July 26th, 2018


Some days, I think that the mission of technical support is to drive me slowly insane. And perhaps vice versa.

So the replacement DirecTV DVR arrived today and after dinner I set out to connect it. I followed the instructions, which consisted of:

  • Disconnect the wires from the old DVR.
  • Connect them to the new DVR, power last.

    Seems simple enough. The new DVR powers up, boots up, and produces a screen saying call this number or go to this website to activate this DVR.

    Once again, seems simple enough. I fail dismally at logging into the website from my phone (who knows why?), but succeed in logging in from Gretchen's laptop that she is good enough to bring to me. I find the link to Activate Equipment, click on it, and it says, "We will activate this DVR and deactivate that DVR."

    Hmm. That serial number doesn't look right. Gretchen is good enough to come back and hand me the old failed DVR whose serial number is not the one that they intend to deactivate. Instead, they intend to deactivate the receiver in the family room that the girls are watching TV via. Well, that certainly won't end well.

    So I call in. After spamming the phone tree to get to a human being, I explain the situation. She processes the original activate/deactivate combo, but immediately sends through a reactivation signal for the DVR in the family room so that it springs back to life in a couple of minutes. I'm getting a picture, all's well.

    Yeah, right.

    So it's time to run through setup and clean up all of the options. Set screen resolution. No problem.

    Set up Internet access.

    Oh, that is so not happening. It wants to connect my wireless Cinema Connection Kit. Of course, I don't have one of those -- I'm wired to the Internet via the coax cable that connects to the DVR. Doom. Gloom. I go to Advanced Setup. Now, the old receiver got an address from my router via DHCP, but this one is pointed to an address that isn't on my network at all. Ok, let's give it a static IP and see how this goes.

    It doesn't. And I can't see the other DVRs on the network. Blort.

    Back on the phone to technical support. We go around and around for 20 minutes until he finally gives up and schedules a service call, which is covered by my maintenance plan. The fellow will show up tomorrow afternoon some time.

    Hanging up the phone, I continue to check Internet resource and decide to do a hard reboot on the DVR and see what happens.

    Several minutes later, the box has finally finished resetting itself. And when I go to the network connections, I discover that I have gotten an IP via DHCP and that I can see and play shows from other DVRs.

    I still can't connect to On Demand, but it may still be downloading information. So I will leave that service call scheduled for the moment and see what happens by the morning.

    This could all be simpler...