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TiVo Hacking Book to be Released 139

weaknees writes "Wired News reports that O'Reilly press has book in the works loaded with TiVo Hacks. The author, an MIT guy, is collecting 100 hacks for TiVo, but is shying away from the most controversial hacks.... The brief article points out that the most avid TiVo hackers seem intent on respecting TiVo's interest in having hackers stay away from things like subscription theft and video extraction."
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TiVo Hacking Book to be Released

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  • Video extraction? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 01, 2003 @10:21AM (#6089910)
    "away from things like subscription theft and video extraction"

    What is wrong with video extraction? No doubt this book will be bypassed for web sites, and possibly other books that don't overlook this important and entirely reasonable "hack".
    • Re:Video extraction? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by LostCluster ( 625375 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @10:35AM (#6089972)
      What's wrong with video extraction is that it would expose TiVo to the ReplayTV-like lawsuits from the media industry.

      TiVo tries to be all things to all people, being cozy with both the media industy and users who want to control their TVs at the same time. It's quite a tight rope to walk...
    • Re:Video extraction? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AKnightCowboy ( 608632 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @10:54AM (#6090052)
      What is wrong with video extraction? No doubt this book will be bypassed for web sites, and possibly other books that don't overlook this important and entirely reasonable "hack".

      Not to mention by the time the book hits the shelves all the "hacks" will probably be patched by TiVo and you're left with basically an obsolete historical look at TiVo hacking. Should be a good book to alert the TiVo management to fixing bugs in their OS that let you hack it. I'm continually amazed that people continue to buy these things with the intent to modify them to do something the company doesn't intend them to do and is adamantly against. Build a MythTV box instead and quit supporting closed source corporations.

      • Re:Video extraction? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Eight 01 ( 614650 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @11:06AM (#6090099)
        You aren't very familiar with Tivo. They not only don't close hacking loopholes, but seem to even encourage them.
        For instance, a hardware hacker created a NIC card for the first generation Tivo that allows you to telnet in and schedule recordings and do other things. TiVo included his driver in the latest release of the software that is automatically pushed to all Tivos, so that by changing the dialing prefix in the Tivo software it will use the NIC to obtain guide data (rather than the analog modem that is built in).

        Furthermore, building a box that does the equivalent of the Tivo will cost in excess of $600 dollars (keep in mind that Tivo does high-quality buffering of all video, so it requires high-quality real time compression). A VIA CPU and an all-in-wonder TV tuner won't work.

        You can get a lifetime subscription Tivo for hundreds less than building a Myth TV or FreeVo box.

        Of course if building the box and fiddling with scripts is most of the fun, the FreeVo/MythTV box is the better deal :)
        • mod parent up. Eight 01 definitely knows what he is talking about. TiVo has done a fabulous job in "leeking" information to the TiVo hacking community. If anything, they are in this *with* us, if not officially (or publicly) so.

      • Re:Video extraction? (Score:4, Informative)

        by ethaz ( 413842 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @11:13AM (#6090121)
        Many of the common Tivo hacks (hard drive expansion, ethernet connections and web interface) are NOT opposed by Tivo. In fact, Tivo even includes support for ethernet connections in Series 1 machines, which do not have Tivo provided ethernet capability. (Series 2 machines have USB ports and can use USB ethernet adapters). To say that "something the company doesn't intend them to do and is adamantly against." is just flat out wrong and indicates that the writer is not at all familiar with Tivo.

        There is a problem with video extraction in that it represents another battlefield in Big Media's attempt to turn back the clock to the days before Betamax. I wish Tivo would fight them on this but (1) Big Media owns pieces of Tivo and (2) we all can see what fighting Big Media did to Replay. I can hardly criticize Tivo for not wanting to commit suicide.

