Why can’t you have two DIRECTV Genies on your account?

If you have DIRECTV’s Genie DVR, you know that five tuners, picture-in-picture and a big hard drive make for a happy home. But hey if one is good, aren’t many better? Who wouldn’t like to have two or three Genies in the home?

Sadly, DIRECTV does not allow for more than one Genie activation on each account. It’s frustrating because there are hundreds if not thousands of customers who would gladly pay any reasonable price to have a second Genie. Of course from a technical end it would require a larger multiswitch but to most hobbyists, that’s not a problem.

So what is the problem? It seems that the real reason that you can’t have multiple Genies is that the whole Genie experience is centered around a single server. For example, there’s no way to move a Genie Mini Client from DVR to DVR without rebooting, and it seems that in a multi-Genie environment, the clients don’t always properly attach to the right server.

The matter gets worse with the wireless Genie Mini Client. Its video bridge automatically attaches to whichever Genie it finds first, and in a multi-Genie environment that can lead to a lot of confusion, as each Genie thinks it has the bridge attached. It can be a mess.

Of course, you’re probably saying, “These are software issues. These can be fixed.” In this, you would be right. Remember though, that the cost to fix things has to be balanced against the return on investment. DIRECTV might make a few more dollars on the people who want multiple Genies but the cost to change the whole system might just be too high. It’s not fun to hear, but the majority of the 20 million DIRECTV subscriber homes “just want to watch TV” and for roughly 99.9% of them, one Genie is enough.

We certainly hope that DIRECTV will allow people to activate a second Genie at some point in the future. With the recent release of the H44 Genie Lite, we’ve all gotten a bit more optimistic about the idea. It seems like it’s just a matter of time before that particular hurdle is cleared.

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 5,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.