As many of you know, I'm a huge fan of Tivo. Sure, I have a DVR also but that would be a Tivo if the new HD channels coming to DirecTV would work with the new HD Tivo. I digress. I also mentioned my issues with my Tivo recently. So, a little IR education and then something to make you scratch your head.
What you see here is a wire that runs from the back of the Tivo to your satellite or cable box. When you press a button to change channels on your Tivo remote, it sends a signal to the infrared lights at the end of the line telling the box to change channels (as if you changed them with the remote for the box.) This is very important to have working well. If it doesn't, Hell's Kitchen will not record because the box doesn't get the message from the Tivo that it needs to change channels. Instead you get an infomercial or something that ticks you off. The covering on the bottom picture is called an IR tent. If you have fluorescent lights in the room, having one of these will block the light from interfering with the signal.
What you see here is the setup in my bedroom. Satellite box on top of the Tivo on the first shelf and DVD player/burner on top of the VCR one shelf down. As you can see, the IR cables and tent aren't hooked to the front of the satellite box currently. I gave up trying to fix it as it wouldn't change to the right channel or sometimes not even change channels. Tivo decided to send me a new set of IR cables because they can't be purchased at retail stores. In the meantime, to record a show, I'd have to set the receiver to one channel before going to work so it would record a specific show that evening. (Sure, I could set it up in the living room but I watch a lot of TV in my bedroom while on the computer.) Well, I found that the IR cables were still sending a signal changing the channel away from what I had on there when attached. Hence, I missed Hell's Kitchen and will watch it on Kerry's Tivo.
Now, go back to that picture. See the little cables dangling off the shelf to the right. Those are the IR cables. I decided to just pull them off the receiver until the new ones came so it wouldn't affect my recording (manually changing using the receiver remote) and draped them over the right side so it wouldn't have a chance of changing channels on me. (Zoom in on the photo and take a look and you should see two wires dangling from the Tivo over the side.) Here's what I find myself unable to fathom: it now works this way...without the light from the IR facing the IR sensor on the satellite receiver. All this trouble trying to line up the light coming to the sensor from the two bulbs at the end of the wires were useless. Essentially, it is like having problems with your home phone, you unplug it from the wall and it works fine this way. There is no sensible reason for it to work as the light needs to hit the sensor and it isn't RF (radio frequency.) I received my new cables from Tivo in yesterday's mail. I don't want to mess with something that is working even though, logically, it shouldn't. Those cables are going to sit for awhile. Freaky, I tell ya.