Over the years I've always toyed with the idea of using an SSD in my Tivo for faster responses. Having 50+ season passes and 2tb of drive space since 2008 the menus were slow and reordering season passes was murder.
I tried a regular SSD in my TivoHD (160gb originally) and it would show the Tivo logo for 5-10 seconds then go to a solid grey screen.
Eventually Seagate came out with a really cool hybrid laptop drive. It had 4-8gb of SSD on board and came in 500-750-1tb flavors. At the block level it would monitor which portions of the drive were read most and automatically copy those into the SSD totally transparent to the OS (no drivers or OS requirements). I tried one of those in 2011 and also got the grey screen.
Fast forward to today and I received a desktop 2tb hybrid. It is 7200 rpm with 64mb of cache and 8gb of SSD
This drive also had the solid grey screen of death.
Now I'm thinking, why the hell does the Tivo dislike any SSD or partial SSD. I was about to give up when I remembered I had bought something as a Tivo project that never came to be. It was a two drive external raid enclosure with an ESATA port. This enclosure supported JBOD mode. My original plan was to have a small SSD (say 80gb) and a 1tb drive configured in JBOD mode as the A-drive in the Tivo (with another 1tb B drive). This would mean the first 80gb of the drive was super fast and the rest was normal.
Since this enclosure works as a SATA to SATA bridge I thought it could "translate" away the incompatibility. I was right and the Tivo booted right away. It's interesting to watch the hard drive activity LED while going through guided setup. I plan to remove the circuit and mount it inside the Tivo. It was originally powered by a 2 amp five volt adapter and I'm sure most of that was to run the motors in the two laptop drives. I will power this board from the Tivo internal power supply so I don't need this extra wall wart.
This image shows the drive connected and the format LEDs lit
Excuse the graininess as I was the dark.
I plan to buy an esata to regular sata cable but for now I had to improvise. The connection goes: port 1 on the motherboard - the original Tivo esata port - esata cable - enclosure board - sata cable - hybrid drive.