In that case, P Smith is probably right. Sounds like the corrupt timers bug described in post 1. It probably happened when the DST bug struck and scrambled your timers. Usually disconnecting the antenna will get around it and let you do a factory reset, but not always.
There's a chance it will self-recover when the corrupt timers expire, but it's a slim one. If it's been over a week and still won't boot, you probably need to have the firmware re-flashed. I'm pretty sure P Smith can do that, but you'll have to send at least your main board to him. Actually, probably the whole Pal; I'm not sure he has one to install your main board in.
If the animation had been very jumpy, that would've indicated a failed or failing HDD. That animation is supposed to play while the firmware checks the HDD for filesystem errors, and if it has trouble reading a sector from the HDD, the animation will freeze until the read command times out. (It would've been a bad news/good news situation: your recordings would probably have been toast, but at least you could've fixed the Pal easily by just replacing the HDD.)