Fixing my DirecTV HD DVR – The Saga Begins

About 2 weeks ago we started having problems with our 2 month-old DirecTV HD DVR. I came home one afternoon to find the DVR frozen while apparently recording – the still image of some ugly woman was displayed on my screen, taunting me. That time all I had to do was press the little RESET button hidden under the front panel of the DVR and things seemed to be OK. The manual for the DVR indicated that this was what to do in those circumstances, so I didn’t think TOO much about it, but my spidey sense was tingling. Any piece of hardware that hangs up makes my skin crawl.

A few days later the unit did the same thing, but was frozen while in standby mode – there was no image on the screen but the DVR had been recording something while in standby, probably Letterman. This time the reset did nothing – I had to unplug the unit to get it to reset. My spidey senses were blazing, so I called a somewhat helpful person at DirecTV and explained my problem. They had me go ahead and do another reset, and what to my wondering eyes should appear but NO HD signal! I could watch both recorded and live “standard” definition content, but when I tried to watch live OR recorded HD content all I got was a white screen from the DVR, and the DVR never actually changed resolution on the signal (my TV displays the resolution when changing). This was not happy. The customer service rep had me do ANOTHER reset, and this time the HD content – both live and pre-recorded – was visible. This time I was nervous and said I’d really like to have someone look at the unit. She talked me into waiting to see if the problem happened again. I was a FOOL to listen to her.

A few days later, the same problem – frozen solid. This was last Thursday around 6:45 PM. I didn’t wait to call DirecTV – I went forward with an unplugging and TWO resets, then called DirecTV with my beef. This time the service rep told me to unplug the receiver, then unplug the satellite inputs from the DVR, then re-plug the satellite inputs, then re-plug the power supply. WHAT? I openly laughed at the guy – if the unit has no power at all, how will unplugging the coax cables from the satellite make any difference? He mumbled something and told me to call back if it didn’t work.

The unit failed again in less than 90 minutes – dangerously close to LOST time! This time I wasn’t taking no for an answer, and explained the problems to the DirecTV person while telling her that we needed a new unit. These constant resets weren’t solving anything. She agreed and scheduled a service tech to come out between 4pm and 8pm on Monday (yesterday), and promised they’d bring a new DVR. On Saturday their automated service called to confirm the time for the repair, which we said was fine. Jen and I both left work a little early so we could be home with TJ by 4pm.

8pm came and went and no service tech arrived. I called DirecTV, fuming, asking where their tech was. They said they tried to call the dispatch company but their office was closed – so DirecTV apparently has no way to communicate with their techs in the field when they are on service calls. They said I could either reschedule the call or wait until I was no longer able to and then call back and reschedule. I said I’d wait until 9 – and JUST before 9, the tech showed up.

The tech walked down to the DVR and pressed the power button – after I told him it wouldn’t work – and saw that it wouldn’t turn on. Then he looked to see that the unit was plugged in. Then he looked at me and said, “you need a new DVR.” I said, “yes, that’s why I asked that they send one with you.” Then he said, “I don’t have any on my truck.”

NICE. The guy showed up late without the item I had specially asked for and had been promised we could be bringing. I kind of wondered – why show up at all?

So he said he could come back today between 5 and 6pm, bringing a new DVR. So I’m about to leave work early – again – to pick up TJ and meet him at the house. Hopefully this will all fix the DVR issue, but I’m planning on calling 1-800-DIRECTV back once all this is done and demanding a pretty hefty credit. I’ve had no HD or DVR for over a week, have taken off of work early TWICE to meet a tech that didn’t even come with the equipment requested the first time, and am just about mad enough to seriously consider switching over to Time/Warner CableCARDs with TiVO Series 3.

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16 Responses to Fixing my DirecTV HD DVR – The Saga Begins

  1. Monica says:

    Wow, that is terrible! Providing quality customer service should be important to any business yet it stills seems to be something that is hard to come by. When I hear stories like this I’m glad I have DISH Network; I have subscribed to their services for a little over a year and have never had a technical or billing problem. Since I also am employed by DISH, I know firsthand that they actually value their customers.

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