        • the good thing is that Tivo supports "out-to-vcr" out of the box....soooooo all you need is to have a dvd recorder and you can put the vidoe out to that rather than a tape(though if the show ot movie were that important that you want to archive it rather than time shift it a VHS tape should be fine)
    • Re:Video extraction? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I'm not aware of any hacks that allow "subscription theft". I am aware of hacks that allow you to load your own guide data, which makes a tivo subscription reduntant.

      I hope loading your own guide data isn't considered "subscription theft" now.
    • What is subscription theft?

      Is subscription theft is buying a TiVo and then hacking it to use free TV listings off the web so you don't need to pay TiVo the $250 upfront or the $15(?) a month charge? If so how does that differ from buying a Xbox and then using it to run Linux and not the games that MS makes its profits off of?

      Breaking in the TiVo servers to download the listings or even using them via another person is another matter but I don't think that's what is being described here.

      Is it just MS vs.
  • video extraction (Score:3, Interesting)

    by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @10:22AM (#6089913) Homepage Journal
    Obviously I understand the reasons for being against subscription theft, but video extraction seems perfectly legal, and there are already recorders out there that will do it (and a new Panasonic that burns to DVD).

    I guess Lessig was right, if each new invention dealing with the media needs to be vetted by incumbent powers in the courts it's really going to kill progress.
  • 100 hacks (Score:3, Informative)

    by 00_NOP ( 559413 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @10:22AM (#6089914) Homepage
    Seems O'Reilly are publishing a series of these. I heartily recommend their Linux Server Hacks book, btw. There is a Google one too - anyone care to comment on that?
  • Video Extraction? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by crow ( 16139 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @10:24AM (#6089925) Homepage Journal
    I thought video extraction was one of the most popular hacks, not something people made an effort to stay away from. Certainly in the ReplayTV crowd, video extraction is one of the most popular hacks, right up there with drive upgrades.

    And unlike bypassing subscriptions, it's not something that is going to cost TiVo money, so I don't see why they would be concerned by it.
    • Re:Video Extraction? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Baumi ( 148744 )
      Extraction isn't exactly a hack in ReplayTV, is it? I've never touched one of those boxes, but from what I've read, I thought that it's an actual feature. (Albeit one that might soon bite the dust due to the MPAA getting things their way.)
      • by crow ( 16139 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @10:32AM (#6089960) Homepage Journal
        On ReplayTV (with the 4000 and up models), there is a feature allowing you to send shows to other units, and another to stream video to another unit. Because the send show feature can go to any unit over the Internet, this is one feature that they're being sued over.

        The hack portion of it is a bit of software you run on a computer that emulates the ReplayTV protocol, allowing you to send shows to and from a PC. This allows you to burn archival copies, as well as to effectively use the PC's hard drive for additional show storage. Running that software would be considered a "hack" as it was independently developed and not officially supported by ReplayTV.
        • Ah, that clears things up a bit. Thanks.
        • by pmcneill ( 146350 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @11:27AM (#6090187)
          This isn't entirely correct. SonicBlue was being sued over two features: Internet Video Sharing and Commercial Advance. IVS is a distinct feature from in-home sharing, running at a much slower speed and utilizing a custom DNS like service to locate remote replaytvs. It also creates a local copy of the file. Streaming doesn't create a local copy and occurs at full speed (obviously). DVArchive, a popular program, acts just like a ReplayTV, so it's capable of both receiving shows (which are saved rather than played), and streaming the saved shows back to the actualy ReplayTV. AFAIK, the streaming functionality has never been in question.
        • DVArchive [] Very nice tool.

          Replay believes it a ReplayTV. So you push shows or pull shows. Allows you access to unlimited storage.

          It is JAVA based so work about every where.

          Other cool features include remote control of a ReplayTV. So do can run a video cable from the replay in one room to another and still turn it on/off change stations by using a a local PC.

