[mythtv-users] tivo as a glorified tuner

Yeechang Lee ylee at pobox.com
Sun Sep 17 17:18:05 UTC 2006

Karl Grindley <karl at grindleyfamily.com> says:
> Has anyone tried, succeeded or failed at using a Tivo as a glorified
> network tuner/encoder box?  Seems they are cheap ebay items these
> days.

It's been very occasionally talked about; what also sometimes comes up
is "Can I run MythTV on TiVo hardware?" which the FAQ rightly says is

Although I don't put much stock into it, I do hope that TiVo-as-tuner
happens. The brand-new, high definition-capable Series 3 has two
CableCARD slots and is thus not bound to cable providers' decisions to
whether or not to encrypt certain channels on FireWire. I am
considering whether to pony up for a $800 Series 3 and then invoke the
temporary $199 offer to transfer the lifetime subscription over from
my old faithful Series 1.  I figure that it'll at the least serve me
as a backup should my cable provider someday pull the
FireWire-encryption trigger, and in any case based on eBay precedents
the Series 3 with lifetime ought to be instantly worth a *lot* more
than what I've paid for it. (TiVo no longer sells new lifetime
subscriptions, making any TiVo boxes--especially a Series 3--with one
a very, very rare bird.)

My understanding is that TiVo enthusiasts have long since deciphered
the workings of the TiVo filesystem in order to pull recordings off
their boxes (which in turn mplayer plays), and since the Series 3 uses
MPEG-2 like the old DirecTV TiVos, and possesses both 100Mbit Ethernet
and eSATA jacks, there appears to be real hope that such a feat can be
done. Yes, $1000 (or, should I choose to not take advantage of the
offer, $800 + $12.95/month) would be a lot to pay for a box to act as
a super-HDHomeRun, but beyond the inevitable hardware-price drops
consider that a) this would still be cheaper than the $3000 for a
realtime, high definition-capable, component-to-MPEG2 encoder [1] and
b) the availability of my particular, very FireWire-friendly, cable
provider is a factor for me to consider in where my next apartment in
downtown San Francisco will be (so even $1000 amortizes quickly).

[1] I keep seeing people talk about such a device. Sometimes it's said
to be $2000; other times it's said to be $3000. The consensus is that
it's very, very expensive. Who makes such a device, anyway? Model
numbers? Prices? Are there any that MythTV currently contains support

Yeechang Lee <ylee at pobox.com> | +1 650 776 7763 | San Francisco CA US

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