Glitch cripples DirecTV DVRs

The satellite television provider says it is looking into the matter, but the woes come at a bad time for CNET's Ina Fried, who is preparing to have a house party for the college softball championships.

Rebooting one's TV is never fun, but doing so twice did appear to solve my DirecTV DVR issues. Ina Fried/CNET

If there's one device I count on working, it's my television. The rest of my technology can (and often does) go to heck, but I count on the TV to be the device that works while I'm on hold with customer support for the makers of all that other tech stuff.

But, like many Americans, my TV these days is actually powered not by a basic tuner, but instead by an automatically updating computer (in my case a DirecTV HD DVR). Like other similarly equipped DirecTV customers, I awoke Tuesday to find myself with a TV that would not respond.

This was a particularly bad day for me to be having problems. A huge softball fan, I have a bunch of teammates and fellow softball fans coming over Tuesday evening to watch the Women's College World Series finals. What's worse is that the game starts before many of us get off work, so I was planning to record the game and start it once everyone arrives.

Luckily, there's Twitter. I noticed a fellow reporter, Brian Westbrook, had a post that points to a DirecTV tweet suggesting people try power-cycling and rebooting their system twice. I did that, and after two lengthy reboots (each one takes about 10 minutes), things appeared to be back to normal.

The program guide was largely gone, so to be extra safe I added a manual recording of the softball game (plus an extra hour and a half to account for extra innings). I also set the recording on my one non-HD television, which is hooked up to an older DirecTV Tivo box.

For its part, DirecTV says it is looking into the issues. "We are aware of the issues that may be affecting some of our HD DVRs and are currently working to identify the problem and provide our customers with a resolution," a representative told me in a statement. "We apologize for any inconvenience that this may be causing."

Update: 1 p.m. PDT: DirecTV said a transmission error was to blame and said the issue is now fixed.

"There was a transmission glitch that occurred early this morning affecting some of our HD DVRs" the company said.

About the author

    During her years at CNET News, Ina Fried has changed beats several times, changed genders once, and covered both of the Pirates of Silicon Valley. These days, most of her attention is focused on Microsoft. E-mail Ina.

     

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