NICE AND EASY: Can you bring your access card to your friend’s DVR?

Let’s lay out a likely scenario. You and a friend both have DIRECTV Satellite. You have the Premier package and they don’t. Something that’s on one of the premium channels appeals to you. You want your friend to see it. Can you bring your receiver, or even just your access card, to their house, even for a day?

Let’s say for a moment that you’re both healthy and safe. Let’s not wade into the argument over whether you should be over at someone’s house anyway. It’s not really the point of this article, so let’s move on. There’s a simple answer.

Don’t do it.

The access card used in your DIRECTV receiver is tied to your account and in some cases tied to the specific model or receiver ID of your DIRECTV receiver. If you pop out your card and try to put it in a friend’s DVR or receiver, two things will happen. First of all it probably won’t work; you’ll get a message on screen saying there’s a problem.

The second thing is that the receiver will try to contact the servers at AT&T to let them know. If the receiver is connected by internet or phone line, the folks at AT&T will know of the situation fairly quickly. They’ll assume it’s a mistake at first and probably just watch the receiver a little more closely to make sure everything works right… but at some point even if it works they’ll assume that it’s a fraud attempt. The thing is, it actually is a fraud attempt and it’s part of your customer agreement that you won’t tamper with the equipment.

They will find out.

So, there really isn’t an upside. There are a lot of downsides, and if you think AT&T’s too big a company to notice what you’re doing… there have been way too many reports of honest people who have gotten a call from A&T&’s fraud squad. I’ve personally known people who have faced multi-thousand-dollar bills and the threat of litigation for doing something as simple as putting a receiver in a location where it doesn’t belong. Don’t risk it, it just isn’t worth it.

Is there a better option?

In most cases there is. Your DIRECTV subscription allows you to authenticate to dozens of streaming apps, from ABC to … well they don’t have a channel starting with Z but you get the point. Download the app for your favorite network on your phone or tablet. With most of them, you just sign in with your DIRECTV or AT&T username and password. From there you have access to on-demand and sometimes even live TV.

Bring your phone somewhere. There’s no rule against casting or even connecting over a wire to someone else’s TV. It’s just easier that way and it won’t get you in trouble. Just don’t share passwords, because that’s another case where they will definitely know. But, that’s another topic for another article, I suppose.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for the best selection of DIRECTV parts and accessories, shop the great selection at now!

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 9,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.