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DirecTV’s Genie 4K Mini set-top box is here, spreading UHD capacity all around the home

by on August 19, 2015
 

Stephan Jukic – August 19, 2015

Media and content pioneer DirecTV has now launched its new ultra HD set-top box which goes by the rather catchy name 4K Genie Mini. The new media box is designed to extend the reach of 4K UHD content to more TVs around users’ homes, assuming they have more than one 4K TV on hand to begin with.

The 4K Genie is available as a sort of add-on device for consumers who already have access to DirecTV’s existing Genie HD DVR and is roughly the size of a paperback novel, thus the “Mini” in its name.

The 4K Genie essentially offers remote access to all the normal on-demand and DVR content that’s stored in the main Genie HD DVR and also comes with Dolby Digital Plus decoding for some great audio, if a user also has the right kind of compatible speakers on hand.

The entire Genie HD DVR/4K Genie Mini setup does come with some conditions however. For starters, users who want the new Mini box need to first have a Genie HD DVR that’s a model HR34 or higher installed. They can also alternatively use a Genie Lite Model H44 hooked up to a Genie Lite HD DVR kit.

Furthermore, the 4K TV in question has to be capable of UHD at 60 frames per second and also offer support for both HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 content copy protection.

Subscribers to DirecTV's 4K UHD service can enjoy movies like Star Trek in full UHD resolution

Subscribers to DirecTV’s 4K UHD service can enjoy movies like Star Trek in full UHD resolution

Finally, the 4K Genie Mini does impose a rather sharp limit on the number of 4K movies or videos that can be watched at the same time. Specifically, DirecTV will allow a user to view only one single 4K stream at a time, regardless of how many 4K Genie Mini-equipped TVs are in the home.

Basically, the new UHD box is more a household content-shifting tool than a real device for streaming a single main 4K stream to multiple 4K TVs at once.

A few key things do make the new the 4K Genie Mini interesting though. For starters, the little box does include the superb technologies of Dolby Digital Plus audio and full DVR controls. Furthermore, it allows subscribers of DirecTV’s 4K service to view their content on any newer model 4K TV with the above-mentioned specs and not just on “DirecTV Ready” Samsung UHD models.

The underlying DirecTV 4K service that the 4K Genie Mini offers was and remains restricted to Samsung’s UHD TVs are currently the only models that offer compatibility with DirecTV 4K streams. Plans are in the works for extending the DirecTV 4K service to UHD sets from LG, Sony and possibly other manufacturers but these are still in development with no known compatibility date for the consumer market in sight.

According to AT&T, the 4K Genie Mini is being priced at $99 and further potential discounts and deals are a definite possibility.

Story by 4k.com

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