23 Replies Latest reply: Aug 26, 2014 9:49 AM by macsterguy RSS

HR34 Freezing - HR24s Not Freezing


I received an HR34 in April along with two C31s, and I am having a freezing issue. The picture freezes intermittently and sometimes the stream is the problem, but most of the time I can reverse back before the freeze and the freeze does not happen the second time I view the video stream.


I am not alone, because my boss the CFO has an HR34 that has the same identical problem and his boss the CEO of the company also has an HR34 that has the same problem, so it appears to be either a hardware generation issue (chip) or more likely a software issue.


I have worked in the IT industry for 40 years in numerous roles from a production programmer to a System/Network Administrator on IBM, NCR, Burroughs, Control Data, DEC, and Personal Computers since 1980 and based upon my experience, I believe it is very likely a software issue.


I goggled “HR34 Freeze” this evening and found numerous posts, but all of the posts associated with the DirecTV forum had been removed, which leaves me to suspect that DirecTV doesn’t want this issue to be widely known.


All that I request is that DirecTV quit adding features and Apps like the incredible buggy Pandora App, and concentrate on fixing the basic DVR functionality first and foremost.


If you have had this problem solved, then please post a solution, because DirecTV level 1 support personnel just read scripts like most of the world’s technical support personnel do today.


I guess it would be appropriate to add that I have been a DirecTV customer for 17 years, have owned nine DVRs since I first purchased my first DVR in May of 2000 (a Sony TiVo).  I currently work as a System/Network Administrator as one of three IT employees for a company with annual sales of 45 million dollars. I was previously an independent consultant for 20 years as both a Microsoft and a Cisco partner. And I have always sold DirecTV as a great company and TV service to friends, family, and strangers alike.

UPDATE: First an apology is in order. My freezing problem disappeared sometime ago, all on its own, fixed by the replacement of the HR34 with a HR44 and a software update.


Message was edited by: Tim Beckner

  • Re: HR34 Freezing - HR24s Not Freezing

    Run the Built in Self-test (BIST) to try and repair your hard drive. To run the hard drive checks, please follow these steps:


    * Reboot DVR via Menu -> Parental, Fav's & Setup -> System Setup -> Reset -> Restart Receiver

    * When they see "Running receiver self-check" press select

    * You will see "Entering Diagnostics Mode..."

    * Select Advanced Tests Menu -> Hard Drive utilities -> Surface Test

    * Warning: This process could take several hours to complete. You may want to run it overnight.


    The good news is that every attempt is made to save programming. This is less destructive than a reformat all and could provide you with a more stable system if you are having problems that appear to be related to the hard drive.

    • Re: Re: HR34 Freezing - HR24s Not Freezing


      Thanks for your quick response.


      I ran the diagnostics last night as soon as I finished watching the last content on the HR34 and then continued the testing this morning and afternoon.


      Here are the results of the tests:


      File System Verification          PASSED

      SMART Short Test                 PASSED

      SMART Long Test                  PASSED (Lengthy)

      LBA Fix                                 PASSED

      Surface Test                          100% PASSED, Errors Found: 0, Errors Corrected: 0 (Lengthy)


      Extra Tests:


      Thresholds Test                     PASSED

      Actuator Test                         27.52 MB @ 21.98 Mbps


      Model  (Hard Drive)                WDCWD10EURX-63FH1Y0

      Serial Number                       WD-WMC1U9216465

      Powered On Hours                 2139


      Model                                   HR34-700

      Software Version                   0x06DB


      Software downloads since installation: 5/9/2013, 5/29/2013, 6/12/2013, 6/13/2013

      Installed: 4/7/2013 (87 days ago)


      Signal Quality: SATNET 95%, SAT1-SAT5 94%, 94%, 94%, 94%, 95%


      All other diagnostics completed and reported as PASSED, including HDMI, SWM, Phone Line, MoCA (LINK UP), Hard Drive Temperature (45C-49C), Chip Communications, EEPROM Short and Long, SDRAM (185 MB @ 41.14 MB/s), Access Card, Flash Memory, AV Decoders, and Fan,


      Since there are no recordings on this unit now, I connected an external hard drive (SeagateGoFlexDVR 2TB), and tested it and all tests completed with a status of PASSED including the Surface Test (Zero Errors). I will run with this hard drive and see if there are any screen freezes, deletion slowness, and menu system lockups and report back if there are any.


      Not to prejudge the situation, but I am expecting the problem to still be there. Kind of like the Pandora App problems that never seem to get fixed, although they are the same problems that exist on the HR24s, so I use my iPad or iPhone and my AppleTV with AirPlay for Pandora.


