Vacation Suspension leaves DVRs in a mess!

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JJinVista

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Oct 16, 2008
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I suspended my DirecTV account for 30 days while I was on vacation. When I returned, I found a nasty surprise waiting for me:

1) All of the DVR timers I had set on my HR44 and HR24 DVRs continued to run, recording blank content. And each title wasn't just a null placeholder on the disk because a substantial amount of space was reclaimed after I deleted all of the null recordings.

2) Recordings which had a defined maximum number of shows to retain, deleted the oldest shows.
The result of this was that I lost approximately 30 days of valid content (the 30 days prior to suspending my account), and gained several hundred garbage titles which were all empty / null content.

I called DirecTV to complain and ask for some kind of compensation. They maintained that this was all my fault - that I should have expected this would happen. Recording null content during an account suspension is a perfectly normal situation, and having valid recordings deleted is something which many of their customers look forward to after returning from a vacation. I was careless and should have cancelled all my recording timers before going on vacation.

After getting transferred to the account retention department, they offered to sell me more products for my account, and finally offered a one-time $5 rebate for my trouble.

I told them next time I'd try to not be so irresponsible, and hung up. It's hard to imagine being a DirecTV rep and having to keep a straight face while you tell your customers that a glaring software bug is a design feature.

My question for the forum: Is there a workaround for this? I'm guessing that simply pulling the power plug to the DVRs before suspending an account would prevent this from happening.

And a second question: While my account was suspended, the DVRs wouldn't play any previously recorded content. When I was a Dish subscriber, this wasn't the case with their DVRs, but I believe in that situation, I unplugged the DVRs from the satellite antenna cable before calling them to cancel / suspend. So maybe that prevented them from sending a signal to immobilize the box.
 

doctor J

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Why would you think it would behave any differently.
The box doesn't what your status is!

Doctor j
 

ejb1980

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Oct 26, 2010
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Why would you suspend your account when there was clearly a significant amount of content you would have watched? When you came back there would be a month of shows for each of your timers that you would have missed? The receiver doesn't know that it's not recording anything, I don't think it's a bug - it's trying to keep your timers current but you took away the video!
 
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JJinVista

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Oct 16, 2008
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Why would you think it would behave any differently.
The box doesn't what your status is!

I would expect a VCR from the 80's to behave this way.

This is a receiver box which is uniquely addressable from the provider, with a programmable microprocessor. If I can tell it from the other side of the planet to record something, DirecTV can program it to suspend all recording activity while an account is suspended.
 

Jimbo

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I would expect a VCR from the 80's to behave this way.

This is a receiver box which is uniquely addressable from the provider, with a programmable microprocessor. If I can tell it from the other side of the planet to record something, DirecTV can program it to suspend all recording activity while an account is suspended.
It did suspend your video ...
The HR's don't know that video has been shut off, why would it.
You set the timer, its gonna record that time frame that you set regardless.

Why would you suspend your service for a month anyways ?
People will suspend service for 6 months while they are away, but 1 month, and you expected it to continue recording, which it did .... YOU are the one that shut the video off.

This worked perfectly as it should have.

Now had you unplugged the recvrs before you left, yes, it would have done what you wanted, however you would have then had to refresh your services once you got back to have video again.
 

Zashel

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Feb 14, 2015
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if you have a SWM setup, you can try just unplugging the power inserter. although you may have to red button reset the receivers after you plug the power inserter back in.
 

goober22

SatelliteGuys Pro
If he wants it to still record those shows, apperantly he did, just leave it plugged in and don't suspend anything.

I understand that Jimbo but the OP complained that it recorded blank shows and rolled off un-watched ones. He thought newer ones would be suspended from recording. (?).

I just offered another option but I agree, suspending for just a month is odd.
 

osu1991

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Sep 4, 2004
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As long as the receiver is powered and connected to the Dish it will continue to pull data and run whatever timers are in its programming. Just because the receiver isn't authorized and receiving video data, isn't going to stop it from performing its basic functions
 
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Aridon

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May 29, 2007
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I understand what he means. He was looking to save $130 for service and catch up on recordings since everything but networks show reruns all the time. He suspended the service and wanted to keep the old stuff.

Where he failed was not unplugging the receiver from the dish or shutting them down while gone. Either would of fine what he wanted.

Being upset at DirecTV over it though isn't rational. If it was important you could of asked here and everyone would of told you how to do it. Company reps are pretty clueless about technical stuff and even tech people follow a set script for 99%. Just how things are. You can't expect a call center person making $8-10hr to be an expert.
 
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dishcomm

SatelliteGuys Master
Nov 29, 2005
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suburbia
I suspended my DirecTV account for 30 days while I was on vacation. When I returned, I found a nasty surprise waiting for me:

1) All of the DVR timers I had set on my HR44 and HR24 DVRs continued to run, recording blank content. And each title wasn't just a null placeholder on the disk because a substantial amount of space was reclaimed after I deleted all of the null recordings.

