NICE AND EASY: Do you need wired internet for DIRECTV Ready Smart TVs?

Look, I can see where you would get confused. I could tell you a whole big story but really let’s start with the facts.

You can’t use the built-in Wi-Fi on your TV and have it work as a DIRECTV receiver.
This is on purpose. You, personally, may have put in enterprise-level equipment and you’re incredibly confident that you can deliver a smooth stream. Unfortunately, the other 20 million subscribers aren’t as smart as you are and it could be a real nightmare trying to diagnose people’s Wi-Fi problems just so they could watch live TV. So they don’t let you do it. The only allowed method is to connect the coax cable to a device called a DECA which converts it to wired Ethernet. Nothing else works.

However… you absolutely can connect the Genie DVR to the internet wirelessly and the DIRECTV Ready smart TVs will get internet from it.
A lot of people are confused by this because they don’t understand that internet and home networking are two different things. Stuff goes around your house and if there’s a request for information somewhere else, it goes through your router. Let’s unpack that a little bit.

When you’re watching TV using a DIRECTV Ready Smart TV, you’re connecting between the TV and the Genie DVR. This connection must be wired because it has to be super smooth. The smart TV won’t “buffer” DIRECTV the way it buffers Netflix, and it won’t drop to a lower quality level. So it needs a perfect connection all the time.

On the other hand, if you’re streaming, you’re actually connecting to an outside server, going through the Genie DVR to the router. This can be a wireless connection because apps like Netflix expect a bad, broken-up connection and have ways of dealing with it.

So now the bonus question…
What about the Wireless Genie Mini? Clearly that gets a wireless signal and it works. So why won’t a Smart TV work the same way?

The Wireless Genie Mini client uses a special, dedicated Wi-Fi network controlled by DIRECTV so they can see what’s really going on with it. Unfortunately Wi-Fi enabled Smart TVs can’t connect to it (although to be very honest I don’t know why. It really should work that way.)

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.