NICE AND EASY: What is a “series link”

This is one of those terms that DIRECTV die hards toss around a lot. It’s not something you hear newer subscribers saying, and yet you’ll still find it in a lot of articles, including ones on this blog. So, let’s take a minute to explain the term and what it really means. In order to do that we have to start about 20 years ago, believe it or not.

Back in the 20th century…

We all set up recordings on our VCRs using timers. VCRs weren’t very smart but it’s the technology we had. By the late 1990s most of them would let you set 6 or 8 recurring recordings a week by specifying time and channel. If the program moved or ran late, you were just sort of out of luck.

This all changed with the invention of the DVR. TiVo was one of the early pioneers there, and their idea for recordings was just brilliant. It’s going to sound super obvious today but back in 1999, this was revolutionary.

The TiVo unit called into an online service (using a phone line!) that gave it full guide data including program names and times. 

Having guide data meant you could search by program, and if that program information changed, the DVR would actually change its recording times. This was an utter game changer two decades ago, and TiVo called it SeasonPass™. The idea that you could set recordings and look at a list of them by name was one of the big selling points for the DVR, of course.

DIRECTV goes out on its own

In 2005 DIRECTV came out with own DVR, developed in house. Prior to that they were using a TiVo reference design. The new DVR was very similar to a TiVo and there were agreements behind the scenes to use some TiVo patents. However, the name “Season Pass” wasn’t included in those agreements.

In order to stay on the right side of the law, DIRECTV named their feature “Series Link.” It means the same thing: a recurring recording based on the name of the show, not on a particular time.

That’s where the name came from.

Why don’t you hear the term used much anymore?

It comes down to the fact that everyone knows what a DVR does. AT&T doesn’t have to advertise its DVRs and their capabilities. Without that stream of advertising, a lot of people just don’t hear the term much. So, people have gone back to calling them “recurring recordings” or even “timers” even though that’s not technically accurate.

Still, you read the term “series link” used in articles and on support forums because it’s still technically the right way to refer to recordings set up on an AT&T DVR.

How to set up a series link

There are three easy ways to set up a series link for DIRECTV satellite service:

  1. When you see a program you want to record in the guide, press the RECORD button twice. You’ll see a recurring recording icon in the guide.
  2. Search for a program you want from the DVR by pressing the DASH button to the left of the zero. When you find it, you have the option to record a series.
  3. Use the DIRECTV app for phones and tablets. From there you can search for a show by name and if it is a recurring series, you can record the entire series.

If you need more help and support, try looking through the articles here at The Solid Signal Blog! You’ll find thousands of helpful entries.

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.