Recently in TiVo Category

Amazon Unbox

I admit it, I love Amazon's Unbox program. Just a couple of stories of why I love it.

I have been rather sick much of this week. Being ill, I worked from home almost every day. I have a bad habit of keeping the TiVo going in front of me while I work. I get through lots of TV that doesn't need a lot of attention doing this. Due to spending a lot of time out of the house watching the Red Sox playoff games, I was WAY behind on my TiVos. Well, I transferred a bunch of episodes of Damages from my bedroom TiVo out to the living room and found many of them to be corrupt (I have all sort of issues with FX, need to call Comcast about that). I jumped on Amazon, clicked over to Unbox and quickly told it to send the broken episodes to my TiVo, Within an hour or so I had all three episodes I asked for. So nice and easy.

At the beginning of the TV season, I planned out all the shows I wanted to watch. Sadly, two shows I wanted to watch had other things in their slots, so I wasn't going to be able to watch them. I clicked over to Unbox and checked and they had the shows. Even better, I was able to to ask for a season pass for these shows (at a $0.10 discount per episode!). This means the day after the episode airs on TV, it shows up on my TiVo just like I had downloaded it when it aired (minus the commercials). So very nice.

Lastly, pretty much every weekend they have a sale. Ninety-nine cent movie rentals. I use this all the time. It's usually pretty good newer movies available (seen Disturbia, Blades of Glory and Rise of the Silver Surfer this way in the last few weeks). It's gotten so useful, I am starting to consider getting rid of Netflix. Nice and easy and CHEAP!

So, click below and go get some cool stuff from Unbox!

From CNET:

TiVo goes live with Amazon Unbox partnership

Just went and got this all signed up for and sent the first video to my TiVo. Hopefully when I get home this evening, I will have Little Miss Sunshine sitting on my TiVo waiting for me to watch. Super easy to get this set up and one click downloading to order, so the interface is pretty easy. It would be nice to be able to make a queue of some sort though.

Pretty good terms for a rental too. You get 30 days to watch it, but once you have started it, you must watch it within 24 hours. Also, if you sign up now, you get $15 in videos for free.

Biggest disappointment so far? This isn't something that I could just do as part of my Netflix subscription.

More once I see the other side.

Amazon & TiVo

Announcement from Tivo & Amazon that you will be able to download movies from Amazon to your Tivo for either rental or to buy. Sweet!

Tivo Enhancement: Exception Lists

This is going to be the first in what I hope is a series of enhancements I would like to see TiVo make in the future. Some are annoyances, some are missing features, etc.

So, the first one has to do with TiVo WIshlists. One of the things I have set up is Wishlists for a number of actors. This is an AWESOME feature which is something I really value. The problem? I've seen much of what comes up in these wishlists and I would rather the Tivo not record these things again and again. So, what I would like to see is an exception list within a wishlist. So, something like I want to see everything from Chris Rock, except the Chris Rock Show, which I have seen all of already. Make the exception list something that could have multiple things in it, so if there are multiple movies or whatever I have seen over and over, I can add all of those to the exception list.

So, there's the first one. Hopefully, I will do a few of these in the next little bit.

TV Overload Overload

A few months back, my buddy Keith told me he would be giving me his 50" projection TV. He had gotten a new HD flatscreen and didn't need the huge projection TV anymore. Lucky for him and I, I lived downstairs from him and it was a roll down the hall and a quick elevator ride.

When the new TV arrived, I hooked my old TV up in my bedroom. I just hooked it up directly to the cable line, which in the end gave me about 10 viable channels (not viable being PBS type stations, QVC type stations, foreign language stations, etc).

I'm terrible in that I fall asleep on my couch most nights with the TV on in the background, usually watching something on the TiVo I have seen 100 times before. When I first got the TV in my bedroom, I thought it would be great to getting me to sleep in my bedroom every night. The problem quickly became the 10 channels. Once Jimmy Kimmel ended, there wasn't much on the TV and I would end up flipping for 20 mins and usually ending up on something stupid.

