Archive for the ‘Customer Contacts’ Category

Series1 “Failed While Loading Series” Problem: Fixed!

Posted on June 3rd, 2014, by Michael

Back in February, a problem surfaced where many Series1 TiVos began having problems acquiring guide data. These units would hang at 12% with a message saying “failed while loading series.” As you can see from the comments in that post, people were not happy.

As the months went by without a fix, we started to investigate more carefully, and we found a way around the problem: a replacement hard drive.

We found that the problem wasn’t affecting all units, so once we found units that didn’t have the problem, we cloned the software to the units that did have the problem, and we found that it went away. The units started completing setup and acquiring guide data.

If you’d like to order a replacement drive that doesn’t have this problem, see our TiVo Upgrade page.

If you’d like us to reformat your drive with this software, see this page.

TiVo HD and TiVo HD XL – Flashing Green Light is now Fixable!

Posted on November 15th, 2013, by Michael

The TiVo HD (TCD652160) and the TiVo HD XL (TCD658000) are the second HD DVRs for cable that TiVo produced. They’re great units, and many customers bought lifetime service for theirs, which makes them valuable units.

Over the years, we’ve seen many, many of these units with a failure that results in a flashing green light, and no startup response beyond that at all. For years, we’ve been unable to fix this failure, but with some help from our friends in Australia, we’re now able to fix these – so far in pretty much all cases we’ve seen.

We’re very happy to have finally overcome this hurdle. This was, by far, the most common failure that we’ve seen that we hadn’t been able to fix. Our repair department is already able to fix 95%+ of the units that come in here – this brings us closer to our goal of 100%.

The process and the pricing for the fix works this way: you’ll start with our Series3 and Series4 TiVo Repair Program fee of $99.99. That includes labor for the diagnosis and testing of all parts, and also includes return shipping. Then, once we receive and test your unit, and assuming we find the problem in question, there will be an additional $79.99 fee for the parts and labor involved in this repair. So, potentially for $180, you’ll be salvaging a fantastic HD TiVo – and saving the costs of a new TiVo Roamio and lifetime fee, starting at about $600.

And if you’re in Australia and need your TiVo repaired, drop us a line and we’ll get you in touch with our friends down under.

Crossing the 4 TB Barrier – How About 7 TB?

Posted on September 4th, 2013, by Michael

We’re working hard on getting the TiVo Roamio upgraded beyond its current 3 TB limit. We’ve successfully been upgrading the Premiere line to 4 TB for a few years, so that’s been the largest DVR around.

Currently, we’ve got a 7 TB unit up and running. Not sure how soon we’ll have kits for it, but we’re pounding away at it to make sure it’s stable.

And, as soon as we’re certain it’s stable, you’ll be able to get 1120 hours of HD in your Roamio . . .


Troubleshooting TiVo Noise: What’s the Source?

Posted on December 16th, 2012, by Michael

Now that some TiVo DVRs can be as old as 13, we get a lot of questions about how to quiet the actual unit. The older units get, the louder they get, physically.

In a TiVo, there are basically two sources of on-going noise. There is also a third potential source of noise, but if you have that, your TiVo probably isn’t functioning. I’ll cover that at the end.

The two potential sources of noise inside a TiVo are the two moving parts: the fan and the hard drive. Both parts create friction and heat and wear out over time in ways that increase their noise. And both parts are replaceable, but the fan is much easier and less expensive to replace.

For most TiVos, there’s a pretty easy way to tell if the fan is the source of the noise or not. Just stick a toothpick in the fan grates, and see if the noise stops.

Fan grates on the back of popular model TiVos

Fan grates on the back of popular model TiVos

Be sure not to leave the toothpick in there – you don’t want to stop the air circulation inside your TiVo for too long. On some models, especially early DIRECTV TiVos, the fan is in the center of the unit, so you can’t reach it with a toothpick. You’ll have to open the unit and unplug the fan on those models.

If you’ve determined that the fan is the source of the noise, you can order a replacement fan for most TiVo models from our TiVo fan page.

On the other hand, if the noise continues once you’ve disabled your fan temporarily, then you very, very likely have a loud hard drive, and a loud hard drive is a problem for two reasons: the noise, and the increased friction that it’s experiencing, meaning it’ll likely fail before too long. Granted, we do see some drives come in to our office that sound like jet engines but perform fine, but usually noise = imminent failure.

