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View Poll Results: I am testing the tool on the following platforms:
Series1 Standalone Unit 58 13.12%
Series1 DirecTV Unit 15 3.39%
Series2 DirecTV SD Unit 212 47.96%
Series2 DirecTV HD Unit 90 20.36%
Series2 Standalone Unit 113 25.57%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 442. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-22-2006, 09:25 PM   #1
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tivo remote access tool - pre BETA

Folks...

Been working on a little 'skunkworks' project and need some testers of what I'm hoping will be considered a cool new tool / service for folks with networked TiVo systems.

The idea is to make it quick and simple for folks who already have networked units to access TiVoWeb or TiVoWebPlus from anywhere on the Internet. We know this can be done today, but there are headaches associated with dynamic IP following, port mapping on routers, and management of multiple TiVoWeb instances by running the app on different ports.

Here's the summary:
  • Start with one or more networked Series1 / Series2 TiVo that has telnet/ftp and TiVoWeb / TiVoWebPlus already installed
  • Create an account on a secured server and register one more TiVo systems by service ID and description (the information is kept private)
  • Access each of your TiVo's locally (from your home network) and install a small client application (this can be done with telnet or bash session and by typing a few simple commands)
  • Start the client application (or restart your TiVo)

Result: You'll now be able to remotely access any or all registered TiVo systems through our server without doing any port-mapping or knowing your public IP address. If you are running multiple TiVoWeb instances, you do not need to run each of them on different ports.

The implementation is intended to be completely secure, and the installation of the client, for folks who already have networked units, very simple (as long as you follow the instructions). Moving forward we hope to encourage folks to simply include the client in their own utilities so that access becomes even simpler.

So, if you are interested, please do the following:
  1. Go here and create an account for yourself; you will need to use a valid email address; don't worry, we keep the info private.
  2. Register as many networked TiVo boxes as you have (the current limit is three) and install the client. Full instructions are on the site (you won't see them until you register), but I will reprint them here.

That is pretty much it; once you've got your TiVo registered, the client installed and running, you should be able to access each of your units by simply selecting them and clicking appropriately. Most functions within TivoWeb seem to work fine, but you may experience timeouts when trying to do operations that take more than a few minutes (like viewing a really big log file).

The purpose of this thread, and this pre-beta is to lure some of the more technical folk into banging on this stuff a bit and finding any bugs, security holes (there should be none of those), and of course getting some meaningful and constructive criticism.

If you have questions or problems, please take some time to provide details such as the type of TiVo you have, the methods you've used to network it (eg. I have a Philips DSR704, networked using a PTVnet drive kit, or I have a Philips HDR212 with a TurboNet card and the latest silicondust drivers, etc...) so that we can get to the root of any architecture-specific problems.

Lastly, we've tested this stuff on Series1 standalone and DirecTV boxes, as well as Series2 SD and HD boxes. We don't have any prom-modded Series2 SA units so I'm not sure whether the apps will work or not.

So with that, hang on, I will post the client install instructions for review here, you remotely install the client using a telnet session on your networked TiVo (this can be done without registering your system with the server).

Please let me know what questions you have and I will do best to answer them. Very interested in early experiences and feedback.

[update 10/1/06] - We've updated the client install package with a new watchdog application which I think will address some of the spurious disconnect issues. The installation process is exactly the same, so just follow the documentation below.

[update 10/11/06] - We've updated the client install with a modified version of the watchdog application. The basic client has not changed, however the utils which support the watchdog (netcat, in particular) have been modified so that they will run on 6.3a and 7.X on HR10-250 and Series2 SA standalone platforms, respectively.


[update 10/19/06] - Updated client to fix bug in watchdog process on Series1 units...


[update 9/5/07] - Please see this newly created thread for some tweaks, and an alternate version of the client that seems to work better for some folks.

[update 2/12/07] - For those running 6.3 on the HR10-250 and who are manually installing the client (ie, not using PTVnet): There is a bug with http_get, please see the next post for specifics on replacing it. This may also be an issue for Series2 DirecTiVo SD units, as well.

[update 2/12/07] - For those concerned about high CPU utilization on Series2 systems and interested in a few tweaks that have been introduced by another helpful user, steveT whose contributions are linked above, I've released a new test version of the client. If it all works well, we'll set it up as the default. Just follow the installation instructions below except use b_install-1.2.sh instead of b_install.sh. To date, I've only got it working in a mode where you have to run the client manually; I'm looking into that further.


Thx,

Lou
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Old 08-22-2006, 09:32 PM   #2
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Client Installation Instructions (reprinted from site)

If you have a networked TiVo that does not already have the gotomydvr client for your TiVo, you will need to manually install it using the following instructions. If you do not have a networked TiVo, you will need to get networked before you can do any of the following or use the gotomydvr service. Please check with our main site for more information and on how to determine whether your TiVo can be networked and how to do it.
  1. Your TiVo must be networked using one of our preconfigured networking kits or in any other manner which gives you telnet and ftp access to your unit.
  2. You will need to know the IP address of your TiVo on your network. It will often look something like 192.168.1.XXX, but the numbers will vary based upon the type of router you have and the way your network is configured. You can find your exact IP address by using your router's administrative menus to view DHCP clients, or use an IP scanning program such as angry IP.
  3. Open a telnet session from your computer to your TiVo. You can do this using a free program like TeraTerm Pro, or by simply running telnet from a shell window or using the windows start and run command as shown here.
  4. Now, simply type the following commands into your telnet session; we highly recommend you simply copy and paste them, one at a time, to avoid any errors.

    Code:
    http_get -T 0 -C 0 -D /var/tmp -U http://68.178.174.173:80/b_install.sh
    sh /var/tmp/b_install.sh
    sync; reboot &
  5. At this point, the gotomydvr client should be installed and running. If you receive an error like this ***No response from connection server *** then the client is installed properly, but your TiVo is probably not properly registered with our server. Type crypto -gsn to display your service ID and then verify you've registered properly on the page.
  6. Proceed to the Select TiVo page, pick out the TiVo you want to access remotely and have fun!

[update: 10/11/2006]
The aforementioned instructions and client tools have been tested and proven to run as-is on the following TiVo types:

Series1 Standalone and DirecTiVo units running version 3.5 of the OS
Series2 DirecTV DirecTiVo units running version 6.2 of the OS
Series2 DirecTV HD DirecTiVo (HR10-250) running verison 3.1.5f of the OS

If you have a Series2 DirecTV HD HR10-250 running any version 6.3 of the OS or a Series2 Standalone unit running version 7.X of the TiVo OS, the client can be run, however you will need to replace http_get in your /tvbin directory with the one we've attached, then go through the installation as documented.



Attached Files
File Type: zip http_get.zip (8.7 KB, 245 views)
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Old 08-22-2006, 10:02 PM   #3
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This looks pretty cool. I'll give it a shot.
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Old 08-22-2006, 10:36 PM   #4
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Lookin' good both for my HR10-250 and my SD-DVR80s. Much simpler than messing with multiple ports and/or using a bouncepage of some type. Thanks, Lou! Any particular scenarios you'd like tested? (Weirdo ports, etc...)
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Old 08-22-2006, 10:37 PM   #5
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Silly me, I see you've asked for a better description on the units used and the tests I've tried. Well I'm off to bed but I'll post you a more detailed writeup tomorrow.
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Old 08-22-2006, 10:59 PM   #6
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I've installed this on 3 units (DSR7000, DSR704, SD-DVR40 - all Zippered). All are working from my LAN. I have Road Runner cable feeding a Thompson cable modem feeding a Vonage Motorola VT1000 feeding a LinkSys BEFW11S4 V4 router. All units are hardwired with NetGear FA120's. I'll try from work tomorrow and post results.

BTW, Thanks so much for this great app. I've tried for a long time to get remote access the "old" way and had given up hope. Not sure why I couldn't get in, maybe something to do with my Vonage adaptor or my work blocking access.
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Old 08-22-2006, 11:14 PM   #7
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Installed flawlessly on three S2 Dtivo's.

2 - Hughes dvr40. Hacked using the Zipper. LAN connection - wireless G bridges

1 - Hughes dvr80. Hacked using the Zipper. LAN connection - wired Netgear FA120

Linksys WRT54G router on Centurytel's DSL Network - speed 1.5 M

So far, everything is working fine. Have successfully deleted shows from now playing list, setup manual recordings, and even did a remote reboot.

Outstanding service!!

Is there any way to show the name of the TIVO you are viewing on the main screen?
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Old 08-22-2006, 11:46 PM   #8
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cool

Excellent. Good to see that initial tests have been good so far; please beat on things as much as possible and one thing I'm very curious about is the ability of the TiVo to maintain its connectivity through the server.

What I've seen during internal testing is the potential for the client to lose connectivity from time-to-time so that when you log in from the server, you will get a "tivo disconnected" error. Usually, a reboot of the TiVo, or a manual restart of the client solves the problem, but as far as I'm concerned, that is not a good solution.

What i'm hoping is that its just been the server development work and mucking around with the database that has caused those problems - so folks, if you receive any "disconnected" messages, please keep track and see if you notice any patterns that may cause the problems (changes of ip addresses on your router, power outages, other hacks, etc.).

Thanks again; I'll monitor this thread as much as possible and post any updates as they unfold!
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Old 08-23-2006, 12:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msommer
Is there any way to show the name of the TIVO you are viewing on the main screen?
That is something I'd like to do, as well. Let me look into that further.
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Old 08-23-2006, 02:02 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by tivoupgrade
That is something I'd like to do, as well. Let me look into that further.
Re showing the tivos name on TWP. Go into httpd-tt.itcl in the root directory of your TWP installation. The first few lines in the file are concatenated together, and read by default:
variable NAME "TivoWebPlus Project"
variable VERSION "1.0"
This give you "TivoWebPlus Project - v1.0" (or whatever version you are on). You see in the heading for TWP screen.
You can go into the line and modify it to
variable NAME "TivoWebPlus Project - Living Room"
and it will say that in the heading of TivoWebPlus.
It works great, I have it on five boxes and it is indispensible in determining which is which.
I gotta give credit to JohnSorTivo for this in a post he did way back in July of 2004, if anybody feels the need to verify my posting (done at after midnight).
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Old 08-23-2006, 06:10 AM   #11
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Works great on my S2 DTivo Lou.
Nice work.
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Old 08-23-2006, 08:06 AM   #12
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OK, my scenario and thoughts.

First, my SD-DVR80 test box. Running 6.2, manually hacked with killhdinitrd'd 3.1.1c kernel. Static IP, configured via the netconfig.tcl script. The usual "stuff" on it -- superpatch, mfs_ftp, vserver, TWP 1.2.2. Also running monte to a custom kernel with netfilter disabled and using the latest backport drivers and mfs_* tools.

This box works just fine with the gotomydvr service. Been using it off and on since last night without issue.

Next, my HR10-250. Running 3.1.5f, manually hacked with killhdinitrd'd 3.1.5 kernel. Static IP, configured via ifconfig in rc.sysinit.author. The usual "stuff" on it -- tivoapp patches, mfs_ftp, vserver, TWP 1.3.0. Was running TWP 1.2.2 last night but TWP on this box tended to hang after a day or so (and had done last night), so I upgraded to the latest. I verified that the client is running on the DTivo, but the gotomydvr site claims that my Tivo is disconnected. Rebooted the box -- no change.

Finally, a comment. For the most part I love it, but my one criticism would be with the page format. It's very small! This may not be noticeable to people with a 1024x768 screen but on my 1440x900 laptop it's very noticeable. Look here to see what the gotomydvr page looks like on my laptop, and look here to see what TWP looks like when used directly.

