DirecTV – Ugh…

I’ve written before about my dissatisfaction with DirecTV. So I’ve had the service for about a year and while it’s worked, I’ve noticed that I’m starting to download TV shows more often. Part of this is because I sent care packages to a friend in the Navy, and part of it is due to some of the features I lost when I moved to DirecTV. My family still uses the DVR pretty regularly, though, and there are some shows that I like to watch when they’re on.

The DVR has been acting a little strange lately, though. Actually, for about the last 1-2 weeks. Some of the recordings are inaccessible, showing only a black screen when you try to play them. Some of the recordings have odd periods where artifacts will start to appear and suddenly the show jumps, skipping over portions. So I decided to call DirecTV and see if they have a resolution. What a waste of time.. Here’s the gist of my conversation:

DirecTV: Hi, how can I help you?

Me: I’m having some problems with my DVR.

DirecTV: Ok, how about you explain what problems you are having and we’ll see if we can fix them.

Me: Well, I’m having a few problems. Some of the recordings I have are showing just black screens, no audio or video. And I’m having a problem with live TV when I try to rewind or pause. On some occasions, I am unable to rewind, and on others, I’ll get a message about Live TV having saved the recording and o I want to keep it. Then it jumps me to the current program, often making me lose 10-20 minutes of the program.

DirecTV: Ok, how are you trying to record the programs?

Me: Umm.. Either through the standard timers, or through hitting the record button.

At this point, the rep begins going through an explanation of how to record a program and how you can’t do it from the guide screen, etc. I interrupt and explain that I don’t have a problem recording, it’s the end result that is the problem.

Me: This all started about a week or two ago, so were there any upgrades?

DirecTV: I’m not showing any recent upgrades. I am seeing that these are known issues, however, and they have been escalated to engineering.

Me: Ok… But these issues just started. This has only been happening a short period of time, yet you’re telling me no changes have been made. Is it possible that I have a bad hard drive?

DirecTV: Correct. I’ll let engineering know that you’re experiencing these problems as well. As I said, these are known issues and we are working on them.

Me: Ok. So how do I know if the problem has been resolved? Will I see an upgrade or something?

DirecTV: Just continue using the DVR as you normally do. If the problems go away, the issue has been resolved. Or, you can call us in the future.

Me: *sigh* Ok, thanks I guess…

Seriously.. Come on.. No troubleshooting, other than talking to me. No asking what kind of DVR (though I suppose they could have that info in their records), no asking for verification of software levels, etc. Just told me that it was a known issue. I’m not really convinced, and with the way she basically brushed me off, I’m not at all happy about dealing with DirecTV… Yet I’m locked into a contract… Damn…

Has anyone else seen issues like this? Any tips on how to resolve it? At the moment I’m recording everything I can to DVD. After that’s done, I’ll try re-formatting the hard drive.. That is, if I can find the option to do it. They updated a few months ago and all the stupid menus changed… Argh…