If you have a relatitively new satellite receiver box from DirecTV or Dish Network, it probably has a USB port on the back.
What’s it for?
Well, if you don’t already know, these ports are for connecting an outboard hard drive so you can store recorded movies (recorded from satellite programming) once the hard drive inside the satellite box is full. It’s also useful to archive movies or programs that you plan to keep for a long time. This is especially important since the satellite box sometimes fails and you either have to get a replacement satellite box or reformat the hard drive, either of which will cost you the recorded programs that you want to keep. Think how nice it would be to have a 1 TB hard drive to store those movies that were only broadcast once at 3 am in high definition (like The Guns of Navarone).
Problem is, DirecTV’s USB port is not active at this point, while Dish Network’s USB port is indeed active (you have to pay a $40 fee to be able to use it though).
Recently, one of my DirecTV satellite boxes had a problem, and when I called them up, they said I could try reformatting the hard drive before requesting a replacement satellite box. When I asked about using the USB port on the rear panel to protect my recorded programs, they told me the USB port cannot be used at present. They didn’t know when DirecTV will make it a usable feature.
Well, I ended up just pulling the AC cord out and then putting back in, which rebooted the satellite box software. That seemed to work fine, but operation is a bit slow. I think something may be getting ready to blow on this sat box. But, I can’t move my recorded programs to an outboard drive to save them before the box crashes for the last time.
I am looking into switching my satellite service to Dish Network. The capability of using an external USB hard drive to back up prized recorded programs is a critical feature to me.
So, DirecTV, get that USB port feature working.