RVU: The biggest thing since Multi-Room Viewing

Starting with the DIRECTV HR34, future satellite receivers will use a new technology called RVU.

RVU, pronounced “R-view”, is a complete departure from anything that DIRECTV has done before. DIRECTV made waves with its multiroom viewing system a few years back, but each room still required a receiver. DIRECTV’s H25 is pretty small, but it’s still expensive to make, requires a power outlet and adds an additional cable to the setup. Many DIRECTV customers want a clean installation with a single cable coming from the wall to the TV, and that’s it.

DIRECTV’s answer is RVU. Along with some of its manufacturers and Samsung, DIRECTV created the RVU standard which will eventually allow you to have one cable from the wall to the TV, and use the TV remote to change channels… something that hasn’t really worked in a generation.

How does it work? RVU is essentially an app on a smart TV… nothing more. It doesn’t take any special hardware to support RVU. DIRECTV has had TVs with built-in satellite tuners before, but they haven’t succeeded.With this technology, any “smart” TV, that is, any internet-connected TV, can connect through its ethernet port and act just as if it were connected to a receiver. The trick is… there’s no receiver.

The trick is that you need a super DVR like DIRECTV’s HR34. It has 5 tuners and all the extra computer power that it takes to run RVU. You see, with RVU, one DVR does all the work. It can control up to 5 TVs at once. It provides a live TV signal, not just access to recordings. The HR34 can sit in a closet, living room, or anywhere. It doesn’t even need a TV attached to it.

RVU is available today, but only on three TVs made by Samsung in the last year. And, truth be told, it’s a new technology so it’s still not perfect. RVU 2.0 is coming out in 2012 Samsung TVs and will start to come out in other TVs as well. If you don’t have a new TV, there will be an adapter, but that’s not available to the public yet.

RVU should also work with other cable and satellite companies, although at the moment it is being marketed by DIRECTV exclusively. However it’s pretty likely that other companies will get on board when they see the savings they can offer to the customer, as well as the clean installation.

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.