Linux & MythTV on a MIPS processor

Discussion in 'TiVo Underground' started by marbordom, Oct 7, 2007.

  1. Oct 7, 2007 #1 of 21
    marbordom

    marbordom Member

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    Hi,

    has anyone tried to run a MIPS compiled Linux distribution on TiVo hardware?
    I am thinking of a way to use the TiVo box for a "self-baked" OS with open software and free electronic programming guide and not to do any illegal modification (theft of service). After I've done some search I found that mips cross compilation has been done on i686 platforms but of course getting all the hw (encode/decoder/tuner/IR remote, USB, IDE...etc) functioning might not be as easy. Are there some links anyone knows about which I could look into?
     
  2. Oct 7, 2007 #2 of 21
    marbordom

    marbordom Member

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    I found an answer on mythtv
    Quote: "
    23 16 Can I run MythTV on my TiVo?
    23 17 Can I run MythTV on my ReplayTV?

    No.
    While it is true that the TiVo runs the Linux kernel, and TiVo has released their changes to the kernel under the GPL, the TiVo is not a general-purpose computer, and there is no programming information available for the custom hardware contained within a TiVo. TiVo is under no obligation to release the source code to their application."
     
  3. Oct 8, 2007 #3 of 21
    classicsat

    classicsat Astute User

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    There are non I know of. Broadcom keeps their full datasheets and source code secret.
     
  4. Oct 8, 2007 #4 of 21
    mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Well-Known Member

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    Ellicott...
    FYI - The S2 Tivos use a MIPS processor so the OS is a Linux distribution of sorts that is complied for such use. There have been reports of some individuals having success in porting a regular Linux distribnution to a Tivo platform, but the results are somewhat erratic, IIRC. Keep in mind that the CPU in a Tivo is somewhat limited and quite basic and doesn't have a lot of horsepower.
     
  5. Oct 8, 2007 #5 of 21
    marbordom

    marbordom Member

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    Thanks for both your posts.
    mr.unnatural: The mips processor reports about the same amount of "horsepower" like a underclocked linksys network storage link NSLU2 (<= 200 bogomips) Since the Series 2 board has (I think it does) hardware for en/decoding video streams the real horsepowers are in these chips for video processing. There is no need to compute much in software like mpeg conversion. The basic TiVO is already a Linux OS itself but since it is developed by TiVO they have put in bells and whistles to disallow the DVR functionality and bypassing this is illegal.
    Baking an own Linux with full DVR features would probably be a legal thing but it probably requires some people with good hardware and sw skills plus some good debug equipment.
    Does anyone have some links with info about the erratic results of some individuals?
     
  6. Oct 8, 2007 #6 of 21
    Da Goon

    Da Goon Registered Abuser

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    Can't directly link there... go to deal data base . com and look for a thread started by alldeadhomiez on installing debian mips on a tivo.
     
  7. Oct 9, 2007 #7 of 21
    JWThiers

    JWThiers Smartypants

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    And that is where it gets tough. While it would be an interesting project, with the cheap cost of a tivo is it worth the effort to hack the MythTV software to support the hardware on a tivo? Why not just build a MythTV box? If you buy all new parts, You could build a kickin system with about what $500? Or recycle some older hardware and get away with just needing TV Tuner cards (You can get a dual tuner Hauppauge HD card with a remote for $90 from newegg). It would be a lot easier and nearly as cheap. Unless of course you are just looking for something to do.
     
  8. Oct 9, 2007 #8 of 21
    BTUx9

    BTUx9 back?

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    Just an FYI, bogomips isn't a good yardstick to measure horsepower, especially with difference between RISC and CISC functionality. (see wikipedia for more info)
     
  9. Oct 9, 2007 #9 of 21
    marbordom

    marbordom Member

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    I read the thread on DDB about Debian on a MIPS. For me it looks like that is not what I am looking for in general even though it is cool of course. Although it is much more powerful to have all kinds of authentication mechanism (ssh ..), server and client tools (nfs, samba..), scripting languages (perl, python, shell ..) from a Linux distro I was looking for a stand-alone indep. solution which allows to using the tuner and the mpeg en-/decoder to record streams with Linux - not using the TiVO Linux - because it prevents DVR functionality as per TiVO policy (theft of service)
     
  10. BTUx9

    BTUx9 back?

