Is it possible to have a true Genie client on a phone?

If you have DIRECTV Satellite, you have something to crow about. You have the best quality digital picture and sound. You have the most reliable system of transmission. You also have the system with the best power efficiency. But, that’s not all.

You also have the equivalent of a live streaming TV service without paying for it. You can use the free DIRECTV app on your phone or tablet and get over 100 live TV channels, for no extra cost. You can authenticate to dozens of apps for tons and tons of content. And you say that’s not enough? What else could you want?

A Genie client on your phone

You can use the DIRECTV app to get live TV it’s true, but not every channel. What if you could get every single channel from your DIRECTV package, access all your DVR recordings in full definition, and walk around as if you had a TV and Genie client in your palm? Is that even possible?

Yes, but.

The good news is that the technology is already here to give you a true Genie client by running an app on your phone. The bad news is you’ll probably never get it.

DIRECTV installation techs use company-supplied phones when installing a Genie 2 system. This lets them do things like satellite setup and adding clients without actually connecting clients to the system. If you connect a client it’s very difficult to get it disconnected, so using this app on the phone makes it easier.

The app includes the two pieces you’d need to have a true Genie client on your phone. It connects to the Genie 2’s built-in Wi-Fi network. This Wi-Fi network is specially tailored for smooth video connections. It also has the software needed to decode the Genie’s video transmissions.

If you had that app, you could watch DIRECTV on your phone, straight from the Genie. But, it won’t ever happen.

Why is this unlikely to happen?

The crown jewel of DIRECTV’s intellectual property is the VideoGuard system. VideoGuard is the encryption system that lets receivers decode live TV signals and display them securely. This may not matter to you but it’s very important to companies like Disney and Fox who put programs on DIRECTV. They’re very worried that their content could be stolen.

There’s a lot of concern that if an app with the VideoGuard code got out there, it could be reverse-engineered. There’s also some concern that if you had video going to your phone, you could download it without copy protection and resell it.

You might think they’re worrying about nothing. But, this is big business. This is how the company makes its money. This technology has been in place for over 25 years and it works. They’re not going to sacrifice that if there’s a chance it will stop working.

So bottom line, while it would be nice to have a Genie client app, it’s not going to happen. In fact, since 2019 TVs no longer have the “DIRECTV Ready” code built in, sole control of the VideoGuard code is back in the hands of the developers in El Segundo California. They’ll keep it safe, probably for another 25 years.

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.