DirecTV Kills the Tour

For the record, I do not currently have cable nor satellite TV. I have a 1992 20″ TV with rabbit ear antennas and we receive maybe seven TV stations semi-clearly, one of which is public TV and another is in Spanish. I might subscribe to pay TV if it wasn’t such a headache.

This afternoon, we were at a friend’s house watching the last stage of the Tour de France that she’d recorded that morning on her DirecTV DVR, or set-top recorder. (I still don’t know anything about the stage, so don’t tell me.) About 20 minutes into the program, a heavy rainstorm knocked out her satellite signal, and with it the DVR’s ability to play a pre-recorded show. Satellites need an unobstructed view of the Southern sky. Makes sense, got it. But I don’t understand why the box can’t play a locally recorded show without a satellite uplink. I’m guessing it has something to do with keeping you tethered to a DirecTV monthly subscription and avoiding the sharing of recorded content.

When we finally got the thing back up and running, we tried to resume the Tour stage, only to find out that the DirecTV box had mysteriously decided to record 9 minutes of Extreme Cage Fighting (as opposed to the non-extreme cage fighting shows) over the Tour Stage. The DVR menu still said “Tour Stage 20, 7:30 AM”, but now the notes stated it was recorded at 1:57 PM. A few calls to customer service and tech support confirmed that the program was probably gone permanently. In fact, when we mentioned that we thought the storm had done something to the DVR box, the tech rep replied “Yep, that will happen with storms.”

We got them to admit that the program was still on the box but irretrievable. In other words, no it’s not actually erased, but the DVR is just too buggy to find it and they also don’t have a clue. Apparently, DirecTV has a history of problems with this particular DVR. It appears that in their rush to get away from TiVO they shipped a piece of hardware that wasn’t debugged or usability tested. 

This is probably karma for laughing at my old cubemate at Beazer, who was having a terrible time with DirecTV. He spent more time on the phone with customer service then I spent on the phone with my ankle surgeon, more than 7 hours one week. 

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