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What Happened? Why is my HR-20 No Longer Dependable??

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by KCWolfPck, Mar 27, 2008.

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  1. KCWolfPck

    KCWolfPck Legend

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    Jul 10, 2006
    I've had an HR-20 since they were originally released. Actually, now I have 3 of them. I never used to miss any recordings or have any other problems.

    Starting about 5 or 6 weeks ago, I've been having random problems with recordings....mostly shows recording only black screens.

    I now feel that I have to constantly check-up on my DVRs to make sure they are recording what they are supposed to and that's just not right. I never felt that I had to do that before these problems started.

    What has changed to make these HR-20s turn from reliable DVRs to non-reliable DVRs and what is being done to fix this????
     
  2. Lee L

    Lee L Hall Of Fame

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    I'll go ahead and get this one out of the way before others jump in:

    Don't you know, this is all your imagination. There are no problems with these machines at all! ;)

    These are not the droids you're looking for.
     
  3. Steve Robertson

    Steve Robertson Hall Of Fame

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    Jun 7, 2005
    I agree with the original poster D* just seems to make things worse just leave things alone when it is working properly. I know all the geeks on here want the latest and greatest all the time but I juts want a box the records and plays back with no problems.
     
  4. man_rob

    man_rob Hall Of Fame

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    Feb 21, 2007
    Have you checked your system? Signal strengths seem to be a good place to start.
     
  5. Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

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    Jun 18, 2006
    Actually, the original poster is not alone. I don't know why, but the black screen recordings do seem more frequent. There are several threads on the subject, and I encourage our members to report each and every instance in the issues threads with as much detail as possible.
     
  6. tkrandall

    tkrandall Hall Of Fame

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    Oct 3, 2003
    Yeah, I tried to record a basketball game a couple of weeks ago and got nothing but a black screen recording. It was the right channel. I sent a remote record request las week for another game and while I got an email on it, the DVR did not do the recording.
     
  7. Carl Spock

    Carl Spock Superfly

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    Totally agreed with Stuart. While my history with my HR20 only goes back to the early fall of '07, I had my first real problems with it starting with the current national released software. I thank my lucky stars that with a re-download of the software, my problems went away. Many others haven't been as fortunate. I would be one of the cranky many if this hadn't been the case.

    The only thing I will say in DirecTV's favor is I've seen this before and in much worse ways. I sold Yamaha receivers for 30 years. In the mid-80s, they had a line that contained a bogus graphic equalizer instead of tone controls. On the mid priced models, this phony EQ didn't really work like an EQ but just looked like one. Through a totally inept design, you couldn't raise or cut both the bass and treble at the same time. You could adjust one but not the other. How incredibly stupid! And this is when Yamaha receivers were on a two year product cycle. For those two years, I tried to sell only the most expensive model, which had a real EQ, and the two least expensive models, that had regular bass and treble controls.

    Nakamichi tape decks for years never ate tapes. Then they had a line that ate tapes all the time. Pioneer direct drive turntables always worked. Then they had a line where they would start spinning at 100 miles an hour. Polk speakers rarely blew tweeters. Then they had a line where tweeters went out left and right. Mid priced Alpine subwoofers were practically bullet proof. Then they had a line that all blew up when the weather got really cold. My customers loved their Denon receivers. Then they had a line with bad transformers which died when presented with a four ohm speaker load. I had to live through all these mistakes and take care of my customers.

    In all of these cases, I had to wait a year or maybe longer for the next line to come out and solve these back steps. I will agree that when it comes to stability, the current software by DirecTV is a back step. We are fortunate that it looks like, from what I've read of CE releases, some problems will go away with the next national release. This back step will only last a couple of months.

    It doesn't make the back step right. It doesn't make it acceptable. It does make it livable.
     
  8. K4SMX

    K4SMX Hall Of Fame

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    May 19, 2007
    Although the CE software release program has certainly been a useful adjunct to the continuing development of DirecTV receiver features, there seems lately to be an ill-advised rush to move these to NR status when there are known, unresolved issues.

