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Reusing Old TiVo Hardware?

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the self-warming-feline-nap-station dept.

Hardware Hacking 197

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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yes! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30023140)

You can reuse tivo hardware. I mean, you losers reuse your own asshole as a cock socket, so this should be much easier.

Re:yes! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30023162)

I don't know. Most TiVos only have a few ports. I think the biggest is ethernet, but that's probably too small for most people.

Re:yes! +1 Insightful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30024176)

I'd give ya the +1 myself but, I'm probably gonna post more in this thread :)

Re:yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30024768)

I guess you've never met Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda.

Re:yes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30024824)

Well, I did say most.

I just want to say ... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30023172)

Don't cheat TiVo!

Tried It (5, Interesting)

Russianspi (1129469) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

WHO TAGGED THIS HARDHACK? IT IS _NOT_! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30023466)

Uhm.....NOT a hardhack. A hardhack involves hardware modification to the hardware at a nontrivial level. How is this then a hardhack?

Re:WHO TAGGED THIS HARDHACK? IT IS _NOT_! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30023508)

Probably some idiot who couldn't even figure out how to post a reply in the right thread.

Re:WHO TAGGED THIS HARDHACK? IT IS _NOT_! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30023606)

Because if you succeed you are hard. And people won't fuck with someone who's HARD. So you have to get hard.

Re:WHO TAGGED THIS HARDHACK? IT IS _NOT_! (-1)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 4 years ago | (#30023756)

I, for one, usually fuck when I'm HARD.

Re:WHO TAGGED THIS HARDHACK? IT IS _NOT_! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30023936)

I, for one, usually masturbate when I'm HARD.

There, fixed that for ya.

Re:Tried It (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | more than 4 years ago | (#30025068)

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 glibc is tied to the kernel version) and basically it's stuck being what it is.

I also hit the 'not paying tivo = theft' thing even though nobody in this country pays tivo any more - the remaining working tivos are pretty much all lifetime sub... and can be had for £50 from ebay anyway so you'd be stupid to get a sub.

Re:Tried It (1)

Bitmanhome (254112) | more than 4 years ago | (#30027110)

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.

TiVO-IZATION (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30023202)

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

Re:TiVO-IZATION (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#30024098)

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.

Re:TiVO-IZATION (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30025420)

Whether the v3 is better really depends upon who you are and what you want with the code.

The GPLv2 should probably die. I've read the objections to v3, but they're all the kind of we-love-giant-corporations-who-fuck-us-over scenarios. Such people should make things simpler and just use MIT, which is a fine choice anyway.

Don't cheat TiVo! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30023210)

'nuff said.

Re:Don't cheat TiVo! (1, Insightful)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 4 years ago | (#30023516)

'nuff said.

That sounds as useful as "don't snitch."

Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to abuse (4, Interesting)

jandrese (485) | more than 4 years ago | (#30023220)

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.

You want the truth??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30023438)

YOU CANT HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!!

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (5, Insightful)

qortra (591818) | more than 4 years ago | (#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"?

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (1, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 4 years ago | (#30024210)

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.

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30024458)

but it's not the same as that at all, fan subs are copyright infringement. this is just a bunch of morons who so love corporatism that they cannot see the difference between not buying something and stealing from the seller.

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (5, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 4 years ago | (#30024598)

The only way you would be stealing (theft of service) is if you were feeding off Tivo's TV guide listing service without paying for it. If you can find a way to use a free listing service on a TiVo there is NO moral/ethical conflict.

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (5, Insightful)

KC1P (907742) | more than 4 years ago | (#30024726)

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.

I totally don't get it, unless people are talking about the guide data (which of course makes sense). I bought my TiVo when they first came out -- it was $400 and it belongs to ME. I didn't have to promise to buy their service to get the box at that price, and I never did -- I already know what channels all my shows are on, so I just use it as a plain DVR and program it by hand. How am I a criminal? Now I just wish the damn thing knew about the new daylight savings rules, or at least had a way to set the clock short of pulling out the hard drive and adding a command to the startup script (the RS232 port has never worked). Plus it would be nice to make it stop giving an error screen every time I go to the main menu, badgering me to buy the service. Why is it considered sacrilege to ask how to deal with that, on an expensive box that I already paid for?

