It took two tries but DirecTV finally managed to send me a new digital video recorder that works. Ten days after our HD Tivo melted down (20 minutes into election night returns) we’re back in business with a working high-def DVR for the plasma flat screen in our living room.

Wasn’t easy getting there. The Tivo went into convulsions election night, displaying a message that a “severe programming error” had occurred and saying it was attempting “to repair itself,” which is technobabble for “I’m downloading patches from Tivo central to see if I can reboot.”

It couldn’t. After 24 hours of this, I realized Tivo couldn’t fix itself and called DirecTV, which shipped out one of their new DVRs (they no longer use the Tivo interface). It arrived last Saturday but when I hooked it up, it wouldn’t boot. After an hour on the phone with the “Advanced Products Technical Response Team,” they concluded the new DVR was dead on arrival and said a new one would be shipped out.

FedEx left the package at our door Thursday and I connected all the cables, powered everything up, and waited with crossed fingers. Everything came up fine so I called in to activate the new machine and we were back in business.

Then the screen went blank and came back up saying the DVR had to download some new software, which took about 20 minutes, and I waited, fingers crossed again, to see if the machine would reboot and come back up.

It did. So far, so good. The DOA machine goes back to DirecTV by FedEx today.

Ah, technology.