Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Slingbox Fail

I got a call from a user today who has a few TVs connected to satellite TV tuners in their space.  Because of some piss poor architectural design work, the housing for the tuner boxes was located about 40 feet away from the TVs and is very difficult to access (thanks Woods Bagot).  To get around this oversight we use Slingboxes so that the channels can be changed or the tuners can be power cycled without having to fight our way into the AV rack which is, as stated above, very difficult to access.

So the user that called today was complaining about a system message that was appearing on the TVs that was coming from the satellite turner.  It indicated that some button on the box should be pushed and included an "OK" button like any cable tv/satellite tuner message.  Naturally I assumed that they had tried to clear this message and it was persistently popping up over and over again.  I told the user I would take a look via the Slingbox interface and see what I could do.

After logging into the Slingbox I opened up the virtual remote control (picture below) and pressed the OK/Select button in the center of the remote.  The message went away.  I called the user back and asked if they had tried to clear the message.  The user responded that they had tried but that clicking their mouse on the message didn't do anything.  I explained that they would have had to use the virtual remote to send the "OK" command which prompted the user to ask if they could use the physical remote and point it at the TV. I had to try and explain how infra-red signals work and how since the tuner boxes are 40 feet away around the corner, that no, pointing the remote at the TV would not have the desired effect, but that the virtual remote in Slingbox would work just fine.

I am certain now that "troubleshooting" is not teachable.  Some people are either able to problem solve, or they are not.

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