          Though playing the video stream is easier.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 01, 2003 @10:30AM (#6089950)
      The unspoken(?) deal is that if the Tivo hackers don't mess with video extraction/stealing services, Tivo will continue to be lenient and less restrictive with their box. If that bond gets broken, you can say goodbye to backdoors, 30 second skips, etc.
      • goodbye to Tivo (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        "If that bond gets broken, you can say goodbye to backdoors, 30 second skips, etc."

        There is no reason at all to get worried over video extration. More and more will say goodbye to Tivo (unless they can hack and put back in the 30 second skips!)
        • Hardly. More and more people TiVo purchasers (DirecTV has been pushing their combined boxes hard for a while now) are NOT technically-oriented users, i.e., 99% of America's consumers. The other 1% (Slashbots, geeks, whatever you choose to call them) will not make a sizable dent in TiVo's revenue stream, I'd wager.
        • More and more will say goodbye to Tivo (unless they can hack and put back in the 30 second skips!)

          Its always interesting to see the non-Tivo users reactions to these stories, they are usually so off base to the real world.

          I enabled my 30 second skip once. Its novelty wears off quick, and realisticly it doesn't save much time. You wind up going to far and trying to back up to the begining of the show, which burns the few seconds you save. Besides, it takes over the "advance" button, which I'd much rathe

      • Re:Video Extraction? (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        >The unspoken(?) deal is that if the Tivo hackers don't mess with video extraction/stealing services, Tivo will continue to be lenient and less restrictive with their box.

        Sounds like this could be a great way for a competitor (hint ReplayTV hint) to put TivO on the coals. And considering that TivO is mostly used by geeks, they might find that this puts them out of business sooner (their massive debt being the thing that will put them out of business later).
      • Yeah, well, too late for that. TiVo has completely locked down the Series2 model, so much for an 'unspoken deal.' The Series2 uses public key cryptography to restrict the software you can run on it. The backdoor code hasn't been found for either OS 3.2 or OS 4.0. I love my TiVo, but it will be my last - by the time it's obsolete, I'm sure there will be an affordable, open, DVR.
    • Re:Video Extraction? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by GregGardner ( 66423 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @11:34AM (#6090233) Homepage
      I don't know why Tivo is concerned with video extraction on the Standalone (normal) Tivos since the signal is being endoded digitally from an analog signal inside the Tivo. So it isn't a perfect digital copy and is exactly what you can do with a PC with a TV tuner/Video In/MPEG encoder card.

      However, the DirecTivos (DirecTV/Tivo combo boxes) store the digital signal straight off the satellite. Therefore you are getting a high quality pure digital signal encoded for you by DirecTV and therefore I can see why DirecTV is concerned about it with respect to the DMCA.

      The steps to extract video is almost exactly the same for both Tivos and DirecTivos, so you can't talk about doing it for one without pretty much telling you how to do it for the other. Therefore it is a forboden topic on the most popular Tivo hacking site [] and often someone asks why it is forbidden to talk about extraction there quite often []. Bottom line is that the owners of that forum (AVS Forum) don't want to get in trouble so they don't allow it.
      • "I don't know why Tivo is concerned with video extraction on the Standalone (normal) Tivos since the signal is being endoded digitally from an analog signal inside the Tivo."

        Personally I can't tell the difference between the signal straight off my set-top box and the TiVo 'Best' quality setting.

        It may have once been analogue[1] if you have an analogue feed, it's certainly a lossy encoding, but it's digital and high-quality once it's in there. J. [1] I'm English.

    • And unlike bypassing subscriptions, it's not something that is going to cost TiVo money, so I don't see why they would be concerned by it.

      It could cost TiVo plenty, if the greedy-bastard "content producers" sued them. If TiVo weren't so afraid of those litigious dinosaurs, ethernet would've been standard on the Series 1 boxes, and there would be TiVo-sanctioned/produced software that let you pull any recording off the TiVo with a mouse click or two, and put it on your computer's hard drive in an easily-editable format. Computer companies would probably be selling their own branded TiVos, and would be fighting tooth and nail to develop the best software with which to extract and manipulate the video. Frankly, I think easy recording extraction directly into iMovie or iDVD is the missing link from the Home Media Option that TiVo has cooked up with Apple.

