Will your DIRECTV remote control other devices over RF?

Sorry to burst your bubble right out of the gate… but no. While DIRECTV’s amazing little Genie Remote lets you control your Genie DVR or client using RF technology, that capability can’t be used with anything else.

How is an RF remote different from any other remote?

An RF remote uses technology that’s more like your cell phone than a remote control. A typical remote control uses infrared light. This is light just outside the range of what you can see. Sometimes your phone’s camera can see it… try pointing your phone’s camera at a remote and pressing the button. You just might see some flashing lights.

By using patterns of flashing infrared light, your remote can send commands to your devices. This technology has been used since the 1960s and it’s very stable. But, it has limitations. The signal is easily blocked by walls and even glass doors.

With RF technology, you can mount the receiver behind the TV or in a closed cabinet (with plenty of ventilation please) but even if you have another device that can work with an RF-enabled remote, DIRECTV speaks only IR to other devices. Technically, DIRECTV’s remote technology is based on the open XMP standard, and that may mean it’s possible to program another high-end remote to control a DIRECTV box, it doesn’t mean that the Genie remote will use RF for any other device. Hey, in a remote that inexpensive there have to be some tradeoffs, right?

About the Genie Remote

The Genie Remote does a fine job of controlling other devices in your home theater using infrared, it really does. It even programs itself and if the devices are connected via HDMI, it even does a fair job of guessing what kind of device it needs. If you are looking for that level of control, though, you have an option: The NextGen remote extender actually converts those IR signals to RF and back, meaning that you can control as many devices as you want. While the base unit comes with a single remote link cable, it can be ordered with cables that control multiple devices or you can add a multi-device cable later. This technology isn’t new, but why mess with success — the simple fact is that it works.

Another option… the  app

There are several apps you can use to control a connected receiver over your home network. The DIRECTV app is free and includes a remote control within it. You can also find apps that will let you aggregate all your connected devices much the same way that an old-school universal remote does.

The only thing about apps is that they just don’t have that real button feel. I don’t know about you but I rely on the feeling of physical buttons when I’m watching TV. I like the Genie remote because I can really feel the difference between the important buttons. No app is going to give it to me. That’s the reason I shop at Solid Signal for all of my remotes and you should too.

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.