did fios just break my tv?

becky727April 24, 2009


I'm hoping someone can help me. We just had Verizon FIOS installed yesterday, with 2 set top boxes and 1 DVR. The DVR was set up in the living room on our 4 year old 27" standard definition Philips Magnavox TV. During the installation, the tech had a hard time getting the picture on any TV hooked up to the DVR to work properly (it was wavy when there was text). He replaced the DVR and all of the wiring and it didn't fix the problem. I figured I could live with it since the picture wasn't bad unless there was a lot of text. When he left, everything was working properly.

Today I noticed that the remote for the DVR wasn't working on the DVR (but it would control the TV power and volume). If I took the remote right up to the DVR (like an inch away), it would work. We had a picture, cable, etc, just trouble with the remote.

So, we called Verizon tech support and an automated system worked through a series of prompts (which included Verizon remotely rebooting the DVR). Suddenly, the TV got a light grey screen with white horizontal lines and shut off automatically after about 10 seconds. Now we cannot turn the TV on at all -- it automatically goes to the grey screen and then shuts off. We disconnected it from the DVR. We tried unplugging/replugging. Nothing.

We finally got through to a person at Verizon Tech Support and they claim that this was completely coincidental. (They eventually conceded it could be related, but it certainly wasn't caused by FIOS.)

Could this be true? Could our TV that has operated perfectly with DISH Network up until yesterday, and the worked fine with FIOS for 24 hours, just suddenly die "coincidentally" when FIOS was remotely testing the DVR box that was attached to it? I'm so frustrated I don't know what to do. FIOS suggested I call a TV repair man (on my dime). What a pain -- 24 hours ago we "upgraded" to FIOS, and now our main TV is shot.

Do you think this could be fixed? Do you really think this is a coincidence? Do I dare hook another TV up to this DVR or risk the same thing happening? FIOS customer support isn't open until Monday, and the surly tech support supervisor was of no help.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

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I used to work in tech support, and I would say on the face of it, I would have to go with Verizon. There should be no possibility that a dvr or other device could damage a tv - the voltages are very low, in the millivolts really.

However, I guess it's possible if there's some sort of line fault or a fault in the dvr that's putting voltage into the 'line output' however, it's very rare. I do recall one instance but it was several hundred volts, and probably due to some line fault outside, or some botched attempt at stealing cable and/or electricity.

Most of the time 'voltage' is detected on the line, it's from the tv itself.

First thing for you to check is the outlet. Try plugging something else in there and see if it works ok. Try the tv in another outlet, and see if there's some other device you can connect it to, perhaps a vcr or just an aerial?

The fact that the tv is turning itself off - lights out, you have to turn it back on? suggests something odd, all right, I would test it like I said, if you have another tv test it in its place.

I guess also check the power cords etc for the tv and ensure the power outlet's ok, toggle breaker on/off, test power like I said, and make sure the contacts in the outlet are engaging the plug.

Like I said, I never say never, but normally, I would not think the situation could be caused by something plugging into the tv. Sounds like a fault was showing when text wasn't displaying well, and it go worse overnight.

Unless the tv was dropped or something, it may have been a coincidence. Have you had any thunderstorms? Another question, has the tv been off for quite a while whilst you were waiting for the install?

Electronics sitting idle for extended periods sometimes don't come back on.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 2:23AM
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Thanks you so much for posting and giving me your advice. I'll try plugging the TV into another outlet and hooking it up to antenna or DVD player and report back.

To answer some of your questions:

The TV was originally (and still is) plugged into a power strip (the same one as the DVR).

Yes, something is definitely suddenly odd with the TV. It automatically shuts itself off after about 10 seconds (and displays just the strange light grey and striped screen). Another oddity is that if the TV is off and I push any of the buttons on the front (volume up/down, channel up/down, power, or menu) the TV turns on in this strange way and then shuts down. Pushing these buttons previously wouldn't have done anything if the TV was off.

The problem with the text displaying with the wave was due to the DVR, not the TV. The technician hooked a 2nd TV up to the DVR and it had the same problem (and it was fine when it was hooked to a regular set top box).

The TV was not dropped or anything (it wasn't even removed from the armoire, just pulled out from the wall).

No thunderstorms.

We've used this TV every day since we bought it, so it hasn't been sitting around idle.

I am just so bummed about this, and really wasn't anticipating that upgrading to FIOS would result in me having to buy a new TV.

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 6:49AM
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We just moved the TV to another room and plugged it in there -- same problem. I guess it is dead.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 9:36AM
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There might be a very remote chance there is a rest button on the back of the tv somewhere. Sometimes its a red stem that sticks out, sometimes its a button.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 10:40PM
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Couldn't hurt. I would also google the symptoms and the model number, and see if anyone else reports the issue.

By trying a different outlet you've exonerated the power strip, I should have asked if you had one. They go bad sometimes.

Like I say, fantastic coincidence, unless there's significant voltage coming up the cable line.

Another possibility is if you were using channels on tv before, and a/v now, although the behaviour you're describing is just a sick tv. A reset wouldn't hurt.

You could get a technician to look at it, could be a simple fix. However, cheap HD plasmas et al are all around, I hear the siren call myself, and I'm not working fulltime at the moment, and we have a HUGE Hitachi tv we bought from my wife's school for $20.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2009 at 2:55PM
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