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Contributor
shakeslady
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎05-06-2011

Cable box not responding to remote (sporadic)

For the past several days, my cable box will suddenly stop responding to most commands from the remote.  (Commands that go the TV work fine and the cable button lights up when I press buttons for commands to the cable box).  The power button continues to work and if I turn the cable box off, it will usually work fine when I turn it back on.  Changing the batteries in the remote did not help, neither did unplugging the cable box for a few minutes then plugging it back in.

 

Do I need to get a replacement cable box, or is there an easier fix?

Cable Expert
WarEagle57
Posts: 10,676
Registered: ‎12-31-2004

Re: Cable box not responding to remote (sporadic)

Unplug the power to the box for a minute, then plug it back in.
Contributor
shakeslady
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎05-06-2011

Re: Cable box not responding to remote (sporadic)

As you can see in my original post I did that already (yesterday).  The box was unplugged for about 15 minutes before I plugged it back in.

Cable Expert
WarEagle57
Posts: 10,676
Registered: ‎12-31-2004

Re: Cable box not responding to remote (sporadic)

[ Edited ]

Sorry.  Feel free to take the box and remote in and swap them.

Contributor
shakeslady
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎05-06-2011

Re: Cable box not responding to remote (sporadic)

Thanks.  If I replace the box, will i lose everything on the DVR or can it be transferred to the new box?

Cable Expert
JayInAlg
Posts: 12,041
Registered: ‎03-02-2007

Re: Cable box not responding to remote (sporadic)

Recordings on a DVR can't be transfered to another box, they are gone for good.

New Visitor
krislee1
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎05-31-2012

Re: Cable box not responding to remote (sporadic)

i have a tech here and we are on 3rd box and i am still having this issue, it started the evening of the 29th as well 

Silver Problem Solver
rog286713
Posts: 13,999
Registered: ‎06-17-2008

Re: Cable box not responding to remote (sporadic)

what box and what color remote? not all remotes work with all boxes.  make sure they check your signal level also. 

New Visitor
krislee1
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎05-31-2012

Re: Cable box not responding to remote (sporadic)

assuming the tech knows that, the only way we were able to fix this is to put a piece of paper underneath the dvr box sticking out in the front .... sadly lost all of our shows 

Silver Problem Solver
rog286713
Posts: 13,999
Registered: ‎06-17-2008

Re: Cable box not responding to remote (sporadic)

never assume anything, do you know how many times wrong remotes are given out that don't work correctly with the box?   What does a piece of paper under the box suppose to do to make the remote work?

New Visitor
krislee1
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎05-31-2012

Re: Cable box not responding to remote (sporadic)

I have no clue, on why the paper, nothing in our home has been moved around and everything worked great until the evening of the 29th, and we tried 3 different remotes, all of which work with the paper, and 2 of which worked for the last several months of having this dvr, he was here well over an hr and i think he just wanted to leave, told me to call back if the issue started again 

Contributor
shakeslady
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎05-06-2011

Re: Cable box not responding to remote (sporadic)

I'm using the same remote and box supplied by Comcast about 1.5 years ago when I switched to HD.  Everything had been working fine until last week.  The box is a Magnavox DCX3400.  The remote is silver.

 

I figured out that the cable box only becomes unresponsive when I'm watching one particular channel (HSN - it doesn't seem to matter whether I'm watching the HD or regular channel, both lock out my ability to change the channel). 

 

I also realized that the Guide button will still work (but not any of the number buttons or the channel up/down button) so I can change the channel that way.  At this point I can live with that to save the 25 minute drive to the Comcast office to swap the box and remote for a fix that may or may not work.

Silver Problem Solver
rog286713
Posts: 13,999
Registered: ‎06-17-2008

Re: Cable box not responding to remote (sporadic)

In most motorola markets HSN has a feature called shop hsn which allows you to make a purchase through the cable box.  Thats probably what your seeing.

