Why is DIRECTV using big power bricks now?

If you’ve been using a newer DIRECTV receiver like the H25, you’ve noticed that DIRECTV has started using big “power bricks” instead of simple power cords. It’s kind of silly that the power supply for the tiny C41 Mini Genie Client is almost the same size as the box itself (see picture below) but there you go, that’s how DIRECTV does it now. Even the HR44 Genie uses an external power brick.

Everyone hates power bricks, they are big and hard to attach and it’s just one more place for the plug to fall out. Thing is, there are two good reasons for DIRECTV to do it this way.

Power savings: A receiver with a power brick will use less power than one with an internal power supply. That’s because you don’t need a fan to cool the power supply. With a brick, the power supply is naturally cooled from the air around it, and the receiver itself stays cooler as well. Fewer fans means less power used and that means money saved over time.

Reliability: While DIRECTV receivers are pretty reliable, over time it seems that there are two things that fail faster on a DIRECTV box than anything else: the capacitors and the fans. Capacitors are an important part of a power supply. They act like temporary batteries, storing current so that the power supply can more efficiently convert it from the wall voltage to the voltage you need for the receiver. These capacitors can fail due to heat, so the ones in a power “brick” will last longer. As a power supply runs hot, the fan runs to cool it, so these mechanical parts also fail.

If your power supply does break — and it’s often the first thing to fail — it can be replaced easily either by you or by qualified techs at DIRECTV’s refurbishing facilities.

So you see, as much as everyone hates those power bricks, they really do make things better. So, hide them under a piece of furniture or attach them with Velcro to the back of the TV, and at the end of the day you’ll be glad they are there.