    I'm not sure what the code writers are doing to make previously stable features unstable when they are making changes in other areas, but the practice of releasing code which is less stable than previous versions just to incorporate new features needs to be reviewed, especially where basic functionality is concerned. There are a number of areas where things have been going backward in both the H2x and HR2x receivers.

    I'm sure the developers stay up all night working on this stuff, but there needs to be a tighter rein on what gets automatically downloaded to the customer base, or more than a few of the non-CE oriented frustrated customer base for Advanced Receivers will be finding another "programming solution."
     
  9. crabtrp

    crabtrp Legend

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    Sep 23, 2006
    I have had my HR20's since they started shipping. I had all the issues during the early days (happy days) but they have been stable for well over a year. Until last night. I recorded American Idol (FOR MY WIFE!!!) and when she tried to watch it all we got was a grey screen. We tried several things but it would not work, even live shows at that point were unpredictable. I turned it off. I hope it was an isolated incident.
     
  10. kbcrowe

    kbcrowe Mentor

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    May 22, 2006
    The HR-20 has NEVER been dependable. Many of us have complained of these exact problems all along but because it wasn't happening with the shows the majority of the forum members watched we were ignored. When it starts happening with shows like AI a lot of people notice, but its nothing new.
     
  11. K4SMX

    K4SMX Hall Of Fame

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    I can't agree with this. As you can see, I have a stack of HR20's, and there very definitely was a rather long period of time, relatively speaking, where the basic functionality of the DVR was quite stable. The stability has nothing to do with what channels you watch, for the most part (very recent exception: SpikeHD :) ).
     
  12. KCWolfPck

    KCWolfPck Legend

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    Jul 10, 2006
    Nothing has changed with my system at all.
     
  13. BrandonH

    BrandonH Mentor

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    Aug 16, 2006
    Its called software version 0x1FE. I had the very same issues as soon as that version went national. I upgraded to a CE release a couple of weeks later and have not had a black recording since. Now I'm too afraid to download any new CE's on my machines in fear of this problem coming back.
     
  14. man_rob

    man_rob Hall Of Fame

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    Feb 21, 2007
    Could you report your signal strengths anyway?
     
  15. rudeney

    rudeney Hall Of Fame

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    May 28, 2007
    I can get as frustrated as anyone when my DVR fails to perform. I do remind myself, though, that it is not a toaster or blender; it is a sophisticated computer running multi-tasking software that has a lot of demands on it. I’ve been in the computer industry since the late 1970’s and I know a good bit about hardware, software, and testing methodologies. It’s just impossible to test every conceivable function on these sophisticated devices.

    I believe D* has done a “fair” job with the HR2x software, but I would like to see them taking better advantage of the CE program. For example, instead of just reading feedback on this forum, why not have the receivers create an execution log that can be sent back to the developers for more detailed diagnosis of problems? With the Ethernet port, this should not be too difficult. If a CE user experiences a particular problem, have the ability to formally report it to D* and then let them grab the log. Otherwise, all they get is a bunch of, “I’m so mad because Idol didn’t record again last night” posts.
     
  16. btmoore

    btmoore Hall Of Fame

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    Aug 28, 2006
    For those that are new to this black screen issue, the bug is as old as the release of the box.

    Here is the first post (AFAIK) made on the issue about the issue way back in 9-25-06 by little old me. This bug is almost 2 years old now isn't it cute. :D Maybe we should have a birthday party for when it officially reaches 2 years old. :bang

    Unwatchable recording 09-25-06, 06:36 PM

    Here are some baby pictures of it:

    HR20 the DVwant-a-beR, Unwatchable bug alive in 0xeb 11-12-06, 10:50 PM

    For a while we even figured out how to create an unwatchable bug, she is just a darling.

    How to: replicate a unwatchable bug 11-20-06, 11:24 PM

    Then came the fatal impostors, so many black screens we had to try to agree on what to call them all.

