How hot is too hot for a DIRECTV receiver?

A lot of DIRECTV receivers and DVRs are noticeably hot to the touch. Is that something to worry about?

The quick answer is no. It has been years since a DIRECTV receiver really suffered from poor ventilation. DIRECTV receivers are actually baked in ovens at DIRECTV’s testing facilities to make sure that they can perform at any temperature.

Certainly, the oft-repeated mantra that “heat kills electronics” hasn’t been suspended here; it is still best to keep your equipment well-ventilated and cool. The point is that the equipment is smarter than you think it is. From the tiny Genie Mini Client to the largest DIRECTV receiver yet made, the HR21Pro, every box has at least one temperature sensor. If you’re curious, Press and hold {INFO} on your DIRECTV-supplied remote and choose “More System Info.” Scroll down and you’ll see the internal temperature of the device. Most DVRs are ok to operate under 128 degrees; receivers and the Genie Client each have their own threshold temperature. Receivers and clients will actually operate safely at even higher temps – the lack of mechanical parts makes them a little more resistant to heat, according to DIRECTV engineers.

You don’t have to worry about these temperatures; the device will do it for you. If your DVR gets too hot, it will shut down automatically and the fan will run full speed until it cools down. In the very rare case of a receiver overheating, it will shut down and simply refuse to turn on until it cools.

Of course, you can help by making sure that your DIRECTV equipment is a well-ventilated space and that any vent holes are not covered. I have been to friends’ houses who covered their HR20 DVRs (which have vent holes on the top) with a placemat to make them look better. These friends couldn’t understand why their DVR would restart with some regularity.

The latest generation of Genie DVR has been designed with ventilation on the sides and top so it actually stays equally cool whether placed on its side or on its bottom. Looking at the inside of the DVR (something you should never do, as it will void your customer agreement) the actual equipment takes up roughly half the space inside the box. Rather than make the DVR smaller, the folks at DIRECTV smartly decided to increase airflow to make the whole thing more reliable. The entire left and right 2″ of the box is nothing but a conductor for air, in fact. That’s pretty impressive when you realize that the Genie DVR is already one of the smallest and yet most capable devices of its type.

Bottom line folks, heat is still the enemy of electronics but the DIRECTV products are perfectly capable of fighting the fight without your assistance.

By the way, if you’re curious about where the idea for this article comes from, click here.