I'll futz some more with my HR10-250 and see if I can get it working.
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Old 08-23-2006, 08:35 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by SteelersFan
I've installed this on 3 units (DSR7000, DSR704, SD-DVR40 - all Zippered). All are working from my LAN. I have Road Runner cable feeding a Thompson cable modem feeding a Vonage Motorola VT1000 feeding a LinkSys BEFW11S4 V4 router. All units are hardwired with NetGear FA120's. I'll try from work tomorrow and post results.

BTW, Thanks so much for this great app. I've tried for a long time to get remote access the "old" way and had given up hope. Not sure why I couldn't get in, maybe something to do with my Vonage adaptor or my work blocking access.
Works great here at work. I went through a number of TWP functions: ToDo, Now Showing, Info, Whats On, Search, Manual Record. I set up a manual recording with no issues and verified it worked by checking the ToDo list.

The only thing I've seen so for that looked out of the ordinary is I got a message at the bottom of a screen that said something like "Tivo appears to be disconnected". I think it was after I did a "Whats On" search that this message showed up at the bottom of that results list. After I saw that I clicked on a number of TWP functions without problem.
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Old 08-23-2006, 09:15 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheer
OK, my scenario and thoughts.

First, my SD-DVR80 test box. Running 6.2, manually hacked with killhdinitrd'd 3.1.1c kernel. Static IP, configured via the netconfig.tcl script. The usual "stuff" on it -- superpatch, mfs_ftp, vserver, TWP 1.2.2. Also running monte to a custom kernel with netfilter disabled and using the latest backport drivers and mfs_* tools.

This box works just fine with the gotomydvr service. Been using it off and on since last night without issue.

Next, my HR10-250. Running 3.1.5f, manually hacked with killhdinitrd'd 3.1.5 kernel. Static IP, configured via ifconfig in rc.sysinit.author. The usual "stuff" on it -- tivoapp patches, mfs_ftp, vserver, TWP 1.3.0. Was running TWP 1.2.2 last night but TWP on this box tended to hang after a day or so (and had done last night), so I upgraded to the latest. I verified that the client is running on the DTivo, but the gotomydvr site claims that my Tivo is disconnected. Rebooted the box -- no change.

Finally, a comment. For the most part I love it, but my one criticism would be with the page format. It's very small! This may not be noticeable to people with a 1024x768 screen but on my 1440x900 laptop it's very noticeable. Look here to see what the gotomydvr page looks like on my laptop, and look here to see what TWP looks like when used directly.

I'll futz some more with my HR10-250 and see if I can get it working.
Wow. OK, you are definitely a power user; thats a very big screen layout you've got, and you are right, the way we are displaying that makes it very frustrating. We'll have to look at some alternative ways of displaying things, perhaps with another link that can be selected. What I can't see from your screenshot is whether or not there is a horizontal scrollbar presented - is there? If not, would that be an acceptable alternative?

With you permission, I'd like to access your unit remotely so we can look at the screens from here. If that's ok, please PM me with your login info and I'll have our programmer take a look.

As for your HR10-250, please post any follow-up details. If you are familiar with any unix commands, you can use ps -aux to view running processes and look for rc.gotomydvr and dbclient in the running process list. If you don't see them, then there is an issue and you'd need to manually startup the client and see if there are any errors -- the startup commands are in rc.sysinit.author.

Note - if you don't have a proper route table, that can cause problems. If that ends up being the issue, or you think it may be let me know and I can tell you what to do.
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Old 08-23-2006, 09:17 AM   #15
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Works great here at work. I went through a number of TWP functions: ToDo, Now Showing, Info, Whats On, Search, Manual Record. I set up a manual recording with no issues and verified it worked by checking the ToDo list.

The only thing I've seen so for that looked out of the ordinary is I got a message at the bottom of a screen that said something like "Tivo appears to be disconnected". I think it was after I did a "Whats On" search that this message showed up at the bottom of that results list. After I saw that I clicked on a number of TWP functions without problem.
Excellent. That message you saw was due to a "timeout" -- there is a timer on the server that will run out after a period of waiting and finally give up on querying your unit. I have increased the timeout from 60 seconds to 120 seconds. Hopefully there is no downside to that.
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Old 08-23-2006, 09:50 AM   #16
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Lou,

Awesome, just awesome!

Just happened to catch the thread, remoted to my home machine and installed it on my S1.

Working great, no problems.
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Old 08-23-2006, 11:09 AM   #17
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Lou,
Is the server down? I get a message for all 3 of my units that they are disconnected.
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Old 08-23-2006, 11:13 AM   #18
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i had it working at first
then i closed out my telnet session and now its says "tivo appears to be disconnected", try again later.

let me make sure im doing this right, after installation, all i have to do i go to gotomydvr.com, login, and select my tivo, correct?
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Old 08-23-2006, 11:29 AM   #19
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The server is up and has been up. My units have been fine - but I have seen this before. The client should attempt to re-establish its connection automatically. However, if its no longer running, it would need to be restarted.

Try doing a "ps -aux" on one of your units and see if its still running. Also, when re-attempting to connect via the site, make sure you do a "shift-reload" to ensure that its not a cached browser page.

I have seen this before - and I'm not sure of the cause of it -- if we can pin it down, though - I'm sure it can be fixed...

Lou
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Old 08-23-2006, 11:35 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danny7481
i had it working at first
then i closed out my telnet session and now its says "tivo appears to be disconnected", try again later.

let me make sure im doing this right, after installation, all i have to do i go to gotomydvr.com, login, and select my tivo, correct?
Pretty much that's it - you do need to ensure the client is started up, of course. depending on how you started it up, closing the telnet session may have killed the process - you might want to telnet back in and verify that its running:

ps -aux | grep gotomydvr

should do the trick.
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Old 08-23-2006, 11:36 AM   #21
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both my tivos are working great now, i reinstalled on the samsung, may have killed it too soon or soemthing
this is great, thanks!!!
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Old 08-23-2006, 12:43 PM   #22
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I installed it on 3 HR10-250s. All hacked with the zipper. 2 HDTivos are wired, 1 is via wireless bridge.

I accessed all three from work and it mirrors my experience from home. No issues so far and network performance seems normal.

As a noob, I couldn't connect at first to install via telnet. I had to mount the drive as read/write before it would install. The install was simple after that little hiccup.

I could not connect to the server to install on my HDVR2, it kept timing out. Mounting the drive as read/write made no difference this time. I am using an airlink wired USB adapter for this SDTivo and the HDTivos all use the FA120. I'll try some more stuff tonight to see if I can install on the HDVR2.

I really like the interface and the easy install. Thanks.
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Old 08-23-2006, 12:52 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by tivoupgrade
The server is up and has been up. My units have been fine - but I have seen this before. The client should attempt to re-establish its connection automatically. However, if its no longer running, it would need to be restarted.

Try doing a "ps -aux" on one of your units and see if its still running. Also, when re-attempting to connect via the site, make sure you do a "shift-reload" to ensure that its not a cached browser page.

I have seen this before - and I'm not sure of the cause of it -- if we can pin it down, though - I'm sure it can be fixed...

Lou
I wonder why they stopped working. They were accessible at 6:30am pst and when I tried at 9am pst I got the disconnected message. I know nothing was done manually to stop the client as I am at work. Maybe there is something that has to do with the Zipper that caused this. (Russ, Gunny - Any thoughts?)
When I get home I will find out what the status of the client is.
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Old 08-23-2006, 12:59 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tivoupgrade
Wow. OK, you are definitely a power user; thats a very big screen layout you've got
Well I looked at a lot of laptops before I got this one. The first one I looked at was actually way too big, and the second one was too darned small, but this one was juuuuust right...
Quote:
and you are right, the way we are displaying that makes it very frustrating. We'll have to look at some alternative ways of displaying things, perhaps with another link that can be selected. What I can't see from your screenshot is whether or not there is a horizontal scrollbar presented - is there? If not, would that be an acceptable alternative?
No horizontal scrollbar presented. Yes, that'd be a fine alternative if that meant that the formatting of the TWP screen was the same or similar to when I use it directly. The big thing, for me, is the number of vertical lines consumed. Notice on my image linked in my above post for the "local" output. See the link for the Comedy Central roast? Just a couple of lines. Now look at the Gotomydvr screen -- lots of lines.