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    it's not that tivo linux PREVENTS it... it's that all that functionality is embedded in tivoapp, and will only work under certain circumstances.
     
  11. marbordom

    marbordom Member

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    True, it is that tivoapp must have dependencies on something which is only enabling DVR functions if a valid subscription is found... but if the modules are already compiled for the TiVO hardware aka linux devices there must be a way or better some software to just use the box as a dumb recorder.
     
  12. JWThiers

    JWThiers Smartypants

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    That would be considered Theft of Service on this site. Sorry.
     
  13. BTUx9

    BTUx9 back?

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    Oh, you're right... it's probably EXTREMELY simple (I mean, what do *I* know)

    Go right ahead and do it... I'm sure it won't take long at all
     
  14. marbordom

    marbordom Member

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    Just out of curiosity: If I found a TiVO box in the trash and build my own app using it as a DVR not using anything other than the hw from TiVO why would that be considered theft of service if I do not use any of TiVO's services. The hardware is not purchased and no agreement is ever signed. Any lawyers in the forum?
     
  15. BTUx9

    BTUx9 back?

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    Just out of curiosity, if a 4 year old found a cell phone in the trash... said they had heard any old cell phone could be used just as long as you "cloned" another cell phone, would you help them do it? (assuming you had the knowledge)

    This is a forum dedicated to TiVo users... in general we like the company's products and want to see it continue... what you are talking about is counter to those aims, so this is NOT the place for such a discussion.

    What you're asking is tantamount to going to a group of bank executives and asking them for advice on how to rob banks. Please stop.
     
  16. JWThiers

    JWThiers Smartypants

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    I agree. Seeing that this is way out of bounds for this site (TIVO Community, not MythTV (or DVR) community) maybe this thread should end.
     
  17. marbordom

    marbordom Member

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    Please delete the thread if you wish to.

    BTW: A cell phone always requires a service provider's service (airtime, connection attempts, bandwidth), a DVR does not require service other than what you already pay for to your air/dish/cable/fibre provider to receive e.g. TV channels. Modifying a VCR or even better a (digital box) like a computer to anyones needs (programming, adding your own interfaces) is also not considered theft.
    I agree that this thread is somehow orthogonal to the idea of supporting TiVO as a company and I consider a subscription to their service anyway but of course prefer one for a dual tuner than what I have right now :)
    That said please go ahead and remove this thread.
     
  18. JWThiers

    JWThiers Smartypants

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    After rereading this thread I can see where some confusion crept in. Some of your question made it sound like you wanted to still use the tivo interface and just bypass the need for a subscription, to their guide data to use the hardware they designed and built and are selling at a loss (they make their money on the subscription not the hardware). This would be theft of service.

    You just want to basically just use the hardware as a computer and write your own app. Thats fine but the problem is you would have to reverse engineer the CUSTOM hardware to get the proper hardware calls for basically everything not on the mips processor. Hardware encode/decode, video overlay, tuners, EVERYTHING. Is it possible, sure but as I stated earlier unless you are looking for a long term project, why would you. products like MythTv will run on just about any recent CPU and is free. So you can use an old PC and just drop in a couple of tuner cards. About the only thing you would likely have to buy is the tuner cards and they are cheap (you can pick up one on newegg for as little as $20). So, if you have a PC laying around, for $40 you can have a dual tuner DVR. I suppose you could make a DVR with more than 2 tuners also if you have a fast enough processor and big/fast enough drive(s)
     
  19. marbordom

    marbordom Member

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    I understand the ease to build a DVR or PVR out of a PC. I actually have two tuners in my PC and various other tuner cards, some VCRs and was just given a Series 2 TiVO with a single tuner. The only problem I actually have with a PC is: Older hardware is too loud for a living room (expensive to make it quiet: a good fan & heatsink cost more than a CPU), also a PC is not energy efficient like the TiVO and maybe programming the remote buttons, routing many wires, IR receiver is more ugly just than a sleek TiVO. All this I know does not belong in this forum, sorry for taking your time. I appreciate your posts even more.
     
  20. JWThiers

    JWThiers Smartypants

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    Sorry we couldn't be more helpful, but the truth is, the amount of work required to do what you want to do makes it impractical.
     

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