What happened to “Genie Recommends” in the new menus?

It was the hit feature of 2012 — Genie Recommends. Using DIRECTV’s then-new menu system for its HR34 DVRs, you could select from pre-curated content that had already recorded on your DVR based on your preferences. You could choose to opt out of it if you wanted, but it didn’t take up any user-accessible space so most people either used it and loved it or didn’t use it at all.

With the new menu system rolling out to HR44, HR54, and HS17 (Genie 2) DVRs, the option to opt-out of Genie Recommends is still there… but that’s all there is. It’s gone from the menu system otherwise, as far as anyone can see. So what happened?

Genie Recommends wasn’t actually removed, but it’s now tightly integrated into search and on-demand functions. The DVR still records a selection of movies and shows based on your viewing patterns but no longer shows it to you in a separate menu. It’s still there working hard, but the menu for it is gone and isn’t likely to come back.

Genie Recommends seems to have been another casualty of the streamlining of DIRECTV’s menus. The original HD DVR had gotten so many features and shortcuts over the years that supporting them had become a problem. Rolling out the new menus gave developers the opportunity to retire some of those less commonly used features. For example, these once-touted features are gone for good with the new system:

  • Bookmarks which let you jump to a predefined point in a recording
  • Mark-and-Delete which let you delete a lot of shows at once
  • Music, Photos and More, which let you view external content

These are just a few of the features that have been retired over the years. It’s hard to see a feature you used a lot go away, and I understand that my telling you that you were one of the few people to use it isn’t comforting at all. Still, it’s hard to ignore that the role of the DVR in people’s lives has changed, and where it was once the only place people went for their live TV entertainment, the world is different now. We have streaming boxes and smart TVs and people just choose their entertainment in different ways.