DirecTV unveils new set top box with aggregation feature

DirecTV has rolled out a new set top box that boasts an aggregated streaming experience for its satellite and internet customers. The Gemini device will be available to new DirecTV customers for free, though select existing customers will also get a free upgrade to their set top box, according to a DirecTV spokesperson.

Customers only need a wireless connection to operate the Gemini, which allows them to search through thousands of streaming apps, such as HBO Max and Netflix, without switching between TV inputs. Viewers can also watch programming in 4K resolution.

The Gemini release marks DirecTV’s most significant set top box upgrade in nearly a decade. It succeeds the Genie device, which is currently in its fourth generation. DirecTV customers that upgrade from Genie to the Gemini will be able to keep their existing TV settings, DVR content and scheduled recordings.

The Gemini set top box also comes with an integrated Google voice remote and access to features like DirecTV’s SignalSaver, which allows viewers to switch from satellite to an internet connection in case the satellite signal is disrupted by weather.

With the Gemini’s built-in aggregation, DirecTV is positioning itself as “the premiere super aggregator in the U.S. pay TV market,” said the DirecTV spokesperson. Research has shown many consumers find their viewing experience improved through video aggregation. Similarly, Verizon last fall introduced its Fios Stream TV device that includes customizable aggregation features.

“We've made it possible for DirecTV satellite and DirecTV internet customers to experience entertainment without compromise by providing the greatest variety of live and on-demand shows, sports and movies as well as seamless access to their favorite apps all without switching TV inputs,” said DirecTV CMO Vince Torres in a statement.

Alongside the Gemini release, DirecTV is promoting its service with a new ad campaign featuring actor Brian Cox. The company said the campaign aims to highlight components of DirecTV’s “elevated entertainment experience,” such as the pay TV provider’s “long-standing sports leadership.”

DirecTV is notably an out-of-home provider for sports packages like Amazon’s NFL Thursday Night Football and Apple’s Friday Night Baseball and MLS Season Pass. Most recently, it inked an agreement with Prime Video to distribute 20 Yankees games to bars, restaurants and other commercial venues in the team’s home footprint.

DirecTV is also in talks with RedBird Capital to continue offering NFL Sunday Ticket to commercial venues, despite Google’s YouTube picking up residential rights at the end of last year.