As you may already know, I’ve had some trouble with my TiVo over the past few years.
Tonight, I had to reboot it; it locked up while I was deleting the jumk it had accumulated. Upon my reboot, I found that Something Was Wrong.
Specifically, whenever I pressed one of the arrow keys, the thing would go crazy, scrolling to the bottom of the list and then making the “You’re at the bottom of the list. Stop pressing down, stupid” noise until I pressed something else. So, thinking maybe the remote was jammed, I stuck my hand over the business end. No joy.
So I googled. No joy.
So I reset the tivo again. No joy.
I reset the TiVo remote. No joy.
It was fine until you pressed a button, then it went crazy. Finally, I noticed that the yellow “I’m receiving an IR signal” light was staying lit. (I should note at this point that I’m colorblind, and only know that the light is yellow thanks to information I’ve found on-line; it looks the same color as the green “I’m connected to a power source” light to me). Whenever I hit a button, the light would stay on. Sometimes it would go off as I gesticulated angrily at it.
I replaced the batteries in the remote. No joy.
I tried standing up and placing my hand over the IR receiver. The yellow light went out. I tried zapping it from inches way. That worked fine. One down key, moves down once. Yellow light flashes then goes out.
I tried from further away. Yellow stays on. Key keeps repeating.
I got it into my head that maybe my ceiling fan (being reflective) or some other light source in the room was creating some sort of weird feedback loop. Turned off everything. No joy.
What I did find was that if I waved my hand in front of the receiver, the yellow light would switch off. This worked at close range only. At greater distances, I had to gesticulate more wildly.
I sat down, resigned to the fact that my TiVo was once again borked.
And then I worked it out.
Here is my reverse-engineered algorithm for how the TiVo remote control subsystem works:
if ((x=incoming tivo keypress)) while (tivo is receiving any sort of IR signal at all) do x
You see, I wear ankle weights most days, in order to beef up my exercise regimen — which turned out to be a double-edged sword, as I will explain in a later issue — in the hopes of keeping my diabetes in check.
You’re probably wondering at this point what this has to do with, well, anything at all. What it has to do is this: When I got home tonight, one of the first things I did was to take off my ankle weights. I set them on the couch beside the very spot which currently contains my ass. I set them on top of a small pile of paid bills that I have to file.
What I didn’t know was what was under those bills.
The remote control to my DVD player.
You see, my weights had pushed one of the buttons on the DVD remote. That signal, on its own, was not enough to fool the TiVo. However, whenever the TiVo saw a legitimate signal from its own remote, the fact that it was still seeing an unrelated signal kept it going. When the remote operated normally at close range, it was because my body was blocking the spurious DVD remote signal. When I gesticulated angrily, I was cutting past the beam from the remote.
Hopefully, googling this will help future generations. That’s why I’m adding the following gibberish, it being things I tried googling in order to find out what the hell was going on:
tivo yellow light
tivo doesn’t respond to remote
tivo remote light stays lit
tivo extra button presses
tivo remote spurious presses
tivo arrow buttons
tivo scrolling goes crazy
(Kind folks at Google: Please don’t mistake this for a shameless attempt to pad out my page to attract hits. This is what I googled for to try to find the answer to my question, which means that it’s part of the story about what I did to solve the problem. Thanks)