, unless your device supports some sort of casting. It also doesn’t give you ALL the channels and it’s not quite like a TV experience. That means it might not be best for older guests who want to find Matlock reruns.

So what to do?
Well personally I do have a wireless client that I bring into a guest room when I need it. But when it’s not needed there I use it in another part of the house, so it’s not like I’m paying for a client I don’t use.

The best part is that you have a choice. You can decide what’s best for you and do it. The DIRECTV app is free, and the client hardware is available now at