      You wonder why video extraction is verboten, you can thank people like Jack "The VCR is the Boston Strangler" Valenti and Jamie "Going to the bathroom during commercials is stealing" Kellner-- and their lawyers.

    • by frovingslosh ( 582462 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @12:34PM (#6090539)
      And unlike bypassing subscriptions, it's not something that is going to cost TiVo money,

      Stealing subscriptions is one thing, I certainly don't endorse that. Bypassing subscriptions is something else. Just because I might have bought a TiVo, I don't owe TiVo a monthly fee for the rest of my life, or need to pay them a lifetime fee when their lifetime might be much shorter than mine. Who cares if it reduces TiVo's revenue - If I own the box I believe I should be able to bypass the subscription system and simply tell TiVo when and what channel to record. Any "hack" book that censors itself to not provide such information isn't worth squat.

      Sure, if there's a last minute program change, I could miss the show. Same thing happens with a VCR; I can get over it. But I find the complete reliance on a subscription the most offensive part of TiVo, and would not consider one unless I could hack past it, either to avoid the costs or to know the hardware will still be of use if the company folds.

      • As a TiVo owner (Sony T60 DirecTiVo hacked with 2 80 Gig drives for about 140 hours high quality video capacity) I think that the real reason the community has stayed away from these hacks that might reduce TiVo revenue is that we earnestly want TiVo to succede.

        Anyone who has a TiVo cannot fathom going back to life without it. And we are all perplexed that TiVo hasn't been wildly successful.

        The TiVo people have created a good product and always try to treat their customers with respect. TiVo deserves the
      • You clearly don't have a Tivo and have never used one. You _can_ bypass the subscription service and tell a Tivo box to record whatever channel whenever you want. You don't need the subscription at all. I wouldn't call it bypass though - it is just not using the subscription service.

        A lot of people who don't own Tivos just don't understand that it is the combination of the box and the listings that really make Tivo great. If Tivo were to go out of business I would probably keep te box and use it as you want

    • And unlike bypassing subscriptions, it's not something that is going to cost TiVo money, so I don't see why they would be concerned by it.

      Turning a blind eye to people hacking their units to enable limitless video extraction is what led to the lawsuits that bankrupted SonicBlue.

      The MPAA is not above driving TiVo into the ground if they don't submit to their will.
  • How does TiVo respond to the modding/hacking of their products? I know that most companies seem to get pretty angry about it.

    Also, it's great that O'reilly is picking up this up.
    • Re:Question. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LostCluster ( 625375 )
      TiVo welcomes hacks that take the unit in a direction that they want to go... they sponsor the message boards where people can freely discuss hacks such as adding a bigger hard drive or a caller ID display feature.

      However, any hack that bypasses the need for a subscription or allows for video extraction is in a marked no-man's-zone. TiVo intentionally breaks these hacks, and doesn't allow discussion of these on the message board they sponsor.

      In short, they encurage hackers to play within
  • oh no (Score:5, Funny)

    by vistic ( 556838 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @10:27AM (#6089938)
    *pssst* (yeah, you)

    hook up a vcr or dvd burner or what-have-you to the video-out of your tivo... playback the show you recorded while simultaneously recording with your attached device...

    i hope this wasn't too controversial of a hack to share with you... don't report me.
    • Re:oh no (Score:4, Funny)

      by Eight 01 ( 614650 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @11:12AM (#6090115)
      Just remember not to give your real name when you buy the video patch cables at Radio Shack!

      • Radio Shack stopped this practice long ago, they no longer take your name when you purchase items from their store.

