Customer Contacts tivo repair Troubleshooting Help

Troubleshooting TiVo Noise: What’s the Source?

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.

Customer Contacts DirecTV WeaKnees News

Rebooting DIRECTV TiVo DVR Roundup – What to do?

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:

Customer Contacts DirecTV

DIRECTV is Aware of the Rebooting

If you’ve been following our blog posts about the issues with DIRECTV TiVos rebooting, you’ve seen that we got some internal confirmation that DIRECTV knows about the problem.

They’re now making that information public:

As far as we know, this applies to units beyond just the R10. You can read DIRECTV’s Twitter feed on the subject here.

Customer Contacts DirecTV TiVo News Troubleshooting Help

DirecTV TiVos are Rebooting, Everywhere . . .

Since this past weekend, we’ve been getting flooded with emails and phone calls about DirecTV TiVos rebooting. Reports include basically all units except for the new THR22 HD TiVo. So this DOES include the older HR 10-250 HD TiVo, and all SD TiVos for DirecTV.

While we don’t know the cause of the situation, considering that it clearly affects Series1 and Series2 models all over the country, the source of the problem must be the satellite signal. Many affected units are not plugged into phone lines. And we’ve had no similar wave of reports about either non-DirecTV units, or about DirecTV DVRs that don’t run TiVo.

We do have some queries in to various contacts. But we have no information as of yet.

There’s a thread over on TiVoCommunity that covers the issue. It’s mostly just a list of people saying “yeah, me too” at this point, but if you have this problem, it’s worth keeping an eye on the thread.

We’ll be sure to update everyone if we learn more. Hopefully, the problem will disappear just as mysteriously as it arose.

Customer Contacts DirecTV Product Information Site Change WeaKnees News

Extra THR22 Remotes are Now in Stock for New DIRECTV TiVo

The remote that shipped with the new DIRECTV TiVo was certainly a surprise. While it looks and feels like a standard TiVo Peanut Remote, it’s different. It has totally different IR codes (and it has RF!).

Now, up until this point, all TiVo Peanut Remotes basically had overlapping capabilities. They all could share the standard buttons like TiVo, pause, the numbers, channel up/down, etc. And then some had more specific buttons, like the DVD playing buttons the DVD TiVo remotes have, or the ABCD buttons on the TiVo Premiere remotes, or the keyboard on the Slide Remote. But the main buttons just worked with any other TiVo that also came with a Peanut-shaped remote.

The compatibility for any Peanut remote with any other Peanut remote ended with the THR22. The THR22 is just not compatible with any other TiVo remote. So we had to find and source this remote separately, and they’re now in stock – you can order one from our TiVo THR22 accessories page.

But there’s a silver lining here, at least for some. While it’s not compatible with other TiVo DVRs, it is compatible with DIRECTV HD DVRs. So if you’ve got, say, an HR22 and you’ve always fondly remembered the TiVo remote, well, you can use this! IR code wise, it’s basically the same as the white remotes supplied by DIRECTV.