Can you charge your phone through the USB port on a DIRECTV box?

Almost every DIRECTV box has a USB port. It’s not good for much. Over the years you’ve been able to connect an over-the-air tuner to it. First it was the AM21, and then the LCC. The AM21 is sadly out of production and the LCC is only available in very specific circumstances. So, most folks will never have a “legitimate” use for the port.

External hard drives, just because I know you’re thinking about it

You can’t hook an external hard drive up through the USB port. You can use the eSATA port that’s on every DVR for that. It’s a completely unsupported use, even after all these years. It’s always seemed a little odd that DIRECTV boxes would have this port for over 14 years and yet the use of an external drive isn’t truly supported. It does work, and you certainly can do it. You just need to go through the necessary hoops to get an eSATA connection. There are adapters you can buy for this.

In 2020, though, I have to say that I’m not sure why anyone would really use an external drive. The Genie 2 comes with a very large drive and since you can’t take the recordings from one device to another, it doesn’t really make sense to stockpile them on the DVR.

So why is that port there?

Yes, I agree. It’s a little hard to understand why the port is even there. Over the years there have been whispers that it’s used for testing purposes and that it can’t be removed without going through the FCC approval process. That explanation is as good as any other, I suppose.

Yes you can use it to charge your phone though.

Personally, I’ve used the USB ports on DIRECTV DVRs to charge my phone for a very long time. If I recall, my old SD TiVo DVR had a USB port, and I know for sure that every HD DVR has had one. Plugging the phone doesn’t do anything to the DVR that I’ve been able to see, and it sure doesn’t have any effect on the phone.

I can tell you that the port is a regular 1 amp USB port, meaning that it won’t charge an iPad or any other device that needs 2.1 amp power, and it won’t quick charge any device. Still, you can charge pretty much any phone that charges over USB and using the DVR means you can free up an outlet. That’s something, right?

Get the charging accessories you need

Of course, using the DVR to charge the phone isn’t going to be the most effective way to get it done. You’ll want a faster charger, or a wireless charger, and there’s one place to find the best selection. Shop now at Solid Signal for all the cellular accessories you need! If you need advice or free tech support, call us at 888-233-7563. The professionals in our 100% US-based call center will take care of you and make sure that you get everything you need.

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.