HDRW-720, drive bay light, firmware, TVGuide, etc

Being a more or less satisfied owner of the DVDR75 for the last couple years ( aside from messed up FF speeds) I decided to try another Philips when the HDRW720 became available at my local Costco for the amazing price of $199. You simply can’t find a high capacity DVR/DVD recorder for anywhere near that price and from what I’ve read they all have their issues.

Since the unit had old CF2.6 firmware on it I upgraded the firmware to CF3.2 immediately. That went just fine. I didn’t have any trouble setting it up and actually got the TVGuide to work pretty well for the first week and a half. It did shut down with a error a couple times during the first week while using the TVGuide. It would seem to freeze and then the drive bay would light up red and it would shut down. Upon power up it had returned to Channel 2. While this is annoying it didn’t happen often so I didn’t get too upset. Being a Philips owner has taught me to be very patient with my tech toys. :slight_smile:

Anyhow, this Saturday it became very flakey. The TVGuide had several days showing NO LISTING in the upcoming schedule. The 720 did the error shutdown a few times Saturday morning and then shutdown 3 times that afternoon in the middle of recordings. I’m glad that didn’t frag the hard drive. At that point I checked the Schedule screen and all my scheduled recordings were shown in grey. I checked the TVGuide debug screen and noticed that the unit had lost track of it’s data source channel which is usually channel 17. I decided it was time to reset the TVGuide so I went into setup and set the ZIP code to another local ZIP - not mine - and shut the 720 down. I powered it back up and reset the ZIP to my own. I did this because the TVGuide system can be forced to look for updated listings if it detects a ZIP code change. It seemed to work normally after that and a short while later made me choose which local listing was correct (as it has done in the past).

So, I’m back on track at this point. My listings are mostly full and the 720 is making recordings just fine again. Of course, I’m wondering how long it will be before the TVGuide gets corrupted again and requires a ZIP code reset though. I called Philips and discussed this at length inquiring about when new firmware will be available. They are nice, but have apparently no knowledge of when or even if new firmware will be released.

So, here are a few questions that hopefully you people can help with …

  • According to Philips support the cool red glow around the drive bay should be on when archiving from the HDD to the DVD. Is this true for CF3.2? My red glow light certainly works but I’ve only seen it in demo mode and when there is an error that causes the unit to reboot or shutdown. I think the support guy is wrong as obviously my red glow light works, and the logic to control it is there also. I think they shut down the glow in the latest firmware but I’d appreciate it if one of you could verify if the red glow appears during archiving to DVD.

  • Has anybody else experienced these shutdowns or reboots when using the TVGuide?

  • I have burned about 15 DVD+R’s just fine with the exception of my first attempt. My first burn was an attempt to burn 45 minutes of M1 video to a 4X DVD+R. It burned a coaster and could not recover it. After that I used 8X and 16X DVD+R’s without any problem. DVD+RW has not had any problems.

  • Also, I’m thinking about trying older firmware like 3.1 or 3.0. Does anybody have a copy of this firmware (US Version)?

Thanks,

Scott

Hi again Scott,

Good price! Interesting suggestion about re-setting the zip code (hear that Canada?).

As far as I know, the unit came with 2.6 and the only upgrade was 3.2. An enclosed letter with my unit (a year ago) said the TVGuide would not work until I got the upgrade. So I would assume the upgrade is important.

I’ve never had a coaster and I don’t expect to since the optical drive isn’t working all the time and getting ‘out of alignment’.

I would suggest re-setting the unit if it gets flakey (or the red light doesn’t come on when writing discs).

Suggestion: Put your full model number in the signature area ie HDRW 720/17 (the 17 is the US model)

Maxcat,

Thanks for the reply.

I assume from you post that on your 720, the BIG red glow around the drive door comes on when you archive from the HDD to the DVD? That’s really strange. Mine has NEVER come on except for the Showroom mode and when there is an error.

Has your 720 EVER hit an error, lit the drive door light and shut down?

Maybe I should do a full reset, but I have my doubts it will fix the issue. Who knows.

Thanks,

Scott

Yes, I have had the drive door light come on and then shut down the unit. And, yes, the drive door always glows red when the disc is being written to.

