Last week I performed a cold reboot of my DVR+ by pulling the power cord out of the back while it was in standby mode. When I plugged it back in, my Samsung TV didn't automatically power on like its done in the past for both cold and warm reboots. This surprised me, so I tried it again a few times over the next couple of days with the same results.
So this afternoon I went to the local Walmart and bought a digital programmable timer (Hyper Tough with 3 custom program settings) to see how it worked. I plugged the timer into a power strip, which was plugged in to the UPS I use.
I set the first custom setting to turn on at 6:00AM and turn off at 6:00PM, and the second custom setting to turn on at 06:05PM and off at 5:55AM. I didn't use the third custom setting. Unfortunately, this evening when it activated the TV came on. When the power was restored to the DVR+ it was already scheduled to record a dummy program at 06:05PM, and the thought occurred to me that may have had something to do with it. I also considered the possibility that the 5 minutes of no power may have had something to do with it. On a whim, I set the digital timer to turn on and off for the same times on both custom setting with the hope that there would be a second or so of no power before the next setting kicked in. No such luck; the power just stayed on. So then I cleared all the remaining dummy programs since the reboot initiated a full channel rescan and tried again. I reprogrammed the digital timer so that the power for the first custom setting came on at 6:00AM and turned off at 06:20PM. The second custom setting was programed to turn on at 06:21PM and off at 05:59AM. When the moment came, the DVR+ lost power for a minute and then went into boot mode. The TV did not power on this time. I don't know if no immediately pending recordings had anything to do with it, but I tend to doubt it. I think it had more to do with the short, 1 minute of no power as opposed to the 5 minutes I used earlier. But the good news is that it worked, and if it continues to work I can eliminate the dummy recordings and have a full 55 slots available.
The big test will come at 5:59AM tomorrow morning when the power is cut again. If it works, this will be awesome. If the TV powers up, I'm going to be yanked out of a deep sleep. But even if it doesn't work, I have another trick up my sleeve. I'm going to switch the source on the TV to "TV" instead of "HDMI1", which is the input to which the DVR+ is connected and is the default source when the TV powers up. I cancelled all the dummy programs for tomorrow morning and evening to clear the decks for the experiment. I'll update after some test runs to let you know how it went.
: I had no recordings scheduled after 8:00PM this evening, so I tried the Source/Input experiment. With the DVR+ turned on, I switched the TV source to "TV", turned it off and pulled the power cord out of the back of the DVR+. I waited about 45 seconds and plugged it back in. The DVR+ booted up and the TV didn't power up. Rebooting the DVR+ while on with the TV source set to HDMI1 and turned off would cause the TV to power up 100% of the time. So even though this was just one test of the theory, it seems to have been a success. In a worse case scenario I can always leave my TV source set to "TV", and just push a few extra buttons to watch TV on the DVR+. Since I got the DVR+ I seldom watched using the TV tuners, mostly because it would mean using two remotes, but also because the volume difference is significant (louder on the TV). But if I can eliminate the 20 dummy recordings I can live with having to switch inputs on the TV. It's also nice to see at least two days worth of scheduled recordings on the Schedule screen.
: Slept soundly until the alarm woke me up, which means that the TV didn't power up. The DVR+ rebooted and scanned, presumably on schedule although the only evidence of this is that all channels (other than the LP channels) had program titles and program descriptions in the Guide. I'll continue to cancel, rather than delete the dummy recordings for the time being just in case something changes. The permanent settings on the timer are to turn on at 06:00AM, turn off at 06:00PM, turn on again at 06:01PM and off at 05:59AM.
But even if this works perfectly, using a digital programmable timer is not a magic bullet. I can already see potential problems over the next few days. I have been binge recording the Sunday marathon of NCIS: Los Angeles for the last few weeks in the hope that I will be able to see the episodes from the first half of season 1. That marathon runs nonstop from 8:00AM Sunday until 1:00AM Monday. The morning reboot won't have an effect on this, but the evening reboot at 6:00PM will be affected. I'll miss roughly the first 10 minutes of the episode. I can get around this for the NCIS binge by using my Philips DVDR to record that channel every Sunday from 6:00PM until 7:00PM. But during the week there are other programs that occasionally air during that time, specifically "The Laboratory With Crazy Russian Hacker" and "Dust", both on the channel that carries the TBD
network. Fortunately, the episodes that air at that time are reruns that air as part of their binge, but I could still miss an episode that I have not seen before. I'll update again when I delete all the dummy recordings or something unexpected happens like the TV firing up and freaking me out in the wee hours of the morning. But so far I like what I've seen. I get full programming and the DVR+ gets to clean out its memory pipes twice a day. One other note: Some of the minor LP channels only update their PSIP schedules every 6-9 hours, so there will likely be some gaps in programming in the Guide. I'd like to set the third custom program so that the DVR+ reboots every 8 hours, but that would significantly increase the likelihood that scheduled (series, manual or one time) recordings will be affected.