Why did I get a refurbished DIRECTV box?

There’s always some excitement when new satellite equipment shows up. It doesn’t matter if you’re new to satellite or just upgrading what you have. You get that package from Solid Signal, you open it and…

it’s very clear that the equipment isn’t “brand new.” Sure, it looks nice and clean but maybe there’s a scratch on the underside. Maybe the manufacture date is listed as several years ago. Maybe it just doesn’t have that “new receiver smell.”

Naturally you’re disappointed. Don’t be.

Of course it would feel great to unbox that receiver for the first time, thinking that no one else had ever touched it. But that’s not really realistic in the world of leased electronics. It’s not really a big deal. Here’s why.

Refurbishing is a common industry practice

You will find refurbished hardware from practically every major cable or satellite company. Often times, customers leave after the “sweetheart deal” portion of their contract is over. Most teaser rates run about two years and after that, the equipment is still in tip-top shape. Refurbishing it and putting it back out in the field keeps costs down and also keeps electronic waste from piling up.

DIRECTV’s own refurbishing process isn’t perfect — nothing in life is perfect — but the company keeps detailed records of how well their refurbished receivers perform and they work hard to make sure you have a great experience from day one.

Refurbished receivers are just as good

Cable and satellite equipment is actually very mature. For most customers, it will make very little difference whether the equipment they get is brand new or five years old. It will perform exactly the same. I’d love to tell you that there’s a big difference between the “latest and greatest” and the older stuff. In some cases, there isn’t any difference at all. For example, in the case of Genie clients, there is absolutely no functional difference between a C41 (made in 2012) and a C61 (made last week.) Yes, the hardware is different because component costs come down. The C61 has that nice AT&T globe logo. But really that’s it.

Some things are always going to be new

Equipment that’s designed to be outside, and equipment that’s designed to be handled, is always new. DIRECTV doesn’t refurbish dishes so when you get something from us it’s going to be brand new and fresh. Remotes are always going to be brand new and so are accessories like DECAs and power inserters. These are parts that do fail in the field and you won’t get a used one.

Non-Genie? They don’t even make them anymore

If you’re still on the non-Genie track, you need to know that those receivers and DVRs aren’t made anymore. The H25 went out of manufacture about five years ago, and so did the HR24. It’s been 100% refurbished product since then. There are some good reasons to stay out of the Genie ecosystem for some people. Maybe you like having multiple DVRs. Perhaps you’re not willing to upgrade your dish and multiswitch. Maybe you have very long runs between dish and receiver. Whatever the reason, that hardware is still available to you. You just need to know that there is a 100% chance it will be refurbished.

There’s no back door anymore

In years past there were ways to make sure that you were guaranteeed the latest and greatest, that you would definitely be getting something new. Usually that meant getting the absolute newest hardware. However, even AT&T’s top of the line Genie 2 is now two years old and we’re starting to see refurbs out there.

So, stop worrying and learn to love the refurb. Chances are that it will work perfectly when you put it in. If it doesn’t, call your friends at Solid Signal and we’ll get another one out to you. In the meantime you’ll be able to enjoy great DIRECTV Satellite service on whatever receiver you’re sent.

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.