The HDTV Tivo that feeds the DirecTV signal into our fancy plasma TV must have been programmed by a Republican. It melted down Tuesday evening about 15 minutes after the election returns starting coming in.

I had set the Tivo to catch election returns on MSNBC and CNN because I had to be at a public hearing Tuesday night. When I got home, I found the machine had stopped recording both channels about 15 minutes into the broadcasts. On the screen, it said Tivo had encountered a “severe error” and advised me to keep it turned on, hooked to DirecTV and the phone line and wait three hours while it attempted to “repair itself.”

So I went upstairs and watched returns on our den TV. The Tivo there was recording two other channels but I managed to keep up with the returns while working on updates to Capitol Hill Blue.

At midnight, I checked the downstairs Tivo again. Still attempting to “repair itself.” I decided to give it 24 hours and waited until I got home Wednesday afternoon. No go.

So I called DirecTV. The first two levels of technical support had neve heard of such a problem. Finally, they bumped me up to “advanced machines” support and the young lady on the phone said “oh, that” and said they would ship a Tivo out via FedEx the next morning (today).

This will make the third replacement HDTV Tivo from DirecTV since we moved to Floyd in December 2004. For some reason, the high-def machine is prone to programming and software problems. Our oldest Tivo, an original standard definition 30-hour model we purchased while still living in Arlington, is still chugging along with a third machine that is older than any of the HD models.