        Apparently, between letting people go because they where illiterate morons who couldn't take the names down properly, and people quitting because they where worried that the boss was going to notice their purchase of two VCRs, S-Video cable, and an 8-pack of VHS tapes with their employee discount, the whole process was just more trouble than it was worth.
    • Re:oh no (Score:4, Interesting)

      by FredThompson ( 183335 ) <fredthompson@ m i n d s p r i n g .com> on Sunday June 01, 2003 @11:28AM (#6090190)
      *pssst* (yeah, you, who thinks you know what you're talking about...) You don't have an integrated TiVo, do you?

      I've got a whoel room ful of video processing equipment. Even so, there is a big differecne between getting access to the stored satellite stream on an integrated TiVo's hard drives and using pro-level digitizing equipment on the video-out connectors on a TiVo, even with the S-Video connector.

      For an integrated TiVo, what you propose includes one D/A-A/D sequence, for a standalone TiVo with no digital feed, there are 2 of those sequences.

      If you want quality, you don't use analog cables. If you want to quickly burn DVD or SVCD, you get rid of the analog steps.
    • Wow. You're such a genius! How'd you figure out the Tivo "Record this to VCR" button on the tivo?
    • I recorded from my Tivo onto a VCR, now my Tivo thinks I'm lame, and records Pat Boone documentaries.
    • Another reason this won't work - our good friends at MacroVision...

      You can actually dub ANY DVD to a TiVo. It will record it happily, and flag that it is a protected stream. When it plays back, it will insert the MacroVision crap back into the analog video stream to stop you from recording it to VCR. So if your VCR or DVD recorder are MacroVision compliant, you're not able to do it. However, you _can_ use the TiVo to timeshift (and maximize) your Netflix subscriptions. (shh!)

      - RR
  • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @10:33AM (#6089962)
    TiVo seems to have a dual-faced plan for dealing with hackers. The hacks that they want to let happen seem to be too easy, while they make the hacks they don't want to happen hard. As a result, the hackers who take the path of least resistance get all the credit, the hackers who go into the marked red zones get shunned.

    In most single-drive models TiVo just happens to provide a perfect mounting point for that second drive... in network-less models they just happen to provide a slot in which an add-on card can be installed... when you give you TiVo Internet access, they just happen to have left their data server exposed to the 'net and let you do your "daily call" that way... for some reason they just happen to use modems that support Caller ID decoding... and let's not forget all of the "cheat code" hacks you can do with your remote control...

    But when you stray into the areas that threaten TiVo's business model, subscription theft and video extraction from the box, things stop getting so easy. In fact, TiVo starts actively programming to break such hacks in required updates if they are ever found to exist. These people are also shunned by the main TiVo-hacking community, so even if they discover something there's nobody who cares.

    The result is that TiVo controls their hackers by letting them improve their units, but only in the way that TiVo has appoved. This strategy makes them appear hacker-friendly, when really there are two hacks that they specifcally forbid. By letting the hackers have the little things, they seem to have found the most effective way of preventing hackers from going after the big things...
    • by Jerf ( 17166 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @11:23AM (#6090163) Journal
      You left the part of your message off where you explained why you think this is a bad thing.

      Do you think TiVo has some sort of obligation to make all hacks equally easy? Do you think TiVo is obligated to ignore the differences between hacks? Would you be happy if they simply banned all hacks equally?

      I mean, you sound like you're awfully upset about something, but what exactly would make you happy that's also practical in the real world? What obligations would you place on TiVo?

      (I suspect that once stated in the form of what you're trying to obligate TiVo to do, you'll find that it sounds absurd, especially in light of the fact that you shouldn't treat TiVo specially, all hardware makers should be treated equally. But hey, prove me wrong; it's even possible I might agree with your reasoning if it's thought-out well enough. I just don't know what it is.)
      • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @11:43AM (#6090283)
        You left the part of your message off where you explained why you think this is a bad thing.

        I didn't leave that part out... I don't think this is a bad thing.

        This is the opposite of the model most business are using when it comes to hacking their products, which is a simple "zero tolerance" plan for hacks of all kinds. TiVo is welcoming most forms of hacking, so long as the hackers agree to stay out of the troublemaking zones. Most TiVo hackers are playing by those rules willingly, so everybody's happy.

