DirecTV Genie HR34 Runs Slow - But Won't Be Upgraded

We've had our HR34 Genie since 2012. It's been great.

But the latest software updates have slowed it down immensely. And according to DirecTV, there's nothing we can do about it.

We've been using this HR34 for almost 4 years. That's an eternity in set-top-box years.

In fact, it wasn't even called a "Genie" when we received it - it was a "Whole Home DVR", and we had to pay $100 to get it.

It was worth the expense - our original review, comparing it to WOW Ultra TV, is HERE.

However, the HR34 has never been perfect. It is gigantic, it needs an external bridge to connect to wi-fi, and its processor is underpowered.

Back in 2013, DirecTV introduced the HR44. And this year, the HR54. These devices were smaller, had faster processors, and had integrated wi-fi. The HR54 is even (theoretically) capable of sat-delivered 4K programming.

Problems solved, right? Retire the HR34, get everyone onto the current-gen hardware, and keep the customer base happy and growing?

Well, no.

DirecTV continues to ship HR34 devices to unsuspecting users who don't know any better. At least they aren't charging $100 anymore.

And they're also still pushing new versions of the Genie operating system, with new features. These upgrades happen automatically. You can't opt out.

The DirecTV techs have pushed the old HR34 to its breaking point.... and beyond.

The latest system update pretty much broke the HR34.

Turning the system on can take as much as 20 seconds.

Changing channels - something that I'd consider a "core feature" of a television - takes between 5-10 seconds with a black screen. Every single time. 

That's simply unacceptable.

Looking around the online forums, I saw that this wasn't just my HR34 - all units are affected.

Sure - it's only 5 seconds. It's something that you CAN live with.

But given the fact that DirecTV has been offering upgraded equipment for 3 years, why SHOULD you?

So I called DirecTV last night. The customer service rep was very nice and understanding, and confirmed 100% that the HR34 devices were experiencing this issue.

However, she explained.... tough. Deal with it.

DirecTV offers NO upgrades in equipment for HR34 users under contract. Ever. 

If (when) your HR34 dies, you will be given a like-for-like exchange for ANOTHER 4+ year old HR34 Genie box.

When your 2-year contract ends, you can ask for new equipment if you sign another 2-year deal... BUT, they won't guarantee that it won't be another HR34! 

This is backwards and baffling.

Can you imagine Apple or Google aggressively pushing last-gen hardware, even when it becomes incapable of running current-gen software?

DirecTV has told me, in no uncertain terms, that I'm going to have to live with a broken set-top box for the next 11 months.

11 months from now, I will be a former DirecTV subscriber. 

I really loved their Genie service - it was truly innovative for its time - but that time has passed. Hopefully, a year from now, Apple's television service will be available.

In the meantime, I'm going to acquire an HR44 on the secondary market, and see if I can't get DirecTV to transfer my service to that box.


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