Friday, December 15, 2006

DirecTV HD DVR recording problems

I just got off a 65 minute call with DirecTV trying (unsuccessfully) to retrieve the last week's worth of "recorded" shows on our DirecTV HR20 HD DVR. Even though I've been credited with a month's worth of programming on our bill, I'm pissed that we've lost a week's worth of shows. What's the use buying a time-shifting device when it's unreliable?

The playlist on our DVR has been filling up as it's supposed to with the names of shows we've asked it to record. Since I've been gone on business, Melanie didn't watch any of the shows so we can watch them together.

When we went to watch the season finale of Amazing Race (recorded last Sunday), we chose the show from our playlist, pressed play and were greeted by a grey screen and an immediate popup of the "Delete Recording?" message that usually comes up when we reach the end of a show that's been recorded.


We tried it on a few other shows in the list, and it was the same thing, no matter whether the show was in Hi-Def or standard-def.

I called the DirecTV support line and the first thing it tells you to do is reset your receiver (the old "reboot" solution). So I did... And I went back to the playlist to find that every single show that was "recorded" since Dec 8 has mysteriously disappeared from our playlist.

Again, WTF!?!?

The disk space indicator on our Playlist indicates that the shows should be there. The History list indicates that the shows were recorded. But there's no way to watch them.

By this time, I'd been shuttled forward to "Tier 2" support for the new-fangled, complex equipment supplied by DirecTV. After 10 minutes on hold I finally spoke with Jamie and described my problem. She indicated this was a novel one and put me on hold again (with my consent) while she looked up the solution.

When she came back, she asked me what software version I'm running (version 0acf, downloaded on 11/22/06) and this seems to be the problem. Since this software was downloaded, several others have encountered the same issue with "phantom recordings" in their playlist.

BUT, no one else seems to have the disk space anomaly that I've got.

We did a hard reset (unplug from the wall for 15 seconds) of the system so that the next software patch will initiate within 24 hours. At that time, we'll be upgraded to version x10b, which is the new version that has supposedly fixed the Nov 22 version's phantom recording glitch.

Whether or not this is going to resolve our faulty disk space indicator is unknown, and Jamie was kind enough to forward the details to the engineers to take a look at (and hopefully resolve). Part of me hopes the shows are still on the drive, but just in need of some remote button hack sequence to free them.

However, given the fact that Jamie says the next step is usually to reformat the hard drive, thereby erasing all my recorded programming, I'm not holding my breath.

As I told Jamie, this really feels like a horribly designed product. Why should I be forced to give up months worth of saved television programming as a "troubleshooting technique"? The DirecTV product design folks really missed the mark on this thing.

I want my TiVo back.

1 comment:

Erin said...

OMG - I just googled our issues - recorded grey screens - and found this post. I'm sick that this was happening to you in '06!