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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 Tony Hoyle (11698)

      I looked at it - we only have the S1 in this country and it's so slow and obsololete (single tuner, the generally rubbish video capture and no HD) - even though ironically its EPG is still years ahead of the competition due to Tivo's patent lock - I thought it might be an interesting project. Problem is the CPU is about as fast as the average calculator (16Mhz MIPS IIRC) and the whole binary thing means you can't use anything other than the 2.1.24 kernel to it... so you can't update the userspace (since gl

      • 60 MHz PowerPC, actually. The video processor must be pretty swank to toss images around on screen like that, but yeah, the CPU is useless.

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          60 MHz PowerPC, actually. The video processor must be pretty swank to toss images around on screen like that, but yeah, the CPU is useless.

          It's not that swank. Just a hardware encoder and decoder, and an FPGA that offloads a lot of it.

          But 60MHz isn't terribly slow when you realize the Series 1 is 10+ year old hardware. PCs weren't a lot faster, but they were a lot more expensive.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jj00 (599158)
      I realize I'm late to post, but I couldn't resist putting my 2 cents in. I acquired a free series 2 Tivo from a friend, and tried to use it as a local media server (I already have a directv tivo). I had plans to just use the Tivo desktop software to push my movies and such onto the Tivo, maybe download a few shows via Amazon, play some music through Rhapsody, etc.

      What a pain in the butt. In order to do any of that kind of stuff, you need a "media key". I had to subscribe to activate my Tivo just to b
  • TiVO-IZATION (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 08, 2009 @01:27PM (#30023202)

    Isn't TiVO-ization one of the main reasons why the GPL was updated to v3?

    • by hedwards (940851)
      Well, that and the GPLv2 was picked apart pretty good over the years in a way which was never really expected. Surprisingly enough all that analysis revealed flaws and loopholes which weren't really intended in the first place.

      Whether the v3 is better really depends upon who you are and what you want with the code.
  • 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.
    • by qortra (591818) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @02:17PM (#30023696)

      Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to abuse

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

    • by Lord Bitman (95493) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @02:50PM (#30023972) Homepage

      Okay, I admit right off that I am unfamiliar with TiVo aside from what I've heard mentioned on TV. I don't have a tivo, I don't plan on getting a tivo, I've never actually looked into it.

      However, I was under the strong impression that TiVo was a DVR. How can one "crack" or "rip off" a DVR? What does a TiVo provide which would be something that, if one were able to re-flash a TiVo, "crackers" would be able to use to some disadvantage to TiVo? Is TiVo cracking something which is actually done? What benefits does it have? What makes it "bad" as opposed to just "bad for the company that wants you to keep using its software"?

      • 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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by timothy (36799) Works for Slashdot

          Re: "cracking" / "ripping off" -- 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.

          At least some TiVos (I have one; it's actually a Toshiba/TiVo joint-branded thing, also a DVD player, which I bought 4 or so years ago) were sold w/ lifetime service (lifetime of the device, not the purchaser ;)), rather than subscription.

          timothy

        • by richlv (778496)

          so why not have discount hardware and subscription _agreement_ for some defined period of time ?
          the only reasin against this that i can imagine is some law preventing such agreement clauses that disallow customer to cancel subscription but keep the device.

          i don't own tivo and don't plan to get one (not had a tv at home since it broke 3 months ago), but applying such hardware limitations would surely make me less interested in one if i even was a target demographic.

          • by vux984 (928602) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @04:16PM (#30024642)

            so why not have discount hardware and subscription _agreement_ for some defined period of time ?
            the only reasin against this that i can imagine is some law preventing such agreement clauses that disallow customer to cancel subscription but keep the device.

            Er, this is how cell phones work in the US. You get a phone at deep discounts or even free and sign a multi-year contract. You cancel early you pay through the nose in 'cancellation fees' and the phone is yours to keep. Or you complete the contract and the phone is yours to keep. Nothing illegal about this sort of arrangement.

