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A Home with Multiple TiVos


I see this question asked on various bulletin boards from time to time: "Why would anyone want more than one TiVo?" My response to them is usually "Why would you not want more than one?" The following will discuss all of the DirecTV TiVos I have in my home, with the location, purpose, and notes about each.

LIVING ROOM

Model: HR10-250 (high-definition) DirecTiVo; hacked using PTVnet and InstantCake and upgraded to software version 6.3a using the "Slicer."

Uses: This one is the "family" TiVo and is used to watch/record all sorts of programming.

Notes: Notice the JVC component switcher above the TiVo; this switches between my HR10-250 and Xbox. Below the TiVo is my home theater PC, and the cover is off due to the fact the power supply died, and the replacement would be a special-order item, so I just used a regular ATX power supply temporarily. The HTPC hosts music and photos for the rest of the TiVos in my home, using HMO (Home Media Option); it also runs "Tivoserver," which allows me to watch videos that are on the PC via my TiVos.

This is a picture of an ethernet switch, with an Xbox, a Vonage adapter, and a wireless access point connected to it. The access point, used in conjunction with a Linksys WRT54GS in the guest bedroom, extends the range of my wireless network. The switch in the picture is uplinked (via an ethernet cable) to the same WRT54GS; also connected to the switch are the HTPC and the HR10-250, of course.

Here is a picture of our HDTV, which is a 34" RCA direct-view set. Notice the antenna above the center speaker; this is used to receive "off the air programming" for the HR10-250.

MASTER BEDROOM

Model: Samsung SIR-S4120R; it has been hacked using PTVnet and InstantCake, and has been "Superpatched" to enable HMO and MRV (Multi-Room Viewing), which allows programs recorded on one TiVo to be streamed over the network to another TiVo. Note that MRV is currently not possible with the HR10-250 (mentioned above) due to the software not supporting it at this time.

Uses: My wife and I use this mainly to watch programs shortly before bed.

Notes: Notice the Linksys WRT54GS above the TV; this has been hacked to function as a wireless ethernet bridge.

SON'S BEDROOM

Model: Philips DSR704; it has been hacked using the same method as the Samsung above.

Uses: My son watches his cartoons on this.

Notes: To the left (above the DVD rack) sits a Linksys WRT54G, also hacked to function as a wireless ethernet bridge.

GUEST BEDROOM

Model: Samsung SIR-S4080R; I recently hacked this one using the "Zipper."

Uses: This TiVo mainly serves as extra storage (using MRV) and as a TiVo to experiment on (so my wife doesn't yell at me for losing her recorded programs). Occasionally, it also serves as a TiVo for guests, so they can view/record their own programs.

Notes: Notice the Viewsonic box and the computer monitor; these, together with a set of computer speakers, function as a TV.

Below is a picture of my main Linksys WRT54GS router and Motorola Surfboard SB4120 cable modem. The switch downstairs and the TiVo in this room are connected to the Linksys.

SHED

Model: Philips DSR704; also hacked using PTVnet and InstantCake, and Superpatched for MRV and HMO.

Uses: This is the TiVo for my workout room, and it also the TiVo my Slingbox is connected to, which I use often while I'm away on work trips.

Notes: I had this 10x12 Tuff Shed built to use as a workout room, complete with freeweights and a stationary recumbent bike:

The shed is wired for electricity, telephone, DirecTV, and ethernet (notice the Linksys switch below the TV in the next picture).

The TiVo and Slingbox are connected to the switch.

This is a picture of my Slingbox (pulled out for easier view).

Though not really another TiVo, I can connect to the Slingbox using a laptop or a Pocket PC for viewing programming anywhere in my home (and beyond). My son especially likes to walk around the house watching his cartoons on a Pocket PC.

In order to have all of those TiVos connected, the last installer to come out had to link two multiswitches. With the exception the of master bedroom, which would have been a wiring nightmare, each TiVo has two coax cables connected to it in order to utilize both tuners, for a total of nine coax cables.

In closing, I should mention the two main advantages of having multiple DirecTV TiVos over multiple standard receivers: cost and flexibility. With DirecTV, there is only one DVR fee ($5.99) for the entire home, so there is only the "mirroring" fee for each extra receiver, regardless of whether it is a regular receiver or a DVR. It wouldn't make much sense to not have all of the receivers also be DVRs, especially since DirectTV DVRs can usually be obtained with minimal cost. With a little hacking (as noted above), programs can be shared among TiVos (but not the new "DirecTV + DVR" units). Note that with standalone (non-DirecTV) TiVos, you must pay a TiVo subscription fee for each and every TiVo.

Discussion:    Add a Comment | Comments 1-2 of 2 | Latest Comment

March 11, 2007 10:45 PM

I have 5 DirecTV TiVo's. All are from 5 different makers. ( Hughes-DVR40, RCA-DVR40, Phillips-DSR708, DirecTV-R10, and a Series1 Sony-SAT-T60 ) I'm right to understand that each maker riquires its own copy of the upgrade software? This means 5 different copies of Instantcake, 5 different copies of LBA48 Boot CD, 5 different copies of Universal Boot CD 11, 4 different copies of The slicer and 3 different copies of PTVnet?

March 13, 2007 7:17 PM

You need a separate copy of InstantCake for each Series 2, but all can use the same PTVnet and Boot CD. There is no PTVnet for the Series 1.

TechLore Blog

HR10-250, Samsung SIR-S4120R, SIR-S4080R, 2 Philips DSR704s (one connected to a Slingbox A/V). One box used the "Zipper"; rest used PTVnet to enable networking features.

Discussion:    Add a Comment | Comments 1-2 of 2 | Latest Comment

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