NICE AND EASY: What’s the difference between the red button and the record button on a DIRECTV remote?

The DIRECTV remote has a red button and an orange (R) button. You probably figured out in the first week you had DIRECTV service that the red button doesn’t record, even though, well, pretty much every other remote in the known galaxy uses the red button to record. But that’s the way it’s going to be, so that’s the way it’s going to be.

Why this is how this is

The red button is a leftover from the days when DIRECTV remotes had colored buttons. Colored buttons were, and still are, a big part of European TV. The thought was clearly that they would be here, too. So, DIRECTV receivers in the mid-2000s had red, green, yellow, and blue buttons. The yellow, green, and blue button functions have been taken over by other buttons, but the red button became very popular for its use in DIRECTV’s scoreguide. So, when the time came to revamp the remote, to make it easier and get rid of unused and confusing buttons, the other colors left but red managed to stay.

The folks who designed the Genie Remote put the Record button at the top left so that it would be easy to get to when you’re holding the remote in your right hand. This is an example of the sort of ergonomic design that you’ll find all over this remote. Personally I think it’s one of the best designed ones you’ll find, although the presence of the red button does make it just shy of perfect.

Could they change this?

Well of course they could, and I think you could even argue that they should. But, what would you do with the millions of remotes out there that would become obsolete? They’ve done something like this before, like when they replaced the yellow button with the Zero on Genie guide searches. It took years before they could retire the older button’s function.

In this case, let’s say they changed the red button to an “I” for interactive. They could do this by revaming the remote so the red dot was now an I in a red circle. It still would take years to shake out all the old remotes, but at least it would be a start.

With DIRECTV now its own entity, you could start to see bold moves like this. I hope they do something like this because I think that this is the last bit of change that the remote would need in order to be perfect.

It does take a little getting used to, but it helps that the (R) image on the record button is the same graphic you’ll see on a program that’s set to record. It helps it get reinforced in your mind.

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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.