Harvard Release Software Update Cure

Harvard International today released version 1.8.1 of their software for the Bush, Grundig and Goodmans Freesat HD receivers; curing the problems from the previous software release.

It took Harvard International a few weeks originally to acknowledge the problem, followed by a large scale process of collecting and replacing customers receivers; and now finally a software update has been made available for download (OTA) which seems to resolve the original problems in just 5 minutes!

We managed to obtain a couple of units suffering from the initial update of which the Bush has now been updated and appears to be working fine. We will report back on how the Grundig fairs shortly.

So if anyone is still in posession of one of these faulty units, set it back up and providing it will operate for a short time, make sure the software update option is set to automatic within the menu, then return to standby; the download should automatically happen within a few minutes.

Let us know your results.

84 thoughts on “Harvard Release Software Update Cure”

  1. @Dan and Degs.
    Agree, no need to panic. Just keep a sense of humour – the technology is evolving faster and faster. I’m just acing a w/e with uncertain terrestrial reception.
    I called the number on the info screen – got the call centre after about 5 mins who were very helpful and seemed to understand the problem. They passed it on to the next level of technical team who called back in about 3 hours, confirmed my predicament and got the pick-up arranged for the next day.
    As before, recovery is good but we never should have been here in the first place.

  2. Thanks Mike for the info – saying that I find it unbelievable that all of us that had replacement goodmans boxes now have to go through the same process again – collection and another delivery! Last time it took 4 days for the courier driver to find me – despite having full details of where I am and my phone number (not Harvard’s fault but I did have to make numerous phone calls at my cost).
    I feel that Harvard themselves should contact all of those people that have had replacements – why should we have to do the running on this, they have all of our details. I am not panicing – just starting to lose my sense of humour!

  3. I wonder….. if admin is reading this thread would they know if it is possible to update the software by other means than over the air?

  4. Sigh… the replacement Goodmans box started the download of the 1.8 software and it too keeps failing.

    From the previous posts it seems this too will be a courier job.

  5. Touch wood so far I have had no problems with my Goodmans HD box. Currently 1.8 software. For info I purchased my box within the first month that they went on sale.

  6. The two Goodman HD boxes that replaced my Grundig units have both failed to accept the download of 1.8 software.

    Mark on the Freesat helpline says it is possible to be “talked through” the loading process, if you are experiencing any problems. The manufacturers are supposed to contact me next Monday (23/11). Has anyone already tried this and if it worked can they tell the rest of us how to do it?

  7. The DTG web site says that Harvard are ceasing the 1.8.1 ODA today, Friday 20th. Does that mean that everything fixable is fixed, or that the repair is proving more trouble than it’s worth? At least they are stopping it – Humax are still killing HD boxes.

  8. Took long enough for a fix! Why didn’t they send out another update to downgrade boxes to the previous firmware as soon as they found out there was an issue?

    I through away my Bush HD box after the update about a month ago (or whenever it was) basically broke it.

    I bought a Humax Foxsat HD box to replace it and couldn’t be happier. So much better than the Bush box in everyway!

  9. OK..lets be serious about all this for a moment. The sad thing about this….the really sad thing is when you consider the people…….near to genius… who designed the technology to launch the satellites, designed the circuitry and the electronic microchips within all the apparatus concerned with beaming pictures to space and back…have all been let down by a crew of incompetent people who after completely messing up peoples lives (who have payed good money for the privilege) seem to be unable or unwilling to use simple problem solving skills to resolve this issue simply by reviewing the monumental software errors which have now become apparent

  10. @ Degs
    I understand your argument, but I think this can be seen from another prospective. Satellites are very expensive technology therefore it is in the interest of the industry to get it lauched and in operation without hitches. In contrast the receivers are generally very cheap and seen not to be critical.

    Even so there are many instances when satellites have failed for example a launch has gone wrong and it is destroyed or there is a technical glitch with the satellite itself.

    However the receivers are in their own right complex devices and to further complicate matters the specifications or components are frequently changed. No wonder it is difficult to test for all combinations of equipment. Humax have also had difficulties with software updates. I only had to pay £68 for my Bush Freesat receiver and up to now have had no real problems, however had it gone wrong Harvard would have fix it. I gather they are better than Sky!

  11. @ Kevin
    OK I read your comments with interest. Let me put it very simply. What ever service you sell….whatever you manufacture…..in respect to all those people who have given their very best…..DO NOT ever involve the paying public until you are 100% certain it works. DO NOT involve the man in the street in testing your product……it causes stress and anxiety whether its a paper clip or a freesat box

  12. There are still people talking about whether their box is under warranty or not. It doesn’t matter. If it is out of warranty the it is possible for the vendor to say that a defect is down to wear and tear. That does not apply in the case where the manufacturer has caused boxes to fail due to sending them a bad software update.

  13. Grundig crashed October. Picked up and Goodmans delivered back, took a week. Crashed last Tuesday, picked up Thursday, pm not am as promised. Should be back tommorrow – we’ll see!…and will it be ok then
    Tried 0208 2387650 but they seem to have switched that to a fax no so you have to ring instruction manual no and talk to phone call centre who then say Harvard’s will contact you. Haven’t heard from them yet though.

