TiVo Hacking

If it aint't broke, hack it!

In 2002, a guy I knew from IRC was trying to sell his TiVo (a Phillips HDR212), because there was no local dial-in number to get programming where he lived. I had heard about all the nifty hacks people had done on there TiVos, and they seemed like awesome gadgets even sans hacks, so I bought it. I set it up, and it was good. I didn't have to remember when TV shows I wanted to watch were on, didn't need to watch them when they were on, didn't need to find blank tapes, just punches the names of the programs into the TiVo, and it took care of it.

It didn't hold very much, though, only about 20 hours of stuff at the lowest quality (this fills up faster then you'd expect), and 12 hours if I wanted it to look decent. So, I bought a 120GB hard drive, and follwing some instructions I found online, incresed the capacity by a factor of 7, bringing the low quality recording time up to 145 hours.

After a while, I decided I wanted a web interface for my TiVo, so I bought a TurboNET ethernet interface, and set up TiVo Web, which makes deleting 20 or 30 shows at once a manageable task, and lets me schedule recordings from any computer.

After a few months, I added another 120GB hard drive to my TiVo, bring it up to a whopping 302 hour maximum recording time (170 hours or so of decent quality video) While I was at it, I set it up so I could download shows off my TiVo over my LAN using TyStudio. With that done, I copy video from my TiVo to my computer, edit out the commercials, and burn the shows to DVDs or SVCDs.

I've done more since then, and demonstrated my hacked TiVo for the Linux Users Group of Davis. Photos from that presentation are available on LUGOD's website, and my slides are available here.

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©2009 Ryan Castellucci
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