Well, today, I finally began the process to fix that problem. First, I called Comcast and asked them to bring me a second cable box. Since I already have the cable connection, this should be pretty straightforward. And for once, I was lucky and they actually have open appointments for this Saturday. So, on Saturday, the first part will be fixed, I will go from 10 channels to 100s of channels :)

At the same time, 100s of channels could cause even more flipping, which just keeps one up late at night. So, I went through with part 2 of the TV in the bedroom plan and ordered a new TiVo for the bedroom. Now that the hardware is free, this was very quick and easy and most importantly CHEAP.

So, by this time next week, I should have a cable box and a TiVo in my bedroom. This means a) I will be able to record MUCH more programming and second, I will always have something to watch when I fall asleep at night :) Yay for technology :)

Free TiVo

As of today, TiVo hardware is now free!

TiVo announced there new pricing recently and it went in to effect today. There are three plans now. They are:

  • $16.95/month or $469 prepaid with 3-year commitment
  • $18.95/month or $369 prepaid with 2-year commitment
  • $19.95/month or $224 prepaid with 1-year commitment

There are no additional hardware costs with these plans, you just pay a monthly fee. Once I get paid on this week, I plan on ordering a second TiVo for my bedroom. Now, I just need to remember to call Comcast and order a cable box for my bedroom and then I will be good to go.

TiVo HMO on Linux

Spent some time today trying to get a TiVo Home Media Server set up again on my Linux machine, so I could listen to the music on my machine through my stereo.

A while back I had set up byRequest and it had worked ok. I grabbed the latest CVS today and started playing with it.

In a "recent" version (quotes because it hasn't been updated in like 6 months), the developers added something they called transcode. This allows media types other than MP3s to be played via HMO. I thought this was great since a lot of my collection is in FLAC and SHN (from downloaded concerts).

I added information for FLAC in to the configuration file and was ready to go. I figured this would be all I needed to do. Boy was I wrong. It continuosly told me that it could not find a transcode method for the file type.

I hate haven't done any serious C coding in a long time, so this was going to be interesting. I spent a bunch of time adding in debug to spit things out to the log. This showed that the stuff I added in to the configuration file was being picked up. I kept tracing the code until I found where it was setting the transcode method. Put in a debug line here, restarted the server and I got the same error and no debug line. Wait a second!

Went back in to the code and saw that the code I just asked to spit out information was in an IFDEF'ed section. So, I looked for another time this was being called. It wasn't! Eureka! I looked again at the IFDEF and saw it went too long. Fixed the IFDEF and things started working again. Woot!

So, the patch is here: byrequest-noxm-transcode.patch.

Glad I can now listen to all my shows via my stereo without having to burn them out to CDs.

Dear TV ....

Some day, I would hope you would finally figure out that a MLB Playoff or World Series Game will run a lot longer than 3 hours. This is ESPECIALLY true when it's the first game and there are 30 mins of introductions before the actual game.


I set my freakin TiVo to record the times set plus an hour and a half and it STILL went over.

TiVo Coolness

Last time TV had to change their schedule around, TiVo sent out a note and said, go fix your recordings and tell it to re-record things even though the DB said that they were already recorded. With one of the latest updates, it seems like TiVo has gotten smart. On Tuesday, 24 was pre-empted by the President. My TiVo still didn't have updated data and recorded away like it was really on. I remembered on Sunday that I needed to fix the TiVo to re-record the correct showing on Sunday. Well, I went in and TiVo had already set up to do just this! Very cool!

TiVo and it's ignored community

Well, these folks have definitely read The Cluetrain Manifesto: The End of Business as Usual or so it seems from their article How to Ignore Your Best Customers, the TiVo Way (Part 1) Many of the ideas they talk about being good are the things I was thinking about after reading that book. I think I need to find some time to re-focus on some of that and pushing it through to our Sales and Marketing people. A well supported community is much better than trying to constantly support your end users. If someone else can answer the question why not let them? Why not capture all of this knowledge for everyone to see? It's worked so well in open source software, why can't it work everywhere?