  14. Oh Dear….Oh Dear..Oh Dear..! Come on Harvard. You can do it! Just write and transmit new code to fix all known problems. You might have to shell out a bob or two but come on guys….you can do it!

  15. @Degs
    But my point is that the technology is not simple. Come to think of it life is not simple. If you had studied maths and computing for as long as me you would realise that most things are a compromise. If a company tested a product until it reached 100% reliabilty that product would take a lifetime to produce by which time the technology would be obsolete.

    In fact it is not possible to truly test a product in a lab because it is impossible to replicate real life situations. For example some years back one of the train companie C2C carried out extensive tests on their Electrostar electric trains before entering passenger service and thought they had ironed out all the software bugs. As soon as the trains started in service the electic doors frequently failed. What they had not predicted is that passengers would hold back the doors when they were closing and this registered as a door fault. It took the manufacturers many attempts to rewrite the software to overcome the problem.

    Getting back to satellite receivers, they will be used in many kinds of environments and configured in a variety of combination of TVs, recorders, sound sytems etc. Last of all people will manage to do things to the receiver that could not be predicted.

  16. @ Kevin
    I only studied Maths to A level. However I find it a little presumptuous of you to dismiss my 27 years in the Software and Hardware industry without a little further research. I have heard all your excuses many times over the years and have never knowingly accepted them. I wouldn’t have employed you for long! I found your tale about the train doors typical. Asked to make a list of passenger interaction, the fact that they do all manner of things to interfere with the doors must have come very near the top…….you’re fired!

  17. Well after reading all your comments my problem since the last update is a small one, I have lost the Sports Multi screen on page 3001 ! Everything else seems to work, anyone else got this problem?
    Oh and yes Havard are going to get back to me.

  18. Ok folks, we are getting a bit off topic here. Does anyone know the definitive answer to the problem, ie what do all of us with the replaced boxes and early firmware do now? Is this a back to the factory again, or will they modify the update to accept the earlier firmware??


  19. @Jock

    it worked to fix the broken boxes (with 1.7 software), but failed to download continuously on the replacement boxes harvard sent out due to the original dodgy upgrade… thats why its been pulled so quickly.

  20. @degs
    Looks like I hit a raw nerve! If you don’t want people questioning your comments you should not make sweeping comments. Oh, but I forgot you must have checked your comment to make sure it was 100% certain to work!

    I could describe yourself as being persumptuous, expecting me to know about your 27 years in the Software and Hardware industry. However that does not make my remarks any less valid.

    There is no way that Harvard could test the software for receivers to the level you demand for the price they charge for the boxes. It is a trade off and errors will occur. Hopefully they will have learnt lessons however in my experiance lessons are often forgotten over time.

    By the way if you did employ me, I doubt you would have any cause to sack me as I am a perfectionist and like to get things 100% right.

  21. Bought a Bush BFSAT01 HD yesterday in Argos , now down to £60. Seems to be ok but voice sync a bit iffy on some channels. I have also checked the software and its 1.4.33 oh no!!.
    Called tech support number on the inst manual and have been told that the problems with that software is now sorted and that is why I havent been instructed to upgrade my SV. I did sort of tell him that the 1.8 version is supposed to have changed other things aswel, but he insisted that my box is now ok. How is this going to affect the bbc iplayer and itv plr when these come on then.
    Do I keep or take back to argos? no point in having something if I can`t upgrade the software. Anyone advise please. Thanks

  22. Hi Dan, the thing has been running now for over 24hrs, on standby overnight . No messages to upgrade software. Called support back again, sounded the same indian chap I had before. Again explained that the software was dated around 2008 and surely it needed updating. Again said that problem was sorted and that i basically had everything I should have and it was the same as having the 1.8.1 software installed. I think I will return it to argos tomorrow and re-connect the skybox. I am paying to call them and they don`t seem to understand the problem. Its like talking to the old AOL broadband support…..doh!!

  23. @ Dil

    The 1.8.1 download has been pulled because of its lack of compatability.

    I would recommend waiting until the next download is available before getting rid of the box. You can check the availability of freesat software downloads here: http://www.dtg.org.uk/industry/download_schedule.php (the hardvard HD boxes are normally listed as ‘Harvard: BUSH GOODMANS GRUNGIG HD”, the harvard SD boxes are normally listed as “Alba: SD ZAPPER & LOWCOST SD ZAPPER”).

  24. Thanks Dan for the info. I have decided to keep the box and hope there will be a proper update soon, bearing in mind someone did say that if you have 1.4.33 installed you wont be able to update?.
    Also, as I still have the sky box in place I am going to get one of those switches from maplin and connect both to that. That way I can either use the Sky box or the Freesat ( not at the same time-I know)

  25. I downloaded 1.8.1 with no problem a day or two ago, did it on manual.
    I was getting lipsync problems but now It seems to be better.
    Not sure what the previous software was though.
    Does anyone else notice an improvement?

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