            However, people don't generally LIKE these contracts and we should hardly cry foul when a company gives you discount hardware without the lock-in, and tries to rely on things like 'good customer service' and 'quality product' to keep its customers.

            • by richlv (778496)

              but there is a lockin, just a different one.
              now, if both are so bad, maybe companies should offer less subsidised hardware... that might make people actually research their options and require some quality hardware.

      • by Dare nMc (468959) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @03:44PM (#30024350)

        It's about the guide data. Tivo would sell a DVR for $199 but charge $5 a month so you could dial into their server monthly to download the guide (and some value added TVGuide stuff.) They also sold identical hardware for $350 that had a lifetime subscription. You could simply alter a few bits on the non-lifetime DVR and re-sale it for a profit as having a lifetime sub. (past tense, since I have no idea what tivo has done in the last 2 years) TIVO did deserve the hack though. They sold lifetime subscriptions for $150. Even on hardware with a service plan, the hardware failed (even under warranty) they would replace the hardware and refuse to update to lifetime subscription unless you paid another $150. This pissed off a programmer so much he went on a mission to avoid paying twice, succeded and shared it with all.

        • by Uberbah (647458)

          Even on hardware with a service plan, the hardware failed (even under warranty) they would replace the hardware and refuse to update to lifetime subscription unless you paid another $150. This pissed off a programmer so much he went on a mission to avoid paying twice, succeded and shared it with all.

          Sounds like grounds for a nice, fat lawsuit as well.

          • by ePhil_One (634771)

            Even on hardware with a service plan, the hardware failed (even under warranty) they would replace the hardware and refuse to update to lifetime subscription unless you paid another $150..

            Sounds like grounds for a nice, fat lawsuit as well.

            Except that the "Lifetime contract was for the lifetime of the hardware, not the lifetime of the person who bought the box. It was in the in the language of the contract he signed.

        • sounds like every other service in the world which requires relatively-specialized hardware... and none of those have this problem.
          If TiVo just lets anyone anywhere dial in, send a "can I have TV listings?" request, and it responds to those requests with "ok, sure", they don't get to complain about people "stealing" their listings any more than a website can complain about someone adding /tomorrow.html to the end of a URL.

          It's not stealing if the server says "you can have it" without you saying "I am bill g

    • by moxley (895517) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @03:45PM (#30024364)

      I think maybe you didn't get what he was asking.

      He isn't asking to "cheat Tivo" or use their service with the box when he is done......He's simply wanting to repurpose the hardware - the attitude that there is something wrong with this seems very out of place around here.

      I could understand if he said he was trying to bypass paying for Tivo, or was somehow going to try to take advantage of the service in some way that isn't kosher; but no, that's not the deal - he just doesn't want to throw away what amounts to a computer...

      I'm fairly interested in this as I have 2 series 2 tivos just laying around, they work fine and I would feel very wasteful just throwing them away......

        - I upgraded to the series 3 (and I like it, and have been happy with the company as well as after I purchased a new HDTV I called them and told that I had owned 2 series 2's and wasn't about to pay $300 or more for an HD box, the deal they gave me was probably one of the best retention offers I've ever received from a company - not only did I get an HDbox for next to nothing, I got several months free and monthly fee reduction of over 40% for life)...

      So I wouldn't ever advocate screwing them - but using perfectly good hardware for your own purposes (when it doesn't rip anyone off) rather than trashing it is something everyone should support - it's the sort of thinking I feel like a lot more people need to get with given the rampant consumerism and it's impact of the world and that people in it....

    • by Eil (82413)

      I ran into this exact same mentality when I started looking into satellite TV. I wanted a solution that I could roll myself, with DVR and the whole bit. It turns out that there's a popular video standard called DVB-S that almost all international satellite providers broadcast in. The hardware is cheap, the video and audio are plain MPEG2. There are lots of DVB tuner cards that go right in your PC and many of them even have Linux drivers.