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 4 years ago | (#30024826)

If you're using a TiVo, as a TiVo, without paying TiVo, you're 'stealing'.

Absolutely, positively false.

I personally own a Toshiba-branded TiVo series 2 box, which came with free lifetime basic service (which essentially means the channel guide and nothing else, but that works for me just fine).

I have never paid a dime directly to TiVo (though no doubt Toshiba paid some form of licensing fee), and use one of their their products 100% legitimately. I do note, however, that they appear to no longer offer their "basic" service, nor any "lifetime" terms - Their loss, because I will never buy another box from them (and really, I would upgrade at this point, what with no digital or HD support in my box; but as TiVo clearly doesn't want to sell to me, I will probably end up screwing around with Myth again in a year or two instead, and have a lot more motivation this time to make it work as I want).


That said, if you remove the channel guide from that (and yeah, I know about the "advanced" features like remoting and such, but I've never found myself "needing" to watch a recorded show anywhere but home), what does TiVo really sell? If you turn their box into a time-based (rather than content-based via the channel guide) digital VCR, you've "stolen" absolutely nothing. They sold you hardware, you used it in a way they might not like but don't really have any right to complain about (again, key point, without using any of the features of their subscription). See :CueCat for a preemptive rebuttal to any arguments to the contrary.

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (1)

justinmikehunt (872382) | more than 4 years ago | (#30025354)

They do still offer a lifetime service. I believe it costs $400.

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (1)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 4 years ago | (#30025640)

You are quite correct. I bought 2 Tivo's about 3 years ago when there was a rumor of the end of lifetime service. They keep trying to sell me a new HD box, and I'd like to buy, but they either don't offer transfer of my lifetime, or they want another $300 or so.

So as much as we like the Tivo, it's not cost effective over Verizon's DVR.

I would like to turn them into time-based recorders, but the rational thing to do is sell these boxes to someone for $300 each (the subscription can be transferred).

It's crazy how the Tivo crowd thinks that unless you're paying Tivo a monthly fee that somehow you're not doing the right thing.

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (2, Informative)

BillX (307153) | more than 4 years ago | (#30025786)

If you're using a TiVo, as a TiVo, without paying TiVo, you're 'stealing'.

No, you're not. If you paid $ for a piece of hardware, that's your hardware. Perhaps you mean attempting to access TiVo's schedule/listing service with an unofficial client, or otherwise outside the terms of its contract. Alternate, platform-neutral and OSS-friendly listings services do exist, try http://www.schedulesdirect.org/ [schedulesdirect.org] .

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 4 years ago | (#30026968)

>>>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.

Did I just step into the novel called 1984? Jeez. "If you are suspected of doing something illegal your neighbors, or even your own children, will report you. The government will investigate."

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (1)

Dputiger (561114) | more than 4 years ago | (#30024268)

If I use my genuine, personal hardware to do something illegal with a legal program, I am using the hardware in an illegal/abusive way. I'm not equating legality and use/abuse, but it's not hard to see how the freedom to use any given device legally often opens abusive or illegal options.

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (1)

Uberbah (647458) | more than 4 years ago | (#30026332)

If I use my genuine, personal hardware to do something illegal with a legal program, I am using the hardware in an illegal/abusive way.

What illegal action? He's not downloading child porn, distributing copies of software, or hacking government databases, so your point doesn't seem relevant.

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (5, Insightful)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 4 years ago | (#30023972)

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"?

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (3, Informative)

timothy (36799) | more than 4 years ago | (#30024360)

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

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (1)

richlv (778496) | more than 4 years ago | (#30024484)

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.

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (3, Informative)

vux984 (928602) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30025764)

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.

What's Popcorn Hour have to do with this? I thought we were discussing TiVo?

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30024624)

I own two TiVo's, and If I could help you, I would. But both of mine work and so I haven't even cracked the case.

TiVo has zero to fear from Hackers I think.

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (3, Informative)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (1)

Uberbah (647458) | more than 4 years ago | (#30026286)

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.

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (1)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 4 years ago | (#30026452)

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.

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (4, Insightful)

moxley (895517) | more than 4 years ago | (#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....