Contributor
shakeslady
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎05-06-2011

Re: Cable box not responding to remote (sporadic)

I remember seeing that feature on HSN in the past, but never used it.  I don't even see the option on the screen now.  I guess there's something in the signal from that broadcast that does something strange to the channel changing funcitonality.

Regular Contributor
sneva
Posts: 33
Registered: ‎05-29-2011

Re: Cable box not responding to remote after stopping on HSN

..."I figured out that the cable box only becomes unresponsive when I'm watching one particular channel (HSN)

 

I also realized that the Guide button will still work (but not any of the number buttons or the channel up/down button) so I can change the channel that way. "...

 

I too have recently observed this change in STB behavior. If I stop on HSN for more than a couple of seconds, it locks up and I can not change the channel and must power the STB off or use the Guide/Menu/VOD buttons to get the remote going again. I've got a DCH3200.

 

My guess it is a programming change made by Comcast for their remote shopping feature and it was not properly tested.

Contributor
greatbuys4less
Posts: 6
Registered: ‎06-03-2012

Re: Cable box not responding to remote (sporadic)

This started with our remote this morning. We have the DVR Motorola with silver remote, digital starter with HD. Sometimes when we press the button it works but slow to respond, other times doesn't respond at all. Have unplugged box and put new batteries in remote. No particular channels involved. 

New Visitor
teamdsjd
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎04-30-2012

Re: Cable box not responding to remote (sporadic)

[ Edited ]

 EDIT: Been throught the power cycle, tech testing the line N times, check your batteries, yada yada...

 

On my third 3400 box and nth remote. All the remotes worked fine with the TV and AV tuner. More than 50% of the time it just doesn't respond to any button press on the remote at all (you don't see the remote activity light come on at all). Sometimes it won't power on or off. I can get the 3400 to respond if I hold the remote about 1" in front of the receiver (just right of the display). Given that I thought it was light polution but even with all lights and tv off, blinds pulled at night it doesn't work. Then some days with bright sun and lights on it works fine. Sheesh.

 

One tech said the remotes are cheap (that is why they are free) and may not feed an exact signal for the motorola 3400 to work with. I can see that but I'm not thinking that is the issue unless Mot boxes are way to picky. I haven't tried a high quality third party remote yet.

 

I've had a tech out a few weeks ago but it decided to work correctly - after a week of not working at all. Go figure.

 

In all - I'm not seeing why I pay so much for something that is so flakey that I have to go up to the console and poke buttons to change channels (kinda reminds me of the olden days).

New Visitor
pj1983
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎10-20-2012

Re: Cable box not responding to remote (sporadic)

You need comp cord for you to have your hd guide or an HDMI cord
Contributor
bdrangel
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎09-20-2012

Re: Cable box not responding to remote (sporadic)

[ Edited ]

teamdsjd wrote:

 EDIT: Been throught the power cycle, tech testing the line N times, check your batteries, yada yada...

 

On my third 3400 box and nth remote. All the remotes worked fine with the TV and AV tuner. More than 50% of the time it just doesn't respond to any button press on the remote at all (you don't see the remote activity light come on at all). Sometimes it won't power on or off. I can get the 3400 to respond if I hold the remote about 1" in front of the receiver (just right of the display). Given that I thought it was light polution but even with all lights and tv off, blinds pulled at night it doesn't work. Then some days with bright sun and lights on it works fine. Sheesh.

 

One tech said the remotes are cheap (that is why they are free) and may not feed an exact signal for the motorola 3400 to work with. I can see that but I'm not thinking that is the issue unless Mot boxes are way to picky. I haven't tried a high quality third party remote yet.

 

I've had a tech out a few weeks ago but it decided to work correctly - after a week of not working at all. Go figure.

 

In all - I'm not seeing why I pay so much for something that is so flakey that I have to go up to the console and poke buttons to change channels (kinda reminds me of the olden days).


