HOWTO: Stop“paused TV” ads when using DirecTV Genie DVR

imageFor years, my DirecTV DVR would show a floating DirecTV logo as a screensaver when TV was “paused” for 5 minutes.  This was great because it’d prevent burn-in on people’s projection or OLED TVs and I appreciated that. 

THE DAY DIRECTV GOT DESPERATE
One day, instead of a floating DirecTV logo after “pausing” for 5 min, the DirecTV Genie DVR started showing still image advertisements for future TV programming, pay-per-view shows, and sometimes even products.  These rotated every so often and were pretty obnoxious.  I didn’t like this but it wasn’t that distracting.

But THEN, during the pandemic, my DirecTV “Genie” DVR started playing 30 second VIDEO ADS when live or recorded TV is paused after only 30 seconds. Suddenly, 30 seconds after pausing the TV program, “Lily from AT&T” is on a loop pitching completely irrelevant business phone service on my screen.

Video ads during a pause?  Now that’s distracting and extremely annoying.

GETTING “ADVICE” FROM AT&T/DIRECTV
imageSo the question is, how do we make it stop?  I contacted DirecTV and of course their people gave me completely irrelevant & incorrect advice which is inline with the kind of guidance they’ve given me in the past:

  • First, they said to “turn off power savings” – which has nothing to do with the ads that run during paused TV.
  • imageThen they actually told me to “turn off” my DVR and turn it back on, providing the worst, most embarrassing tech support I’ve gotten in years.

I resorted to Internet searches at this point.

BLOCKING ADS ON DIRECTV GENIE DVR
The short answer is I found out that you can block the following domains on your DNS or your home router and it will stop the ads from appearing during paused TV:

  • xaaf-be-live.att.com
    Blocking this one domain will prevent the full motion video ads from playing after 30 seconds of paused TV.  You will still see still-image ads after 5 min of paused TV. (I’ve tested this and it works perfectly when I block this domain on OpenDNS, my DNS provider)
  • Blocking the list of domains below will reportedly prevent still-image ads from appearing.  The only thing you should see, assuming you’ve blocked both domains is a moving DirecTV logo screensaver. (I haven’t set this up yet but many folks have confirmed that it works.
        • xaaf-be-live.att.com
        • xandrssads-sponsored.akamaized.net
        • insights-collector.newrelic.com
        • dtvstb-screensaver.secure.footprint.net
        • iw.dtvce.com
        • callback1-stb.dtvce.com
        • cmd.dtvce.com
        • stb-plugin-akamai.directv.com.edgesuite.net
        • bbvds.dtvbb.tv
        • ums-stb.dtvce.com
        • analytic.rollout.io
        • itv-pxy.dtvce.com

I’ll update this once I’ve entered in all the domains above to block in OpenDNS.

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