        Compared with Microsoft's policy towards hacking the Xbox, TiVo seems to be having much greater success by keeping the hackers busy with something else...
    • by GregGardner ( 66423 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @11:47AM (#6090305) Homepage
      Actually the caller-id pins from the modem aren't connected in the Series 1 standalone Tivos (the Tivo most people have). It would actually take some soldering to get it to work for those models. It does work most of the time in most of the Series 1 DirecTivo models.

      Also, the "slot" that is avaliable on Series 1's isn't really a slot. It's this male PCI-looking ISA connector on the corner of the motherboard used for testing. The fact that Tivo hackers got ethernet cards to work with that thing that actually fit inside the Tivos was truly a major hack and I have a feeling the people at Tivo were pretty surprised when that was unveiled.

      Tivo did, however, encourage the ethernet hacks. In the case of the Turbonet card, they even invited the hacker who created it (Jafa) to Tivo HQ to make sure that a proper driver for the Turbonet card made it into the next Tivo software release.

      Your point about Tivo supporting certain hacks while discouraging others is still valid, then. Personally, though, I would rather a company allow some hacking and not allow other hacking rather than trying to sue everyone who opened their boxes and tried to fiddle with them.
    • Some of thes "hackers" are TiVo software engineers looking for ways to implement new features. TiVo doesn't deliberately encourage outside hacking, but like any good programmer writes the code so that certain future enhancements will be easier to write. And it will, if necessary, increase the difficulty of mods that are found to cause loss of revenue or rights.

      Nothing draconian or manipulative about it. Just sofware engineering and defensive coding.
    • "But when you stray into the areas that threaten TiVo's business model, subscription theft and video extraction from the box, things stop getting so easy. In fact, TiVo starts actively programming to break such hacks in required updates if they are ever found to exist"

      Huh, no way? I wonder why? Jesus Christ. How about we actually PAY for services? After all, now that software is all "free" (as in beer and freedom), service is all we have left to make money on.
      • Paying for services is great, but not if they're unwanted services.

        If someone doesn't want to pay Tivo for guide data and instead legally acquires other guide data elsewere, why should Tivo see a thin dime from that person ever again?

        The fact that Tivo wants to be successful doesn't guarantee it. They have to earn it. And there's nothing wrong if they fail.
        • Because Tivo reduces the cost of the system so they can provide you with the service. In your agreement you agree to purchase the guide data from Tivo. If you want to get the guide data somewhere else, thats fine, but you still need to pay Tivo. Its what you agreed to do when you bought the system.

          Thats why.
          • And this is basically why I don't have a Tivo. I think the idea is great, but it costs too much, it's too intrusive, and it doesn't do enough. I don't think it'll be long before the DIY crowd beats them.
            • Not likely. The DIY crowd doesn't understand how much effort it is going to take to get all the schedules together and get a stable system.

              The TiVO is CHEAP, considering what it does. I am not one to recommend ANY tech, but the TiVO really does change how you watch TV. I know it sounds like astroturfing, but its the only tech purchase I have made in the last 10 years that I feel has given me value.
  • by weaknees ( 662168 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @10:57AM (#6090063) Homepage

    Why would TiVo possibly be opposed to (or be less than neutral about) video extraction? It doesn't have any negative impact on their business model... with one critical exception: Legal fees!

    ReplayTV was sunk because they were sued repeatedly, and TiVo hardly wants to spend its precious money on lawyers! Larry Lessig may be a great professor and scholar, and he might like little guys who want to publish copywritten books, but I don't see him supporting TiVo when they get sued by every media giant under the sun.

    If and when the courts catch up with the this technology, and if the decisions come down like the betamax decision did, then I'm sure TiVo will be more than willing to add features and DVD recorders into the mix... but if they decided to be at the forefront, they'd get slaughtered.

