As TiVo DVRs get older - the first units were sold in 1999 - more and more units are beginning to fail. But, as people love their TiVos, they're eager to keep them working.
This page compiles a list of the most common TiVo problems. For the easiest fixes for broken TiVos, we encourage readers to consider the flat-fee TiVo repair options at WeaKnees. These options don't apply to all TiVo models, so please see below for help with general TiVo problems.
- Stuck on "Welcome. Powering Up." - This is probably the most common problem in TiVos, and it almost always means the hard drive is bad in the unit. Read more about that on our TiVo hard drive page.
- No video out at all - This is the second most common problem to afflict TiVos. Usually, this one means that the TiVo has a dead or dying power supply. But be sure to check to see that the TV is set to the right video input - sometimes it's as simple changing the setting on the TV. Fixing power supplies is NOT something we recommend to the end-user; this is just too risky. Buy a replacement TiVo power supply.
- No input signal - This is most common on a DirecTV TiVo. The satellite input fails (usually SAT 2 goes first). This is another problem that WeaKnees can fix - see the TiVo satellite tuner repair page. If this happens on a standalone unit, the easiest fix is to try an alternate input, as most standalone TiVos have three to choose from: RF, S-video, and composite. Otherwise, as above, a motherboard repair is needed.
- Remote stopped working - Another common one, with lots of potential causes. Please see our page dedicated to TiVo remote problems.
- Lines on the screen - When TiVos have motherboard problems, they can cause interference lines to appear on the outputs. This can also sometimes, but rarely, be related to simple cable interference outside the unit. But if that's not it, the best bet is to use the flat-fee repair option listed above to get the unit repaired.
- Overheating - TiVos have an on-board thermometer that watches for temperature conditions beyond the normal operating range. If the TiVo DVR finds that the unit is too hot, it will typically display an on-screen message indicating that it's overheating. In many cases, this is actually due to the failure of the temperature sensor. In those cases, replacement of the power supply generally resolves the problem. In other cases, of course, the unit is truly overheating, and that may mean that the fan has stopped working, that the hard drive has a bad bearing, or that the unit isn't getting enough air flow.
- Noise emanating from the unit - Generally, the two moving parts inside the TiVo are responsible for most of the noise that a TiVo generates. Those parts are the hard drive and the fan. Both are easily tested and replaced. To see if a fan is causing excess noise, simple put a toothpick to the fan grate to stop the fan (on the back on most units). If the noise stops, you need a replacement fan. Likewise, disconnecting the power from a drive and powering up the unit will indicate whether the noise was coming from the power supply (but, of course, the unit will not boot). On some units, a power supply can emit a squealing noise also.
- Futher TiVo Repair resources - If you need to get deeper into TiVo repair, visit fixmyTiVo.com. On this site, you can get deeper into the reasons for failing units, and you can see solutions to problems by symptom, rather than by failing part.