October 23, 2012

Rogers PVR formware update (Sept/2012) causes serious problems

In mid-September 2012, all Rogers PVRs (Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8300HD ) received an automated firmware update. Updates are "pushed" to your PVR and change how your equipment operates -- you have no way to stop these updates.  Replacing the hard drive was not a solution. (newer PVR model 8642HD has similar problems.)

UPDATE Oct. 24, 2012: 8300HD firmware update began rolling out 6 weeks after the problems began - better than 2010!

After the September 2012 update, the PVR hard drive cycles on and off every 5 minutes or so when it's turned "off". This activity will shorten its life considerably. This problem was named HSUD (hard drive spinning up & down) in online forums during the last firmware fiasco in the fall of 2010. That problem was not fixed until May 2011. (The 'fix' was to keep the hard drive spinning all the time.) The first post in forum #3 below lists other problems that started with the September 2012 update.

If you own your equipment rather than rent it, you will want to protect the hard drive from early failure by unplugging it when it not in use or keep it turned on all the time. You may also need to schedule a recording from 1-6 am to prevent it from automatically entering "sleep" mode (manually schedule an SD channel with 1-day retention uses least storage.)

Everyone with a cycling hard drive should call Rogers tech support 1-888-764-3771. Then tweet, blog, email your MP, MPP, CRTC and post online. Some online forums discussing the 8300HD problems:

1. HD PVR hard drive constantly spinning up (Msg #80 Sep/2012) http://communityforums.rogers.com..
2. PVR Drive Cycling http://www.dslreports.com..
3. New SARA Firmware 1.93.14.1 Discussions (SA8300HD) Summary in Post 1 http://www.digitalhome.ca..
4. New SARA Firmware 1.93.15.1 for SA8300HD Discussions - Summary in Post 1 http://www.digitalhome.ca..