    It is for this reason that the larger tivo upgrade [] companies don't rock this boat... TiVo was brilliant to embrace (or at least not shun) the hacker community with respect to adding hours, and even built many nifty features that empowered the hackers to do cool stuff.... and we in turn respect that by not doing thinks to get them into legal hot water.

    • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @11:28AM (#6090189)
      There have always been rumors that TiVo has created the code in order to duplicated ReplayTV's show-sending features, but is holding all of them back until the lawsuits are settled.

      If ReplayTV should ever win a lawsuit, TiVo would then be able to instantly roll out the feature without having to have won the legal fight themselves. If ReplayTV loses, they're the ones who have to pay the consequences.

      Kinda a smart thing for them to do... staying away from the controversial issues until somebody else sorts them out.
  • TyStudio (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 01, 2003 @11:02AM (#6090083)
    It is not true that you can't do video extraction on a TiVo, regardless of what this article or the Replay trolls say. html []

    In short, TyStudio is a Tivo Video Recording (aka tystream) Format framework; TyStudio offers a suite of tools for these types of video streams. These tools enable you to transform the Tivo Video Recording to such formats as an MPEG program stream, which is commonly used by DVD players. It also offers the option of GOP boundary editong of the Recording prior to actualy doing the conversion. Pleas see the whatis/about page.
    • Re:TyStudio (Score:2, Informative)

      by jemnery ( 562697 )
      From the TyStudio site:

      "# TyServer: A daemon that silently runs on your tivo, awaiting requests by the other tools to list all of your recordings, get information about each recording, or directly extract any given recording. Unlike most programs that already do this, this one is written entirely in C. This means that it's faster, and more stable than any other software of this kind."

  • While I understand why TiVo are against people "stealing" subscriptions by, say, using someone elses user ID, what about replacing the TiVo update service altogether?

    I wouldn't mind getting a TiVo, but the subscription charges puts me off. I already have a two digital TV guides, one on my computer and one on my digital STB. If I wanted to connect the TiVo to my computer and get program information from there (without the forced ads etc) then what's wrong with that?
    • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @11:35AM (#6090239)
      TiVo sells most of their units at a loss with the expectation they will make the money back on the service plans. If you were to connect your TiVo to another source, you would have broken no laws, but you would have deprived TiVo of their revenues.

      That's why TiVo has to resort to programming-based protections to put the unit into "Boat Anchor Mode" when it isn't subscribed to TiVo's services. Yeah, somebody could make the hacks to do that, but TiVo would then make a design change to break that hack. They're not gonna help you with this one at all.
      • it is not realy a boat can still schedule programs 3 days out....but you don't get the ability to have the kick ass media features that you can get for a one time fee of 99 bucks!!
      • TiVo sells most of their units at a loss with the expectation they will make the money back on the service plans

        This was true for the original Series 1 units, but AFAIK the current Series 2 units are no longer sold at a loss.

      • This whole "sell at a loss and sue your customers to act in a way which will generate a future profit" business model has to go. It's done with the Xbox, tivo, and plenty of other hardware systems. If your hardware can be used without having to pay you future costs, then don't sell the hardware at a loss. These companies think they can control the behavior of their customers, when in reality that's just never going to happen. If they'd realize that, they'd realize that they have to make a profit intiall
        • TiVo doesn't sue people for using their TiVo without a subscription. They just make the system mighty useless without one.

          If you connect to their service without a subscription, then you're stealing their service... that they'll sue you for.
          • yeah but they sell the hardware at a small loss, expecting to make it up on subscription fees. If you bypass that to use it for free, get a lawyer. Hell, start a website message board to simply talk about ways to "reverse engineer" the Tivo to use it w/out a subscription and get ready to be DMCA-raped up the goat ass with a nice, cold, DMCA-flavored injunction.
  • . . . but is shying away from the most controversial hacks . . .
  • seem intent on respecting TiVo's interest in having hackers stay away from things like subscription theft and video extraction.

