While it's impossible to spend meaningful time with all the variations offered by cable companies nationwide, the Genie easily distinguishes itself from other DVRs we've tried. For starters, a whole-home DVR will always win our hearts over the alternative -- assuming you have more than one TV, of course. Add in unique features like DoublePlay and QuickTune and combine them with one of the best iPad companion apps we've used, and we'd have to say the Genie almost outshines every provider DVR we've ever used. The one exception would be the Hopper, which offers many killer unique features, including PrimeTime Anytime and fully integrated Slingbox capabilities. Deciding between the Genie and the Hopper would not be easy. So with Microsoft all but abandoning Windows Media Center and TiVo not yet releasing its whole-home DVR clients, the best whole-home DVR in the US really does come down to the two satellite providers.
The DirecTV Genie delivers in all the right ways, so much so that it provides a reason to switch providers. Of course, user experience isn't everything and there are many other reasons to choose a provider; price, local availability, service, support and picture quality to name a few. So while all those factors can vary greatly from market to market, the enjoyable user interface in every room of your house, full-featured guide and great companion apps should have you considering a switch.