Is my HR20-700 dying? (1 Viewer)

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WalksInDarkness

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Aug 17, 2005
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Kekistan
Hi All,

I need some opinions, on whether my ~18 month old HR20-700 is dying. I have been noticing a strange malfunction lately:
Sometimes when recording a show, the DVR seems to freeze the video portion. Usually, the video looks like I hit pause; but the audio keeps going, and this usually happens for about 2-3 minutes. It has happened before but only for a few seconds (and maybe once every 2-3 weeks). Now it happens for a few minutes at a strecth, and sometimes several time during a show. It has gotten more and more frequent, to become an almost daily occurence. And last night, it reached unnaceptable proportions when it fubar'd my plans to watch LOST. The problem completley corrupted the entire episode. I tried FF & RR to find watchable points, but the screen was black and no audio. I was able to watch the last 1/3 in "real-time", so the reciever was working OK. I did the red-button reboot, and it did not fix anything; in fact the recording now looks "gray" instead of black.

Is my HR20-700 dying? Can I just replace the HDD?

Any advice is greatly appreciated, thanks in advance!
 

Bogy

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 18, 2006
1,328
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Iowa
It sure sounds like a dead or dying hard drive. I just had to replace the hd in my Tivo, and the symptoms were very similar. You are fortunate the receiver still works. With the Tivo if the hd is gone it won't even boot up. Unfortunately, while upgrading my Tivo was pretty simple, according to weaknees.com who specialize in this, replacing the hd in your receiver is evidently more complicated. My experience is with the Tivo, so hopefully someone else can give you some better news.
 

WalksInDarkness

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Aug 17, 2005
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It sure sounds like a dead or dying hard drive. I just had to replace the hd in my Tivo, and the symptoms were very similar. You are fortunate the receiver still works. With the Tivo if the hd is gone it won't even boot up. Unfortunately, while upgrading my Tivo was pretty simple, according to weaknees.com who specialize in this, replacing the hd in your receiver is evidently more complicated. My experience is with the Tivo, so hopefully someone else can give you some better news.

Thanks for the input Bogy! Yep, I am figuring the HDD is toast; since the problem seems to be getting worse each day.

I see that people are adding an external drive no-problem, but I am not sure if that will work if the internal-hdd is dead? Hopefully someone can shed some light here.:(

Funny you mention the TiVo. D* Tivo-SD is still running like a champ after 4 years, sure puts the HR20 to shame...
 

joed32

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 21, 2005
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Riverside, Ca
Thanks for the input Bogy! Yep, I am figuring the HDD is toast; since the problem seems to be getting worse each day.

I see that people are adding an external drive no-problem, but I am not sure if that will work if the internal-hdd is dead? Hopefully someone can shed some light here.:(

Funny you mention the TiVo. D* Tivo-SD is still running like a champ after 4 years, sure puts the HR20 to shame...

Replacing the internal drive is fairly easy, just plug and play, external is easy too and would work if the problem is only the hard drive. Why bother with it, just call Directv and get a replacement. If you don't have the service plan they will charge you the shipping cost and restart your two year commitment. If you have the service plan it is totally free.
 

WalksInDarkness

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Aug 17, 2005
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Replacing the internal drive is fairly easy, just plug and play, external is easy too and would work if the problem is only the hard drive. Why bother with it, just call Directv and get a replacement. If you don't have the service plan they will charge you the shipping cost and restart your two year commitment. If you have the service plan it is totally free.

OK, thanks for the tip. I'll see what they can do for me. When I got it ~18 months ago they charged me $299, so I figured I would try to fix it for less $$$; but if I can get it for a "commitment", then that would work too!
 

chazcbh

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 6, 2004
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OK, thanks for the tip. I'll see what they can do for me. When I got it ~18 months ago they charged me $299, so I figured I would try to fix it for less $$$; but if I can get it for a "commitment", then that would work too!

The box is leased if it is failing they should replace it. If you can talk them into doing it without someone coming there all it will cost you is $20 shipping.
 

WalksInDarkness

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Aug 17, 2005
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It was for the privilege of leasing the box!

Heyyyyyy, this isn't The Pit! Are you pulling my leg here? Seriously, I am naive about this stuff sometimes. I didn't even ask, I needed it installed for the NFL playoffs; so I was like "OK $300, whatever..."
 

