on my 3rd HD STB due to frozen screen


I did a quick keyword search on "frozen", "freeze" and "lock up"...but did not find any answers here.

I am on my 3rd HD set top box.

The previous 2 were bad according to Fios phone support.

Issue: Within one to three months, when turning on the STB and TV...the picture is frozen or goes to a black screen.

Sometimes there is sound initially, usually there is none.

On Screen Menu works fine, as does the "guide".

Ran the self test from the Menu...under settings and help, I think...and all tests PASSED.

You can select a different channel and the guide indicates it changed the channel, yet you are still watching the same frozen or black picture.

You could leave it on or turn it all off and an hour later, same thing...although the guide is current.

Support: I am a working guy and thankful to have a job. I don't want to meet the Fios tech, if I don't have to...so I call support via phone in the evenings, when I get home.

Much time, troubleshooting, unplug/replug cables, reset stb from their end, send other "commands" to it...finally they arrange to ship a new box (which is nice of them...so I don't have to meet a tech).

I get it installed and am up and going...for a while (see issue above and repeat support steps above).

So it did it again (on my 3rd STB) yesterday (4/25/09).

(insert negative, frustrated thought here)

I then think, let's see what happens with Video On Demand.

Select a free movie and it is playing normally!

Watch a minute of subtitles and think ok, let's go back to live HD...and it works.

Only things I can add are:

1. that the built-in DVR is maybe 1/2 to 3/4 full and when the condition happens

2. I can NOT access/play anything from the DVR when the condition happens

3. I do have 2 HD STB's, both with DVR (ask me and I'll explain) and 1 regular STB

Any help or insight to this issue would be greatly appreciated!

4 Replies
Specialist - Level 2
Yeah that's a new software issue, not a STB hardware issue. Try  to change out your output from 1080i to 720p. That seemed to help me out. Its not a solution, but its a work around until the bug can be patched.
Contributor - Level 1

I'm sure that this has been covered by someone in this entire process, but just the same. Is the dvr in the open? Not in an enclosed cabnet or have anything on top of it where it could be heating up? You do have it plugged into some sort of surge suppressor/protector right?  assuming those are both OK, How long have you been having this issue?  The reason I ask is that the known issue with the new firmware ( 1.6.2 ) has only been out for 6 weeks or so. If it has been happening longer than that then the new firmware is not the issue.  The previous versions didnt have this issue. We need to probaly start looking into long term conditions that may be causing problems. Things like... do you have pets? could the vents in the DVR be getting clogged with pet fur ( dont ask me how I know this one  lol  ) Do you have just the one dvr or more than one. does it happen in other locations? Have you tried using the dvr in another location... etc. If the equipment keeps getting replaced and you keep having the same problems, then it is more likely to be an "environment" issue.


Hello and thanks for the reply,

It seems longer than 6 weeks that I have been having this issue.

The STB with the issue is better ventilated than the one that does not have an issue.

It is not out in the open, but is in a bigger armoire.

It is 5 feet higher than the STB that does not have the issue.

We got 3 cats and the fur-balls (not meaning the cats) do not fly that high, nor clog the vents of the STB...I checked and it is all clean (area is NOT used as a cat hideout).

I was asked to swap the location of both HD DVR's and did (between downstairs and the bedroom).

I am inclined to think the issue is the location, since the issue did not travel with the STB.

Verizon tech's did the install and set it up via MoCA.

They pulled new coax and did all terminations.

The location with the issue, did not become an issue until I added a second HD DVR to the home.

It replaced a standard def STB that was in the downstairs location.

The reason for 2 HD DVR STB's is that I was told (by Verizon FiOS sales) I could not program new content to be recorded, except while sitting in front of the TV that is connected to the HD DVR (this "hub" was originally upstairs).

It is useless to me if I can access content to be played (stream it from the hub), but not program new content to be recorded ("push" it to the hub from any STB).

Our main TV room is downstairs and I was not going to walk up and back downstairs.

Thus the "stand-alone", additional HD DVR stb...which I am okay with.


1. the hard drive currently won't hold much HD content (sharing with the wife)

2. Verizon has not figured out how to have a GUI/DVR/Firmware that lets you play AND program content from the same DVR via the Menu ("push" it to the hub from any STB).

So what are good numbers (signal to noise, db loss, attenuation, etc)?

What line tests or comparisons between HD DVR stb's can I do?

Both locations check out good (in the green) when running:


Self Diagnostics

from the Main Menu of each HD DVR stb

I have a standard def STB in the guest room that stays plugged in, but is seldom used.

Thanks again to you and others, perhaps I can get some more input or ideas from you or the forum/techs/Verizon customers?

Contributor - Level 1

Yeah, if you swapped the two dvr's and the problem stayed in that location and didnt follow the box, then it is definitely the location. Since it seems to work fine for a while and then start having a problem later on, it is not likely to be a cabling issue. If the cable was an issue it would likely be a little more random or frequent.

Chances are we are looking for a cumulative issue. Something like...Bad surge suppressor/breaker that is allowing the power to spike more than the box likes. Motorola boxes tend to be a little more sensitive to power flucuations than other electrical devices. So maybe try swapping out your power strip with something else (if you dont have one already then add one in) and see what happens.

Even if it does have lots of space around it, if the armoire is enclosed (glass front and sealed back), it could still be over heating. the dvr's can get a bit hot and with no fresh air, the heat could be building up. I had a similar problem with my entertainment center. I had an area about 2' X 3' x 3' where I had my dvr and it was alone in the area, but still kept overheating. What I did was use a hole saw and cut an 80mm hole in the back and added a computer exhaust fan that I plugged into the usb port on the back of the dvr for power. Have not had a problem since.

It could still be a cable issue although it is less likely than the other possibilities

Thats all that comes to mind at this point