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Reusing Old TiVo Hardware? 197

Posted by Soulskill
from the self-warming-feline-nap-station dept.
buss_error writes "I have old TiVo hardware that I'd like to reuse — however, I find in searching that the most frequent reply is: 'Don't cheat TiVo!' I don't want to cheat TiVo — in fact, I'd like to nuke the drive with a completely open-source distro with no TiVo drivers at all. Some uses I think would be interesting: recording video for security cameras or a drive cam; a unit for weather reporting; fax/telephone; a power monitor for the home; or other home automation. I would prefer a completely TiVo-free install — this is because I have major issues with TiVo and don't want the slightest taint of their intellectual property. But, since I paid for the hardware, I'd like to wring some use out of it rather than simply putting it in the landfill."
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Reusing Old TiVo Hardware?

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  • Tried It (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Russianspi (1129469) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @01:25PM (#30023180)
    Wow. I tried it, and the best answer I found was "don't bother". I figured that since the thing runs Linux, it'd be easy enough to repurpose. Boy was I wrong. I'd like to say that I enjoyed messing with it anyway, but the truth is, it was just a pain. All of the important drivers are wrapped up in a huge binary blob, and unusable without the TiVO software. A TiVO is worthless as pretty much anything but a TiVO, unfortunately. Maybe you're a lot smarter than me (a quite distinct possibility), but I didn't get anywhere. If you decide to go ahead anyway, I wish you luck, and a lot more success than I had.
  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Sunday November 08, 2009 @01:29PM (#30023220) Homepage Journal
    The reason you are being rebuked every time you try to do this is because it's exactly the same sort of thing that the crackers use. Even if your use is legitimate, you won't find anybody willing to give you much help unless you go and hang around with the cracker crowd, which may not be the sort of associations you really want to make. What you're asking for shouldn't be impossible, but it won't be easy either. Getting a basic kernel running may not be too bad since Tivo released their kernel modifications back to the community, but using the hardware on the system probably won't be the easiest thing unless you're really lucky and there is already a driver for it.
  • Ebay (Score:2, Interesting)

    by whoop (194) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @02:43PM (#30023924) Homepage

    Scanning Ebay's completed auctions, it looks like that's where my Tivo1 with lifetime subscription is going. It's far too much hassle to try finding some use for it, when I can just pocket $50-100. Now, where did I put that thing??

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @03:24PM (#30024210) Journal

    Genuine question (I'm not being rhetorical): do you consider using hardware you own for personal, constructive purposes ever to be "abuse"?

    The abuse is in the percieved theft of service.
    If you're using a TiVo, as a TiVo, without paying TiVo, you're 'stealing'.

    This is a self-regulating phenomenon that popped up in the TiVo community.
    Much the same way anime fan-subbers will stop distributing online when it comes out on DVD for their language.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 08, 2009 @03:25PM (#30024216)

    How can one "crack" or "rip off" a DVR?

    Typically it means buying the hardware at a discount and then modifying the software to use some sort of alternative TV Guide feed, instead of the TiVo paid subscription service.

    You can argue the merits for or againt, but most Tivo fans with the necessary hardware and software experience want the TiVo company to succeed and will staunchly refuse to help you.

  • by Uberbah (647458) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @07:21PM (#30026268)

    The problem is that repurposing a tivo would require the exact same skills, tools and methods as cheating tivo by stealing their service.

    Then maybe TIVO shouldn't design their hardware so you have to hack it to use it in perfectly legitimate ways.

  • The idea that the 'channel guide' is some valuable thing is stupid anyway.

    We need to get away from the entire model of having third parties provide guides.

    Channels should provide their programming guide. Each channel should, somewhere, have that information in a standard format.

    And a list of the links to those guides should be collected on the cable and sat providers websites, in some format computers and boxes can important them.(And I'm sure someone would provide broadcast lists for major metropolitan areas.)

    Someone makes a damn standard XML format, and the channels would just dump their data straight into it. It's like 20 fucking hours of programming, one time, to publish their damn schedule, and from them on it just works.

    The idea that anyone should ever pay for that data shows how retarded the media companies are in this country. You should want to tell us what's on your channel, you morons, so we can watch it. Because you are too flat-out bone stupid to do that, we have to pay other people to do it for us.

    Can you imagine if other places worked this way? What if each bus had its own schedule that they didn't bother to make public, so we had 'bus guide' companies that would run around peacing the entire system together and changing us whenever it changed?

  • by OrangeCatholic (1495411) on Monday November 09, 2009 @02:36AM (#30029416)
    Exactly. TiVo is so obsessed with being a subscription-model company that they will do ANYTHING to the hardware to keep the subscription model going.

    Two examples:

    The HD box has no general-purpose inputs. That's right. It's a DVR that can't actually record anything. You either use the RF input or you get a CableCard. This is because they don't have to have the DVD companies screaming at them that users are copying movies etc. onto their hard drives.

    Well, this pissed me off so much that I avoided upgrading to an HD box. So you know what TiVo did? They gave me the HD box for free.

    All this, just so they can get my $14/month.

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