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (1)

mikep554 (787194) | more than 4 years ago | (#30024460)

The problem is that repurposing a tivo would require the exact same skills, tools and methods as cheating tivo by stealing their service. Short of personally knowing the requester, there isn't a real good way to distinguish the hacker (repurposing) from the cracker (stealing service).

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (1)

LocalH (28506) | more than 4 years ago | (#30024886)

I bet you conflate backing up legally acquired movies and games for personal use only with piracy, right?

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (1)

mikep554 (787194) | more than 4 years ago | (#30025644)

No, I don't, I believe that falls under acceptable use. I don't neccessarily agree with the "Don't hack your Tivo" attitude either. I'm just trying to bring some clarification as to why the "don't steal from Tivo" folks try to also clamp down on the "repurpose my Tivo" folks.

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (2, Interesting)

Uberbah (647458) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (1)

Monolith1 (1481423) | more than 4 years ago | (#30025042)

unless you go and hang around with the cracker crowd, which may not be the sort of associations you really want to make

Who let this guy in here!!

Re:Sorry, what you're asking for is too easy to ab (1)

Eil (82413) | more than 4 years ago | (#30025058)

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 information in satellite forums, I got yelled at. A lot. It turns out that there's a subculture of individuals in the satellite scene who trade information on cracking the encryption for Dish Network and some Canadian provider. Apparently these two networks use (or used to use?) standard DVB hardware and bolt some kind of weak encryption on top. Out of curiosity, I checked into this a little but and found that they were a pretty hypocritical group: they create tools and hardware to crack Dish Network's encryption so that they can watch premium TV for free, but have a huge problem with other people sharing the same information or cloning their work. One of the most popular forums actually charged a subscription fee for firmware updates to grey-market boxes. (The firmware updates contained "fixes" whenever Dish would change their encryption.)

The TL;DR summary: satellite crackers are about as far away from the actual hacker scene as you can get.

The second problem I ran into is that there's little genuinely free DVB content in the American hemisphere. Except for home shopping and religious channels, the NASA channel is about it. On the other side of the world, you have a lot more options. Once I found this out, I kinda lost interest in the whole thing.

They call it Tivoization. (5, Informative)

Akir (878284) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:They call it Tivoization. (5, Informative)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Don't buy TIVO, or any other locked down device (5, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30024236)

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.

Re:Don't buy TIVO, or any other locked down device (4, Informative)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:Don't buy TIVO, or any other locked down device (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 4 years ago | (#30026024)

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.

Re:Don't buy TIVO, or any other locked down device (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30025378)

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.

Re:Don't buy TIVO, or any other locked down device (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30026176)

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.

Re:Don't buy TIVO, or any other locked down device (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | more than 4 years ago | (#30026800)

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] .

Re:Don't buy TIVO, or any other locked down device (1)

justinmikehunt (872382) | more than 4 years ago | (#30025396)

I agree completely. I don't see what the difference is between owning a tivo, without using the tivo service, and owning a cell phone and having it unlocked and using on a different carrier...

The security cam recording might be easy (5, Informative)

jandrese (485) | more than 4 years ago | (#30023254)

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.

Re:The security cam recording might be easy (4, Informative)

RobinH (124750) | more than 4 years ago | (#30023318)

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:The security cam recording might be easy (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30023510)

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.

Re:The security cam recording might be easy (3, Informative)

Ichijo (607641) | more than 4 years ago | (#30023592)

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.

Re:The security cam recording might be easy (1)

radiosac (1364217) | more than 4 years ago | (#30023780)

don't forget you'll have to modulate the two channels if you are going in through the RF connection

Re:The security cam recording might be easy (5, Informative)

kithrup (778358) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:The security cam recording might be easy (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:The security cam recording might be easy (1)

zoward (188110) | more than 4 years ago | (#30024354)

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.

Re:The security cam recording might be easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30024818)

Does that mean Tivo (it's new here) are going to eventually REMOVE features they're offering here down under!?

http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/tivo-partners-with-bad-boy-isp-telstraclear-sticks-with-sky-tv-114659

"TiVo, by contrast, already lets its users view almost any unportected photo or video or music content held on their PC on their TV, via a wi-fi connection - or copy TiVo content to a PC, PlayStation3 or iPhone."