      If you would like I can provide screenshots of the test results. I used my iPad camera to capture all of the test screens.


      I have a service call scheduled for this Sunday morning.

    • Re: HR34 Freezing - HR24s Not Freezing

      I could not find the advanced settings in my menu options. I have a Model: HR34-700

  • Re: HR34 Freezing - HR24s Not Freezing

    what's wrong with Pandora

    • Re: HR34 Freezing - HR24s Not Freezing

      Pandora has an option to allow playing after exit, but it quits sometimes almost immediately, but for sure after a minute or so. Additionally, it will quit even after a short period of time even if I don't use the play after exit option. There have been other strange problems, so I just use either my Sony Blu-Ray player, or my iPhone or iPad and AirPlay with the AppleTV for Pandora.


      I did leave out one more problem with thee HR34, if I turn it off, then when it is turned back on it will stutter on the live buffer, and act sluggish, so I quit turning it off.


      There are other problems with the audio channels, but those problems are the same problems that can be experienced on the HR24. Example, audio quitting, so you have to switch to a channel with video and then back to the audio channel, or switching to a video channel and the stream stutters (another buffering problem). Maybe DirecTV should have me be a beta tester, because I have found numerous quirks/problems.


      WIthout a doubt, the DirecTV HD DVRs are quirky, but the freeze on the HR34 for me is problematic and reminds me of the DirecTV commercial where a lawyer has cable and the picture keeps freezing so his client is found guilty and when released blows up the Lawyer's home. At the moment, I am the Lawyer in the commercial, but in this case it is the DirecTV device that is freezing.


      BTW, thanks for asking and I can live with most of these quirks, but the freezing problem is one quirk too many.



      UPDATE: Technician appeared for the Service Call on July 7th and while discussing the freezing problem with the HR34 it froze on CNN. The tech rebooted the HR34 and reapplied software version 06DB from the 6/13/2013 update. Later in the day the tech checked in and I told him that it had froze again and he returned and replaced the HR34 with a new HR44 and I no longer have the freezing problem. His boss told him that the diagnostics can report the hard drive as passing all of the tests, but still be flaky enough to cause problems, so the new HR44 was a replacement to take care of a flaky hard drive and so far I haven't had any problems in six days.


      All of the other quirks are still there, but the freezing problem appears to be gone, which was a show stopper (PUN).


      Wonder why DirecTV does not do a CRC check on files replaced during a software update to make sure that the software update didn't fail?


      I know a lot of companies don't do that, but that would be a great check and may save their customers a lot of headaches from failed software updates.

  • Re: HR34 Freezing - HR24s Not Freezing

    I agree with your assessment that this freeze problem is a software bug. I too spent 40+ years in IT, most recently retiring from Hitachi as a Master Software Development Engineer.


    We have this problem too. It's not a hardware problem. Those would have different symptoms. I'm guessing that there is a serialization problem between the mainline code and an interrupt routine. Unfortunately, anyone who would understand this, would have already fixed it. Most probably, the original developers have moved on to other projects, having concealed whatever they might have known about this problem.


    Guess I'll be looking to get an HR44.



    • Re: HR34 Freezing - HR24s Not Freezing

      How do you draw that conclusion, mwdemaray?   All HR34's would experience this problem if that was the root cause.  I, and many others, can attest that not all HR34's have this problem.   It's pretty clear that the OP here had a hardware problem with their HR34, most likely  hard drive related. 

      • Re: HR34 Freezing - HR24s Not Freezing

        Hi litzdog911,


        Hard drive I/O errors are distinct, and would be indicated by an error condition raised by the disk I/O interface. Such errors would be correctly handled by an error message to the viewer and a diagnostic log entry. For the program to ignore the error and freeze the presentation would be a software error. If you are suggesting that the disk interface would simply return the wrong data without raising an error, then the fault would appear differently to the user, with the presentation jumping around to different unrelated video material.


        Furthermore, one user on this thread had the problem on three successively installed HR34s. Are you suggesting that HR34 disk drives are SOOOOO bad that three in a row would have this problem? What kind of negligence on the part of the vendor is that?


        Race condition problems, as I suggest, are timing related. Such conditions don't always show up on all machines. They can be very particular to conditions of use. They result from improper management of asynchronous processes, such as communication between main-line routines and interrupt handling routines. Such communication is generally based on buffer pointers or message queue maintenance. See the "Software" section at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_condition for a detailed explanation.


        In this case, I'm just a suffering customer. I don't have the source code for this DVR. I don't have the hardware interface specifications. I'm not being paid to sort this out. I'm just saying what it looks like to me, from years of experience with such things, from creation of embedded systems all the way up to mainframe hypervisor microcode.


