The DIRECTV C30? What is that?

The other day I spoke to a customer who claimed that while at DIRECTV about five years ago he had beta tested a “C30” DIRECTV Genie Client. We all know that the first Genie client to be released was the C31, but I did actually believe him because I remember that there was discussion of a C30 client at one time.

The photo above was taken at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show. I actually sat that one out but I know the person who took it and he can be trusted. It seems to be a Genie client and I believe it was the C30.

I know for sure that the C30 was never released to the public but it brings up the whole question of… how many other DIRECTV projects have gotten to the stage where there have been actual prototypes before they were canceled?

I’ve been told that before Genie, there was another product called “Home Media Server” back in 2006 or 2007. I may have actually snapped a picture of it at CES, I remember they had it under glass:

Sorry for the quality, I was taking pictures with a RAZR phone!

I’ve been told that about 10% of the projects that make it to the prototype phase don’t get any further. Sometimes new hardware comes along that’s cheaper or faster, and sometimes the product just doesn’t perform. I don’t know what the issue was with the C30, although from the picture it looks like it was about the size of an H24 which would have been ok if the C31 wasn’t so small. I’ve also been told that there was a very limited trial run of “Sat-Go 2″ which was literally a handheld DIRECTV receiver with a 5” screen. I’m not sure how that would have ever worked, so I’m not surprised it was canceled.

And of course DIRECTV isn’t alone here. The simple fact is that factories today can be configured to make small quantities of almost anything, and keep in mind that when you’re sending something to the FCC for approval, it has to be in final form, so it wouldn’t surprise me if every day, factories turned out hundreds of prototypes for different companies. If only I could get my hands on one.