TV Schedules

I definitely did not realize how much the TiVo had changed my TV habits until tonight. I got home and was watching some random stuff on TiVo and a little after 9, I was in between shows and looked to see what the TiVo was recording. It was recording 24. Eh? 24 started back up tonight? I didn't even realize. I guess this is just the way TiVo changes how you think about TV. I sure am glad to have some new TV to watch.

TiVo Editing / Exporting

A couple of recent TV shows have reminded me how it would be real nice to have some editing and / or exporting capabilities in the TiVo. Thursday night Jimmy Kimmel had the greatest band in the universe on and then on Saturday, SNL had Dave Matthews on. It would be real nice to just cut the performaces out of these shows and just save them and not the rest of it. Also, it would be even better to be able to then save them off on another system, rather than take up TiVo HD space.

My one TiVo problem

The biggest problem I have found so far is that I have to do too much work. Many people after reading that are probably saying I am crazy, but wait, I will prove this. Yes, TiVo is great for things like Season Passes and Wishlists and things like that, works perfectly. The problem is when I want to record something that doesn't fall under those two categories.

Let's say I see a movie I want to see. What I feel is the correct way for it to work is this. I find the movie using a search and say record this movie. It then tells me, a) Yup, going to record! or b) I can't record that, every opportunity conflicts. If every conflicts, then I figure out what I am going to cancel. The best way for me to do this would be to show me all the possibilities and what will be cancelled on one page. That would make it quick and easy for me to determine what I feel I can miss and can go right ahead and say go and be done.

The problem is that isn't the way it works today. The way it works today is I find a movie, tell it to record the next possible showing, it then tells me it conflicts. I then go back, and go to the upcoming showings list and try and figure out which one is best for me. I have a vague idea of when my TiVo records things, so I take a stab. If there are conflicts with that one, I back up and go through the process again. Now, if a movie (like something new to a channel) is showing 10 times over the next 2 weeks (the amount of data the TiVo stores at once) I could end up going through this process for a long time. The end result could be, I don't have any available times. Now, after already spending 10 minutes going through each of these settings, I have to go BACK through them to find the one which is the least bothersome to the things I really want to see. In the end, I could see myself taking up to 20 or more minutes just to record one movie. Rather obnoxious.

So, TiVo, PLEASE make this easier. This is really the one feature of the TiVo which I really don't like and the solution is rather easy.

Bad MTV, no cookie!

MTV, well, at least this weekend, and maybe always, is not good about descriptions of its shows. This weekend Punk'd was on all the time, since the season premiere was tonight. Well, instead of each episode just said "Practical jokes played on celebrities" or something like that. So, what happened? TiVo taped every single one of them. At points I had 2 and maybe even 3 copies of the same episode saved on the TiVo. Very annoying. So, MTV, if you are listening, ALWAYS send full information out, so that us TiVo users can not overflow our hard drives with the same episode of one of your shows. And while you are at it? Start your damn shows on time. Very annoying to miss the last few minutes of a show because MTV decided to start at 8:33 instead of 8:30.

TiVo Overload

So, last weekend, I was bored and wanting some TV to watch and saw my TiVo really had nothing going on on Saturday or Sunday. Just some stuff at night, but was pretty much staying idle during the day. I figured this was something I should look in to. Maybe I could find some interesting stuff that was on on the weekends.

Since I watch a lot of "normal" TV type shows, I decided I wanted to find more documentaries and things like that. Shows that actually might stimulate my brain rather than just slow it down and allow it to lie idle.

I found a number of shows from channels like The History Channel, Discovery Channel, TechTV, etc. Some things like Modern Marvels, History's Mysteries, random specials, etc.

The side effect of this is the TiVo now is chock full of stuff like this. These shows are on a lot. Late at night, on the weekends, mid-day, etc. Now, this stuff is interesting, but at this point I am suffering from overload. I'd like to use these shows to learn things and find out all sorts of new information. The problem? Watching these shows back to back to back to back is not the easiest thing. Also, these shows are hard to watch while doing other things and I am a great multi-tasker and hardly ever just watch TV without at least having the computer going in the background (like Lyon's Den is on right now).

The one nice part? Since these shows are all in my Season Pass list now, anything that is not a one time special, I can skip, and sometime after 28 days from now, it will pick the show up again and I can watch it then. This is definitely an excellent feature of TiVo.

