The Definitive Review of the Genie from DIRECTV | The Definitive Review of the Genie from DIRECTV |

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If you search for a keyword that either doesn't return any results, or returns more than one show, you have the option to create a keyword series recording to automatically record any future show with that keyword -- there is the option to filter those results by category, so just movies with the word "Eastwood," for example.

Our favorite thing about the guide is the way DirecTV handles channel numbers, specifically HD channels.

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Just use the browse feature to easily find movies, on-demand content and TV shows. The back of the unit offers more outputs than most other DVRs on the market, including an optical audio, which was an upgrade added to the most recent model of the Genie.

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DirecTV nearly beat its biggest competitor to market with a whole-home DVR, but unlike the Hopper and its Joey, the Genie can manage its magic without any set-top box at all -- provided you have a compatible Samsung HDTV, that is -- but with RVU recently added to DLNA, we'd be surprised if the number of sets that include lutherans online dating technology doesn't grow.

While most users will only attach a standard two-prong power connector, HDMI and a coax running to the satellite, there are a number of other connectors out back. A whole-home DVR is not an island unto itself; it leverages the RVU protocol to extend its service into the other rooms of your house.

It's not a huge deal, though, as the "Jump to a date and time" option can get you exactly where you want, very quickly.

The date and time are displayed at the top right, and the top left is home to the video preview window.

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Just about every button is exactly where you'd expect, with the exception of the discrete on and off commands at the top. In comparison, the Hopper offers about 2TB or double the storage.

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Pause and rewind capabilities that extend up to 90 minutes and a scrub bar that tries to be helpful but unobtrusive. Speaking of efficiency, we found the guide pretty quick, overall, but it did lag from time to time, and it cannot keep up if you attempt to rapidly page up and down.

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The DoubleDown feature and the lack of scrub bar during replays are helpful, and there are also sports mix channels that essentially let you watch eight channels at once and select which one to listen to.

Scheduling and managing recordings First thing's first: This remote retains most of the main navigation in the center, but continues to offer a resolution button up top, which is a feature customers appreciated in the previous model.

It's also where you can check on the Queue for downloads and Purchases, plus your recording defaults more on that later. If you find something in the guide you'd like to record, simply hitting the record button once is enough to make it happen.

The general navigation uses the left button to go back as opposed to a dedicated back button and the channel up and down buttons double as page up and down.

Watching TV with the Genie This is what you really want to know, right? Watching TV The primary user interface elements displayed over the video are the info banner and the scrub bar.

Speaking of power, it is of the in-line brick as opposed to the wall-wart variety, and interestingly, has holes to make it easily wall-mountable.

If DirecTV didn't already have you at five tuners, 1TB and up to eight rooms, then click through for a full rundown on the latest the original direct satellite broadcast TV provider has to offer.

Main Features

In fact, to avoid a spoiler that might be shown in the video preview, you have to exit the menu, press pause or change the channel, then go back to where you were in the menus. Remote The remote is a sticking point in nearly all of our home theater reviews, and while the DirecTV controller won't win any innovation awards, it's familiar in all the right ways.

However, you do have the ability to authorize pay-per-view content, which is for those who don't have their DirecTV set-top box connected to the mothership via the internet or a phone line.

Just click and be in control from anywhere in the room or beyond. We wish a mount was included to make it easier to hide, especially since there seem to be holes on the bottom to facilitate one.

The beauty of a great whole-home DVR experience is not having to think about which room you're in, because every single TV in the house behaves the same way. DirecTV does offer a device called the Nomad, which allows you to transfer recordings to your smartphone, but it wasn't provided to us to be included in this review.

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Even better, the networks that are also broadcast over-the-air are in their correct channel assignment -- NewsChannel 8 is just 8, and not So if you wander into the kitchen to cook dinner, you can simply resume that episode of Diners, Dives, and Drive-ins that you started in the living room and continue drooling.

The lights are pretty bright out of the box, but all -- except for the record indicator LED -- can be dimmed or disabled by pressing both the right and left direction buttons on the box. Ultimately, X1 from Comcast and The Hopper from Dish, offer similar functionality and an equally dynamic user interface.

This feature is complimented by the Score Guide, which provides real time game updates at the click of a button. The Genie can support up to eight TVs, but only four can be in use at the same time the TV the HR34 is connected to plus three clients.

To use it, you simply hit the down button on the remote twice while watching live TV, and from that point forward the DVR will buffer live TV on two channels instead of one.

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Aside from a slight degradation in UI responsiveness, the experience is identical to that of the TV that has the HR34 connected to it. We covered searching more extensively in the user interface section, but essentially you access search via the main menu and once you find something to record, you can schedule a recording or create a series recording -- this typically worked as expected, but in one case a show we later found in the guide didn't turn up in a search.

You can, of course, pause live TV and skip around, but the scrub bar also shows up when you're watching recorded programs. However, 1 TB is more than adequate for most households and allows for storing hours in HD or hours in standard definition. The Extras section is full of, well, extras. This is essentially a guide for sporting events, with optional scores and easy access to watch an event without ever knowing what channel it's on.

DirecTV Genie whole-home DVR review

This doesn't mean there isn't plenty of TV available to watch anywhere, but you don't have the same exact selection that you have at home.

You might miss the lack of a Toslink option for optical digital audio -- and there's also no ATSC tuner, which can come in handy if DirecTV doesn't offer every local channel in your market via satellite.

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The main menu is broken up into five main sections: Whole-home DVR Until recently, having multiple DVRs in house meant managing duplicate series recording lists and walking into different rooms to resolve conflicts While the ultimate entertainment dream is to be able to watch whatever we want, wherever we want and on any device we want, for now we'll settle for a great in-home experience.

Our only minor complaint is that it should be easier to quickly see the next eight shows that will be airing next on a certain channel.

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The included remote isn't the only method for controlling the DirecTV experience. A word about GenieGo, which is an external unit formerly known as the Nomad.

The Info button on the remote brings it forward whenever you want, and an abridged version of it is displayed every time you change the channel. The directional pad buttons are key to navigating around, with the channel up and down buttons acting as page up and down.

This makes it very easy to reference the current time of the program, the name of the show, how big your buffer is and how much time is left -- perfect for those late nights when you want to check the time and determine if it is too late to finish what you've started. There are a few extra shortcuts that aren't on the real remote, like skip to start, slow, skip 2.

The user interface looks very polished, and the app makes it easy to schedule recordings and even watch a mix of live and on-demand content on the go.