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Optical out port broke - DirecTV wants $650

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by FarNorth, Aug 24, 2009.

  1. FarNorth

    FarNorth Godfather

    Nov 27, 2003
    Okay, here's the story: I have an HR 21 that has been in use for about 2 years. I also have an H21 in the basement and two weeks ago, I installed an HR 23 in another room.

    Last night I was moving the optical connection from my DVD player back to the HR 21, probably done that 20-30 times in the last few years. Anyway, it appears that the little plastic trap door over the connection fell off and is jammed inside the port since I can't push the optical cable in now and there is no red light showing. I can get audio through the RCA red/whites and I did try to hook up the digital orange RCA out but get no sound that way.

    So..........I called tech support to find out about how to swap out this unit and was told that DTV will charge me $200 for a replacement, shipping both ways and "up to $400" to repair the existing unit since it has been damaged and it is my fault. To clarify, I do have sound - even though it is analog - and if the digital quit working, that's my fault. Apparently, nothing ever wears out....

    So I asked for a supervisor and very politely explained that I have been a customer for 5+ years and just 2 years ago threw away a DirecTivo that I paid $900 cash money for. I also pointed out that since I live in Nowhere, Alaska, I have had to pay for all my installs and dishes, probably $3,000 out of my pocket since I installed once and then had to install again - at my expense - when DTV switched to MPEG4.
    in addition to paying $120+ a month and more with SuperFan and Sunday Ticket. That cut no ice. The supervisor sounded like he was about 15, probably a nice enough kid but no help.

    For the short term, I can either limp along with analog sound or trade with the HR23 which is sort of a spare. That rcvr is in my office and is connected to a Slingbox so it uses analog audio, anyway............but...........this just seems like a rotten deal to me. I'd be willing to pay shipping on a swapped unit or pay a small repair fee but shipping on both units plus a new lease fee plus an undisclosed repair fee seems wildly unfair.

    I should also point out I have never gotten any hot deals from DTV, never got the free SF, didn't get any consideration at all that wasn't the standard deal. And, no, didn't threaten to cut off my service and, quite frankly, I'm not going to.

    Any advice?
  2. Go Beavs

    Go Beavs Hall Of Fame

    Nov 18, 2008
    Can you reach into the optical port with tweezers (carefuly) and pull out the offending door?
  3. The Merg

    The Merg 1*

    Jun 24, 2007
    Northern VA
    I don't think I've ever heard of DirecTV charging someone for having to repair a defective receiver, although in this case it is the customer's action that caused the receiver to be defective. That being said, it does seem a bit extreme.

    You could try sending an e-mail to Ellen Filipiak <ellen.filipiak@directv.com>, VP of Customer Relations. Someone from her office should respond to you. Her office is very good is helping out customers and resolving issues that don't seem to get any attention through the typical CSR.

    Good luck,
  4. HRJustin

    HRJustin Godfather

    Mar 5, 2009
    :lol: I was just thinking the same thing. If your sure its just the little door that broke off. There has got to be a way to get it out of there. If this happened to me I would do everything I could to get the little door out and get it working again. That way if at all possible I could save all the recordings. That would be my main concern is losing all of my recordings by getting a replacement receiver.
  5. FarNorth

    FarNorth Godfather

    Nov 27, 2003
    I was peeking in it last night and could not see the door. I'm going to pull the unit out tonight and see if it falls out or if I can dig it out.

    I wasn't all that concerned at first since I figured it was a leased unit and that DTV would just do a swap - Seems like DTV did that for me once when a hard drive failed but maybe that was Dish.

    And, yes, I admit it was my fault. I probably had the cable a bit too high and pushed the little door off.
  6. evan_s

    evan_s Hall Of Fame

    Mar 3, 2008
    I'm assuming you are going into some sort of receiver. The coaxial digial (orange rca) should work but probably requires a change on your receiver. It's sending the same information either way so I'd just get that up and working and forget about it. Personally I only use the optical when I have to like my hd-dvd player that only has optical.

    Other than that you can probably call back and play dumb and just say sound isn't working and not that you broke it connecting a cable and get it replaced.
  7. hasan

    hasan Well-Known Member

    Sep 22, 2006
    Ogden, IA
    There is no reason the malfunction in the Optical jack would affect the Coaxial Digital Output...you just need to reconfigure your home theater receiver to to use the Coaxial.

    As others have suggested, I don't think you broke anything important. There is every reason to expect with a tiny tweezers you can pull out the broken cover and all is well. I've read a number of posts on other forums where people have simply "grabbed" the broken piece and tossed it. This exposes the LED and works fine.

    (This is, of course, assuming you didn't break the LED by jamming the plug into it when the door was in the way)
  8. rudeney

    rudeney Hall Of Fame

    May 28, 2007
    Unless you tried to plug something into the optical port other than a TOSlink cable, then I do not see how D* could possibly consider this to be damage that is the customer's fault. I'd definitely e-mail Ellen.
  9. FarNorth

    FarNorth Godfather

    Nov 27, 2003
    Well, I managed to solve my problem - sort of. For some inexplicable reason, the Marantz optical RCA inputs are black, not orange. The only orange input is for a wired remote, apparently.

    So, I plugged in the orange digital cable from the HR 21 into the correct input and, voila, I have digital sound, just not from the optical output.

