Schedule recordings with the DIRECTV App for smartphones and tablets

No matter where you are, if you have internet access, you can schedule recordings on your home DVR with DIRECTV. DIRECTV’s excellent app for smartphones and tablets isn’t just good for streaming, it’s not just good for being a super-duper remote control when you’re in the house… you can actually use it to schedule recordings no matter where you are.

Many people who are new to DIRECTV don’t remember that scheduling was once the only thing you could do with the DIRECTV app, which is easy to understand since the apps have gotten to be so full-featured in the past three years or so. There’s just so much you can do with these things now. But let’s get back to basics.

Start by using the app to search for programs, the same way you do if you want to stream them or watch them at home. When you find one you like, tap “Record” and make sure that the DVR you want to record it on is selected. If you have multiple DVRs, you’ll need to look at what they’re called. (If you haven’t given friendly names to your DVRs, go to and look at your equipment. It’s super easy.)

From there, the recording is scheduled and information is sent to your DVR. Believe it or not this can be done even if your DVR is not connected to the internet, as long as it’s connected to the satellite. It does work better with internet connection (as most things in the DIRECTV universe do) but as a backup, your request is put into a data stream along with all other requests, and your DVR checks this stream by looking at a particular satellite transponder. If it sees a request that pertains to itself, it schedules a recording according to that request.

You can check to make sure the request came in by going to your DIRECTV DVR and pressing {MENU} then going to Recordings, Manage Recordings, To Do List. Scrolling down should allow you to see the scheduled recording. Honestly though, this process is so reliable that unless you’re one of those people who still obsessively reads bus schedules, you’re probably not going to want to bother.

This is a great tool for when a friend tells you about a show they’ve been watching, or if you read an article about something while you’re away from the house. You can even make these recordings run long or start early, and if you have multiple DVRs you can choose which one to record on, or record on all. You can even tell your DVR that you definitely want this to record even if other things are scheduled. It’s a pretty powerful tool.

It should also go without saying (but I’m going to say it anyway) that you can use this tool while you’re in the home as well. The app actually knows if it’s on the same network as your receiver and there are capabilities that only work if the app is on the same network as the DVR. When it comes to scheduling recordings, you’ll find it works the same whether you’re at home or 10,000 miles away. When you think about it, there’s no reason that the folks on the International Space Station couldn’t be scheduling recordings. The same functionality works on PCs as well by going to, and the ISS astronauts do have internet access, at least limited access.

So, do like the astronauts do! (What, too thin of an analogy?) Schedule recordings from anywhere using DIRECTV’s apps or It’s so easy you’ll wish you’d been doing it all along.

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.