DIRECTV recently introduced a new digital video recorder, the Genie DVR. This particular unit is basically a glorified Home Media Center HR-34 model, but if you haven’t upgraded to that yet here are a few details on the new model.
Dubbed as a box that will “grant your every TV wish”, the Genie DVR offers a full HD experience throughout the home. Of course, you will have to have an HDTV in said room to enjoy the higher quality picture. Additionally, because the Genie serves a central server of sorts, all recorded content can be accessed and viewed throughout your home. A real blessing if you have kids who want to watch their programs and you don’t want to be interrupted while watching yours.
Like the HR-34 model, the Genie has a huge hard drive, holding up to 800 hours of standard definition content, or 200 hours of HD programming (1 TB total). DIRECTV promotes that it can hold more than four times that of the typical cable DVR. That will of course vary, as cable companies buy digital video recorders from different sources, and thus they have different sized hard drives.The Genie DVR also works seamlessly with RVU-enabled devices, which allow you to eliminate boxes in other rooms. Unfortunately, these devices are in their infancy, and only a few Samsung models have integrated RVU technology into their HDTV sets.
The main enhancement to the Genie seems to be an opt in feature called “Genie Recommends” which is similar to what TiVo has done for years. Based on your prior viewing habits and your recordings, Genie figures out what may be of interest to you, and displays the content on the menu for your consideration.
The Genie DVR also keeps the five tuners from the HR-34 Whole Home model, virtually eliminating any recording conflicts that may arise. This is a huge improvement over most cable companies, which usually limit the number of simultaneous recordings at two.
Most satellite fans will want to know how Genie compares to the DISH Hopper DVR a device that has come under fire this year for its ad-zapping capability. The functionality and storage capacity of the Genie and the Hopper are similar in nature, its mainly going to be personal preference. The DISH Hopper records all network prime-time shows automatically, and has up to three tuners to record programming that you want. The Genie is more flexible, allowing the customer to select up to five recordings at a time.