Bogy

SatelliteGuys Pro
Oct 18, 2006
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Heyyyyyy, this isn't The Pit! Are you pulling my leg here? Seriously, I am naive about this stuff sometimes. I didn't even ask, I needed it installed for the NFL playoffs; so I was like "OK $300, whatever..."
Yep, I think he's serious. A long time ago (six years) I had DirecTV (after Primestar got bought out and they converted me). At that time those of us who had been converted from Primestar, who had been renting our boxes, had the option of leasing DirecTV boxes, or buying them. At that time traditional DirecTV scoffed at those who would lease equipment rather than to buy it. I moved six years ago and because my wife really was irritated by having any more bills to pay then necessary, and the cable co. in our new location bundled phone/internet and TV, we went with them, and did the same 3 years later when we moved again. Our local telephone company now has an agreement with DirecTV, and has some bundles for less money than I am paying after all the promotions wore off. I am looking at making the switch (which is why I am looking at this section of the forum) and from what I can tell DirecTV now wants to lease all its equipment. You pay the same fee if you have "bought" a receiver or not. At least my cableco is upfront about the fact that they continue to own the box, and you are leasing it for so much a month. DirecTV hides the monthly charge in small print, while charging what would seem to be purchase prices for the privilege to rent their equipment. Oh, and they give you the option to buy insurance on their equipment that you are renting. I'm still seriously considering making the switch back, but they aren't impressing me with their honesty.
 

WalksInDarkness

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Master
Aug 17, 2005
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Well, I guess you guys are right. I called, and the CSR said it is a lease. So, on the upside I will receive a replacement in 2 days (for only the cost of shipping). I still am perplexed at how a company makes you buy an STB, and then charges a lease fee for it. Weird.

BTW: the CSR said he noticed a dramatic spike, over the last two weeks, in the number of boxes with the same failure mode. I am guessing it corresponds to the surge in HD signups that happened back in Dec 06.
 

chazcbh

SatelliteGuys Pro
Dec 6, 2004
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Well, I guess you guys are right. I called, and the CSR said it is a lease. So, on the upside I will receive a replacement in 2 days (for only the cost of shipping). I still am perplexed at how a company makes you buy an STB, and then charges a lease fee for it. Weird.

BTW: the CSR said he noticed a dramatic spike, over the last two weeks, in the number of boxes with the same failure mode. I am guessing it corresponds to the surge in HD signups that happened back in Dec 06.

When you got your HD DVR for $299 the true retail value of the box was about $1000. The $299 is DTV's way of off setting the costs. Then the 2 year commitment ensures them they won't lose money on it.

As to hiding the fact that it is leased if you look at the bill it is clear I have 6 receivers 3 HD DVR's that are leased and 1 HD & 2 SD receivers that I own. See below. The protection plan covers everything with your service. Boxes cables dish even remotes.

05/10 Additional Receiver 4.99
05/10 Additional Receiver 4.99
05/10 Additional Receiver 4.99
05/10 Leased Receiver 4.99
05/10 Leased Receiver 4.99
05/10 Primary Leased Receiver 4.99
Adjustments & Credits

05/10 Primary Leased Receiver
 

joed32

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 21, 2005
1,438
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Riverside, Ca
Well, I guess you guys are right. I called, and the CSR said it is a lease. So, on the upside I will receive a replacement in 2 days (for only the cost of shipping). I still am perplexed at how a company makes you buy an STB, and then charges a lease fee for it. Weird.

BTW: the CSR said he noticed a dramatic spike, over the last two weeks, in the number of boxes with the same failure mode. I am guessing it corresponds to the surge in HD signups that happened back in Dec 06.

If you owned it you would have to replace it yourself.
 

tdenton1138

SatelliteGuys Family
Jul 21, 2007
102
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Tucson, AZ
FWIW my HR20-700 died last week after ... just over a year I guess. Froze in the middle of a show and that was that. Reset would get me to the first splash screen (once it got to 'checking satellites 1 of 2') and no further. D* CSR told me that it was very strange that it wouldn't get any further at all and then shipped me a replacement. Sucks to lose any recordings you care about, but not the end of the world.
 

iceshark

SatelliteGuys Pro
May 10, 2004
533
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Pacific Northwest
Mine was doing similiar after just less then a year. Froze everyday when going to recored and I have to hard reset to get unfroze. called and was assured I would get a hr20 as I told them I use the Off air. NOPE, I got a black HR21. I Am pissed! Only good thing is zero shipping as its still under warrenty/
 

joed32

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 21, 2005
1,438
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Riverside, Ca
Mine was doing similiar after just less then a year. Froze everyday when going to recored and I have to hard reset to get unfroze. called and was assured I would get a hr20 as I told them I use the Off air. NOPE, I got a black HR21. I Am pissed! Only good thing is zero shipping as its still under warrenty/

Have you asked them for an AM21?
 

WalksInDarkness

Thread Starter
SatelliteGuys Master
Aug 17, 2005
5,008
940
Kekistan
UPDATE -

While waiting for my replacement, I tried a "fix" I had read about on the web: Delete ALL recordings and reboot.

Sure enough, it worked perfectly afterward; not a single problem at all! So much so, that the replacement is still sitting in the box for a week now It is strange, since my HDD was only ~65% full. I did have some files that were over a year old though, but I am not sure that should affect anything. I would do a study and see how long it lasts, or at what % it goes wonky, but I need to return the old unit to avoid being charged. Weird... YMMV!
 
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