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TiVo Troubleshooting - Remote Problems


TiVos basically don't work without their remote controls. The remote is the main (and in some cases, only) interface to communicate with the TiVo. So if the TiVo doesn't hear the remote, the user can't interact.

There are several reasons why a TiVo remote might not work properly, and not all involve hardware failure.

  1. Battery Failure - While this might seem obvious, it's the most common answer. Just try new batteries first! Even if the red light comes on, the signal may still be too weak.
  2. Remote Failure - This is obviously far less likely, but it does happen. Remotes are often dropped, stepped on, and liquids are spilled on them (although generally, not all at once). If you don't get a red light, even with fresh batteries, this is likely the problem.
  3. Loss of Customized Programming - If you've set a TiVo remote code (see the TiVo remote page for more info on that) either for your TiVo and/or for your TV, the TiVo remote may have lost that setting, and reverted to standard codes. The best way to check for this is to just fully reset the remote, and see if it now controls the TiVo, as it should once it's "universal." To do this, hold TiVo (or DirecTV, on some remotes) and Pause until the red light is solid, then press 0.
  4. New Remote Doesn't Control the TV - When users purchase new TiVo remotes, they often forget that initially they had to program the remote to work with their specific model of TV (or they assume that somehow the TiVo itself is performing this function). But each new remote does need to be set to control that specific model of TV - see your Messages and Setup on-screen for more information.
  5. IR Interference - One of the stranger issues to which TiVo DVRs seem to be unusually susceptible, is IR interference. For more information about the causes and solutions, see this post about TiVos and IR interference.
  6. IR Receiver Failure - At times, the hardware in the faceplate of the TiVo that contains the IR receiver may fail. Generally, but not always, in cases of failure like this, the buttons on the front (if any) will also not work. The only solution we know of here is a replacement TiVo faceplate.
  7. Motherboard Failure - Many Series2 TiVo DVRs (both standalone and DirecTV) are especially likely to have problems if the cable connecting the motherboard to the faceplate IR unit is disconnected or paritally connected when the unit is powered on. A resistor on the motherboard is very likely to burn in this circumstance, and will render the faceplate inoperable. This generally only occurs when the cable is accidentally partially dislodged, such as during a drive change, fan change, or general cleaning. The fixes for this involve motherboard repair by a TiVo specialist.
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