What is the best Genie client? (2018/2019 Edition)

AT&T’s satellite technology has gotten very stable. Although there have been changes over the last decade. things since 2011 have been slowly growing more and more stable. When DIRECTV (then a separate company) moved to Genie technology, they set in motion a process. This process led to the Genie clients we have today, which are more stable and capable than ever before.

But which one should you choose? There are three families of Genie client, and within each, several models. They’re all good, but you might want to know the plusses and minuses of each.

What is a Genie Client?

Genie technology has one simple point. Simple, inexpensive, efficient boxes that deliver the DVR experience to every room. Before Genies, you needed a DVR in order to pause live TV in every room. People want to pause live TV, and this led to situations where DIRECTV was actually losing money giving people multiple DVRs. It also confused people because recordings could take place in multiple rooms. While this made things redundant, it also could lead to missed recordings and complex setups.

Genie fixed that. Starting with one box that could record five things at once, the original Genie DVR gave people the power they needed in a single location. It also introduced the Genie Client. The Genie client looks like a tiny satellite receiver and acts just like one too. Funny thing, it’s not.

A Genie client is a very simple device that takes input from a remote and puts video out to the TV. Everything else is done by the DVR. It doesn’t receive signals, it doesn’t deal with copy protection, it doesn’t connect to the internet. When you ask for video, it connects to the Genie DVR and gets it. That’s all.

Without tuners, hard drives, or decoders, Genie clients can be smaller and lighter, more energy efficient and less expensive. Remember keeping costs down for the parent company helps everyone.

GOOD: The Wireless Genie Mini Client

The Wireless Genie Mini client, shown here, works in any room without a cable connection to the DVR. Generally you need to be within 50 feet with no more than 3 walls between you.

There are two models of Wireless Client. Shown above is model C41W. There is a model C61W which has no important differences other than the AT&T logo on the front.

I call it the “good” solution because it’s sometimes a bit slower than the wired version. The change isn’t very much, but it really depends on how well the wireless signal gets to it.

Also, unless you have a Genie 2, you will need to add a Wireless Video Bridge to support your wireless client. This is an extra added expense.

BETTER: The Genie Mini Client.

The wired Genie Mini Client is the most common of all the clients. It provides the same function as the wireless client but requires a coaxial cable connection to the DVR. That cable makes for a more stable, slightly faster experience. In theory the wired client should also use slightly less power.

The original client, model C31, is no longer offered. It is the only one that uses the old-style white DIRECTV remote. All other Genie clients use the Genie remote.

Models C41 and C51 are identical. Model C61, shown above adds the AT&T globe logo and some futureproofing that may or may not ever be relevant.

The wired client is the smallest of all the clients and therefore the easiest to place in a bedroom or spare room.

BEST: 4K Genie Mini Client

The 4K Genie Mini Client is the top of the line. It’s wired and lets you output to a 4K TV.  There is just one model, C61K, although that model has been slightly changed so that it now carries the AT&T globe logo where it never did before.

While it’s the most futureproof, fastest, and most capable client, it does have a few downsides. First of all it’s big. Here’s a picture of a C61K at bottom and a C41 (wired client) at top.

You can also see the older branding in that photo.

The C61K uses the most power of all the clients and can run hot. Also, when used on a non-4K TV it will occasionally give you “nag” messages about how the TV isn’t 4K. These are much less frequent than they used to be, and you should expect to see them no more than every couple of weeks.

In the past I told people to stay away from the 4K client unless they had a 4K TV but since 4K TVs are so cheap, and the nag message comes less often, I now recommend the 4K client for every upgrader.

HR54 DVRs support one 4K stream at a time, while Genie 2’s support 2 4K streams at a time. A C61K client should work in non-4K mode as a regular client.

Get another client now

With an HR44 or HR54 Genie DVR, you can have a maximum of 8 clients, of which 3 can be on at any time. With the Genie 2, you still have a maximum of 8, but 7 can be active at one time. If you’re ready to upgrade your DIRECTV system, check out Solid Signal for the best selection and the best prices.

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.