We have replacement TiVo hard drive kits for every model of TiVo.

Then, the third potential source of noise from a TiVo is a ticking noise. This one is pretty rare, and if you hear it, most likely your TiVo isn’t booting at all. This is a failed power supply. My guess is, you’ve already figured that out or sent us the unit since this problem is much more urgent, but in case you haven’t, we have a complete line of replacement TiVo power supplies.

Rebooting DIRECTV TiVo DVR Roundup – What to do?

Posted on November 20th, 2012, by Michael

For probably over a week now, there has been an extreme upsurge in the number of reports, phone calls, emails, chat sessions, forum postings, and blog postings, about rebooting DIRECTV TiVo DVRs – all models except the THR22, a TiVo built on DIRECTV’s hardware.

We first realized the true extent of the problem a few days later, and initially posted about it here, on our blog, on November 15. Since then, we’ve posted a few more times. Once was when we heard from an internal DIRECTV source who acknowledged the issue. And then next was when DIRECTV seemed to go public with recognition of the problem via their Twitter stream.

So here we are, a week and a half later, and rather than being able to say that the problem has been resolved, we have to start looking ahead in case the problem won’t get solved. Without any concrete data about DIRECTV’s intentions and plans, and with at least ten days of rebooting units around the country, we are laying out the alternate solutions that we see. But, just to be clear, we really do think DIRECTV will resolve the problem. We just don’t know what the timeline is.

Here are some options:

  1. Go to cable – There is definitely a very vocal group who expressed feelings that DIRECTV is purposely trying to disable these units in order to stop having to pay TiVo their monthly fees. These customers are responding with loyalty to TiVo, egged on by their assumption of nefarious tactics by DIRECTV. We have to say, we have NO evidence at all that this was an intentionally caused situation, and we do think DIRECTV would like to resolve it. That said, for TiVo partisans who are considering cable, the current TiVo DVRs for cable are fantastic machines and have many, many more capabilities than DIRECTV’s DVRs and TiVos do.
  2. Make the jump to HD – For another group of our customers, this is just the push they need to get over the hump and move to HD. Now that there is the DIRECTV TiVo DVR THR22 out, these TiVo lovers can move up to HD and still keep their TiVo interface and remote. The downsides to this option are that the monthly fees will likely increase – there’s the HD fee ($10/month) and possibly the TiVo fee ($5/month) in addition to the DVR fee ($7/month) that customers are likely already paying. If, on the other hand, a customer has a DIRECTV TiVo with lifetime service on it, then, as far as we know, the latter two fees ($5 and $7) are covered by that program, and the only change would be the HD fee (customers should confirm with DIRECTV regarding their account). Further, if a customer already has an HD unit on their account, they are already paying that fee, so there is no increase in monthly fees, just the upfront cost of the hardware.
  3. Consider that you may not have this problem – Whenever a problem of this magnitude arises, everyone just assumes they have this problem, but not everyone does, and they don’t realize that until the problem subsides and they’re left with a problematic DVR. Rebooting is generally the sign of a bad hard drive. If you had significant rebooting in, say, October, you likely do have a bad hard drive. See our TiVo hard drive replacement kits. There are also tuner problems (generally pixellization) and power supply problems and plenty of other things that happen.
  4. Pull your SAT cables and watch recorded shows only – Since the problem seems to be due to the signal DIRECTV is sending down, you can pull your SAT cable(s) and just watch pre-recorded content without fearing the reboot. Many people have reported that this works fine – further fueling the fire that DIRECTV’s signal is causing this. Of course, you can’t record anything or watch live TV without the SAT cables connected, but you could watch a movie in peace.
  5. Sit tight and wait it out – This is definitely a tougher option for anyone who watches even a modest amount of television, but if, for example, you’re going out of town for Thanksgiving, that gives DIRECTV a few days to figure out what’s up and potentially resolve the issue. And, again, we do believe they are working on it.

On a personal note, I must say that I was struck when I got a phone call last night at home. I predicted on the first ring that it was my in-laws, then answered assuming that they had a question about a big trip they are taking today. I was ready to answer about passports and foreign exchange and SIM cards, but the urgent question they posed was “Why is our DIRECTV TiVo rebooting?”

Finally, some further evidence that DIRECTV is earnestly on the case: