Ask anyone who owns one: TiVo will change your life. And that’s before you discover just how much more it can really do. There’s a full-fledged Linux computer in there, and its potential is nearly unlimited. Ready to void your warranty? Get out your Torx screwdrivers, get Hacking the TiVo, and let’s get going.
First, there’s backdoor mode, which enables nifty features like Advanced Wishlists. (It extends the basic TiVo wishlist feature with complex searching. Want to record only Star Trek: The Next Generation shows with Wil Wheaton in them? No sweat.) In most TiVos, backdoor mode merely requires a secret code (thoughtfully provided here); newer machines require some messing with hardware (also covered in detail).
That’s just the beginning. TiVos use standard-issue PC hard drives, so adding capacity is a (relatively) simple matter of adding or swapping hard drives. You can put your TiVo on your home PC network and display your instant messages -- or even Caller ID info -- right on your TV screen. You can use your Palm PDA as your TiVo remote control. There’s even software that lets you schedule TiVo recordings from anywhere, using your web browser.
That software, TiVoWeb, is on the accompanying CD-ROM. So is pretty much every TiVo software add-on and hacking tool you're ever likely to need, from closed-captioning software to backup/restore tools. And you thought your TiVo was just an appliance. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.