        I don't know whether your response is just argumentative or constructive. What is your standing here. I see you are a "Community Expert". What does that mean? Is there any chance that you can solve the problem? Can you understand what I'm saying here? I've solved problems like this in my 43 years of professional software development.


        What solution have you to offer me?


        Date: Fri, 10 Jan 2014 23:26:25 -0800

        From: directv-admin@forums.directv.com

        To: mdemaray@live.com

        Subject: Re:  - HR34 Freezing - HR24s Not Freezing























                                           DIRECTV Technical Forums











        HR34 Freezing - HR24s Not Freezing



        reply from litzdog911 in High Definition Digital Video Recording (HD DVRs) - View the full discussion





        How do you draw that conclusion, mwdemaray?   All HR34's would experience this problem if that was the root cause.  I, and many others, can attest that not all HR34's have this problem.   It's pretty clear that the OP here had a hardware problem with their HR34, most likely  hard drive related. 








             Reply to this message by replying to this email, or go to the message on DIRECTV Technical Forums





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             Following HR34 Freezing - HR24s Not Freezing in these streams:


        • Re: HR34 Freezing - HR24s Not Freezing

          I don't know whether your response is just argumentative or constructive. What is your standing here. I see you are a "Community Expert". What does that mean? Is there any chance that you can solve the problem? Can you understand what I'm saying here?

          Constructive.  I'm a customer, just like you, and just like the other folks that post here.   I'm  just pointing out that I think your conclusion is flawed.  It's my opinion, based on hundreds (thousands?) of posts here.   It's a very small percentage of HR34's that exhibit this problem, and you'll find in the vast majority of those few cases, the problem was solved by swapping the box (either an HR34 or HR44 didn't matter).   That said, there IS a known problem in a few markets with the NBC feed causing pixelation issues on a few HR34.  This is likely a problem in the MPEG4 video stream encoder/decoder chain.  

    • Re: HR34 Freezing - HR24s Not Freezing

      Freezes after local commercial.


      My HR34 has been freezing too. I started taking notes of the conditions when the freeze happens. It turns out that my unit freezes during commercial breaks. Every time it froze was right after a local commercial and at the beginning of the following national commercial. Recovery is easy, I can FF or RW to recover from the freeze. I can easily conclude that it is a software problem that has to do with the handoff/transition from the equipment controlling the local commercial to the feed from the provider. I believe the DTV breaks the feed from the provider, inserts the local commercial then switches back to the feed from the provider. It appears that the problem is in the way the HR34 handles the transition back to the provider feed. The HR24, which I also have, most likely handles the transition differently.

  • Re: HR34 Freezing - HR24s Not Freezing

    As an aside, Directv changed the Forum software a while back so searches may find threads which are no longer viewable.  Thought I'd throw that out so as to put your mind to rest that Directv isn't selectively hiding threads.


    As a further aside, I'm running a HR34 and there is no freezing and Pandora works perfectly, and sounds great on my Denon sound system.  If you want to expound on Directv's business practices you've come to the wrong place, this is a user to user forum.  You'd be better served by writing the president.  On the other hand a detailed post regarding the technical difficulties you're having might bring some constructive suggestions.

  • Re: HR34 Freezing - HR24s Not Freezing

    Guys, I have a quick question. Does anyone see freeze frame issue related with power supply of the SWM LNB? I agree with peds48 that 21v or 29v power supply should not matter but I noticed a big improvement in freeze frame when I switched from 21v to 29v SWM power supply. Is anyone using 21V as of right now? 

  • Re: HR34 Freezing - HR24s Not Freezing

    DTV offer.jpg

    In life's scheme of things, these are not BIG problems... Having said that... I just went thru my HR34 DVR having problems for the last 21/2 months with freezing guides, FF, Rev - everything freezing... This is all software related and I was told by tech support that the best thing to do was wait for my upgrade date - Aug 25th - and get the "newer, upgraded" HR44 which DOES NOT HAVE THE PROBLEM... So... I called today only to be told that the HR44 was not available as an upgrade - only a "paid" upgrade - after paying for the protection plan for the past 2-years. The protection plan offers free equipment upgrades every 2-years... Let's review: They caused my problems with a broken software update, They would not respond for a service call for 2-1/2 months... (they offered me free HBO for 3-months hahaha), I was told (and lied to) to upgrade to the HR44 when I was eligible for upgrade... Then told that I couldn't have it... I put a request in to have a 44 in the truck. We will see... I am beginning to hate DTV... I just feel for the supervisors and managers that are told to lie to customers in order to keep their jobs... LOT'S of others having the same issues... Lets take this to social media and lawyers - anybody game?