DirecTV rolled out the Genie Thursday — an HD digital video recorder (DVR) for DirecTV satellite network subscribers that can record five shows at once.
The TiVo-like set-top box can function as a DVR for the entire house, letting users watch recordings on up to eight TVs, and control each one individually.
You can opt into Genie’s TV recommendations, which are based on those you’re already watching — and there’s plenty of space on which to record all that content, with Genie’s one-terabyte hard disk capable of storing 200 hours of HD video and 800 hours of standard-definition video.
The five tuners inside the Genie give this new box advanced capabilities. In addition to that five-programs-at-a-time trick, you can simultaneously watch four different live or recorded shows in four different rooms, and you can pause and rewind live TV as well as record and delete shows in every room.
There’s enough bandwidth to let you watch the same program on up to four different TVs at the same time.
Each one of the TVs within the house must either use a small Genie client box, or have RVU (pronounced “R-View,” it’s not an acronym) home networking video technology installed. That tech is not ubiquitous yet — it’s only included inside Samsung smart TVs, and some gaming consoles and Blu-ray players.
The DirecTV Genie is competing against Dish Network‘s Hopper DVR, which uses a similar configuration of a main DVR that feeds video to smaller clients — which Dish calls “Joeys” — throughout the house.
While the DirecTV Genie can record five shows at once, the Dish Hopper DVR has its “PrimeTime AnyTime” capability — which automatically records the four major networks during prime time each night.
Dish also offers its controversial “AutoHop” commercial skipping capability on those recorded primetime shows, which triggered lawsuits between Dish and several television networks.
The DirecTV Genie DVR is available now as a free upgrade to new DirecTV subscribers, with the company sweetening the pot by adding this season’s NFL Sunday Ticket, as well as three months’ worth of free premium channels.