NICE AND EASY: What can you do with an old DIRECTV DVR?

DIRECTV has had a DVR of one type or another for 20 years. One of things that means is that there’s a lot of hardware out there that’s probably not in use. Some is broken, some is obsolete. But let’s say you’re no longer using that DVR, what can you do with it?

Before that question gets answered, let’s look a little deeper.

Why would anyone be “done” with a DVR?

A lot of DVRs made in the 2000s were standard-definition only. There’s a pretty small market these days for people who want a standard-definition DVR. Other DVRs get abandoned because they are too slow for today’s users, and some reach the end of their usefulness because the people who used them moved to a Genie system. Genies use less power, are faster, and just plain work better.

There’s a small, but historically vocal, group of folks who got into DIRECTV DVRs in the days when they used TiVo software. Believe it or not, TiVo-powered DIRECTV boxes survived well into the mid-2010s. They’re considered obsolete now, although they do technically still work. However, you can’t get a new one, so when they fail, they’re replaced with something else.

So what can you do with an older DVR?

Pretty much, nothing.

If you have a DIRECTV DVR and it breaks, you should recycle it or return it to DIRECTV if they want it back. If you leave DIRECTV, you should return their equipment to them or recycle it. At this point in time, only HR24 DVRs and Genie DVRs are being recovered by DIRECTV.

DIRECTV DVRs can’t be used for over-the-air reception. They can’t be used for other services. If you don’t have to return them, you can strip the hard drives out but remember that they’ve been sitting in your dusty entertainment center for years. Those drives could fail at any time.

You can’t pull recordings off a DIRECTV DVR unless you use a video capture system which takes one hour for every hour you want to transfer. You can’t give them to friends even if DIRECTV doesn’t want them back.

But if you could?

I always thought that a DIRECTV DVR would make a pretty good case for a computer. It wouldn’t be hard to shoehorn one in there, although it would have to be a laptop type thing because there really wouldn’t be room for expansion cards. However, it could potentially be a good cooling enclosure for an external graphics card. The DVRs themselves have good airflow and sturdy cases so you could do a lot of things with them. In the past, I’ve seen other devices turned into everything from furniture to fishbowls. I’m not sure what I’d do with an old DVR if I still had one around

Need a DVR? Call Solid Signal

Whether you need an HR24-style DVR or a new Genie system, count on Solid Signal to take care of you! Shop for what you need or call us at 888-233-7563 for white-glove service!

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.