Boxee On TiVo

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by Brian Walsh, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. Brian Walsh

    Brian Walsh New Member

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    Nov 29, 2011
    This is probably kind of an odd question, but.... I have an old TiVo HD that I'm not using. I understand that it is essentially just a desktop PC, which implies I should be able to use it as such. I'm thinking of trying to convert into a Boxee box. This should be possible, but I haven't a clue how to do it. I've searched everywhere I can, I can't find anyone who has tried it. Does anyone have any suggestions?
     
  2. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

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    You have made the common mistake of confusing the TiVo, a computer-ish purpose-dedicated appliance, with an actual computer.

    Almost any attempt to use a TiVo as anything other than a TiVo is cost prohibitive at best.

    When you say TiVo HD, you mean a TCD652160, correct?

    Without a subscription you might be able to use it as an OTA and cable tuner that won't record or play back, except for the 30 minute buffer, and puts up nag screens about the lack of a subscription.

    How long have you had it and how long has it been without a subscription and do you have any other TiVos currently in service?

    (I'm trying to figure out if by some very lucky chance you might be able to get the $99 lifetime subscription offer on it)
     
  3. classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

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    You understand wrong. TiVo is a closed appliance, even though its core OS is a version of Linux. All TiVo modeld, 5xx and newer, use a integrated MIPS core and video decoder made by Broadcom, who are very secretive for many of their parts, especially those used in Set-Top-Boxes.

    So basically, no, you cannot run anything but the TiVo software on a TiVo.
     
  4. wkearney99

    wkearney99 Bill Kearney

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    The problem is there's no documentation available for the video-specific innards of the Tivo units. That and the CPU in the Tivo does not have a lot of computational power. It's designed to do it's Tivo tasks and that's it. Even when you could hack the previous models they were so underpowered as to make it kind of pointless. They basically engineered the Tivo to do exactly what it does and nothing more.

    Other home theater setups like Boxee, XBMC and the like need more CPU power than the Tivo could even begin to offer.

    Suggestions? Sell it and move on. Sell it before it goes obsolete.
     
  5. Brian Walsh

    Brian Walsh New Member

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    Nov 29, 2011
    It is a TCD652160, yes. It actually has a lifetime subscription, but I don't have cable and my antenna reception is weak, so I don't have much use for it. I watch everything through the Internet. Watching Netflix through the TiVo is a nightmare and it doesn't include much else so I need an alternative. I know the Premiere has Hulu but Boxee, Roku and the rest have much more. Without cable, a TiVo isn't very helpful. But I got it for free, it was worth a try. I'll just keep dragging the HDMI cord to my laptop for now.
     
  6. Dec 1, 2011 #6 of 14
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Well, that's not true. (In fact I run quite a bit of non-TiVo softwre on all my TiVos, including some I have written myself.) The biggest issue would be getting the Boxee software to use the TiVo's display. That would require hacking Boxee and an understanding of the Broadcom interface. You are right, however, this is probably not practical, even on a modified TiVo.
     
  7. Dec 1, 2011 #7 of 14
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    That's probably true.

    This is not. Boxee doesn't require enough procesing power to try and spit on. The TiVo would make a perfectly wonderful platform for Boxee - if one could get the Boxee video stream to show up on the TiVo display.
     
  8. Dec 1, 2011 #8 of 14
    wkearney99

    wkearney99 Bill Kearney

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    Scripts aside, without actual documentation on the innards what you suggest is based on guesswork, not facts. Yes, something else that ran only the same functions as the Tivo would work. But given the wider range of codecs and other features most HTPC systems implement the Tivo device is going to come across underpowered. So the effort spent to get everything cross-compiled and working would likely end up delivering a less than what's already available (for less) on the other devices.

    Sure, it may well be within the range of theoretically and technically possible, but you could also attempt to drive your used car in an Indy or F1 race. Just don't expect to win, or even finish.
     
  9. Dec 6, 2011 #9 of 14
    lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Nonsense. I know how much horsepower the TiVo has and how much horsepower Boxee uses, especially for functions other than video processing. The former is considerable and the latter minuscule.

    We're talking about Boxee, here. It's capabilities are far narrower in scope and far less demanding than tivoapp.

    Not underpowered, just under-featured. There's adifference. It's true only the decoders supported by the Broadcom chip or simple transcodes would be practical on the platform, and that would tend to limit the number of video formats. OTOH, the ones it does support would be better served. I've run Boxee on a fairly fast system - six cores @3.2GHz, and although the CPU utilization is zilch, the video performance is poor. MPEG2 sources play OK, but MPEG4 is jerky. A RISC platform with on-chip video is an excellent choice for video playback, which is why it is so popular among DVRs. Video processing is a highly specialized task, and one not efficiently performed by a general purpose CPU. Trying to run an HD video system on a general purpose computer system with only a 300 MHz single core CISC CPU and 128M of memory would be a disaster.

    That's true, especially when one considers how much money all the development time is worth.

    Actually, the used car I drive would fare failrly well on a race track. :)

    A better analogy would be trying to run a bulldozer at Indy. It wouldn't do very well, but then an F1 race car would be a very poor choice to use to try to pull a huge tree out of the ground.
     
  10. MikeMar

    MikeMar Go Pats

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    If it has lifetime, you could ebay it and probably use that money to buy a Boxee Box (I love my Boxee Box :))
     
  11. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    One needn't buy a D-Link Boxee Box to have Boxee, you know. The Boxee software runs on a wide variety of platforms. I'ne tried it on one of my PCs. It's not bad. 'A little klunky, but serviceable.
     
  12. MikeMar

    MikeMar Go Pats

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    I know, but it's different. It's different SW, and the box you can just leave in your media cabinet. I don't have room for a pc near the TV. And it just works.

    So if your choice is buying a PC vs a Boxee Box, it's just another option.
     
  13. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

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    The software on the Boxee box is much better than the PC version.
     
  14. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

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    Really? I haven't played with the box, so I can't say.
     

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