Equipment for 6 TVs (Why is this so hard?)

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by ipilcher, Aug 29, 2016.

  1. Aug 29, 2016 #1 of 143
    ipilcher

    ipilcher Member

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    I am currently a Frontier FiOS TV customer, but my experience with them yesterday has me resolved to change.

    DirecTV's channel lineup and pricing looks acceptable, but I am having a terrible time trying to figure out what sort of equipment I need for my 6 TVs (likely to increase to as many as 9 or 10 over the next few years).

    DirecTV's web site wants to less me a Genie + 5 minis, but I've read in many places that only 3 minis can be active at once. My mother lives with us, and she never turns off her TV, so this would only leave 2 tuners available for the other 4 minis.

    I could presumably use HD receivers, instead of minis, in a couple of rooms, but these rooms would then be cut off from the DVR content on the Genie. I would also have to figure out the pricing, acquisition, and activation of the receivers, since they're apparently not offered on the DirecTV web site.

    I saw one suggestion to use multiple HD DVRs for this sort of setup, but that would just give me multiple "islands" of content. (And it's not even clear if that's still an option, since they don't seem to be available anymore.)

    All in all, this is an incredibly frustrating experience (and why I've avoided DirecTV until now).

    Anyone have any suggestions?
     
  2. Aug 29, 2016 #2 of 143
    J Blow

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    How much do you record and do you need to access recorded material everywhere or need to have dvr functions everywhere? Does your mom record or need DVR function? How many other streams do you need at a time? Will all 6 units bet in use at the same time?

    I'd probably give Mom her own HR24 DVR unless she doesn't need that functionality. If not, then the H25.

    It seems a genie and 3 minis is the obvious start, then whatever mom needs for the fifth unit. The sixth unit could be another mini if you don't see the need for the other five tuners from the genie/minis being utilized at the same time, an H25 if you don't need DVR functionality at all 6 locations (even though the H25 could be networked to access recordings) or an HR24 if you need another DVR. The 24s can also be networked into your genie system.

    If you record a lot and likely will use five genie streams, swap out minis for HR24s (or H25s) until you have the number of open tuners you think you'll need.
     
  3. Aug 29, 2016 #3 of 143
    peds48

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    is not hard or complicated much as it is expensive. You get 1 genie and 3 minis at no charge. From there each extra mini is $50 bucks each for 5 and 6. From there on they are $99 each. HD receivers are $99 dollars each and HD DVRs are $199 each. Knowing this and also knowing the differences between the different receivers can help you figure out how you want to design your system.


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  4. Aug 29, 2016 #4 of 143
    J Blow

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    I think you need to read more about networking, too. It just depends on what you need access to where and in conjunction with whom else.
     
  5. Aug 29, 2016 #5 of 143
    ipilcher

    ipilcher Member

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    I would love to. Unfortunately, DirecTV doesn't seem to make detailed information about their equipment available anywhere.
     
  6. Aug 29, 2016 #6 of 143
    J Blow

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    Right here on this forum is a great resource. I think networking this equipment does more than you are anticipating. I just don't know what you need and are expecting so it's hard to answer questions.
     
  7. Aug 29, 2016 #7 of 143
    ipilcher

    ipilcher Member

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    Fair enough. Here are my minimum requirements (based on what I have today with FiOS):
    • Watch a different high-definition channel on each of the 6+ TVs
    • Record at least 2 programs (which watching a different channel on each of the TVs)
    • Watch recorded content on any of the 6+ TVs
    Nice to have:
    • Pause live TV
    • Pause live/recorded content and resume in another room
     
  8. Aug 29, 2016 #8 of 143
    J Blow

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    So, you need a minimum of 8 tuners if you are watching 6 and recording 2. A genie is 5 tuners so each client is using one at a time, plus whatever is being recorded. If you have 3 minis and a genie operating at any given moment, you are utilizing the 5 tuners. The genie basically reserves 2 for itself (I think) and should anyway so you can use it's best features. Under these circumstances, I'd get the HR54 genie with 3 clients and 2 HR24 DVRs. That would be 9 tuners so you could, in theory, watch live TV on each of the 6 units, and record 3 things you aren't watching using the 54 and two 24s. This would require spacing things out just right as the minis could be live or watching recordings only. If you think the recording of 2 things will have to happen from each of the locations at any given times that would change the number of minis you could have to 1 as you'd have a Genie using 2 tuners and a mini using 2 more. Lots of variables here...you just swap out a mini for a H25 (non-dvr but still is networked) or HR24 (DVR) for one or two of the mini locations depending on knowing a couple locations could be view only.
     
  9. Aug 29, 2016 #9 of 143
    Bill Broderick

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    You don't need to get a mini in order to watch content from a Genie.

    Getting a Genie triggers Multi Room Viewing (MRV). Once you have MRV, you will be able to access the content recorded on the Genie (or any other DVR) from any other unit (HD receiver, mini, HD DVR). I have a Genie and 2 HD DVR's. I can watch content from any of my 3 boxes on any of the 4 TV's in the house. Each of the DVR's act as both a server and a client. The only limitation is that the HD DVR's can only stream to one remote client at a time, while the Genie can stream to 3 clients at the same time.