      The first problem I ran into is that whenever I went asking for informa

      • by Cylix (55374)

        Traditionally DVB streams are of the encrypted variety around Northern America. While there is a steady transition to digital feeds for the cost savings there is still a very healthy analogue infrastructure.

        Many syndicated shows are delivered via this infrastructure in the form of "wild feeds." This changes seasonally and it's always fun to manage when there is a wealth of syndicated content to acquire.

        More recently there has been the push to digital content distribution systems. Pathfire being the predomin

    • by Grishnakh (216268)

      Maybe I'm missing something, but how could anyone even use older TiVo hardware for its intended purpose? If the only signals they understand is standard NTSC, those are now obsolete, as NTSC has been shut off and all stations are now ATSC.

    • by Vellmont (569020)


      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.

      Who are these "the crackers"? Are they related to "the terrorists"?

  • by Akir (878284) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @01:32PM (#30023252)

    Everyone knows that you can't do anything with a tivo. It may be using open-source software, but the hardware checks the software's checksum, and if it doesn't match, it simply doesn't run the software. If you remember, this is a major reason (if not the only reason) why Richard Stallman got all upset and created GPL v3.

    • by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @01:43PM (#30023376)

      It's not the only reason. The American software patent system is, fundamentally, insane unless you're a large corporation that can afford a suite of patents large enough to provide Mutual Assured Destruction for anyone who sues you. But the NVidia kernel drivers, Microsoft's McCarthy-like claim of "47 infringing patents" and the lack of software patents in Europe made software patents important to deal with.

      Similar problems are inherent in Microsoft's Palladium digital rights management system, relabeled "Trusted Computing". The idea that it is for "protection" is naive and not based on looking at how the software works: it's designed to block software, and files, and _hardware_ from working with anything else but vendor authorized components.

    • by syousef (465911) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @03:28PM (#30024236) Journal

      Don't "cheat" TIVO my arse. Aparently the defintion of cheat has become using something you own to do something you want to do. If they have a business model that subsides the hardware, why is that anyone else's problem?

      Seriously, why do people buy a locked down piece of hardware, then wonder why they can't do anything that hasn't specifically been authorised with it? Your solution starts with not buying the damn product in the first place!!!

      Stallman may be a crazy loon that I don't want representing me, but in this particular case he's absolutely right. You shouldn't be allowed to create an abomination like TIVO with open source.

      • by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @03:58PM (#30024472)

        Seriously, why do people buy a locked down piece of hardware, then wonder why they can't do anything that hasn't specifically been authorised with it? Your solution starts with not buying the damn product in the first place!!!

        I my case, it's because I heard Tivo used Linux, and they allowed hackers. Turns out, that's only on the series 1 machines, and some early series 2's. I got a series 2.5.

        This is the case with any business that want's to rent hardware to do a specific purpose. Tivo just decided to avoid the hassles of actually renting it, so they "sell" you a locked down box.

        Anyway, no-one's mentioned it yet, but you can desolder the boot prom, and substitute one that has the checksums bypassed.

        • Anyway, no-one's mentioned it yet, but you can desolder the boot prom, and substitute one that has the checksums bypassed.

          That would be a criminal offense, the DMCA doesn't joke about bypassing securit protections. People like Dmitry Sklyarov [wikipedia.org] have gone to jail for a lot less.

          The only proper place for a TiVo is in the landfill.

          • Bah, updating the PROM doesn't allow you to view the encrypted programs. What it allows you to do is run other code on the box.

            However, you can connect to the web interface on an unmodified Tivo, download the encrypted program, and use tivodecode http://tivodecode.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net], to access the video.
            • It's a technological measure that controls access to the OS binaries, which are copyrighted works. That's all that the DMCA requires to put you in jail.
      • by evilviper (135110)

        You shouldn't be allowed to create an abomination like TIVO with open source.

