As mentioned before, I have two TiVos at home, a Series 1 upstairs and a Series 2 downstairs. I love the things. At this point, I refuse to watch TV without them. They’re genuinely changed the way I interact with my TV, and that’s mostly a good thing.

I just wish they’d stop dying on me.

It started a few months ago, when the Series 2 TiVo started locking up once or twice per day. I ended up replacing the hard drive in it, and as part of the upgrade process, I discovered that the old drive had a number of bad sectors right in the middle of the swap partition. It worked perfectly after the drive swap was complete, so I assumed that the worst was over and I was in for another year or two of trouble-free TiVo use.

Unfortunately, in early July it started crashing again, and by the end of the month, it wouldn’t stay up for more then an hour without freezing. We ended up unplugging it entirely and leaving the TV off for the first half of August. Eventually, though, the lack of TV got to us, and I ordered a new drive from newegg to replace the 120 GB drive in the TiVo, assuming that the drive had failed again.

Unfortunately, swapping drives didn’t help this time. I didn’t see any media errors while copying data, and the TiVo is still locking up at least once per day. At this point, I’m getting fed up with the whole thing. At some point this weekend I’m going to rip the box back open and make sure that the IDE cable isn’t broken, but after that I’m out of things to try. I’m going to have to call TiVo and see if there’s anything that they can do for me.

Since new TiVos are selling for as little as $100 this week, and this one is almost two years old, I wouldn’t normally be that irritated. Unfortunately, we paid for lifetime service on the dying box, and that’s currently going for $300. So, the dying TiVo would cost $400 to replace, not just $100. And that’s more then enough money to get me to spend an hour or two sitting on hold, waiting to yell at their support people. That’s because the “lifetime service” is good for the lifetime of the box, not the life of the owner. When the box dies, your $300 evaporates.

I tried calling TiVo’s support line. They try really hard to shunt you off to their web site, or into their automated support recordings. Of course none of the options provided have anything at all do with “my TiVo crashes several times every day.” By playing the “other” “other” “other” game, I eventually got through to a real person, but all he could do was give me a case number and punt me into the 35+ minute tech support queue. And I don’t have time for that now.

I swear, I’m inches from selling both TiVos and building myself a bunch of cheap MythTV boxes.