Upgrading from DirecTV HR34 Genie to HR44!

It looks like it's finally happening! 
We have been struggling with the HR34 Genie for a few months. It is running VERY slowly since the last software update. 

DirecTV previously told me that I was out of luck - they wouldn't upgrade me to the HR44 or HR54. Yesterday, they relented. 
Here's the situation, DirecTV Genie customers. 

We've had our HR34 for over 3 years. It has been a great piece of consumer electronics. 

However, it's ancient. It was the first-generation of the Genie platform. 

The HR34's successor, the HR44, is generally better in every way. 

It's WAY smaller. It has the wi-fi built in, so you don't have to attach a second box the size of your router. It's processor is substantially faster. 

And the HR44 is ALSO ANCIENT! 

DirecTV has been shipping HR44s since 2013. 

But they've been trying to eke every last bit of useful life out of the HR34, too. 

Which is probably good for DirecTV... but which kind of sucks for early Genie adopters, who are stuck with the HR34 indefinitely.

That wasn't a huge issue - yes, the HR34 is huge and has an external wi-fi box, but it's also tucked away out of sight, thanks to its integrated RF capability. 

I don't ALWAYS need the latest-and-greatest... this would do. 

Until last month. 

DirecTV has been consistently pushing the envelope, always adding to the services available through the Genie platform. Better graphics, more capabilities. 

And while the HR44 can handle this with ease, the HR34 started to show the strain... and then basically stopped working. 

For the last month, changing channels on the HR34 required you to look at a black screen for 5 to 10 seconds. Sometimes longer. 

Forget channel surfing. 

I was informed by DirecTV that this was a known issue - they're working to fix it, but had no real timeline for doing so. 

So I asked for an upgrade to an HR44. I wasn't eligible for an upgrade, because I was in the middle of my 2nd 2-year contract. 

"Could I buy an HR44?"  Not from DirecTV, I couldn't. The customer-service rep recommended that I look on eBay or something. 

HOWEVER, buying used has its own pitfalls. DirecTV only *leases* its set-top boxes to customers - so no one really has the right to sell theirs. 

The ONLY DirecTV Genie boxes that are "owned", and eligible for sale, are those owned by DirecTV employees. There are essentially NONE in the wild. 

If you're buying on eBay, get the receiver ID and call DirecTV. 

I was watching an auction for an "OWNED" HR44 box, called DirecTV, and they told me that the box was leased, was their property, and if I bought it they'd ask for it back immediately.

"OK - do you need the HR44? Could I buy this HR44, use it, and return my current HR34 to DirecTV?" No way. If I bought this HR44, DirecTV would refuse to activate it, and demand its immediate return. 

So, to recap - 
  • My HR34 was unusably slow.
  • I'm stuck in my DirecTV contract for another 10 months.  
  • HR44s exist, and have been available for 3 years. 
  • DirecTV would not upgrade me to an HR44.
  • If I acquired an HR44 on eBay (going rate, ~$100), DirecTV would not let me use it, and in fact, would demand that I forfeit it.
  • I could buy a DirecTV HR44 from SolidSignal for about $300, but this would require me to extend my contract term to another 2 years.   
Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place! 

There was literally nothing I could do, other than to keep paying $133/month to DirecTV to use 4-year-old equipment that they'd recently broken with a software update. 

The only way to get new equipment from DirecTV is to cancel, go with a different provider for TWO YEARS, and then re-join DirecTV. 

This is, undeniably, a completely insane way of doing business. "DirecTV - We punish our early adopters with outdated tech... and demand that they leave for another provider for 2 full years before we'll upgrade their equipment." 

So... I thanked the (VERY NICE) customer service rep for his time, and let them know that I'd eke along until next September, at which point I'd be allowed to cancel.

AND.... JUST LIKE THAT.... they told me they'd send me a refurbished HR44. 

Wait.... what?


So, apparently, I'm going to receive an HR44 next week. 

Very excited. Very confused as to why this wasn't offered at the outset, but whatever. 

Shouldn't DirecTV really, really want to get as many of their customers on their newest possible tech? 

Anyway, we'll definitely have a review of the HR44 up and running in short order. 


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