        BSD is Open Source, and the license is perfectly fine with TIVO's business model.

        The GPL is not Open Source, but "Free Software", Stallman's own term, hence the FSF. In short, it tries to FORCE all software to be free, Open Source does not.

        • The GPL is a license approved by the Open Source Initiative as being Open Source. The BSD license is approved by the Free Software Foundation as being a GPL-compatible Free Software license. There are a few corner cases where it is possible to be Free Software but not Open Source, and vice versa, but almost everything in the real world is either neither or both.
        • by Sir_Lewk (967686)

          The GPL is considered both an Open Source License and a Free Software license. This is one of those "a square is a rectangle but a rectangle is not always a square" situations.

          To back up this statement, please note that the GNU GPL is an OSI approved open source license [opensource.org].

      • Seriously, why do people buy a locked down piece of hardware, then wonder why they can't do anything that hasn't specifically been authorised with it?

        Because they're hackers. Hacking doesn't make any practical or economic sense. There's always some off-the-shelf solution that's less hassle and probably less money.

        Electronic hardware depreciates 50% per year. So it's not very long before all its market value is gone. Does that make old C64s useless? Not to the hackers who are still playing with them 15 years after they were discontinued.

        Now about your headline. "Don't buy TIVO, or any other locked down device". You're making an apples and oranges argument

  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Sunday November 08, 2009 @01:32PM (#30023254) Homepage Journal
    A Tivo without service doesn't just up and die. Rather it loses its guide data but can still be programmed like an old VCR. Having it record from a security cam should be super easy to do, just program 24 different one hour recordings on whatever port the camera is on and let it go. The Tivo will even manage its disk space and everything, removing the oldest recordings as the disk fills up and replacing them with new ones.
    • by RobinH (124750) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @01:38PM (#30023318) Homepage

      Now THAT is interesting. Great idea. The cool thing is that a series 2 can record 2 channels at the same time, so you could have 2 security cameras. You can also use Tivo Desktop to move the videos off to your PC if you wanted longer term storage.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Check it out, but From what I've read, the old TiVo's, the series 1's can do this type of recording like a VCR. The newer ones will shut down that feature.

        I've also heard that if don't let the series 2 or higher TiVo phone home after you delete the account, you might be able to bypass that restriction.

      • by Ichijo (607641) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @02:04PM (#30023592) Homepage Journal

        a series 2 can record 2 channels at the same time

        My Series 2 Tivo can't. You need a dual tuner (DT) TiVo for that.

        • by JWSmythe (446288)

              I think what he's thinking of is the series 2 DirecTiVo. It could record two satellite feeds at once. As far as I know, there was no way to work it's satellite tuners though, so if you weren't using it with DirecTV, it's a brick. I have several TiVo's, including two of the HDVR2's and a few other series 1 and 2's.

          • by fredjh (1602699)

            No, he was just conflating series 2 with 2 tuner; they are different things - you can get a series 2 with dual tuners, but you can get a series 2 with a single tuner, also.

            But the point was that with a dual tuner, you could run two security cams, and it's an interesting idea.

        • by kriston (7886)

          Not even. A Series 2 TiVo is only dual-tuner when one tuner is recording digital cable and the other is recording analog channels, and only when your cable TV system is a hybrid digital/analog. Not FiOS and soon not Comcast, either, and definitely not two analog sources.

    • by kithrup (778358) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @01:55PM (#30023500)

      That's only true for the oldest, Series 1 TiVo's sold before a certain date. After that, TiVo requires service. No service, and no manual recording.

      And, as I recall, it'll also nag you about the lack of service every time you go into the menus.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 08, 2009 @02:02PM (#30023570)

      This is only true of certain very specific models. It's called something like "Tivo Basic". Most Series 2, DirectTV Tivo (aka DirecTivo) and all Series 3 and Tivo HD do not function in this way. Most Tivos will only support watching and pausing live TV without Tivo service.

