Not sure where to post this.. TiVo S3/HD media server capabilities?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by tophyr, Nov 7, 2007.

  1. tophyr

    tophyr New Member

    Oct 26, 2007


    Forgive me if this is in completely the wrong forum :eek:

    What sorts of options exist for the TiVo to act as a central media server? The eSATA ability to add several terabytes (or up to 16 exabytes in the case of TiVoHD?) has me intrigued. I'm aware of TiVoToGo and TiVoComeBack, which are awesome. What formats can the TiVo play - can it do WMV, H.264 and MPEG-2? Or will I have to convert to the TiVo format prior to loading videos? Can it play music, as well?

    My ideal setup would be to have the TiVo loaded up with gobs upon gobs of disk space, and then to simply put all the house's music, videos, perhaps DVDs etc, on to the hard disk. I would then point all my computer's media libraries to draw from the TiVo as if it were a file server, optimally.

    As far as I can tell, all that'd really be needed to accomplish that is the ability for TiVo to act as a SMB server. I understand that (at least the first generations) TiVo runs Linux - can it run Samba? If there's not the software for it, what stands in the way of it? I'm a developer and I'm not afraid of tackling something like this :)
  2. demon

    demon BURNINATOR

    Nov 15, 2006
    Western SD
    The TiVo Series3 and TiVo HD currently only play MPEG-2 video with either MPEG-1 layer 2 or Dolby Digital. The decoder chips in each do support MPEG-4 AVC (aka H.264), and VC-1 (at least on the TiVo HD, maybe the Series3), but there's not currently a way to get video in those formats into the unit. You can stream MP3 music to it, as well as photos (PNG, JPEG, and I *think* GIF and Windows BMP). You have to have a PC running TiVo Desktop or Galleon or similar software to get this functionality though - you don't upload this sort of content directly to the TiVo.

    I think you might need to look at a different solution - the TiVo is not a file server.

    The TiVo does still run Linux, but it's pretty carefully locked down; even if you could hack it, the unit itself is using an embedded MIPS-based CPU that runs at ~300 MHz. It's no powerhouse by any means. I know there are ways to hack even the current-generation TiVos, but they require a certain amount of hardware hacking, and the limitation of resources (~128 MB RAM, small MIPS CPU) don't make it ideal as a file server, plus you'd be crippling its primary function. The TiVo is designed as an appliance, with processing power commensurate with its purpose. If you want a media library system, maybe something more like MythTV is what you need, or perhaps Windows Media Center or something; the TiVo is good at what it does, but for the kind of general-computing applications you're hoping for, I think you'd be quite disappointed.
  3. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

    Nov 27, 2002
    I think your are better off considering the PC to be the media server. The TiVo is a very good receiver and player of the types of media it can handle as well as a good recorder of video content to be placed on your PC media server for general distribution.

    In the short term, the TiVo is also a very good server of recorded content to other TiVoes.

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