What if all your TVs watch the same channel?

One of our customer service reps had a good question for me the other day.

My customer has an HR54 DVR and wants to know, What if you watch the same program on 3 Genie clients? Does that mean you can watch 2 more things on 2 other clients?

Sadly it doesn’t work that way. The HR44 and HR54 DVR have a limitation of three client streams at the same time. (The Genie 2 gives you 7 streams.) That means it doesn’t matter if you’re watching live TV, recorded TV, on demand, or whatever. The most you’re going to get out of an HR44 or HR54 Genie system is the DVR and 3 other TVs, period. That’s why I tell people not to get more than 3 clients, because you can only use 3 at the same time.

The problem isn’t the number of tuners in use, although with only 5 tuners you would think that was it. It has to do with the processing speed of the DVR and the limitations of the MoCA 1.1 network that is used by the clients. The DVR does all the work of supplying video to itself and the clients, plus recording programs, and the HR44 and HR54 just can’t support more than 3 streams with other things going on. The MoCA 1.1 network could handle something like 12 streams if you were just talking about programming, but there’s a lot of overhead built into the system for communication back and forth, and it has to be super-smooth. The result is that a MoCA network can’t support more than about 8 streams.

HR44 and HR54 were designed to be 4-room solutions. At the time the H25 and HR24 DVRs were still being made and so it was always imagined that you would use those for additional capacity. In the years after the HR54’s release in 2015, it became obvious that really, people wanted a simple solution for 5-7 rooms as well, and the Genie 2 accomplished that. The Genie 2 also has support for MoCA 2.0, which could support 50-75 streams if you had enough processor power to supply them.

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.