      • by zoward (188110)

        On top of that, if you had a TiVo box that had TiVo Basic service and upgraded it to full service, there's no way to go back to Basic, so once you got a HD box to replace it with (like I did), the old box is worthless without the service.

  • Some possibilities (Score:5, Informative)

    by cwolfsheep (685385) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @01:32PM (#30023258) Homepage
    *MIPS Debian
    http://www.debian.org/ports/mipsel/ [debian.org]

    * An older thread on video sharing hacking with TIVO boxes
    http://www.dealdatabase.com/forum/showthread.php?t=25139 [dealdatabase.com]

    * Knoppix MythTV
    http://www.mysettopbox.tv/ [mysettopbox.tv]
  • "and don't want the slightest taint of their intellectual property"

    The software is not the only intellectual property. To get about from the evil IP you would have to sell the box on ebay/craigslist/whatever and buy something else instead.

    • Buying any hardware that doesn't have an IP taint is going to be challenging. Those design and or firmware programming of all of those support chips, CPUs, etc.. on most motherboards are all individual little pieces of patented or copyrighted intellectual property. That's also going to be true of the monitor, keyboard and mouse that you use with it.
    • Nonsense (Score:5, Insightful)

      by frovingslosh (582462) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @02:22PM (#30023748)

      Sure there is intellectual Property on the hardware. Just has every AMD cpu based system that you buy contains AMD ip, but that is not a reason to stop one from using it for something other than the original designer intended. He bought the hardware, he is entitled to use it for whatever he wants, and is in no way required to go to that huge on-line fencing operation to get rid of it.

      Perhaps just the opposite attitude would be more appropriate. Since Tivo basically cheated the intent of the GPL by taking their software and building a system that avoided giving back to the community, even to the point of deliberately making their hardware difficult to re-purpose after it reaches its normal end of life, I think the smart thing for an on-line community rich in open source tradition would be to change its slogan from "Don't cheat Tivo" to "They cheated us, go ahead and cheat Tivo if you can keep it legal".

      • I just think it's strange for software guys to draw the line where they do.

        And yea, I don't know where this "don't cheat TiVo" push came from. It certainly doesn't jive with the traditional concept of Hacker Justice.

        • by DavidTC (10147)

          It's because Tivo is so stupid that their 'lifetime subscription' model does not, in fact, actually have a 'lifetime subscription'. Instead the software on 'lifetime subscription' Tivos just doesn't bother to check if you have a subscription.

          Hence the tiniest bit of software hacking on the other Tivos can magically give you a lifetime subscription. (And, presumably, because that software is actually signed by Tivo, said Tivo will have no idea it was actually originally not a lifetime subscription one.)

          Thi

          • It's funny you mention unlocking phones. It's the cell providers that pay for those discounted phones. But when the cell companies stop fucking ripping everyone off every chance they get I'll have some sympathy for them.
            TiVo is just a victim of their own incompetence. The cell industry is just greedy and vicious and is far more deserving of some serious hacker justice.

            The whole use hardware however you want to does have it problems. Take the CueCat for example, we're the ones that bankrupted that company ge

            • by DavidTC (10147)

              Yeah, I don't have a lot of sympathy for cell companies. Unlocking phones is sorta like stealing from the local loan shark. (Actually, loan sharks have more competition.)

              As for the CueCat, a laughably dumb business model is not, in fact, a problem for anyone but the investors.

              The barcode scanner industry is still going fine.

  • check this site (Score:3, Informative)

    by Chewbacon (797801) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @01:38PM (#30023332)
    This is an old site that hasn't been updated in years. I used it a while back when hacking iOpeners was still popular (those were the days!). He sells some equipment for hard disk upgrades and there's some hacking info, specs, schematics, etc. in the forums. www.linux-hacker.net [linux-hacker.net]
  • by flyneye (84093) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @01:39PM (#30023338) Homepage

    A lot like any old computer hardware you can prop open a shed door for airflow or hands free operation while you use both hands to carry in more obsolete crap.

