TIP: Watch two programs at the same time with DIRECTV

If you’re an old TiVo fan, you know it used to be very easy to switch between two channels. It’s a little harder with DIRECTV but it’s still possible.

Suppose you want to watch Extra and your husband wants to watch Jeopardy. Both of those programs have a lot of “fluff” so if you could flip between the two of them without losing the buffer, you could probably watch them both in the same 30 minutes. Here’s a way you can do that!


If you have an HR20, HR21, HR22, HR23 or HR24 DVR, you have everything you need to be flipping back between two programs without losing anything. It’s called DoublePlay and it’s already set up for you!

Step 1:Tune to the channel that Extra is on.

Step 2: Press the {DOWN} arrow on your remote. You will see a message in the lower right that looks like this:

Step 3: Press the {DOWN} arrow again. The channel will change. Depending on where you are, it will probably change to either channel 2 or channel 201. You can now change to the channel that Jeopardy is on.

You can now use the {DOWN} arrow to switch between Extra and Jeopardy and you won’t lose the buffer on either station. If you want, press {PAUSE} before switching to keep the exact place you left off. It’s that simple!

DIRECTV DVRs will give you two 90-minute buffers. If the DVR needs to record something, it will pop up a message asking you if you want to cancel the recording or stop DoublePlay.


With a TiVo it’s even easier. The two buffers are always going. Be careful though, because with a TiVo you only get 30-minute buffers, so you had better get to work watching. TiVo doesn’t always tell you when it’s going to record something, so there’s a chance that you’ll lose one program altogether. But, it’s still possible to watch both programs in the same half hour if you work at it.

DIRECTV Genie DVR and Genie Client

With DIRECTV’s Genie DVRs, you can use DoublePlay the same way as with the other DIRECTV DVRs. On the HR44 and HR54 DVRs, you have another option: Picture-in-Picture. You can watch the video from both at the same time and switch between them. You can have them side-by-side or have one big and one small.

To use Picture-In-Picture, press the {INFO} button on your remote. Press the {RIGHT} arrow until PIP is highlighted. Press {SELECT}.

You can choose at this point where you want the PIP window to be. In the example above, it’s at the lower right.

At this point when you change channels, you’re affecting the bigger (or left side) picture. To change the smaller (or right side) picture, press the {DOWN} arrow. That will swap the two images. The sound always follows the bigger (or left side) picture.

With a little practice you can be saving time and bringing harmony back to the home, and two people can watch live TV at the same time!

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.