Why did my DIRECTV receiver reboot in the middle of the night?

Boot sequence from a mid-2000s DIRECTV DVR.

You wake up in the middle of the night and see bright, flashing blue lights emanating from your DIRECTV DVR, receiver, or client. Should you panic?

Here’s the good news

Absolutely not. It’s normal for your receiver to reboot itself for several reasons. It may have had a momentary loss of power, and it may not have actually rebooted — you may have forgotten to turn it off or a pet may have sat on the remote. (Don’t laugh, this happens.) But let’s say it did reboot. It doesn’t mean it’s going geflooey.

The most common reason for a reboot is a software update. These happen about once a quarter and they happen in two parts. The basic software loads first and then usually within 24 hours there’s a supplementary download that gets things like extra graphics and interactive menu items. During both cases the receiver will reboot by itself. In some cases when the download is finished it will go back to sleep again. If it doesn’t do so right away, it usually will within a few hours due to the power saver mode.

These devices reboot themselves in the middle of the night to try to limit any impact on your viewing. In the case of DVRs, they check their “to-do list” before rebooting, to avoid any missed recordings.

Something else to know

In some cases the receiver itself reboots because it gets itself into a bad situation. This can be as simple as tuning to a channel that it can no longer find, or a part of its software no longer working properly. Just like computers or phones, a simple reboot fixes a lot of things.

Another option is that the receiver’s guide data is corrupt or missing. This can happen because sometimes the data itself isn’t that good, and it can also happen if there’s something intermittently in front of the dish that’s stopping it from seeing the right satellite. If it can’t get guide data for 6 hours or more, it will sometimes reboot to try to get it again.

If you experience reboots more than two days in a row, or if you have several reboots while you’re actually watching TV, that’s when I’d start worrying.

Time for a new receiver?

I’ve noticed over the last 15 years, that DIRECTV’s hardware is practically bulletproof. There are a lot of devices out there that are 5-10 years old or older, and still working as designed. Yes, they occasionally fail. But most of the time replacing one device with something exactly the same is a waste of time. If it’s a DVR, you’ll lose recordings as well. However, if you’re not happy with what you have, it may be time for an upgrade.

Solid Signal can help you get the latest and greatest, have it sent to you, and handle all of the activation and setup with you over the phone. Give us a try! Shop the great selection you’ll find at solidsignal.com, or call us at 888-233-7563 and we’ll help you figure out what all your options are.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.