Is it the dreaded reboot loop, where it shows "loading..." for a while, then shows "downloading guide info" with the thermometer bar, then starts all over again? I understand this is caused by corrupted timer data.
If you recently added a "once" timer, your Pal may start working again after the date of the timer has passed. But if the corrupted timer is a repeating one, P Smith's offer (to re-flash your memory) is probably your best bet. As for alternative DVRs, I feel your pain. The ones mentioned above or an HTPC are about it. There's also a Digital Stream DVR but it's not very good. It has two tuners, but can only record from one of them! The other is for live viewing only, and it doesn't even do "time shifting/trick play" (pausing/rewinding/etc. the live broadcast).
As for the others, judging from their threads the PHD-VRX is still somewhat buggy and has a clunky user interface (e.g., you have separate guides/programming schedules for each of the two tuners; a nightmare if you often record two shows at once). I keep following the thread in case the firmware improves with the next release, but they have further to go than the Pal did and the old-timers know how long that took.
The TViX 6620 doesn't seem too bad if you can live w/o Ion. You can see some discussion of other issues in the TViX thread, starting about here: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1195962/official-dvico-tvix-m6620n-hd-atsc-qam-tuner-topic/1700_20#post_22699833
The CM-7400 is pretty good if you get the paid guide, but it has a poor tuner and is prone to overheat (you can reduce overheating by removing the internal drive and adding an external one, but you can't do much about the tuner beyond a good antenna and preamp). The Amulet solves the CM-7400 overheating issue, but doesn't offer the paid guide! Can't anyone get this right?
The TiVo Premiere gets it mostly right, but their pricing model is odd. The TiVo itself is really cheap, but the guide subscription is mandatory, expensive, and includes ads anyway. The firmware is on the hard drive, so it's a hassle to upgrade. And some are bothered by the way TiVo spies on your TV viewing habits.
All in all, surveying the competition does make one appreciate how good our Pals really are, even in spite of their bugs and quirks.
Edited by JHBrandt - 3/5/13 at 1:52pm