I will be very interested to see if a re-set solves your problem. If it doesn’t then my theory of ‘re-setting’ may be wrong and I will be surprised. Oh, I should say, by reset, I mean unplugging the unit, wait a minute, press and hold in ‘Power’ while plugging the unit back in.

Let me know what happens.

Maxcat,

Regarding the drive door light… that’s really bizarre. After my (now patented :wink: ) ZIP code swap fix the 720 is back to normal stable functioning. It appears that a FULL reset and loss of schedules and listings may not be required. You’ll have to try it yourself.

I’m waiting on my CF3.2 CD from Philips. I’m going to try and force the unit to downgrade to the same version of firmware using the forced downgrade technique that worked on older Philips models. I assume that logic is still in there.

If that doesn’t fix the drive door light I’ll be really confounded. As noted, clearly the door light works and the logic to control it is in there and working. Why it isn’t working when HDD-DVD archiving is a mystery. I have my doubts that a reset or reflash will fix that. I could live without it if necessary.

Scott

Question :

If you check your Display settings What are your settings ?

My guess is that you have set this to dimmed and if that is the case the door light will not be lit when burning to disc. Try and change back to bright setting to see if it works.

BINGO!!!

I never even thought of that. That was one of the first things I did since the Philips display lights up my living room like a street light at night when it’s left on the normal bright setting.

Thanks!

Now I know I DON’T need to reflash or reset my 720.

Scott

Yep… that was it. I tested it last night and wonder of wonders… the drive door light came on when archiving!

Otherwise all seems normal. I did notice when I checked the Guide this morning that the ads/promotions were all gone. I’ve seen that before. I haven’t figured out if that is just because it’s refreshing the ads or if the missing ads are a prelude to trouble. I checked the debug screen and the data source and VBI channels were just fine. I’ll watch it. Otherwise it’s been normal since Saturday when I set/reset the ZIP code.

Scott

Scott,

I’ve just gotta ask…

How do you get the ‘debug screen’, the ‘data source’, and the ‘VBI channels’? Sounds very interesting.

I’m looking forward to trying the zip reset.

I picked this up elsewhere although I think it’s mentioned on this forum also…

  • Bring up the TVGuide and go the the Messages screen
  • highlight the ID message (the only one showing)
  • On your remote - hit the following buttons in order. 7 5 3 1 5 9 8 5 2

You will then be presented with a large grey screen full of info much of which is in hexadecimal. If you use the left and right keys you can view all 30 pages of info. Yes… 30 pages!

I haven’t found anything really relevant to the user beyond the first page. On that page you will see entries for the data source channel, VBI channel, next scheduled download, etc. Remember the numbers are in hex so channel 11 is actually channel 17.

To get out of this mode just hit your TVGuide button to exit. It’s a good way to see what your TVGuide system is doing and when it is going to attempt it’s next data download. If your data channel is listed as a channel that is not a PBS station then you probably need to reset the TVGuide using my ZIP swap trick.

Later,

Scott

PhilipsDrone that’s way cool. I never knew you could access so much info. I wish Philips would fix the damn guide problems. It can’t be that hard to fix. This is interesting to see when my D/L’s are suppose to occur. I reset the zip to a bogus zip and then back to mine, now the VBI shows N/A.

Good tip!

When you swap the ZIP codes you have basically convinced the unit that you’ve moved so it will clear the data source and VBI channels and search for them again just like the first time you installed it. The nice thing is that it does NOT clear the already downloaded listings or the scheduled recordings. Smart thinking Philips! Never thought I’d say that. :smiley:

Actually with the exception of the TVGuide problems the unit is well designed and the software is actually quite stable. The fact that it can capture an incoming show to the time-shift buffer while I am doing detailed edits on a previously recorded show is actually quite impressive and I’ve never had any problems during such operations.

Speaking of the TVGuide, maybe I should start another thread on this. The Philips support tech that I spoke to seemed totally unaware of people having to reset their units because the TVGuide gets periodically corrupted. If all of us called Philips tech support, requested a manager and explained the fact that there are many 720 owners having these problems we might get some action on a firmware fix.

You can also ask to be bumped up to consumer relations. They are actually a step higher in the Philips support ladder. A friend of mine actually got them to exchange his 615/37 for a new 3355 he had so much trouble with it. Be nice and you can actually get somewhere with Philips.

