Apparently, very early Tuesday morning, DIRECTV sent out a software update to millions of its HD DVR subscribers' receivers as part of a new service offering called DIRECTV Whole-Home DVR Service that was announced Monday. In what the company called a "transmission glitch," the update froze some television receivers to one channel, or froze their HD DVRs completely, or caused sporadic outages in others.
The company found out about the problem quickly when its customer service lines got overwhelmed. It offered a workaround about 10 am yesterday, and a full fix late yesterday.
DIRECTV per usual apologized for the problems in an email to subscribers. The company has some 18 million subscribers, although the exact number having problems wasn't disclosed.
Robert N. Charette is a Contributing Editor to IEEE Spectrum and an acknowledged international authority on information technology and systems risk management. A self-described “risk ecologist,” he is interested in the intersections of business, political, technological, and societal risks. Charette is an award-winning author of multiple books and numerous articles on the subjects of risk management, project and program management, innovation, and entrepreneurship. A Life Senior Member of the IEEE, Charette was a recipient of the IEEE Computer Society’s Golden Core Award in 2008.