How To Fix Dish Network DVR Playback Problems

If you are faced with what many people call DVR Playback problems, then you are in the right place. 

Here, I will be highlighting possible and usual causes and solutions to the issue. You’ll know exactly what to do should you be faced with such problems again.

To solve the problem of Playback on your Dish DVR, carrying out a factory reset on your Dish DVR and the cable box is usually the first solution that comes to mind. Another thing is checking through the HDMI cable, and if required, you can carry out a default reset for settings only.

Although it sounds and looks simple, some of the highlighted fixes need a deep understanding, and as such, it is advisable to read the whole article to avoid half-baked solutions and fixes.

Before we deep dive into the subject matter, it’s justifiable to highlight the possible causes of the problem. Because, if you don’t tackle the cause, you might have the same problems over and over again.

Causes of Dish DVR Playback Problems

Dish Network DVR Playback Problems Causes

From experience and checking through a series of forums, the hard drive is the prime suspect of many Dish DVR Playback problems.

Faulty, damaged, or dead hard drives can cause the problem. Check for dark or black screens in your recordings to identify a faulty, damaged, or dead hard drive. Sometimes, entire clips are missing.

If your hard drive is the problem, a brief power discharge (described below) might help. For more extreme cases, you would need to contact Dish customer support.

However, because we are looking at a quick fix, we would be looking at some easy-fix faults and solutions.

Some minor causes of Dish DVR Playback problems are below:

Temporary Malfunction

This problem means your recorded shows are available, but your Dish DVR is not playing them due to the box’s temporary power malfunction.

Unwanted Files/Data

Dish DVR problems can occur if unwanted bodies like corrupted data are in the recording root or source.

Recording Malfunction

In this case, either your recordings did not capture appropriately, or issues came up during the recording process.

Memory Loss

Recall that we highlighted the hard drive issues at the start of this article. If your hard drive’s memory fails, your recorded shows might be unavailable.

You are now equipped with valuable information and an explicit understanding of what might cause your Dish DVR to develop a playback problem.

How To Fix Dish DVR Playback Problem

Fix Dish Network DVR Playback Problems

Before going into details, you should consider restarting your Dish DVR because sometimes, the issue is solved by just restarting your DVR.

Make sure to restart the device before deep-diving into the solutions below.

If you have tried rebooting your DVR device and still facing the playback problem, then try the solutions below:

  1. Run Brief Power Discharge

After you have tried restarting your device and there is no improvement, discharge your device.

This fix places your device on a clean slate by resetting it; this enhances the cold booting process. 


This process should take place on all your devices, TV inclusive.

You might be wondering, how do I power discharge my devices? Follow the steps below:

  • Switch off all your devices using the button on your remote control.
  • Disconnect their adapters from the source of power and wait for about a minute.
  • Connect their adapters back and position well.
  • Switch them all back on and see if the issue is resolved.

If you have a Hopper & Joey system, you would have to unplug the power cord of the Hopper (larger receiver). The reset process may take up to 5 minutes to finalize.


Do not forget to apply this process to all your devices, including the Set-Top box. Remember to disconnect all external bodies connected to your box; this includes your headphones, gaming console, etc.

  1. Deactivate Inactivity Standby Mode on Your Device

If the first solution fails, try deactivating your device’s inactivity standby mode.

But before you do that, try to run a brief HDMI cable inspection; this is recommended to ensure the problem is not from the connecting cables.

If you are sure it is not a cable connection problem, proceed to deactivate inactivity standby mode.

The inactivity standby mode was designed to put your device to rest since there’s no ongoing action, and directly activating it makes your recorded shows inaccessible. If you are facing this problem, try deactivating your inactivity standby mode.

How to deactivate the inactivity standby mode:

  • Locate your device menu.
  • Navigate to settings.
  • Click on display.
  • Deactivate standby mode.


You can also do this if all your recorded shows are not entirely on display, and also make sure you reboot your Dish DVR for a quicker fix.

  1. Restore Dish DVR To Factory Settings

If you have gone through solutions 1 and 2, try to confirm if it works; else, move on to the final solution.

Factory reset is usually the last resort in situations like this. 

If your recordings are so important, try copying them on an external drive before going through with the factory reset because factory reset deletes all recordings and restores default configurations.

Kindly follow these steps to achieve optimum factory reset:

  • Disconnect your Dish DVR.
  • Long press the factory reset switch for 5 seconds.
  • Release your press.
  • Long press again and simultaneously connect your Dish DVR to the power source.
  • Patiently wait for a beep sound and release the switch.
  • Test if this works.


If your device is still not working after this, then your device’s hard drive might have issues. It would help if you considered contacting the manufacturer or taking it for repair.