Philips phone support
888-744-5477 or 800-531-0039

Direct line to Philips Consumer Relations
866-845-3578

Scott

I called the Philips Support line & asked if I should upgrade the firmware. (Can’t seem to get the machine to display what version its using). The guy told me that because I bought the machine a couple of weeks ago that has 3.2. I hope he’s right about that. TV Guide has been stepping through the channels for over 30 hours now. Starts at Channel 2, then switches to a higher channel every couple of minutes. The support guy said to let it work for 72 hours and then call back.

I live in Thailand and just got satellite TV. Unfortunately, my ABS - 3Q76 set top box is not on the very extensive list of receivers. I see you have had good luck with Philips support; is there any way to load a new instruction set for my box? Is it supported by CF 3.2? (I have version 1.0 right now).

Scott,

I picked up my Philips HDRW 720/17 at Costco also in early December and I have been experiencing many the same issues that you talk about.
• If I hit the TV Guide twice too fast, it will reboot.
• If I hit the remote keys in to quick succession, it will reboot.
• A couple times just starting it up made it reboot.
• The TV Guide listings corrupt often, right now it does not like Tuesday’s.
• It loses track of my schedule events, or switches them around to something else and I don’t like its taste shows.
• On occasions it will record a 1 hour show for a total of one minute and 21 seconds.
• On other occasions it will record a one-hour show for 5:59:59. At least it got the show I wanted and I can fast-forward watch the Leno monologue and then divided the recording.

Where can I find the revision number? I’m going to try your zip code trick and check out the debug screen, the data source, and the VBI channels. I’d do it now, but the recording which was supposed to stop two hours ago is still running merrily on. It’s about a quarter one in the morning and I’m not to wait up until finishes.

With all the problems that having with the system I still think it is a wonderful tool for watching and recording TV. I just wish that Costco would carry them again. I would buy one as a gift for my father in a heartbeat.

I have my display set to dim, but the drive bay red light DOES come on when archiving to DVD+R discs.

Hi guys I also have a HDRW 720/17, I’ve been having small problems recently but thats not important right now, what I am wondering is that with this “new” firmware (3.2) is it possible to record dual-layered dvd+r’s? I know it doesn’t say so on the firmware upgrade instructions but has anyone tried? Just curious, let me know thanks!

Does anyone have an earlier version of the firmware for the hdrw720/17 than CF3.2? I upgraded to 3.2 a couple months ago and since then I have had nothing but trouble. It will not download the channel lineup at all and does not record my scheduled recordings any more. At least with 2.3 (that came on it) I could get channels and recordings. Now, if I’m not actively sitting here pressing the record button I get nothing. I tried re-loading 3.2 and it reinstalled successfully but no dice. I will take any version prior to 3.2 so I can hopefully at least get my channel lineups to download again. No amount of resetting has been able to fix this problem with 3.2. I have scoured the inernet trying to find a solution but have come up empty-handed. If anyone has an answer feel free to send me a message. Thanks.

Hi all.

I have formated my HDD in my computer, and now i cant start my hdrw720 up. Do i need a prg on it and where can i get it. I’m kind of lost right now…

[QUOTE=southcoaster;1357158]Scott,

I picked up my Philips HDRW 720/17 at Costco also in early December and I have been experiencing many the same issues that you talk about.
• If I hit the TV Guide twice too fast, it will reboot.
• If I hit the remote keys in to quick succession, it will reboot.
• A couple times just starting it up made it reboot.
• The TV Guide listings corrupt often, right now it does not like Tuesday’s.
• It loses track of my schedule events, or switches them around to something else and I don’t like its taste shows.
• On occasions it will record a 1 hour show for a total of one minute and 21 seconds.
• On other occasions it will record a one-hour show for 5:59:59. At least it got the show I wanted and I can fast-forward watch the Leno monologue and then divided the recording.

Where can I find the revision number? I’m going to try your zip code trick and check out the debug screen, the data source, and the VBI channels. I’d do it now, but the recording which was supposed to stop two hours ago is still running merrily on. It’s about a quarter one in the morning and I’m not to wait up until finishes.

With all the problems that having with the system I still think it is a wonderful tool for watching and recording TV. I just wish that Costco would carry them again. I would buy one as a gift for my father in a heartbeat.[/QUOTE]

I have the same problems with my unit. Are there any fixes? Thanx!