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Friday, March 30, 2007

Last night I thought for once I would get to bed before 2:00 am. Thatís what I was thinking at 1:00 am when I got an error message on my TV. My satellite receiver was ďPowering Up.Ē I thought DirecTV had probably downloaded some new software that required a restart. After a few minutes the receiver flashed some horizontal colored lines at me, and then I got the ďPowering UpĒ screen again. I sat through this cycle several times before giving up.

I really didnít have high hopes that the situation would be any different this morning when I got up, and I was right. It was still ďPowering UpĒ on an apparently endless loop. I unplugged the receiver and tried rebooting the system that way, but it didnít have an effect. So I called DirecTV to let them know. I talked to some very nice technical people who had me try the things Iíd already done, including unplugging the receiver and pushing every button on it (and on the remote).

So theyíre sending me a new receiver. Thereís no charge, except a small handling fee, but Iíll be losing my TiVo service. In its place Iíll have to put up with the vastly inferior DirecTV DVR service. I talk to people. I know it probably works as well as TiVo, but with a steep learning curve (which doesnít intimidate me) and much less user-friendly interface (which doesnít intimidate me but does annoy me). But Iíll get used to it. Iíll live.

And at least itís ďfree,Ē and I assume its new, or at least newly reconditioned. Iíve had the old receiver for six years, which is longer than any other electronic device I own has ever lasted. In the meantime, I still have some channels through the cable company, to whom I pay for the minimum possible service (and get a little more, because they canít be bothered to turn off the channels I donít pay for). I have two VCRs that Iíve barely used in the last few years, but if I have to tape, rewind, and play back programs in order to be able to fast-forward through commercials, thatís what Iíll do.

10 March 2007


What Iíve lost is everything that was recorded on TiVo that I didnít get around to watching yet, like this weekís episodes of Friday Night Lights and Ugly Betty. Iíll have the new receiver in two days, they tell me, but it will be another couple of days before it will finish downloading the next two weeks of programming. Itís a hassle, and Iíll have to go through this again in a few years when I upgrade to HD, but at least Iíll be all set up when the final season of The Sopranos premieres a week from Sunday.

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