2) Recordings which had a defined maximum number of shows to retain, deleted the oldest shows.
The result of this was that I lost approximately 30 days of valid content (the 30 days prior to suspending my account), and gained several hundred garbage titles which were all empty / null content.

I called DirecTV to complain and ask for some kind of compensation. They maintained that this was all my fault - that I should have expected this would happen. Recording null content during an account suspension is a perfectly normal situation, and having valid recordings deleted is something which many of their customers look forward to after returning from a vacation. I was careless and should have cancelled all my recording timers before going on vacation.

After getting transferred to the account retention department, they offered to sell me more products for my account, and finally offered a one-time $5 rebate for my trouble.

I told them next time I'd try to not be so irresponsible, and hung up. It's hard to imagine being a DirecTV rep and having to keep a straight face while you tell your customers that a glaring software bug is a design feature.

My question for the forum: Is there a workaround for this? I'm guessing that simply pulling the power plug to the DVRs before suspending an account would prevent this from happening.

And a second question: While my account was suspended, the DVRs wouldn't play any previously recorded content. When I was a Dish subscriber, this wasn't the case with their DVRs, but I believe in that situation, I unplugged the DVRs from the satellite antenna cable before calling them to cancel / suspend. So maybe that prevented them from sending a signal to immobilize the box.
Not to appear curt, but how is this the fault of Directv? You asked for your account to be suspended for a month. Here's where your mistake occurred.
You left the timers active. Why do this? You had no programming. Also, you could simply have disconnected the power cords. No power. No timers.
I am not a corporate guy or anything else. In fact I am about as pro consumer as one can be. However, I also am a proponent of personal responsibility and performing one's due diligence.
Sorry this seems harsh. But based on your account, this one is on you.
 
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Claude Greiner

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I actually agree with the OP. The receiver should know when programming is not authorized and not record blank content.

Next time just unplug the box.

My TiVo connected to Comcast did the same thing when I disconnected the cable feed
 
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JJinVista

Thread Starter
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Oct 16, 2008
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In reply to this:

Not to appear curt, but how is this the fault of Directv? You asked for your account to be suspended for a month. Here's where your mistake occurred.
You left the timers active. Why do this? You had no programming. Also, you could simply have disconnected the power cords. No power. No timers.
I am not a corporate guy or anything else. In fact I am about as pro consumer as one can be. However, I also am a proponent of personal responsibility and performing one's due diligence.
Sorry this seems harsh. But based on your account, this one is on you.

...and this
The box doesn't what your status is!

Not to appear sarcastic in my reply, but yes, the box does know what my status is.

With a DVR, we're talking about a microprocessor-controlled addressable piece of technology and I'm convinced that DirecTV sent a signal to my addressable boxes upon suspending my account.

Why do I think this? Because while my account was suspended, the logic in the DVR prevented me from doing one of it's (in the words of OSU1991) "basic functions" of playing back previously recorded programs which are on the hard drive. Logic in the receiver allows DirecTV, while an account is suspended, to lock out functions which serve themselves, such as watching previously recorded content. Therefore it follows that they could have likewise programmed the box to prevent recording, just as they've prevented it from playing back content from the hard drive.

The result I got is what I would expect from plugging a tape recorder into a lamp timer and setting it in front of a table radio. When the radio goes out for some reason, the timer keeps turning on and off each day, recording static. Well, that's not exactly fair to the DVR. On a power outage, the lamp timer would lose track of the time whereas the advanced DVR wouldn't.

Once my account was suspended, I turned on a receiver, saw it was preventing me from viewing new shows, viewing shows I already recorded, and more, so I said, "oh - I guess they've locked out all functions". Wrong!

If he wants it to still record those shows, apperantly he did, just leave it plugged in and don't suspend anything.
This comment is not relevant to my original post.

suspending for just a month is odd.
Why is this odd? One phone call on the front end to DirecTV, one on the back end, no extra fees to start or stop service, and you're not billed for the whole time you're away. I wasn't interested in collecting a month's worth of programming while I was gone. I had a TV while on vacation.

you could of asked here and everyone would of told you how to do it

Unfortunately, some of you still got it wrong. I don't know if the above replies are based on any of you actually having experience with a DVR on a vacation suspension situation or if you're just guessing.

Because this...
if you have a SWM setup, you can try just unplugging the power inserter
...is a wrong answer.

You've got to pull the power plug on each of your DVRs. Or else go through all of your timers and change / delete them.

BTW - Dish doesn't prevent you from watching recorded content on a disconnected DVR. I have a Dish DVR from an account I cancelled a year ago and the recordings still play. And I suspect the same might be true with DirecTV if you first disconnect from the satellite antenna from your DVRs before calling them to suspend / cancel an account.
 

Jimbo

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Jul 14, 2005
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In reply to this:



...and this


Not to appear sarcastic in my reply, but yes, the box does know what my status is.

With a DVR, we're talking about a microprocessor-controlled addressable piece of technology and I'm convinced that DirecTV sent a signal to my addressable boxes upon suspending my account.

