Our DVR died yesterday, which is slightly worrying because we've got something like 35 hours of movies, documentaries and British Comedy recorded on it. Based on the way it's behaving (oddly flashing lights, intermittent fan operation) we're pretty sure the hard-drive is intact, but the tuner/recorder/player is not functioning at all.
To my amazement, the phone-phobic Swede actually called to see about getting it repaired (which should give you some idea of how BIG this problem is), but it turns out our cable provider won't touch it since it's well beyond its warranty period. Worse yet, they couldn't even recommend a repair shop…which I suspect was intentional because they'd prefer that we just buy a new one from them.
This gave Dr. Darling AKA Mini-MacGyver the green light to open the box up to see if maybe a good vacuuming would make a difference. Once the lid was off we could see that a capacitor had blown, and if that's the only problem, it's a very cheap part to replace (less than a dollar US). No idea what the labor cost will be, however, so the Swede sent the following picture of the guts to her electrical engineer brother for a slightly more knowledgeable opinion.
In the meantime, we've hooked up our old digital cable box which, thankfully, still works fine. But it lacks a couple of key features that we did not realize we'd become so dependent on. Turns out we watch recorded programs WAY more often than live ones, but because the DVR records them automatically, WE HAVE NO IDEA when the shows we watch are actually on.
Furthermore, the DVR has the option to "time shift" whenever we do happen to be watching something live…which means you can pause the show while you raid the fridge or go to the bathroom.
Even more importantly, it allows you to back up and watch a key plot point that you missed because you got a phone call, or were talking to each other, or were reading (Dr. Darling) or surfing (me). It turns out we both do ALOT of other stuff while we watch TV.