For anyone Googling for a similar problem they’re having with DirecTV…
We have two DirecTV receivers and on one of them we were having a lot of pixelation, i.e., digital artifacts, on HD channels. It would get so bad it was unwatchable. This happened for months. I called DirecTV and they always shipped me a new receiver and it always solved the problem for a while. But the problem always returned eventually.
It’s relatively easy to get a new receiver, DirecTV ships you a new one, you replace your old with the new and put the old one in the same box and slap the FedEx sticker they provide on it and back it goes. But, to their credit, DirecTV wanted to get to the bottom of the problem so I was elevated to “Home Response Service” or somesuch name. This means I get better service, they come to your house quickly and the customer service repeatedly call you to make sure you’re happy.
Long story short, after an inability to solve the problem, the last DirecTV tech that came out decided to replace the “B-Band converters”:http://www.directv.com/DTVAPP/global/contentPageNR.jsp?assetId=P4370042. Neither of us that it’d fix it but he had nothing else to try. It turns out that one of them rattled when you shook it, as if the electronics inside had become unglued. Since replacing them, the picture has been perfect!
The converters just hang off the back of the receiver in between it and the coax cable. My theory is that the electronics in the B-Band converter would sometimes sit right in the box and the picture would be okay, but if they were jiggled enough they’d get dislodged and the problem would come back. Usually when I replaced the receiver, the converter happened to sit right and eventually they’d get bumped and the problem would come back.
Fortunately, DirecTV’s newest HD DVR, the HR-23, has these converters built-in so this problem will disappear for DirecTV eventually. But those of us with the HR-22 or older receivers who have to use the extra converters will potentially have this problem.