My DVR Won't Play

By Eoghan McCloskey

Resetting a Comcast cable receiver may correct DVR problems.
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Many cable customers choose to add DVR technology to their cable service because of the convenience of being able to record programs that they would otherwise miss. It is the nature of digital cable features that occasionally you will encounter technical problems when trying to use those features. When these problems occur, trying some troubleshooting steps on your own can restore full functionality to your DVR.

Reset the DVR

It is sometimes astonishing how many DVR issues you can resolve by a simple reset of the DVR device. Locate the power cord that attaches your DVR to an electrical outlet and detach it either from the DVR or from the electrical outlet. Keep the power cord unplugged for a full 30 seconds and plug it back in. Your DVR will reboot -- if you use a cable box DVR rather than a standalone DVR, DVR services may require additional reboot time after the cable box itself has rebooted. Check DVR services after the box has rebooted to check for normal functioning.

Determine the Scope of the Problem

Should a reset not resolve the problem, it is necessary to determine if only the DVR playback does not work or if all of the DVR functions are malfunctioning. Try to record a few minutes of whatever channel you are watching and check for any error messages. Also, try to rewind a channel after watching it for a few minutes. If all of your DVR features work other than playback, the hard drive inside your DVR may have failed, leaving the DVR unable to play back any saved recordings. If all the DVR functions have stopped working, however, the problem may be larger.

Verify Service

To use DVR features, you of course need a DVR unit, but cable providers very often assess a separate charge for DVR services, meaning that even if you have a DVR, it may not work because you are not signed up for the service. Even if your DVR worked before, the service may have been unintentionally removed from your account, thereby explaining its failure to work now. Contact your cable provider and verify that DVR services are on your account; add them if they are not.

Notify Your Provider's Technical Support Department

If having your provider add DVR services to your account fails to restore the DVR to full functionality, it will be necessary to call your provider's technical support department to report the issue to them. The technical support representative will take you through some additional troubleshooting steps and may need to dispatch a repair technician to your home to replace the DVR unit.