What’s that curvy arrow in the DIRECTV guide?

You’ve seen it a hundred times in the guide. Take a look at the highlighted blue area:

Or, if you want to look closer, I’m talking about this arrow:

…which you’ll see on national programming on a lot of channels, while something is airing.  It’s something very special that few other providers do. DIRECTV gives you a little magic, and shows you the arrow to know that you have the option for something unique


They call the feature “DIRECTV Restart.” It’s available on Genie systems as well as non-Genie DVRs, and it’s been around for years. Yet, most people don’t know about it.

With Restart, you can rewind a show before you started watching it. You might also see an on-screen message when you start some shows that you can press the REWIND button to start a show even if you’ve tuned in late. This is the same thing. It shows you in the guide which shows have this feature enabled.

How is this even possible?

The folks at DIRECTV have what amounts to a massive DVR at their broadcast facility, recording hundreds of channels at a time. When you rewind past the point where you started, that DVR starts feeding you programming over the internet. When you think about it that way, it seems so simple. Of course there’s a lot of stuff that has to happen in the background in order for this to happen.

Yeah, commercials

So if you have tried this feature in the past you might have realized that it does not let you fast-forward through commercials. It’s a little frustrating, but it’s a limitation that’s common to most of DIRECTV’s streaming offerings. In the case of Restart content, almost all fast-forwarding is disabled on almost all programs.

There’s no official reason listed for this, but it would seem to come down to keeping things simple technically, as well as dealing with content providers who want you to see their commercials. I tend to think that the part about seeing commercials is really the big issue here.

Find out more…

If you’re looking to upgrade your DIRECTV system, call the folks at Signal Connect! They’re the sponsor of this article as well as much of the content on this blog. Call Signal Connect at 888-233-7563 or fill out the form below to get more information about DIRECTV systems whether you are on land, sea, or on the road!

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.