    Video extraction is something they will not talk about? How lame! Might as well change the name from TiVo hacking to TiVo case mods, would be more honest even though it likely wouldn't sell as well.

  • Tivo Activation (Score:2, Interesting)

    by khalido ( 601247 )
    This is slightly off topic but still: I live in Pakistan and have been wanting a tivo/replaytv for a long while now. The thing which has stopped me from ordering it from amazon is the fact that it needs to be activated. Now, I don't think it is possible to activate from outside the US/Canada. I know they don't work if they are not activited. Secondly,the tivo program guide is not valid outside the us anyways so i don't need their service. So: Is it possible to just buy the tivo and program it manually? Will
  • Useless (Score:3, Interesting)

    by CaptainSuperBoy ( 17170 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @12:38PM (#6090561) Homepage Journal
    This book is useless! Do people know that most of the TiVo hacks can only be done to the Series 1 units, which are basically unsupported by TiVo Inc.? Series 1 units can't connect to the Internet (officially), they will not receive the new 4.0 software update, they don't have USB ports, they are slower than Series 2. There are some great hacks you can do to a S1 such as programming it remotely, caller ID, and instant messaging. But as of now the Series 2 can't be hacked, although you could add a new hard drive, and some of the 'hacks' are supported officially by the new Home Media Option.

    Eventually someone will figure out how to hack the Series2, this will almost definitely involve replacing the unit's PROM chip (aka BIOS), then installing a new kernel that would allow hacks. Of course, that won't be in this book because it hasn't been figured out yet.
    • Re:Useless (Score:3, Informative)

      by EricMcD ( 83669 )
      Patches for the S2 EEPROM/PROM were released [] last November. For those without a way to reprogram the PROM, a version of (two-kernel) monte has also been released []. With monte-mips, you can reload any kernel you want by launching it from one of their "secure" kernels with known vulnerabilities. So there are numerous ways to get into the box. It's just these ways aren't as user-friendly as before.
      • That's a coincidence - I started that thread (my nick there is Rhobite). I did read that post, but I don't have the ability to burn a PROM, I also don't know how to solder. You'd still need a kernel with the modified initrd, do you know if anyone has done that? Maybe I should revisit hacking my S2.

        Last, with monte-mips - I don't understand. Does this require a known vulnerability like BASH_ENV to be used? I don't think 4.0 has any known vulnerabilities yet, and you can't really rely on this method because
        • All you need to use monte-mips to gain access to a particular TiVo software release is any past or present TiVo release with a vulnerability -- it doesn't even have to be the same version that your TiVo is now running.

          All existing S2 boxes have at least one software release with the BASH_ENV vulnerability. You just need to get that release installed on the alternate partition, along with monte-mips. Then from now on, boot from the alternate partition and use the BASH_ENV vulnerability to launch the desir
          • Wow! 3.0 is on my alternate partition anyway, so I guess I'd just have to install monte-mips and set the bootpage.. I think I may try this. Thanks.
      • by kju ( 327 )
        Any more info about monte-mips, maybe the URL to download the source? google doesn't give any result. I'm looking for something like monte-mips because it could be useful in hacking some netgear access point which happens to be a mips machine running openrg/linux (
        • Here's [] a bit of info on monte. Looking for "monte-mips" will get you nowhere, unfortunately. And of course, you can get the source from the link posted above.
  • misleading article (Score:3, Informative)

    by MbM ( 7065 ) on Sunday June 01, 2003 @05:16PM (#6091784) Homepage
    Raffi isn't a tivo hacker, nor has he released any software for the tivo. His only contribution has been a book about the tivo, but to say that he wrote the book himself is also misleading. He solicited other people from the tivo community (including myself) to write sections for him.

    In other words, he hasn't done anything and the drafts of the book don't look too promising.

An Ada exception is when a routine gets in trouble and says 'Beam me up, Scotty'.