TiVo gets the best of me

December 18 2005

I haven't blogged about TiVo in a long time, though I continue to be very happy with the service.  Recently, though, the power supply died in my six-month-old TiVo Series 2 unit.  While covered under warranty, this required Humax to send me out a new unit, as the power supply can't be replaced separately.  So, a new (well, refurbished) unit arrived on Friday.  It's date of manufacture, in Mexico -- December 9, 2005.  Interesting supply chain metric there.

Anyway, knowing that it was just the power supply that was out on my old TiVo unit, I planned to swap the hard drives between old and new upon the new unit's arrival.  I wanted to get at all those saved episodes of Dora the Explorer for my daughter, of course.  So, I opened up both units, saw that the contents were entirely the same, and proceeded to switch the hard drives.  Once complete, I connected the new TiVo, and got nothing but a blinking green light.  Oops.

I figured I was busted on the hard drive swap, so I switched them back.  Plugged it in, and same blinking light.  Weird...could TiVo have shipped me a broken replacement?

A couple of hours later, I thought I'd take another look inside and see what might be wrong.  There are very few moving parts on the TiVo, so there wasn't much to go wrong.  I discovered, though, that I had in fact screwed up one of the few things that could go wrong.  I had connected the ribbon cable to the hard drive upside down.  Not often that an interface connector will go in two different ways, but this one apparently does.  Once I righted this, the unit booted up just fine.  Note: I suppose this means I will have to give back my geek merit badge.

Now I had a new problem -- the old hard drive was causing an error in the new TiVo box, and I couldn't even so much as watch the existing recorded programs until the hardware problem was resolved.  It appeared I was indeed busted on the hard drive swap.  Bummer.  Sadly, I put the new HD back in the new unit and was off and running.

The last challenge was when the new unit asked me to activate.  Going to Tivo.com/activate and following the steps provided me with the opportunity to sign up for TiVo monthly service again.  Already being $300 into the last unit for lifetime service, I was concerned that the new unit didn't map up to me as a subscriber.  So, I went the old fashioned way and picked up the phone.  There I was reassured that my lifetime service was indeed transferable to the new unit, and they took care of this for me.

I just spent ten minutes putting all my "season passes" on the new TiVo.  In the meantime, I've missed about three weeks of Law & Order/Law&Order CI and am going through withdrawl.  Anyone happen to TiVo the last few weeks?

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