DirecTV Unbottles Wireless Genie Device

DirecTV is cutting the cord… sort of.

The satellite TV giant has launched the Wireless Genie Mini (WGM), a small video client that connects to DirecTV’s central Genie whole-home HD-DVR over a secure WiFi connection and is capable of supporting the full live TV lineup and access to content stored on the main DVR.

DirecTV said each WGM, when securely linked to the primary Genie HD-DVR via a company-supplied  Wireless Video Bridge, performs like a full-featured HD-DVR, capable of setting, retrieving and deleting recordings as well as performing trick-play functions such as fast-forward, pause and rewind. In this set-up, customers can also begin to watch a DVR in one room and resume it in another.

The wireless device (it still requires a power cord and an HDMI connection to the TV) also has access to DirecTV’s video-on-demand library if the main Genie is connected to the Internet.

In addition to the DirecTV Genie HD-DVR, customers who want to take advantage of the WGM will also need DirecTV to install a Wireless Video Bridge. New Genie HD-DVR subs are also subject to a $99 wireless upgrade fee.

DirecTV is supporting the wide release of the WGM with an ad campaign, including a video spot featuring a human-sized marionette to demonstrate the awkwardness of wires.

"Along with our technologically advanced DIRECTV Genie, which is now capable of wireless distribution, we're proud to launch the new Wireless Genie Mini that will allow customers to eliminate messy cable wires and boxes in every room," said Romulo Pontual, executive vice president and CTO for DirecTV, in a statement. "Customers will love the simplicity of wirelessly connecting multiple TV's to their DirecTV Genie anywhere inside the home or even in their backyard."

DirecTV isn’t the only major U.S. pay-TV provider that’s been waxing wireless at the set-top level. AT&T U-verse also offers a wireless IPTV receiver that streams HD video over a secure WiFi connection.