    3 kinds of black screen bugs, a entomological discussion 01-04-07, 07:29 PM

    After living through the first (almost) couple years of this joy I guess we are now calling "Black or Gray Recordings" I do think I know why they happen. IMO it has something to do with it starting to record before it locks into the tuner. If it starts recording before it locks in I think you get a, well I am old school, unwatchable bug. I have caught my DVR making unwatchable bugs, way back in the past I have caught it recording a 771 and when I checked the channel out right after the "black recording" was finished that channel tuned in just fine. So basically (and I am just guessing) you have the DVR creating a recording which is likely a null pointer or a pointer to some non existent data for the codec to play which is why you get a black screen and since there is no EOF marker you just get a forever black screen if you got the keep or delete screen (lovingy called the IKD (instant keep or delete bug) at least something was recorded and the DVR reached some kind of EOF flag. For those so inclined, if you check the size of a black recording you will see that it takes no space on the hard drive (that can be observed in the group delete fucting). My bet is it is something related to a marginal 771 error and / or the DVR recording before it has truly locked in to the signal. The fact of the matter is the box should not do it or report to you that it has a problem and what the problem is

    Well that is my 2 cents and history lesson for the day.

    Happy 19 month birthday to our friend the unwatchable bug, who knew you would be with us this long. I am just glad she doesn't visit me as often but she did stop by a few weeks ago.
     
  17. glennb

    glennb Hall Of Fame

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    I don't agree with this either.
    Give me a break !

    I've had an HR20 for a year and a half now and I record a lot of shows, NEVER AI, but a lot of other shows and I've never had the problems described here.

    Quit trying to make it sound like the HR20 has NEVER been dependable.
     
  18. raott

    raott Hall Of Fame

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    Nov 23, 2005
    It has NEVER been dependable for kids shows. Take the challenge, set up SL's for Blues Clues, Wonderpets, Dora or Diego. Report back in a week on how many are cancelled.

    The Blue's Clues thread has been around since July of last year.
     
  19. kbcrowe

    kbcrowe Mentor

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    May 22, 2006
    Sure it does. There are certain shows that for unknown reasons (whether it be the HR-20's handling of guide data or what) habitually have problems. If it's a program with few viewers then those that complained are brushed aside. If it's a show like AI it gets noticed and all of a sudden we see people blaming the latest software release, but these problems span all software releases thus far.

    Yes, I know it’s not a toaster but I've used DVR's for about 8 years now and I've not had reliability problems this bad since the very early days of TiVo. Yeah the HR20 has come a long way, but that’s not saying much because the original release should never have hit the public's hands as bad as it was. They keep expanding the feature set without fully resolving the reliability problems. And by reliability I mean that it should first and foremost reliably function as a DVR. You shouldn't have to check your to do list every day, as many have said they do, to make sure it’s going to do what it’s supposed to. You should be able to go out of town and not have to have a five year old TiVo setup as backup for what the HR20 will miss.
     
  20. btmoore

    btmoore Hall Of Fame

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    Aug 28, 2006
    Well I don't agree with you, so no breaks for you. I too, am in the camp that the HR20 has never been dependable. Plenty of documented evidence to the contrary including D*s own release notes for every release where they state something about "improved stability", so I don't think anyone should give you a break.

    Take these release notes for example:
    HR21-700 - 0x0206
    Staggered rollout began 3/11/08
    Nationally on 3/12/08

    The Contents of the Release: (Differences based of Last National Release)

    Improved
    System Stability
    System boot up improvement
    Video output improvement
    Stability
    Stability fixes on boot-up
    fix for audio glitch when fast forwarding to live

    --------------------

    This release had fixes for "System Stability", "Stability" hey and even "Stability Fixes on boot-up", wow that is just a cornucopia of "Stability" and you know what every release prior has these "Stability" fixes, for being so stable that stability sure needs a lot of fixing.

    On the serious side, the HR2x's software was a total POS over a year ago, now (IMO) it is just lame and unreliable.
     
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