Re:The security cam recording might be easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30023876)

my tivo won't do that , all that it will do is allow a 30 minute pause

Some possibilities (4, Informative)

cwolfsheep (685385) | more than 4 years ago | (#30023258)

*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]

Re:Some possibilities (5, Informative)

cesman (74566) | more than 4 years ago | (#30023804)

* Knoppix MythTV

http://www.mysettopbox.tv/ [mysettopbox.tv]

As the creator of KnoppMyth (now LinHES), I can tell you that KnoppMyth doesn't work on a TiVO (neither does LinHES).

Warm regards,

Cecil

Re:Some possibilities (1)

cwolfsheep (685385) | more than 4 years ago | (#30023920)

Thanks for letting us know! Maybe someone will figure out a similar app for such hardware. (sees previous posts on Tivoization) that may be difficult...

Re:Some possibilities (1)

cesman (74566) | more than 4 years ago | (#30026856)

You're welcome. I'd love to get KnoppMyth/LinHES working on as much hardware as we (development team) can. However with the source (and an unrestricted license), this isn't possible for many devices.

Re:Some possibilities (3, Funny)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30024238)

I saw a post on Slashdot that said it did though!

TiVo has IP all over the place (2, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 4 years ago | (#30023264)

"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.

Re:TiVo has IP all over the place (1)

Tangential (266113) | more than 4 years ago | (#30023668)

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.

Re:TiVo has IP all over the place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30023852)

He said that he didn't want the slightest taint of *TiVo's* intellectual property. Even Linux is covered by copyright and licensing.

Nonsense (4, Insightful)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 4 years ago | (#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".

Re:Nonsense (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 4 years ago | (#30024872)

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.

check this site (3, Informative)

Chewbacon (797801) | more than 4 years ago | (#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]

Open Use that Cheats No One (5, Funny)

flyneye (84093) | more than 4 years ago | (#30023338)

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.

Name it V'GER (3, Funny)

smitty777 (1612557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30023406)

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

Re:Name it V'GER (2, Funny)

cloudscout (104011) | more than 4 years ago | (#30024992)

Why have two carbon units entered T'VO?

Do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30023552)

Give me your old TiVo.

Don't bother. (1)

dudeman2 (88399) | more than 4 years ago | (#30023828)

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.

Only one site for Tivo Series 1 hacks... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30023878)

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

Ebay (2, Interesting)

whoop (194) | more than 4 years ago | (#30023924)

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 (2, Informative)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#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.

Re:The drama queen (1)

humina (603463) | more than 4 years ago | (#30024922)

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.

Best way to start (1)

Bruha (412869) | more than 4 years ago | (#30024368)

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.

Me too (1)

mrslacker (1122161) | more than 4 years ago | (#30024514)

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 others have noted, TiVo supporters are fiercely in support of the company.

Probably my only options now are to reuse the HDs, DVD-R and perhaps the remote (my MythTV one's buttons have their labels wearing off). Plus, the TiVos are not HD, which means they are now perhaps of limited interest to me.

Ultimately, my MythTV machine is much more flexible, although HD/cable recording with firewire remains a joke. Getting an HD-PVR might my the best bet here to link up to it.

Don't cheat Tivo! RIAA/MPAA take note! (1)

itsHenry (1444377) | more than 4 years ago | (#30024806)

Isn't it interesting that Tivo [tivo.com] has such a loyal crowd! I own three Tivos [tivo.com] and I pay for service for two of them (the third is not connected). I wouldn't consider hacking my Tivo [tivo.com] to avoid paying. Tivo [tivo.com] has developed such a loyal following by being user friendly to it's users and trying to give them what they want that you are you can get kicked off and banned from forums for discussing it.
Sounds like the RIAA [riaa.org] should hire Tivo to do it's PR work. :)

Way to go Tivo [tivo.com] . I love my Tivos [tivo.com] . Can't wait until next year. I'm getting a HD Tivo! :)

Repurpose? Resell! (1)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 4 years ago | (#30024850)

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 hardware.

A lot like App£e... (1)

KillShill (877105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30024890)

in that cultists support an anti-consumer DRM'd product to their own detriment.

Education is the only answer to people who think defending corporate rights over their own is a good idea.

Not really... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30024990)

What about the iPhone jailbreaking community? Or the AppleTV hacking community? Or even the Hackintosh community? TiVo has nothing like these, and instead, any sort of hacking is extremely underground and frowned upon by most users. If you jailbreak your iPhone, other iPhone users generally have no problem with it.