Now, again, this may just be me, and even for me it's not even close to critical, so don't kill yourself over this unless you get other folks whining.

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Quote:
As for your HR10-250, please post any follow-up details. If you are familiar with any unix commands, you can use ps -aux to view running processes and look for rc.gotomydvr and dbclient in the running process list. If you don't see them, then there is an issue and you'd need to manually startup the client and see if there are any errors -- the startup commands are in rc.sysinit.author.
Yeah, I checked that, and they're there:
Code:
  204 0          1080 S   /bin/bash /gotomydvr/etc/rc.gotomydvr 
  210 0           776 R   /gotomydvr/bin/dbclient -T -p 22 -i /gotomydvr/etc/id_rsa.db gotomydvr_user@68.178.174.173 -R 10202:127.0
I thought about killing one or both, but I hate to risk a reboot of the box as my wife is, well, watching TV. So maybe I'll try that later.
Quote:
Note - if you don't have a proper route table, that can cause problems. If that ends up being the issue, or you think it may be let me know and I can tell you what to do.
Yeah, routing is good -- I can successfully traceroute both to the IP address of your service and the website name, so DNS is also cool.

Thanks! This service looks very cool indeed.
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Old 08-23-2006, 01:29 PM   #25
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Lou,

I have the same problem that my tivos aren't connected. If I go in and restart the tivo client it works fine however when I close my telnet session the client must shut down. I'm sure there is a simple way around this (ie to keep the tivo client running) but I'm not sure what it is. Thanks for your work on this. It really makes remote access much easier
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Old 08-23-2006, 01:36 PM   #26
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I lost connection to my S1SA tivo. I checked for the processes they were there. I just rebooted the tivo and now I can see it again.
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Old 08-23-2006, 02:24 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by cheer
I'll futz some more with my HR10-250 and see if I can get it working.
Rebooted the HR10-250 and now it's working just fine.
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Old 08-23-2006, 02:32 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by titleistmd
Lou,

I have the same problem that my tivos aren't connected. If I go in and restart the tivo client it works fine however when I close my telnet session the client must shut down. I'm sure there is a simple way around this (ie to keep the tivo client running) but I'm not sure what it is. Thanks for your work on this. It really makes remote access much easier
ok - that makes sense. well, we have the client autostarting in the /etc/rc.d/rc.sysinit.author - so perhaps its more of a documentation issue and what we should recommend is a reboot of the unit, or at least document that closing your telnet session could kill the client.
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Old 08-23-2006, 02:34 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SeanC
I lost connection to my S1SA tivo. I checked for the processes they were there. I just rebooted the tivo and now I can see it again.

aha... that is interesting. and i have seen the very same thing on the series1. we have one of the development people further instrumenting the client for our test systems so we can keep a closer eye on this. its very possible we may need to augment things with a "watcher" that ensures the process doesn't lose its way, or if it does, it renews itself without requiring such a drastic method to get restarted.

if it happens again.... try a kill -9 of the pid (let me know if you don't know how to do that) and then try a manual restart; of course if you do that, take note of the previous couple of posts, too...
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Old 08-23-2006, 04:22 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by SteelersFan
I wonder why they stopped working. They were accessible at 6:30am pst and when I tried at 9am pst I got the disconnected message. I know nothing was done manually to stop the client as I am at work. Maybe there is something that has to do with the Zipper that caused this. (Russ, Gunny - Any thoughts?)
When I get home I will find out what the status of the client is.
Well, here's an update. I just checked at 2:15 pst and all three are now connecting normally again. I am still at work so nothing manually was done to fix the problem.
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