DirecTV uncorks Genie to compete with Dish DVR

New multi-room device set to counter Hopper

DirecTV has introduced a new multi-room DVR dubbed the Genie, but Hopper Stopper might have been a better name.

The satcaster’s new and improved recording device is aimed squarely at its chief rival Dish Network’s similar DVR offering, which was launched back in January with the brand Hopper. Dish has gotten considerable attention for Hopper because the broadcasters sued the company over its controversial Auto Hop feature, which enables ad-skipping.

Genie has no such functionality despite blogosphere rumblings that DirecTV would head in that direction, but it has plenty of other functionality that Hopper lacks, including the ability to record five shows simultaneously and start over that a viewer might happen upon mid-program.

The new DVR is only available for new subs, with a two-year contract that comes with a NFL Sunday Ticket package and three months of premium networks for free. Genie comes equipped with a 1-terabyte hard drive capable of storing 200 hours of high-definition content. While the service can feed five different rooms, it only requires one DVR set-top box.

DirecTV is looking not only to get the buzz Hopper has generated but also attract new subs coming off a quarter that saw its first-ever loss of video subs, totaling 52,000. DirecTV could have a challenging third quarter on that front as well given it will be the first sub count coming off its highly publicized blackout of Viacom-owned channels, which analysts noted could induce churn in the short term.

Existing DirecTV subs are expected to be able to upgrade to Genie later this year.

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