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Just a post to share a solution with others. I moved a TV with adaptor box (not full DVR set top box) into a different room in my basement, and from that point on it was as if the adaptor box needed to warm up. I would have to unplug/replug it in to get it to wake up, and it would not respond to Power Off or channel changes until 10 minutes after it restarted. I swapped everything... adaptor, power supply, remote. Nothing helped. I even started "swapping" things I knew were stupid, and it ends up being quite a list. Batteries in the remote. 110V outlet. Cable from splitter box... very optimistic on that one since it might have gotten pinched in the move. Swapped to different port on the splitter. I even noticed that the cable went over my cast-iron basement support beam, so I rerouted it. No change.
When I was ready to start making a mobile rig and rolling from one room to another to see when the goblins started, I realized the only thing that distinguished the room was flourescent lights (with big transformers) on the ceiling. I turned off the lights and the box worked immediately. Now that I solved it I found a few references to flourescent interference, and also explaining that the frequency at startup is the problem. So it wasn't the "box" that had to warm up, it was the room.
Even with the light on, the problem can be circumvented for test purposes by holding the remote immediately against the adaptor box and shielding the flourescent light. On my adaptor box, the receiver seems to be on the right side when facing the box.