Tivo and NBC

Just a friendly reminder to all you TiVo users out there. Last week NBC cancelled West Wing (and possibly it's whole Wednesday night lineup) and all of its Thursday night lineup. The problem is, since it was a last minute change, according to TiVo, it has already recorded the shows that are actually on this week. So, what you need to do, is go in to your TiVo and tell it to specifically re-record these shows. Just a heads up!

TiVo Home Media Server on Linux

So, this morning I decided to do some searching on the Net for TiVo Home Media Service for Linux. I figured I should be at least able to find something. Initially I found a page which looked promising, but after looking around some, I saw no work had been done for more than 4 months and that the initial files were never fully realeased. I e-mailed the author and moved on.

Next, I decided to check SourceForge and I found a number of things on TiVo. The one that best fit what I was looking for was byRequest TiVo HMO Server. I compiled it, set up the configuration file and let it go. And now I am able to play the TONs of MP3s I have on my laptop on my TiVo. Now, this doesn't sound all that amazing, BUT, my TiVo is hooked up to my home theater system, which means I can now play anything I have on MP3 on the Home Theater system. Now, that is sweet.

So, anyone else looking to get this working should definitely check out this project.

New Pioneer Toys

Pioneer Electronics - DVD recorders with TiVo - Home

My TiVo just told me all about these. They look freakin sweet. Too bad I don't have $1200 (80 hour) or $1800 (120 hour) laying around to buy one. This would totally complete the TiVo experience for me. I love having it, but how cool would it be to burn off a disc of movies or a discs with whole seasons of shows?

Also, right now I just set up to tape a whole ton of movies over the next week (cleaned my Netflix list of everything that was available on cable) and if I start to run low on space, it would be great to be able to just throw some movies on DVD for a later time.

Now, the real question. What does the MPAA think of this? I would have to assume they are not liking DVD burners in the first place and probably liking it even less that now it is a snap to go from cable right to DVD with a nice interface and all. Though, with the current level of expense that these things are, only hard core video enthusiasts and the all too rich will have these for now, so I guess its not a huge threat just yet, but I would think these things will shoot down in price pretty quickly.

TV Commercials

It just amazes me how intolerant of commercials I have become by having a TiVo. I used to never mind commercials, I used them to throw food in the oven or make a phone call or even practice some guitar. Now, watching live TV (like the Sox games this week), I just want to hit fast forward and get past the commercials.

I just want content, nothing else. I think the Internet and the fast pace of it, along with the amazing amounts of content on demand has changed the way people think. I don't think people have fully accepted TiVo yet, but I think when they do, they will realize how different an experience TV becomes. I was a horrible channel flipper. I also was the king of watching random crap on TV, even if it was a movie I had seen 100 times, just to have the damn thing on in the background or to keep me occupied. Now that I have TiVo, I just have the content I want, always available to me at the pace I want. If I want to doze off in the middle of a show, I just rewind back to where I was. If I get a call and need to head out, I hit pause and come back later. It's pure content on demand. It is much like the web in this respect.

I sometimes think about how people got things done without the Intenet. I actually mentioned this to Chey right before last time I came out. How did people get the weather for a business trip before? They would have to look things up in the paper, which probably didn't have much of an extended forecast. Or else they would have to know someone where they were going. I somehow think that business people don't have friends in every city they travel too. Now? I just go to or Weather Underground.

I guess it's just funny how you can get used to certain things and they can adjust how you think about things without you actually realizing it.

Tivo Story ...


Hmm, I hope this doesn't happen to me. :) But after using some pausing of live TV tonight, I fear it may :)

Tivo Desktop on Linux?

Anyone gotten the TiVo Desktop working under Linux? Wine doesn't seem to like it all that much. Is there another way to share files to home media besides usin the Tivo Desktop? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

The Adventures of TiVo Pt 4

Since I am going away tomorrow and wasn't sure of my neighbor's schedule for the evening (it turns out he will be out all night, so I could have hijacked his TV and phone lines), I decided this morning to bring my TiVo to work. I figured, we have a TV and some analog lines, I can get this puppy up and going and just bring it home, plug it in and be off.