Part of Why People are Stupid. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30025720)

I run into this a lot in quite a variety of circumstances. If you attempt to do anything outside of the norm, use anything for any non-standard purpose, you are assumed to be breaking the rules are to be corrected.

Most people are not concerned with what things can do. They are concerned with what they are told they do. What they are told it does is a rule. People that attempt to circumvent that rule are out of line. (...and, probably up to no good.) And, since someone is asking about it, are not asking if it is possible, or how, but rather, if they should break the rule. And, they should not.

So, the would be preachers preach the rule to the heathens, rather than actually answering the damn question. It is not like they would know anyway: They do not care if such things are possible; so, they have no interest in actually learning nor remembering if they even are, much less how.

Easy (1)

soundguy (415780) | more than 4 years ago | (#30025920)

If you can't get the serial port working on a series 1, you probably didn't follow the instructions. Once you are in, the Tivo recording/scheduling stuff can be ignored, but you need the userland Tivo binary (I think it's called "mother") running to manage the stored files. You can make the hardware sing and dance by "echoing" hex values to various s2c bus addresses. I experimented with this years ago and was able to initiate recordings, switch the video input between the tuner, component, and s-video ports, switch the audio between the tuner and the line inputs, etc. I probably should dig up all those old notes since I have 4 series 1 boxes that are now mostly obsolete for analog TV.

Originally, you needed to set up the box for satellite or cable-with-a-box so the line inputs (channel 0) were used. That still works fine if you don't want to get inside and mess around on the s2c bus. You can then just schedule a round-the-clock series of recordings on channel 0 and plug in a security cam.

IIRC (it's been a decade or so) the series 1 has a 53mhz PowerPC CPU, 16 megs of DRAM, a proprietary GAL chip that handles the hardware and emulates an IDE controller, and a Sony video encoder chip. The Series 1 is actually pretty much just the original Sony set-top box reference platform with an added Tivo identity chip so they can lock the membership to that hardware. To do a complete rewrite without any Tivo software, you'd need to dig up the original developer's kit and use those drivers. I guess you could write your own drivers from the technical reference if you were so inclined.

Personally, I think it's a lot easier to just use any old x86 box and a USB or ethernet cam.

Dump that trash. (1)

JakFrost (139885) | more than 4 years ago | (#30026346)

I have a Series 1 DirecTiVo and it's gathering dust in a box ever since I tried to sell it off on eBay early this year and had TiVo shutdown two of my eBay auctions on me, even after I complied and tried to sell it without the access card. Everything in the TiVo is legit and the access card is original. The only upgrades that I made to the box was to install a network card in it so that I could get guide data downloads without a phone line that I no longer have in the house. I canceled my DirecTV with TiVo service last year because of this and also because I got tired of TV.

eBay and their Vero system is full of crap about checking authenticity. They complained about selling the box with their Intelectual Property and sent me a nasty e-mail about the access card. So I re-listed it again without the access card and still got shutdown with a warning that a third violation will close my eBay account. My next step was going to be to file a federal lawsuit against eBay and TiVo for preventing me from re-selling my own bought property under the right of first sale but I got busy around the house and never filled out the paperwork.

Forget the TiVo, forget eBay Vero, they suck.

Buy yourself a $70 USD Intel Atom 330 motherboard with Dual-Core 1.6 GHz x86 compatible processors and 1Gbig NIC with 2-SATA, 1-PATA, and 1-DDR2 DRAM slot and go crazy with it. I did just the thing with Elastix PBX. The cost savings in power and frustration will pay for any money you save with that obsolete 8-year TiVo!

Why play with the TiVo (1)

masshuu (1260516) | more than 4 years ago | (#30026384)

While it will mean forking out more money, you could spend $300 and get a shuttle or somthing like it off of newegg or some other store and not worry about the TiVo, best part is once you buy it an load mythTV on it, all you have to do is play for your TV service. You could later make a file server with 10 TB of storage and stuff it in a closet or basement or something later, so you can store more shows.

Look here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30027010)

tivoza and oztivo

Both sites will help you understand what is involved in doing what you ask.

Nuff said.

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