Problem doesn't sound like software. He should try unplugging and replugging it. If no signs of lights, it is hardware. If cycles through and then hangs, lights or not lights at that point, it could be software.
I got my 921 on 1/20/04. There were no problems with installation. IT appears to be working fine but I have not done any recording yet. However when I moved the 811 from the living room to the bedroom, it would not turn on. No power light. Dish is sending another one and it will be here tomorrow, 1/23/04. My 811 was about six weeks old.