    I think what I will do is set my second rcvr to record all the same programs as the first one, the one with the bad audio input port. After I 'burn up' all the old recordings, I'll trade out the units and see if I can't fish out the broken door.
  10. armophob

    armophob Difficulty Concen........

    Nov 13, 2006
    Fort Pierce, FL
    Those little doors break very easily. I have 2 pieces of equipment that have broken doors. To get the door out, you can try a vacuum cleaner and dig through the bag or use a or shop vac. More than likely the little tab on one side or the other is broken and it cannot be reused. I use blue tack to form a boot around the optical cable and after getting it in the port, I mold it like clay to the back of the unit.
  11. CCarncross

    CCarncross Hall Of Fame

    Jul 19, 2005
    Optical ports are slightly fragile and they are not meant for constant switching back and forth between multiple devices...It appears you have coax and optical digital conns on your av equipment, why not use coax for one and optical for another and avoid the swapping?
  12. bixfisher

    bixfisher AllStar

    Jul 9, 2007
    $600.00 to swap out a receiver? Holy C R A P Batman! That is B S to say the least. You sound like you have more than paid $$$$ D* over the years, mostly because of your location. If this has happened to you, it probably has happened to other people too. I would take the advice and talk to that VP of customer service. If they don't budge, I would toss their crap out the window into the snow and change providers. That would be difficult because it seems you are a football fan like I am plus changing receivers and the dish. I have threatened to leave them several times over various forms of B S I have encountered but the darn football keeps me for now. Oh how I wish DISH and Cable could get the Sunday Ticket Package too. At least we would have options when a provider treats you like dirt.

  13. Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

    Jun 18, 2006
    DIRECTV does not repair receivers for customers, they only replace them. If you're talking about a regular HR21, there's no situation I could think of where you would be charged more than $200, unless you violated your terms of service by opening a leased receiver.

    If you have a leased receiver, the price to replace it with another leased receiver is usually $20 shipping and handling. It's less if you have the protection plan. If you have an owned receiver, it's just like any other owned piece of equipment.

    It seems to me that you're getting bad information, or perhaps I don't have the whole story.

    One more thing, have you thought about getting a pair of hemostats at a local medical supply store (or beauty supply store) and seeing if you can get the little door out? Simple tweezers might even do the trick.
  14. FarNorth

    FarNorth Godfather

    Nov 27, 2003
    That's what I'm going to do - Until yesterday, I didn't realize there were 2 coax/RCA digital inputs in my Marantz rcvr since they are colored black on the back of the unit, not orange. Before I figured this out, I thought there were only two digital inputs for optical connections.

    This meant I was occasionally shuffling input cables around. How often? No more than a couple of times a month since it is a pain climbing behind the TV and screwing with all the cables......

    This would be easier if I went the HDMI route and ran everything through the rcvr but I am old school and like to have separate video cables straight to the monitor and separate audio cables straight to the rcvr. Yeah, I know, there is no difference in quality but I have always done it that way and I am a slow learner.

    My wife is a nurse and a crafter so this weekend, I'm going to pull the unit out and have her fish out that little part. And as long as I've gone that far, I'll probably swap it out with new HR 23 in my office.

    At that point, I'll probably live with what I have since the other installation feeds through a SlingBox ProHD and it won't take an optical out.
  15. OneOfOne

    OneOfOne Legend

    Sep 19, 2006
    far north what you're doing doesn't make any sense. if everything else is hd then why wouldn't you just go hdmi? its absurd! how is any combination of connections you're currently using the equivalent of using a SINGLE hdmi cable? unless there is something is missing [ and if there is I apologize ] this is just a headache building to a migraine. speaking as someone who insisted on s-video back when the choices were RF connector, RCA, or s-video with the ultimate result being garbage compared to the HDTV spec, I strongly suggest you just go with hdmi.
  16. celticpride

    celticpride Icon

    Sep 6, 2006
    I also highly recommend you go the HDMI route also,save yourself all the hassle,check out monoprice ,com for low priced hdmi cables!! also dont open up that box! or yo'll void the warranty!!!
  17. dinotheo

    dinotheo Godfather

    Sep 21, 2006
    Agreed....if your receiver can accept HDMI, what on earth are you doing messing with optical cables?
  18. FarNorth

    FarNorth Godfather

    Nov 27, 2003
    Only 2 HDMI ins on my Marantz rcvr, only one HDMI output, only 1 digital input on my Mitsu TV.

    I have a DTV HR21 feeding into the TV in the digital in.

    I have a Motorola HD cable box feeding component input 1.

    I have a Panasonic DVD player/recorder feeding component input 2.

    I have a Sony DVD player feeding composite.

    I swap out the DTV connections with my Samsung BluRay player.

    The DTV and Moto cable are - or were - feeding audio by optical, the others by red/white RCA.

    And part of the reason I have it set up this way is the TV sends an IR signal to change audio inputs when I select a different video input.
  19. houskamp

    houskamp Active Member

    Sep 14, 2006
    I had one break that way too.. a simple straight pin got it out.. then I just held it in place at the top while putting the cable back in so it would latch.. I just remember not to remove that one ever again :)
  20. Shades228

    Shades228 DaBears

    Mar 18, 2008
    Damaged/Lost/Stolen receivers are charged the owned price if they need to be replaced. I'm guessing the total was $650 because it was $450 for the damaged receiver and $199 for the new leased unit.

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