Tag Archives: DVR

My Tivo Is Possessed by the Devil!

I cut the cable some months ago, or more accurately, I broke the dish and got rid of satellite. In its place I got a very nice antenna which picks up about 40 stations, maybe 20 of which come in clear and I am interested in watching. I also bought a Tivo Roamio OTA DVR which records over-the-air (OTA) channels and accesses apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime among others. OK, now that you have the background here is the problem.

Janis recorded a movie recently off one of the OTA channels. It turns out to have been appropriately named Devil in a Blue Dress, starring Denzel Washington. I never watched it, and Janis got about ten minutes into it and decided it wasn’t for her, so she deleted it—or more accurately, tried to delete it. My Tivo disagreed with her decision to delete the movie and refused to do so. None of the usual methods of deleting something recorded on the Tivo has worked. It pretends to delete the movie, but it always comes back! I can delete other recordings, but not the Devil!

It gets worse. Janis called me in to see if I would have any better luck. Nope. After several and various attempts, the Devil would not go away. I decided to let it rest and try the next day as if that might make a difference. It didn’t. Repeated attempts to delete it failed. Each time I deleted it, the Tivo puts an “X” beside its name in the guide, pretending that it is about to delete it—and then deletes the “X” and puts the blue dot back—and, of course, the Devil in a Blue Dress is still there!

And—it gets even spookier. Forgetting my recent failure with the Sync Witch in my truck, I was determined that I was not going to let some stupid electrical device outsmart me. So I devised a very clever plan to delete the movie. There is a delete option I had not yet tried. You can set the Tivo to delete a recording on a certain date in the future. “That’s it!” I said in my eureka moment. With a sneering cackle, I set the Devil to delete in two days, August 12.

Two days later I checked and the Devil was still there—AND he had reset my delete date to August 14! “This is some crazy fluke,” I muttered and reset the delete date to August 16.

Well, it is August 17 as I write this, and the Devil in a Blue Dress IS STILL THERE and has reset my delete date to August 18!

I have no illusions that it will actually delete on that date. Once more I have been beaten by artificial intelligence. As a society, we are doomed. The movie “Terminator” was prophetic.

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The Chat

Recently, my Dish Network Satellite DVR “crashed and burned,” and took all my recorded stuff with it. I have been threatening to “cut the cable” (well, actually satellite signal, in this case) and going all streaming, using my Apple TV. I hate paying for channels I don’t ever watch. Alas, that was not in the works.

One problem, with going streaming only, is you give up any kind of a centralized content management system, otherwise known as the “guide,” where you can go surf channels to see what the different channels have on that you might want to watch or record for future viewing. Surfing, without access to a guide, becomes very complicated and a lot of work, because you have to shift between numerous content sources to make a viewing decision.

Back to the story.

A week after my DVR crashed and was reported to Dish, I get a new one, only it wasn’t a “new” one; it was “remanufactured.” That ticked me off, because the one that died was also remanufactured, a replacement for the first one that died. I wanted a new DVR, but they sent this remanufactured one. I was going to send it back and demand a new one, but that would have been another week without the “guide” or the ability to record and view later (without commercials).

They won. I installed the “new” remanufactured DVR.

Once installed and it is displaying something on the TV, you either call or go online and live chat with a representative to get the “new” remanufactured DVR activated for your account. Not wishing to wend my way through all the “press 1 for…” steps to get to someone at Dish on the phone, I chose the chat route and got out my iPad and signed into Dish. What follows is the sometimes humorous conversation that ensued.

I should note, that Janis and I had dinner after I did all the wiring of the “new” remanufactured DVR was doing its thing, conversing with Dish, before we got to the activation chat below. During that meal, I had a hardy glass of wine, which may have been a contributing factor to the direction the chat took.

Here follows the chat:

Zane Frederic (Dish Network): Hi, my name is Zane Frederick. How may I help you?

Allen Casteix (Me): I am trying to finish the setup of my new DVR. I need to authorize.

Zane Frederic: Good afternoon! I hope you are having a great day, Allen.

Zane Frederic: I’ll be glad to assist you.

Zane Frederic: What do you see exactly on your TV screen?

Was all that bloviating really necessary? I ignore it and get right to his question.

Allen Casteix: Some guy talking about my bill.

Zane Frederic: I see

Zane Frederic: For security purposes, would you please verify your account with your 4 digit security code?

We are not exactly coordinated here. I am still answering the question above about what I see on my screen, which has changed, a point I considered important, and I saw a cartoon TV shivering. I have no idea why it was shivering, because I had the sound muted.

Allen Casteix: Now a shivering TV

Zane Frederic: I understand.

Now, I am catching up and trying to answer the security code question, and I can’t remember the number, thus I started to type an answer indicating that, when the number suddenly came to me.

Allen Casteix: I have no idea what … wait XXXX. (I gave the code number)

Zane Frederic: Thank you.

Zane Frederic: Can you please describe exactly what is on your television screen now? If there is an on screen message, please include the 3 digit number found at the top right corner.

What is on the screen seems awfully important to Zane, and I have no idea why. Meanwhile, I had decided I needed to hurry this process along and typed the following message, jokingly, of course.

Allen Casteix: Bette hurry the wine is kicking in. A TV and a TV slot machine.

I answered his question about what I saw on the screen but missed the one about the 3 digit number. But then I realized my typo and corrected.

Allen Casteix: Better!

Old Zane doesn’t miss a beat.

Zane Frederic: I understand.

He is a very understanding fellow…

Zane Frederic: I already activated the replacement receiver and deactivated the old receiver

I think he gave up, because he went ahead and activated the “new” remanufactured DVR without me giving the number. By then I am realizing how this chat must look to Zane, and I’m laughing so hard I can’t type. Janis is looking at me like I am crazy as I try to type…

Allen Casteix: I’m going to have to save this conversation. Lol!

Again, Zane doesn’t miss a beat, but he finally drops the ball with a typo of his own. (I wonder if he had wine with dinner?)

Zane Frederic: Alrightj

Where did that “j” come from?

Zane Frederic: Do you have any other questions or concerns for me?

At this point, I am still laughing and want off the chat.

Allen Casteix: Are we done?

Zane Frederic: Yes.

Allen Casteix: Bye. Have a nice day.

Zane Frederic: You too

Zane Frederic: It is my pleasure to help you out. Again, my name is Zane. Thank you for using Dish chat and for giving me the pleasure to assist you.

Zane was very professional, and I can only imagine what kind of crazy chats some of the people must have. I bet he was thinking, I can’t wait to tell my wife about this goofy chat I had tonight!

Oh, and I think the “new” remanufactured DVR is broken.

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