Once the rain slowed some, it was pouring when I got in, I brang the TiVo in to the office. I proceeded to hunt down an analog line and the TV. I hooked the TiVo up, fixed some dialing settings and off it went. I headed to grab some lunch, thinking it would be done by the time I got back. Coming back, it had failed, the call got interupted, damnit! Set it off again and went to do some stuff. About 30 mins later, the call had failed again. Starting to get unhappy and thinking I would be sleeping in the office, I set it off again. This time, it stayed dialed in for a long long time, probably about an hour.

Once done, it said it needed a restart. I restarted the system and it said it was installing new software, YAY! After this, it said it needed to rebuild the database and it would take a long time. Don't you hate it when electronics or computers say a long time? I'm impatient, a long time to me is like 10 minutes. This long time was only about 20 mins (well, it was 20 mins after it started that I checked in on it).

First thing I noticed was that it had a) an option for wireless, b) a mac address for my wireless card. Hot damn! Since I didn't want to have to re-configure the wireless when I got home, I decided not to configure it and just connect to TiVo again (I still needed Home Media and a Program Guide). It connected via the phone, this time for about 10 or 20 minutes. It started processing data which took about an hour and it was done! Just for kicks I dialed in one more time and it had nothing to do. Woo! TiVo read to go.

Now, I have to work for a while longer and try to sit patiently before I can go home and really start hacking on this thing and try to get some information in to it.

The Adventures of TiVo Pt 3 1/2

Well, it looks like the 4-8 hours of processing the TiVo claims it has to do is done, yet I don't see any difference. I was hoping to bring it over to my friend's place this evening, but he is now sick and thinks he was just going to crash. I'm hoping I didn't get him sick by going over there last night. Hopefully he will be better tomorrow and I can get over there and get the 4.0 upgrade and get this damn wireless working, so I can start using this thing.

The Adventures of Tivo Pt 3

OK, now we are getting somewhere. I now have the intial data downloaded to the TiVo. It says its going to take 4-8 hours to process. Once that processing is done, I think I am going to have to take it back to my friend's house and download the latest software (4.X) since I am still only running 3.X and my wireless doesn't seem to be configurable with it yet.

I do now have the IR stuff all working and watching Live TV and switching channels all works well too. Just need to wait for all this data to get loaded in to the system and then we will be on to the next step. Hopefully more updates on this tomorrow (cuz I can't freakin wait to have this thing working).

On to Plan 2

Well, plan 1 has failed. Not paying enough attention to what I read on the web and got a wireless USB net adaptor that won't work until I get up to software version 4. Damnit. Luckily, I just called my neighbor and he is going out this evening, so I am going to go borrow his apartment and phone line for a bit and get this damn thing working. Hopefully I will be all TiVo'ed up by nights end.

I also was BAD at Best Buy. I picked up a Linksys Wireless Broadband Router and a Linksys Wireless USB adaptor. Woops. At least I now have WiFi in the house again.

I guess sick day turned in to technology day.

The Good and The Bad

So, to my great suprise, the buzzer went while I was home sick today. The man said "UPS", so I head down curiously. There was already a box in the entranceway and the nice man was carrying over a big orange box with TiVo written all over it! Yay! Thanks Dad! Dad got me a TiVo for my birthday (as I had asked). 80 hour Series 2. Sweet!

Now the bad. Going through set up, it wants a phone line :( I don't have one. From doing some reading on the web, it looks like I MAY be able to get this going over my broadband, but it means I need a USB ethernet card. Now, the smart idea says, GO GET WIRELESS. I broke my WAP a while back and really would like to get a new one. The problem? A WAP and a USB wireless ethernet adaptor are going to cost some cash, where I can get a wired USB ethernet adaptor for like $30. So, I think for now I am going to have to stay the smart financial route (especially if I am going to go off and buy Home Media :)

So, in my weakened condition, I think I am going to head over to Best Buy and get some supplies. Wish me luck!


Powered by Movable Type 4.25

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the TiVo category.

The Web is the previous category.

Trade Shows is the next category.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.