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TiVo Series3 + plasma TV = big problems

Evan Blass
September 26, 2006
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So you just paid $800 for your brand new Series3 TiVo ($1,000 if you transferred your lifetime subscription), waited patiently as the morons from the cable company tried to get their heads around installing CableCARDs in a non-TV device, and finally sat down on your couch to begin recording and commercial skipping all that great HD programming -- just to find out that your damn TiVo remote doesn't work! As many home theater aficionados know (first-hand, unfortunately), plasma TVs emit a significant amount of EMI and RFI signals from their surfaces that can confuse nearby IR sensors and render them useless, especially if your home theater gear juts out in front of the display. Well this problem has been happening in spades to new Series3 owners, as the box's IR receiver seems especially sensitive to other frequencies, so much so that they often need to press a button 10 to 15 times for a command to actually register. TiVo seems to be aware of the issue, but has not yet offered a solution, which is why the good folks who frequent the TiVo Community forum have put their heads together and come up with several effective workarounds. The most ghetto of these fixes involves attaching a tiny opaque "hood" around the box's sensor window, so that plasma interference can't go through but line-of-sight remote commands are still received. Since you probably don't want an ugly piece of cardboard hanging off of your beautiful $800 device, forum user "lightspeed" has come up with a slightly more difficult but much more aesthetically pleasing alternative: after carefully disassembling your Series3, you simply need to attach 6 to 8 small squares of GLAD Press 'n Seal to the inside of the IR window on the front face plate, which will serve to shield the sensor from the bad signals but let the good ones get through. Good job, intrepid TiVo devotees, but what we wanna know is: out of all the folks who beta tested this product, was there not even one of them who used it with a plasma and could have caught this problem much sooner? TiVo: makes a great product, but needs a little help in the e-commerce and quality assurance departments.

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