Welcome. Powering up...

August 26, 2005

In the spring of 2001 Michele and I bought our first Tivo. The series 1 machine soon became an indispensable part of our lives. So much so that in January 2004 we bought a second Tivo, a series 2 with double the recording capacity. The original machine was moved to the bedroom where it collects old sitcoms from Nick@Nite, TVLand, and other cable outlets. While the new machine lives in our office space and records all the reality shows we like as well as movies and "Good Eats." In all we have over 20 season passes set up, or we did.

Last night the series 2 machine borked. We had just finished watching a Sherlock Holmes movie recorded from Turner Classic Movies and when we tried to delete it from the play list it refused. After trying to delete it a second time with no luck we tried to delete another program, still no luck.

Then the screen went totally black.

After a minute a grey screen with the words, "Welcome. Powering up..." appeared. About three minutes later the Tivo Central screen appeared and we were able to see our "Now Playing" list once again. This time we were successful in deleting Sherlock, but no sooner had that operation completed when the Tivo once again rebooted.

Uh-oh. I've got a bad feeling about this.

After 5 or 10 minutes of looking at the "Welcome. Powering up..." screen I called Tivo support. The support tech had me unplug the unit and wait 15 seconds and then plug it back in. No change. A second cycle was suggested and still no Tivo. So we initiated an exchange. Tivo is shipping (hopefully today!) a refurbished unit to us and, once it arrives, we'll return the malfunctioning unit in the same box. Since we are out of our 1-year warranty period we have to but the refurbished unit for $149, which is roughly half of the manufacturers suggested list price for a new series 2 model.

I'm not very good about copying shows we want to keep forever off to tape from the Tivo, so we did lose a couple of things we would have liked to keep. And the Thursday night episode of Big Brother 6 is gone forever, unwatched by us. Mostly we are going to be inconvenienced by having to watch (gasp!) live TV for the next week or so until the new unit arrives.

I have been reading about MythTV for some time now. Having my Tivo die on me is making the prospect of having my own homegrown DVR seem like a better idea.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.