Problems with DIRECTV Mobile DVR? You’re not alone

DIRECTV’s Mobile DVR service is a great idea. It took the best parts of what used to be known as GenieGO, including the ability to copy content from your DVR to your phone, and built it into the DIRECTV Genie DVR so everyone can use it. Unfortunately, the rollout has not been 100% smooth and you might be encountering these common problems.

Can’t access playlist from phone
This is a common problem, especially if the DVR has just rebooted. (And remember, you may not know every time it reboots.) Many of the services needed for Mobile DVR to work actually take up to 24 hours to work, because of the need to make sure live TV and scheduling are all set, and then the whole thing needs to be communicated to DIRECTV’s servers. In general, this solves itself in 24 hours. In the meantime, you can generally search for items on DIRECTV’s On Demand listings and get the things you’re looking for.

Can’t actually download a program to your phone.
In many cases, if a program is available on demand, you won’t be able to download it to your phone. I know there have been a lot of complaints about this and right now there isn’t much you can do, but the folks at DIRECTV are aware of it and they’re working through it. I can’t promise it will be fixed 100% of the time due to certain legal restrictions, but there is hope.

Picture quality is poor.
In order to save space and time, the programs actually stored on your phone are actually pretty close to standard definition, even though the source material is high definition. This is a carryover from the late-2000s Nomad product when there wasn’t really enough space or time to do a full HD transcode. It’s also not likely to change right now.

You can’t access your Mobile DVR after putting in a replacement Genie DVR.
Usually this problem will go away if you delete and reinstall the app, then re-register the device. If it doesn’t, you may need to call Solid Signal or DIRECTV to figure out what’s going on.

So yes, friends, I’ll admit that not everything is sunshine and roses when it comes to DIRECTV’s Mobile DVR service. There are other options, though — if you want a permanent copy of your programs with better quality than DIRECTV’s Mobile DVR, a video capture device like this one can help. Connect a receiver or DVR to your PC to capture programs at DVD quality levels and you can keep them forever, use almost any mobile player (like VLC or iTunes) to view them, and while it takes longer, it gives you a lot more control. If copying things to your phone isn’t your thing, DIRECTV On Demand and all of the streaming apps you can get to using your DIRECTV username and password will give you all the access you want!

On Demand programs streamed through the DIRECTV app don’t count toward your data plan if you’re on AT&T (as of November 2016) so stream to your heart’s content! In the meantime, Mobile DVR “is what it is” and while I can’t promise it will improve, I can promise that it hasn’t been abandoned before it even gets off the ground. Your concerns are being heard.

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.