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Old 11-09-2008, 06:35 PM   #1
travata
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Definitive solution to Directv screensaver issue

I just moved into a new house and since I left my trusty old Philips Directv receiver at the old place, I became the new owner of a Directv branded D11 receiver. Shortly after this my Tivo Series 2 dual tuner 80 GB started recording the dreaded Directv screensaver. To resolve this issue I did a lot of research online, I talked with Tivo and Directv technical support, and after some experimenting I SOLVED the problem. Here is what I learned.

The Directv receiver only displays a screensaver when it is tuned to a channel that it does not receive. This is important to know because it means you can get rid of the problem by customizing your Tivo channel listing to only show the channels that you ALWAYS receive. This is not as easy to do as you think because . . .

1. Directv often changes the channels you receive. For instance, Directv will sometimes turn on channels you don't normally receive as part of a promotion and then turn them off later. Or they will change channel numbers and your Tivo doesn't get the update in a timely manner.

2. If you use the Directv receiver channel setup menu to automatically identify the channels you receive for the Channel Guide, it won't generate an accurate list. It will often show you receive channels even though you don't actually receive them.

3. After you finish Tivo's Guided Setup, it won't always generate an accurate list of channels you receive on your Tivo Guide. In other words, the list it generates may have lots of errors.

The only way you can be absolutely sure that you never record the screensaver is if you . . .

1. Manually check every channel on your receiver and generate an accurate list, preferably on paper, of all the channels you receive. Since channels occassionally activate and deactivate, you may want to do this a couple times at different times. With 1000+ channels on the Directv channel guide when no filters are set up, this can take some time.

2. After you have an accurate channel listing, go into your Tivo Menu > Messages & Settings > Settings > Channels > Channel List and select ONLY the channels you receive. Do this for all 1000+ channels that are in the list. If you don't receive HD content, you may also want to deselect the HD version of the channels you receive or vice versa if the opposite is true.

This should fix the problem. Now when you setup Season Passes, your Tivo will not try and record shows on channels you don't receive, which means your Tivo will never ask your receiver to change to a channel it doesn't receive, and the screensaver will have no reason to appear.

Miscellaneous nuggets of knowledge I discovered along the way . . .

1. Tivo technical support was not able to provide this solution to me when I called October 2008. And I couldn't find it in the Official Tivo Help resources. Although the Tivo rep I talked to was kind enough to offer to conference call Directv technical support with me, this wouldn't have made a difference. I hope Tivo updates their knowledge base because it seems like lots of people run into this problem.

2. It is not possible to turn off the Directv screensaver through a menu option on the Directv receiver. I asked the Directv tech support rep and even got the question escalated to a higher authority, but it's just not possible. Although I requested this feature to be added to Directv's receivers, I doubt it's going to happen and it doesn't really solve the problem anyway.

If the Tivo channel listing is not accurate, your Tivo will record a blank screen with a "Channel not purchased" error message instead of a screensaver. Yes, it would help troubleshooting, but it wouldn't fix the main issue which is an inaccurate Tivo channel listing which allows you to setup up recordings and Season Passes for programs on channels you don't receive.

I think this posting is accurate, but it could contain errors since I have only tested this solution with the Directv D11 receiver. If anybody knows of any errors in my posting or variations to my solution, please post them to this thread so it's easy for others to find them.

Hope this helps.

Sam Allen
Eagle Mountain, UT
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Old 11-09-2008, 09:06 PM   #2
CuriousMark
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It sounds like you have posted the canonical sure fire solution, you are suggesting going about it a fairly hard way. I accepted the shows in the lineup for my city and then went in and turned off the high definition duplicates and the high number channels that are duplicates of my local channels and haven't seen hide nor hair of the bouncing D. I do make a point of reviewing the channels that show up as changed or moved in the regular PTCMs that show up when they change. I often have to go into the channel list and make an adjustment, but if you keep up with it, it isn't hard or take very long.

While scanning every channel and writing it all down is one way to really sure, my lesser approach seems to work well for me.
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Old 11-09-2008, 09:24 PM   #3
travata
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Shortcuts for identifying channels you receive

You are right, there are shortcuts you can take.

If you really want to cut down on the work identifying the channels you receive, you can cut out all the PPV channels (~100-200 range), regional local channels that aren't in the 2-100 range, premium channels you may not receive (~500+ range), and basically stick with everything below 400 plus any music channels you want. That narrows the work down to going through less than 300 channels, which isn't as big a deal.

If you also automatically eliminate any channels you don't like from your Tivo 'Channels I Receive' list, whether you get them or not, that makes the work even easier. Personally, I have no use for the shopping channels, foreign language channels, and some of the others.

-Sam
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Old 11-23-2008, 03:52 PM   #4
travata
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Another Directv channel selection nuance

When Tivo notifies a Directv customer that their channel lineup has changed, the Tivo message also states that Tivo assumes that you receive ALL the Directv channels for your region except premium channels. This means that if you have one of the lower level Directv packages, your Tivo will automatically assume you receive more channels than you actually do.

This will affect the channel lineup that Tivo creates after you complete a Guided Setup, and may affect the lineup as new channels are added and deleted. This latter problem is probably limited since a lot of the channel changes seem to take place in the sports programming channels that come and go as sports seasons start and stop.

It does not appear that Tivo makes channels reappear in the Tivo Guide that you have specifically identified as not available in the Channels You Receive settings option. This means that if you setup the initial listing of the Channels You Receive correctly the first time, your Tivo should keep the Tivo Guide listings pretty accurate even though your Directv lineup will change regularly.

-Sam
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