Why do I think this? Because while my account was suspended, the logic in the DVR prevented me from doing one of it's (in the words of OSU1991) "basic functions" of playing back previously recorded programs which are on the hard drive. Logic in the receiver allows DirecTV, while an account is suspended, to lock out functions which serve themselves, such as watching previously recorded content. Therefore it follows that they could have likewise programmed the box to prevent recording, just as they've prevented it from playing back content from the hard drive.

The result I got is what I would expect from plugging a tape recorder into a lamp timer and setting it in front of a table radio. When the radio goes out for some reason, the timer keeps turning on and off each day, recording static. Well, that's not exactly fair to the DVR. On a power outage, the lamp timer would lose track of the time whereas the advanced DVR wouldn't.

Once my account was suspended, I turned on a receiver, saw it was preventing me from viewing new shows, viewing shows I already recorded, and more, so I said, "oh - I guess they've locked out all functions". Wrong!


This comment is not relevant to my original post.


Why is this odd? One phone call on the front end to DirecTV, one on the back end, no extra fees to start or stop service, and you're not billed for the whole time you're away. I wasn't interested in collecting a month's worth of programming while I was gone. I had a TV while on vacation.



Unfortunately, some of you still got it wrong. I don't know if the above replies are based on any of you actually having experience with a DVR on a vacation suspension situation or if you're just guessing.

Because this...

...is a wrong answer.

You've got to pull the power plug on each of your DVRs. Or else go through all of your timers and change / delete them.

BTW - Dish doesn't prevent you from watching recorded content on a disconnected DVR. I have a Dish DVR from an account I cancelled a year ago and the recordings still play. And I suspect the same might be true with DirecTV if you first disconnect from the satellite antenna from your DVRs before calling them to suspend / cancel an account.
If you know all this info about the recvr ... WHY ARE YOU ASKING US FOR HELP ?

Sounds like you know all about how you THINK it all works.
 

Jimbo

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I understand what he means. He was looking to save $130 for service and catch up on recordings since everything but networks show reruns all the time. He suspended the service and wanted to keep the old stuff.

Where he failed was not unplugging the receiver from the dish or shutting them down while gone. Either would of fine what he wanted.

Being upset at DirecTV over it though isn't rational. If it was important you could of asked here and everyone would of told you how to do it. Company reps are pretty clueless about technical stuff and even tech people follow a set script for 99%. Just how things are. You can't expect a call center person making $8-10hr to be an expert.
However, even after all of us trying to help him understand how it works, he's not listening to any of us.

It sound like he knows what he thinks he knows and doesn't want help.

All of us here that deal with this kind of stuff have no clue.
There are employees and installers and others here that have been working with this stuff since it started back in the mid '90s, a lot has changed.
He's convinced that D* is the bad guy, regardless of what we try to explain to him.
Also sound like a DISH guy thats fed up with D*.

Wondering, if he's got DISH why didn't he just use that service ... seeing its so much better for him.
 

dishcomm

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Nov 29, 2005
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suburbia
However, even after all of us trying to help him understand how it works, he's not listening to any of us.

It sound like he knows what he thinks he knows and doesn't want help.

All of us here that deal with this kind of stuff have no clue.
There are employees and installers and others here that have been working with this stuff since it started back in the mid '90s, a lot has changed.
He's convinced that D* is the bad guy, regardless of what we try to explain to him.
Also sound like a DISH guy thats fed up with D*.

Wondering, if he's got DISH why didn't he just use that service ... seeing its so much better for him.
Noting of course the OP obviously looking for empathy with his self inflicted plight, is long gone.
 

forecheck

Active SatelliteGuys Member
Mar 28, 2005
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1
Northern California
I actually agree with the OP. The receiver should know when programming is not authorized and not record blank content.

Not only that, but I wouldn't think it would be too hard to program the DRV so it looks for future showings of the same episode and tries to record them if the scheduled recording wasn't successful, or the signal dropped out for a couple of minutes due to rain fade or some other reason.
 

ChadT41

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Apr 20, 2014
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However, even after all of us trying to help him understand how it works, he's not listening to any of us.

It sound like he knows what he thinks he knows and doesn't want help.

All of us here that deal with this kind of stuff have no clue.
There are employees and installers and others here that have been working with this stuff since it started back in the mid '90s, a lot has changed.
He's convinced that D* is the bad guy, regardless of what we try to explain to him.
Also sound like a DISH guy thats fed up with D*.

Wondering, if he's got DISH why didn't he just use that service ... seeing its so much better for him.
Everyone here knows me as a Dish guy, and I agree that DTV didn't screw up. User error, plain and simple.
 

Jimbo

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Everyone here knows me as a Dish guy, and I agree that DTV didn't screw up. User error, plain and simple.
Not user error ....
He just didn't know how it was gonna work .... nothing he did wrong .
A customer shouldn't be required to disconnect his recvrs before leaving .... but he should have known would record nothing ahead of time.
 
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