New DirecTV DVR Records Five Shows at the Same Time

DirecTV The Gennie DVR - H 2012

DirecTV The Gennie DVR - H 2012

UPDATED: The Genie has more storage, can be used in more rooms and offers an optional service to recommend shows - pitting it directly against rival Dish's much-advertised "The Hopper."

DirecTV has ramped up the battle over digital recording with the introduction of the DirecTV Genie, which allows customers to record up to five shows at once, according to an announcement Thursday.

In the battle for subscribers, the role of the DVR has been growing, with direct competitor Dish Network heavily promoting its "Hopper," a controversial device which can record three shows at once - plus three more network shows during primetime if the subscriber opts into a service that records all of prime-time every night.


What makes the Hopper controversial is that it allows the viewer to completely skip over commercials, unlike most digital video recorders which simply allow the viewer to speed through them. The DirecTV Genie does functions like those that simply offer the opportunity to watch in regular or rapid speed. It doesn’t allow skipping. 

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TiVo offers a DVR that can record up to four programs at one time.

DirecTV's Genie also takes on a Netflix-like feature, recommending shows based on viewers' past habits, which it touts in adds Dish and its cable competitors do not offer.

"We simply asked consumers what they wished for in the perfect television experience and then set out to develop as many of those features as possible in our new flagship HD DVR,” said Romulo Pontual, executive vp and chief technology officer for DIRECTV, adding: “Gone are the days of scheduling conflicts, channel surfing, messy wires and boxes, missed shows and family fights over the remote."

The Genie, according to DirecTV, lets subscribers with a single receiver record and delete shows on on up to 8 TV sets that have connection capability, gaming consoles or Blu-Ray players; or that have a small DirecTV client box.  

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The HD reciever offers more storage capacity (200 hours of HD, up to 800 of standard definition), the ability to search and record shows up to two weeks in advance, picture in picture (so you can watch one channel and monitor another), start over (if you tune in late), the ability to catch up on past episodes from up to five weeks back; and apps like Facebook, Twitter, Pandora and more.

DirecTV has about 20 million subscribers in the U.S and another 13.6 million in Latin America.