NICE AND EASY: How long can you use a deactivated DVR?

DIRECTV DVRs are insecure. They need to receive constant signals from a satellite or they begin to get very worried and eventually shut down. Usually that’s not a problem, but there are a few times you would want to use a DVR after it’s been deactivated or without satellite service.

While the DVR will give you constant errors on live TV, you can usually go to the playlist and watch recorded programs for 3-6 days. The DVR gets a signal from the satellite roughly once a week that authorizes it to continue showing programs. If DIRECTV didn’t do that, you could just disconnect your service and keep using it forever.

Once time is up, there’s really nothing you can do to get those recorded programs back. Even if you opened the case and took out the hard drive (which you should not ever do) you’d find that the files are encrypted and without the receiver they were recorded on, they don’t work.

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 6,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.