I'm a tech myself and at my grandmothers house once she was having issues with her box as it was doing some of the things you are mentioning (not changing channels, TV & receiver works fine, get right next to the IR sensor and it works fine). Now depending on what type of TV you have, some plasma and LCD TV's can mess with IR sensors and cause an issue. Also fluorescent lighting and good 'ole sun light can also mess with IR devices. Usually you'll know if this is happening by getting right up to the device and using the remote and/or by using an IR extender and doing some tests. Also if the sun or fluorescent lights hit directly on the box (sun coming through a window directly hitting the front of a box) it can cause the IR signal interference. Make sure you box isn't in a closet or backwards (I'm not kidding, seen this happy way too many times).

 

Now back to good 'ole grandma and my personal issue. I went over and spent hours turning off all the lights, closing every blind/shade, moving the box around, cleaning the front, changing remotes, lol. Then I tried getting up close and the remote would work fine? Huh?! Stood back again and back to not working. I don't know what made it click in my head but I started looking at every remote grandma had (DVD, VCR, TV, CABLE, EYEGLASS CASE, ERR OOPS LOL). I decided to pull every battery from every remote. Now I put the batteries back in the cable remote and walla, it worked fine from any position! Then I began to put the batteries back in each remote one by one and trying the cable remote each time. I got to an old TV remote and found once the batteries were put in the cable remote refused to function unless right up to the IR sensor. So I started to check the remote from top to bottom and found that one button near the bottom was ever so slightly depressed (aka stuck) and the remote has no lights, which means there was no visible sign the remote was transmitting. This stubborn TV remote was transmitting an IR signal throughout the room and amazingly this signal was wide. The remote didn't even really have to be positioned towards the cable box. Once the button was unpressed her old cable remote began to work again. My grandmother keeps her remotes in a pile next to the TV and most are sat on the table facing the TV/box area. She must have dropped something or hit against something which pushed the button on the TV remote and stuck it. Later I realized when I got up to the IR sensor (box) up close my body was blocking the IR sensor signal from the TV remote which is why it worked fine. I spent hours trying to fix that issue for my gma and it turned out to be an old school problem.

 

I now use my new found knowledge to annoy my friends and family. I go to their house for holidays and get my jollys by grabbing or bringing an old remote with me and when we all try to watch TV I pull out the remote and point it at any device I want to futz with. It creates at least 20 minutes of fun while your family or friends try to figure out why their expensive new, usually just bragged about, TV's don't work. Go ahead and test it now in your living room (I'll wait). Grab an IR remote (has to be IR aka infrared, some new fangled TV's have RF radio frequency, which doesn't require line of sight to the TV so it can control through walls, etc) and then hold down any button while pointing it at the device you want to disable. Then grab your normal cable remote, or similar, and try to use it and you'll see it will mostly be unusable. You might be able to ping a couple inputs in if they hit right, lol (like star wars with invisible light  blades). So the moral of the story is that a little remote can cause a lot of headaches for grandma. :smileyhappy:

 

Now if your buttons weren't stuck like a dodo, most LCD & Plasma TV's can cause a lot of interference and here is what you can try next. Try turning your TV off and trying to use the remote, that is if your box has a screen on the front. However almost all boxes have an IR sensor LED which flashes when a remote command is received via IR (go near your box and try to use the remote and you should see a small light flash every time you press a remote button). If it still doesn't work with the TV off then you have either another light issue above or you just have a bad IR sensor (it happens). If it does work then we might be able to fix it. Newer LCD's have LED lighting which doesn't cause any (much) interference to IR. Older LCD's and Plasma's use fluorescent lighting which, if you've been following along, causes interference. There is not much you can do other than moving your cable box away from the TV or using an IR extender (most boxes have an input on the back of the box for these and they are very cheap). However, if you think your issues are light related (fluorescent/sun) a quick fix is simply putting a piece of tape over the IR sensor on the box (or other device) which can sometimes filter out the interference. Others have suggested more elaborate solutions, such as taping or placing lenses from an old pair of sunglasses over the IR sensors on your box (or device) if the tape fix isn't quite strong enough (seriously).

