So I finally hacked my Tivo.

TivoYeah, I know – about time. :P My used Series 2 has been pretty good to me for about a year now. Just before Christmas we lost power in the middle of some heavy Tivo usage and she didn’t boot right back up. I was sitting at the ‘just a few minutes’ screen for more then a few minutes. I tried hitting the enter key on the remote. I’m still not 100% sure what that’s supposed to do. :| After some time and a reboot – it came back up.

It was a three days before our New Years WRC Party and Christine calls me from home. “The TV is black and the Tivo guy won’t come up.” I have her pull the plug and ‘reboot’ it. Tivo comes back up, but not for long. The morning of the party it takes a black screen nap again. Now I’m worried. I can’t stand just pulling the plug to turn it off, so I reach down and power cycle the UPS.

I know the Tivo is a Linux PC and I know it could be giving me WAY more information then: “Almost there! Just a few minutes…” I think the drive is probably beat, and it’s about time to crack the case anyway. I print out the Hinsdale Guide and download the MFS Tools Boot CD. As long as you can master / slave drives and type – you too can handle this.

The first task was to get the Tivo apart and get an image backup. It took some time to prepare a fat32 drive for where the image would transfer to. I forgot how long it takes a 40GB drive to format in DOS. :D Once the image was transferred, I copied it onto my new Western Digital 160GB. Unfortunately the max drive size the ‘stock’ Tivo can see is 137GB, but at $1.75 a gigabyte it’s not too much of a loss. Plus no drive really formats out to it’s ‘listed’ size, as I have several 112GB “120’s” kicking around.

So now I’m rocking a 136 hour Tivo! :D I removed the /tvbin/modemtest file so it shouldn’t hang at boot anymore, plus I don’t use the modem to connect to the Tivo service. Having a fresh drive to store 5.6 days of programming should make me stop worrying when either Christine or myself decide to grab 2 seasons of something. The next step is to load telnet and some other utilities so that I can monitor drive space and get into some other fun Tivo hacks.

Oh, and one final note: The Speed Channel can suck it. They have no plans to carry WRC this year. This is THE main reason I pay $28 a month for digital cable. I hope OLN can pick up the pace – but I’m not paying $300 a year to watch one week of Dakar… :(

1 thought on “So I finally hacked my Tivo.

  1. The Speed Channel CAN suck it, over not having WRC but also for their Crappy (with a capital C) coverage of motorcycle racing!

    They should just rename the damn thing what it is…the NASCAR channel.

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