Will 2016 be the year we get multiple Genies on our accounts?

I’d say chances are 60% in favor… which is a step up from 2015 when I would have put the chances at 25%. One of the biggest requests from our Solid Signal faithful is the ability to have more than one Genie DVR on the account. While 5 tuners and 4 rooms is pretty satisfying for a lot of people, it’s not enough to spec out a proper man-cave. For the moment if you want to go above that level you’re stuck with DIRECTV’s H25 and HR24 receivers, which haven’t been updated since 2011 and are beginning to seem a little slow and underpowered. At some point, DIRECTV is going to have to deal with this situation, because even if only 5% of people want multiple Genies, that’s over a million subscriber families and that’s a decent chunk of change.

I’m more optimistic since last year due to the introduction of the H44 Genie Lite, which seems perfect for taking on the “second Genie” role not only in homes but potentially in businesses as well. The Genie Lite is a receiver that can be converted to a DVR, and even without DVR capability it can run three clients and can access content from another DVR. All this really points to the possibility that two Genies can coexist in a home. I’ve even heard some very vague chatter that leads me to believe that the software problems that have been holding multiple Genies back from the general public are close to being solved.

So why wouldn’t there be a push to get multiple Genies in the home? The answer lies with the “Next-generation” device that’s supposedly being developed. This device supposedly will unify the U-Verse and DIRECTV worlds by allowing the same receivers to be used by both, and the same service to be provided. Little is known about this device at this time, except that it’s very unlikely it will hit homes any time before 2017.

There are two reasons this next-generation device would keep multiple Genies out of your hands. First, it’s possible that it’s just not built with them in mind. Perhaps the box itself is a multi-tuner server of its own, perhaps totally incompatible with the Genie. This doesn’t sound like DIRECTV’s normal way of doing business, but hey… DISH pretty much did that with its Hopper technology and it’s still going strong. If that’s the case, then we still may get the number of tuners we want just without today’s Genie.

The other possibility is that from a policy point of view, DIRECTV simply considers its pre-AT&T technology “done and done” and just isn’t interested in extending it. That doesn’t really sound like them either — remember this is a company that let people keep their non-branded receivers, last made in 2002, active until 2012 and they still offer standard-definition service to existing customers (although not to new customers.)

But my thought… is that they will continue to actively work on a multiple-Genie scenario and possibly a scenario that will allow H44 Genies to be used in commercial scenarios. Those two things actually go hand in hand, since bars and restaurants really do need more than 4 TVs and if DIRECTV wants Genie technology to be used there (without DVRs of course) they’re going to need to build in the ability for multiples. At the same time perhaps they could build in the ability to run the Genie in “server” mode meaning that it would lose the ability to output a TV signal but could potentially run four or five clients. Something like this would be ideal for a bar that runs smart TVs that use DIRECTV-Ready technology… control all the TVs using IP and connect them all easily with coaxial cable without any box required at the rear.

Perhaps I’m dreaming, perhaps it’s just not going to happen, but I will tell you that I have a lot more confidence about this than I did last year at this time and it’s just a matter of time (in my opinion) before you see multiple Genies as a reality.