    Minis and receivers both act as clients. The primary difference is that receivers have their own tuner. Therefore, they don't "steal" a tuner from the Genie when they are in use.
     
  10. Aug 29, 2016 #10 of 143
    J Blow

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    Right...wouldn't need a mini...but I don't understand people that would rather have something other than a mini unless its simply to hoard tuners or space. Everything else leans in the favor of a mini to me.

    Good point that you do have limitations when talking about watching recorded data from non-genie units. Again, this is why I think the most flexibility is Genie, 3 Minis, and 2 DVRs...unless you record a ton at all locations as it does limit that. Doesn't sound like he records a lot to me, though.
     
  11. Aug 29, 2016 #11 of 143
    ipilcher

    ipilcher Member

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    Thanks for the responses. Some follow-up questions ...
    1. I've searched high and low on the DirecTV site, and I can't find any mention of the fact that HD Receivers and HD DVRs can stream content from a Genie. I certainly don't doubt that it's working for folks, but I'm nervous about being told after the fact that this is not supported. Is there a reference somewhere "official" that says that this works?
    2. Is there a limitation (and if so what is it) on the total number of streams that a Genie can serve? For example, does watching recorded content on an HD Receiver reduce the number of Minis on which I can watch TV?
    3. Assuming that the Genie provides sufficient recording capability (tuners, capacity, etc.), am I correct that the only benefit of HD DVRs, above HD Receivers, is the ability to pause live TV?
    4. Is there any difference in monthly fees for Minis, HD DVRs, and HD Receivers?
    5. Does DirecTV still sell HD Receivers and HD DVRs? (It doesn't seem possible to add them to a Genie order on the web site.)

    Thanks!
     
  12. Aug 29, 2016 #12 of 143
    Bill Broderick

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    I don't look at it as "hoarding" tuners. I look at the mini as "stealing" tuners that could otherwise be used to record from. The only reason that I would consider having a mini over an HD receiver would be if I needed wireless access.
     
  13. Aug 29, 2016 #13 of 143
    Bill Broderick

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    1) DirecTV wants you to have a system that consists of a Genie and minis. It's less expensive for them. As such, you won't see anything on their site telling you that other configurations work just as well or better.

    2) The Genie can serve 3 streams simultaneously (in addition to TV that the Genie is directly connected to).

    3) Possibly. I never gave it any thought because your recording capacity assumption has never been a valid one for me.

    4) Nope. That's why I think that it's insane for anyone to ever give up a DVR that they have already paid the acquisition cost for, and replace it with a mini.

    5) Yep. See answer 1. You need to call to get them.
     
  14. Aug 29, 2016 #14 of 143
    doctor j

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    Another point is that most people ADD boxes over time. It may be hard to get more than 4 receivers on an initial install.
    MRV is the term you need to search along with whole home viewing.
    Yes any DVR ( HR2* or Genie) can be accessed by any other receiver.

    I've found ordering from Solid Signal after the initial install ALWAYS provided me with the exact equioment I wanted.

    I have about 21 total tuners now. No problem recording everything in sight! (Two SWM-16 in parallel with NAS diplexors for networking puts all tuners available)( See Solid Signal White Paper on "More Than 16 Tuners")

    Doctor j
     
  15. Aug 29, 2016 #15 of 143
    J Blow

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    Agree that giving up a DVR isn't smart. Even acquiring new equipment the edge should go to a DVR versus a mini but maybe not at a significant cost. If your DVR isn't an HR24 then this is a different discussion. The mini is much faster than any non 24. It's also much more made for today's TV in that it mounts out of sight behind a wall mounted TV.

    To me the mini is a better option than an H25 because it does have all DVR functionality for the most part - except double play...which is where DVR again beats the mini. If you are just comparing HD receivers to the mini, the mini wins in every way except that it eats a tuner instead of provides one.
     
  16. Aug 29, 2016 #16 of 143
    J Blow

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    These discussions should always take place from one of two standpoints....being a recorder versus a non-recorder. It's a completely different perspective. I'll often go a month without recording anything as I don't have much time to watch tv and don't find anything (outside of sports which are only good live) compelling enough to watch over whatever I can find on live tv.
     
  17. Aug 29, 2016 #17 of 143
    MikeW

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    To me, the most ridiculous part is that all of the fees you pay are to LEASE the equipment. So if you decide you need two HD DVRs, you're out $398 and you own nothing and get nothing back when you return it.
     
  18. Aug 29, 2016 #18 of 143
    Bill Broderick

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    It's a better system than paying a higher monthly rental fee for more advanced equipment than for the basic equipment. If I was a customer of the local cable company, I would have paid far more than the $398 (your example) in increased rental fees.
     
  19. Aug 29, 2016 #19 of 143
    Bill Broderick

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    Upgrading from a non-24 to an HR24 when a tech is at your house is typically achieved by asking for one to replace your slow receiver, while holding a $20 bill in your hand.

    IMO, in your comparison between the mini and the receiver, the "eats a tuner" comparison is the only one that matters. I'm not in favor of giving up recordable tuners for any reason.
     
  20. Aug 29, 2016 #20 of 143
    J Blow

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    Yep...and I couldn't care less. If I have a tuner for each tv, I'm good.
     

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