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?
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