Sound skipping on your DIRECTV receiver or client? Here’s the answer

Folks I admit that every year it gets a little harder for me to find topics to write about, especially when it comes to DIRECTV. Their software has just gotten so stable. But, every so often there’s a new bug that pops up and it’s worth talking about some easy fixes.

A b… b… b… blast from the past

Recently, Genie users have started reporting that the sound is skipping or dropping out. They’ve noticed this not only with recordings but also with live TV. You could hear dropouts every second or two or just enough garbling that something seems wrong. Occasionally the sound will be a little out of sync.

Simple solution

More often than not this is just a temporary issue. With Genie clients, all the hard work is done by the DVR. The little client boxes don’t really do anything but show video and send commands back to the main box. This system works really well most of the time. Sometimes, though… it doesn’t.

The simple solution is to press PLAY/PAUSE and then press it again. This will force the video and audio to sync up and you should be back on your way. Changing the channel also works most of the time.

If that doesn’t work?

Lately I’ve also noticed that some TVs don’t do a very good job of decoding DIRECTV’s particular strain of Dolby Digital. This was a problem about 12 years ago and seems to have popped up again. Dolby Digital can make your home theater system sound better but if you’re not using a soundbar or A/V receiver it isn’t necessary.

This article from last year will take you through the steps of turning off Dolby Digital. As I said most likely you won’t even notice it’s gone unless you have a home theater system.

Could there be a serious problem?

It’s unlikely that there’s really a serious problem that’s causing these skips, but it is possible. Rebooting your Genie server or DVR will help you figure it out.

This tutorial will walk you through the options for rebooting your Genie 2. If you have an HR44 or HR54 Genie, the steps are the same but the red reset button is in a different place.

If you have an older DVR, find the red reset button and push it, that’s all it should take.

I generally recommend rebooting, getting to live TV, and rebooting again almost immediately. This procedure clears out a lot of the logs on the hard drive and forces the DVR to download new guide data. Sometimes that helps as well.

If there is a simple issue with the hard drive, the built-in tests will fix it right away. However, if there is a more serious problem it may take an hour or more to reboot as the hard drive is repaired. In rare cases, the hard drive can’t be repaired and you will need to call for a replacement.

For this reason I recommend watching the really important stuff on your playlist if you can, since there is a chance that the double-reboot will cause lost recordings. It’s a very slim chance, but there is a chance. Generally in that case the recordings were already corrupted and you wouldn’t have the ability to watch them anyway.

If you need more help, call our tech staff at 888-233-7563 during East Coast business hours or visit our Facebook group for 24/7 support!


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.