    Upon a bit of reflection, once you have collected enough obsolete crap, you could use some brick mortar and obsolete computers to build a new obsolete materials shed. This should free up your shop to refurbish obsolete crap that you keep planning on, but don't have the room on your bench with which to diddle.
    If you load these old machines with old OpenMosix enabled kernels and ethernet you can crunch numbers and have a heated shop. The only drawback to this, besides blacking out your neighborhood and sending your electric meter dials spinning like a centerfuge is the need to then build another obsolete materials shed.

  • by smitty777 (1612557) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @01:46PM (#30023406) Journal

    Re-program it, and send it back to earth to seek out the maker.

  • If your Tivo has lifetime service then the best use of it is to sell it (working or not) on eBay and recoup your lifetime service cost.
    Otherwise, you're looking at a doorstop. The Tivo (series 1 and 2) are woefully underpowered by today's standards. You're better off buying any reasonably expandable PC made in the past 4 years, add on MythTV and some video capture cards with hardware acceleration.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 08, 2009 @02:37PM (#30023878)

    http://www.dealdatabase.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=46

  • Ebay (Score:2, Interesting)

    by whoop (194)

    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??

  • The drama queen (Score:3, Informative)

    by westlake (615356) on Sunday November 08, 2009 @02:43PM (#30023928)
    I have major issues with TiVo and don't want the slightest taint of their intellectual property.

    Sell it and be done with it.

    • by humina (603463)
      There are 3 tivo version 2 machines at the local goodwill. I was wondering how hackable they were since they were priced so low (so this was the perfect thread). I guess they just turn into landfill without any sort of hacker community, and are just junk in a few years. Repurposing the machines would be great, but I guess the company doesn't see any profit from opening up their hardware.
    • Sell it and be done with it.

      The point is that I don't want TiVO to continue to derive profit from my mistake in ever buying it in the first place. I should have simply said "no" and purchased a more open platform, but I had a weak moment and fell for the siren song of "you don't have to mess with it to get it to work." I tried Mythdora in 2007 and didn't have the hardware to make it work right at the time.

      In other comments, "Don't rip off TiVO" is a mantra uttered by others - it isn't one I share.
      While I w

  • Figure out if there's a JTAG or serial header you can use on the MB and go from there. It's pretty much the only way you would get anything meaningful done.

    Also, the older Tivo's are probably the only ones that would be useful, since they can record analog sources. The digital ones are laced with DRM hardware that would probably make things hell.

  • I have one TiVo I got for $12, and another I got for free. Both series II, one is a dual tuner.

    It turns out both of the models I have require a chip mod for you to be able to do anything at all. There's a guy that sells these, but he doesn't publish much information about them. Alternatively, he'll do if for you at (IIRC) $100 a pop. After that, you can start to put in your own mods, etc.

    About the only widespread hacking information you'll find is on how to increase the disk sizes on your TiVo. As oth

  • Does it currently work, and have a lifetime program guide subscription? If so then sell it and use the money to buy something more general-purpose. If it doesn't have a lifetime subscription, I'd just junk it and find something else. The hardware is a bit specialized to it's task, and if it's a Series 2 then it's processor is a bit underpowered by today's standards. For cheap you could put together a micro-ATX box with an Atom processor based motherboard in it and not have to worry about proprietary hardwar
  • TheSquire (Score:2, Insightful)

    by thesquire (1268220)
    I am amazed at the timidity, childishness and ignorance of some posters on the issue of re-use of a piece of hardware someone paid good money for. There is no "abuse" of TIVO involved, as far as the intent of the original poster is concerned. The word "abuse" is over-used and reflects a politically-correct embracing of the notion of victim-hood that makes me cringe. Someone even went as far as to assert that the phone companies who offer discounted phones as a hook to con suckers into paying grossly exhor

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