two steps forward, six steps back

Well that was fun -- not. jungar and I just spent five hours trying to upgrade my Philips DirecTivo with the dead disk. We got it to boot, but when I had DTV re-activate the card, it wasn't able to get signal on any channel other than 100. So I'm back on the R10 again with the blurry-as-hell video output. Grrr.

Update, 2 Apr: The problem was that the 7000 is not an RID box, and I thought it was. Reinstalling and leaving out the hacked "dssapp" made it go.

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14 Responses:

  1. sc00ter says:

    I found this the other day.. If you can find a good disk it might be worth trying on the old one. If you can get a Huges SD-DVR40 you should, the one I have is fantastic, and the others I know with them love them as well.

  2. loosechanj says:

    This outcome surprises you?

  3. joe714 says:

    If you got it far enough to watch channel 100, then it should work and the DirecTV csr didn't authorize the card right. Make sure the card's seated right and leave the tivo running connected to a dish for a few hours to grab a new authorization packet. If it still doesn't work, call again and ask the CSR to rehit the card.

    • jwz says:

      They tried authorizing it a few times, including having me reboot the box first.

      How does this auth stuff work? Why would I have to wait a few hours?

      One other symptom is that the telnet server never came up, so we can't get into the box over ethernet. So maybe this means that some other critical piece of hackage didn't launch properly. We didn't have the materials needed to make a serial cable, so at that point we gave up for the night.

      • joe714 says:

        I don't know all the exact details, but I've dealt with them enough to understand the basics.. This may be stuff you already know too, so sorry if it is.

        When you make a programming change, it queues up an authorization packet that gets mixed into the data stream alongside the video on the satellite. The recievers watch for various other data (authorizations, microcode updates for the card, etc) and react accordingly. Usually, it takes about 15 seconds from an account change for the message to make it to the reciever and change the enabled tiers on the card, but if they're particularly busy it can take a while longer.

        Once it sends the initial authorization, it continues to send it periodically since there's no way to know the reciever got it. I believe it's something on the order of every few minutes or so for a few days, then it starts to taper off as time goes on till they send it a few times a day perpetually.

        So leaving it on and "in the stream" for a few hours should allow it to catch the authorization packet if for some reason it didn't catch the initial one while you were on the phone. I can't imagine a scenario where you've got enough of the system running to decode channel 100 but not set the tiers on the card with a legitimate backup image.

        Where'd you get the install image and what version is it?

        • jwz says:

          I don't remember where we got the images, but the instructions we followed were these. I guess it's "InstantCake TCD240080 401b02" and "PTVLBA48-301DD"?

          Since the old drive was dead, we were not able to comply with the part of the instructions that said "activate the DirecTV card before you start hacking the unit" and I only made the call after we had the hacked box up and running (and after it had done "clear and delete everything"). Maybe that just doesn't work.

          Or, since it appears that various daemons didn't start up, maybe the "fake daily call" script didn't run either, and maybe that left the box thinking that it was in some not-yet-fully-initialized state. I don't know how any of this crap works, so I'm wildly guessing now.

          • joe714 says:

            This is a stupid question, but you skipped the parts in red, right?

            • jwz says:

              No, because I was under the impression that the Philips 7000/17 is an RID system. Is it not?

              What does dssapp do?

              • joe714 says:

                dssapp controls the DirecTV specific hardware on the DTivo boxes, specifically the smartcard and the RID chip on the RID units.

                RID stands for Reciever ID, it's a new security feature DirecTV is using that ties the card to the reciever a little more than they used to. I don't believe the 7000 is an RID receiver, it should be the same hardware as the Hughes HDVR2. On the label on the back of the unit with the serial and model numbers, there's a third barcode labeled RID or Reciever ID if it's an RID unit. Compare to the R10, which is a known RID unit.

                If that barcode isn't on the 7000, you want the dssapp on the initial image, not the hacked RID version in the instructions. Using the wrong one means dssapp won't update the tiers on the card right.

                • jwz says:

                  You're right, it's not RID. I reinstalled it all from scratch and left out the RID steps and it was able to activate. Thanks!

  4. fantasygoat says:

    For such an accomplished computer professional, you have the absolute worst luck.