 

Now you're not completely out of luck as there is a few more things to try. Some newer sets have OPC (Optical Picture Control) which automatically adjusts contrast and brightness to adapt to room lighting. Some TV manufacturers have different names for this feature but basically all you need to know as that it can also cause interference with IR signals. So you need to find your manufacturer, go into your TV options and disable or turn off the OPC setting. Use this guide to find the feature name in your menu settings by manufacturer; LG: Intelligent Sensor; Panasonic: CATS (Contrast Automatic Tracking System); Samsung: ECO (Eco Sensor); Sanyo: Light Sensor; Sharp: OPC (Optional Picture Control); Toshiba: Auto Brightness Sensor; Vizio: Ambient Light Sensor or DCR (Dynamic Contrast Ratio). If your manufacturer isn't listed above or are still having issues then look for a similar sounding name option or something like an ECO (power saver mode) or light/brightness sensor? Also TV's today have a lot of electronics shoved into a super thin body (crazy thin, remember TV's even 5 years ago?!), so use common sense and when in doubt try moving your device away from other devices (another room or similar) and trying it to see if the IR issue goes away. Or as I said above try a cheap IR extender or repeater. If you have any questions let me know.

Contributor
Arubaflower
Posts: 13
Registered: ‎11-01-2011

Re: Cable box not responding to remote (sporadic)

There is definitely something up, which has nothing to do with there being a problem with a specific box. 

 

This happened to me this morning: on two different type TVs (Samsung & Sanyo), with two different type cable hook-ups (HDMI & component),  two different type boxes (RNG200 & RNG200N), using two different type reomotes (dark gray & silver), at the same time both remotes stopped responding to TV controls (ie, volume and mute) but still would respond to DVR controls (play, pause).   

 

This is not the first time this has happened but the first time I could identify it happening on two different boxes at the same time.   I just happened to have both TVs on and tried to mute them both so we could hear something on the computer in one of the rooms. 

 

So I am completely unconvinced that this is something the that we customers can fix by swapping boxes or unplugging not since it happened at the same time on two different boxes.   That's more than a coincidence.  This seems to be a software problem that disables/blocks the commands temporarily for some reason.   I say temporarily because the commands do come back on their own after a while without having to unplug or turn off the box --in the meantime, I just use the TV reomote to control what the cable remote won't.

New Visitor
personseven
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎12-12-2012

Re: Cable box not responding to remote (sporadic)

Used your tips, and realized that my Sanyo HD TV was causing the interference.  The cable box stopped responding to the remote whenever the TV was on, but when I turned the TV off I could see (on the front of the cable box) that it was responding much better.  Put a piece of white computer paper over the IR reciever on the cable box, and now it works great.  Way to go Xfinity.... your cable boxes stop working when i turn on my TV.  Blows my mind that Xfinity doesn't even know that this is a problem.... or how to fix it.  Thanks for the tips bdrangal.    

New Visitor
andrewuk311
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎01-02-2013

Re: Cable box not responding to remote (sporadic)

I used your tips, covered the IR location with a piece of masking tape, and everything works great now! Incredible! This has frustrated me for months. Thanks so much!

New Visitor
biddybiddybop
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎11-11-2012

Re: Cable box not responding to remote (sporadic)

[ Edited ]

Wow.  Three years of suffering with this same problem and having techs onsite and replacing the box and remotes only to have it be solved by a piece of paper.  Thank you so much for the insight in this thread and the solution (albeit a sloppy one.)

 

This Motorola DCX3400 box seems to be problematic with the newer plasma TVs like what I have (Panasonic TC-P54G10)

 

 

New Visitor
Realredwest
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎01-12-2013

Re: Cable box not responding to remote (sporadic)

I have had year same Samsung plasma and recently lost our DVR box to some other issue and had to get a new one.  New remote would sporadically respond to commands.     Read another thread about the plasma was interfering.   Switched from dynamic picture to standard and the remote is working fine now,   Switched back and forth to confirm on the plasma picture quality.     

 

sanity restored

 

2 calls to tech support.

3 instant message sessions

2 replacements of cable boxget 

finally getting an answer from a non comcast support person....priceless