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Before you ask - please check these top answers for TiVo questions!

410437 Views 97 Replies 71 Participants Last post by  misterc01
Note: Please post TiVo questions in a .

This thread is for pointing out useful links, not for asking general TiVo questions. Using new threads helps ensure your questions gets seen and helps keep the information in this thread easy to find.

Since a number of good, definitive posts/sites on various TiVo® topics now exist and are often frequently repeated or referenced in posts, since the increasingly stale TiVo Community FAQ (aka TiVo Forum FAQ) and Before you ask--please read these FAQs! thread do not include them, and since answers to some questions are hard to find with a the forum's search facility, I thought it might be a good idea to have a thread listing top sites/posts for various TiVo information.

Note: I'm deliberately choosing not to use a Q&A format (leaving that to the FAQ) in order to focus on building a list of a relatively modest number of the most informative TiVo links (and briefly explaining why people would want to look at them) rather than having a huge list of answers for specific questions.

This post is divided into three sections:
  • General TiVo Infocontains links to more TiVo sites, news, and other TiVo info
  • TiVo Tips & Tricksgetting the most out of your TiVo
  • Specific TiVo Issuestop answers about certain problems
Top Links to General TiVo Info: Top Links to TiVo Tips & Tricks:
  • TiVo has a number of non-technical Tips & Tricks at their web site (e.g., partial instructions on dealing with special characters in WishLists).
  • The Advice from a veteran to a newbie (consolidated) thread contains a large assortment of tips for TiVo users.
  • Often, people ask if they can watch a show live while recording something else. For more info, see The Watching Live While Recording Something Else Thread by ZikZak.
  • For TiVo DVRs that have them, what do the standby and power buttons do? They put the TiVo into standby mode, the effects of which are explained by stevel here. They do not actually turn the TiVo off since the hard drives should last longer if left constantly on and spinning. Do not unplug the TiVo on a regular basis. Also, don't turn off the cable/satellite receiver that you use with TiVo.
  • Window buttonwant to know what it does?
  • One of the big TiVo features lacked by competitors is the WishList™ (name-based recording is the generic term). ccwf's post from the “I don't use Suggestions/Wishlist” thread lists many uses of the WishList feature (some non-obvious).
  • Want to WishList only sports events and not “classic” reshowings? Want to WishList your favorite sports team but not include pre- and postgame shows? See the tips in this thread.
  • Ever wished that TiVo could pad only when the padding won't cause a conflict? Have problems handling slightly overlapping shows? A technique called “semi-soft” padding can often deal with these situations. It was first introduced by moderator Gary Sargent in the link called Limitations of hard padding, and how to simulate soft padding in V2.5.5 from his sticky thread above. The technique is explored in more detail in the HOWTO: limited, "semi-soft" padding thread. For specific instructions on using the technique for the conflicts between CSI and NBC's ER, see this post. When semi-soft padding is not enough and true soft padding is desired, see Stuart Anderton's Automatic soft padding running on the TiVo thread about his hack named “endpad”.
  • For the TiVo shortcut key sequences, special dial codes, thirty second skip, and some of the other undocumented things you can tell TiVo to do using the remote, see the New Almost Complete Codes List thread (text descriptions, generally the most current), Drosoph's TiVo Codes List page (tabular format), and AltOrgPhpWiki's TiVo Diagnostics page.

    If you have backdoors enabled and want to learn more about Advanced Wishlists, see sanderton's thread Hidden menu in Wishlists adds new features! For some of the other things possible with TiVo, see this Daily Mail sample output, the List of All TiVoWeb Modules thread (TiVo Web is now preïnstalled on Series 1 drives by at least one forum sponsor), the soft padding info above, and information available at TiVo-hacking web sites.
Top Links Dealing with Specific TiVo Issues:
  • Zap2It is a convenient way to see what lineups are available in an area and is run by TMS, the same organization that provides guide data to TiVo. (Note: TiVo's over the air lineups are not the same as Zap2It's. Rather, they are assembled from Zap2It's information from cable lineups in the area.) For reporting guide data problems, see Reporting Lineup Issues to TiVo. Issues that can't be reported through that form can be emailed to <[email protected]>. TMS can also be notified directly about lineup and program data errors by following the instructions at Zap2It's Feedback page. For special problems, contact TiVoDataGuy. To report or stay informed about new guide data problems for particular programs, see the forum's Season Pass Alerts area.
  • For help in hooking up TiVo, TiVo's web site has detailed diagrams for some configurations (this TiVo hookup illustration diagrams one configuration and has links at the end to others). Electrophobia's TiVo Wiring Guide has simple diagrams for many more configurations. (DVD recorders can be hooked up as if they were VCRs.) If you have a HD cable box, see the Hookup Instructions: Motorola DCT5100 or DCT6200 w/ HDTV and A/V receiver or Hookup Instructions: Motorola DCT5100 or DCT6200 w/ HDTV and NO A/V receiver. Those setups should also basically work for Scientific Atlanta HD cable boxes.
  • For help in getting TiVo to change channels reliably with a particular cable or satellite box (or to see if TiVo works with a particular box at all), see the Cable/Satellite Box Compatibility & Codes List thread. The thread includes information for particular boxes like recommended IR codes and placement and if serial control is supported. It also has links to related information like how to enable serial control and build IR tent/forts. After proper setup, you should expect to miss no more than one channel every few months with most boxes whether using serial or IR.

    Also covered are what to do if TiVo suddenly has problems sending the number 6 in a channel and some other problems with particular boxes, like not accepting the first digit of a channel. Gary Sargent has a page of analogous info for UK boxes, which was the inspiration for the U.S. version. Both of these lists are actively maintained and tend to contain more current information than is found elsewhere.
  • DaveLessnau has terrific summary posts listing things to try for remote, modem/daily call, and generic channel changing problems. (Again, see the Cable/Satellite Box Compatibility & Codes List for specific channel changing problems with various boxes and for more recent info.) In a similar vein, ccwf has steps to try for failed loading and other corrupted guide data problems, and liztdog911 has a list of things to look at for possible hard disk failure (“stoppling/stopples“ is/are a classic symptom). Also see The "Help! My Tivo is Stuttering/Freezing/Crashing/Clicking" Thread by ZikZak. See the Failed while loading series thread for more info on problems with TiVo being unable to use new guide data.
  • No (land) phone line? Want to connect TiVo to a network, e.g., in order to get guide data over the Internet or use HMO for standalone TiVo DVRs? For TiVo DVRs with a USB port, a USB network adapter is required. See TiVo's Recommended Adapters and the link to the larger list of adapters at the bottom. For wireless, also see TiVoOpsMgr's detailed post about wireless.

    Some wired adapters can even be used for initial guided setup with the ,#401 undocumented dial prefix. (If you have trouble getting the prefix to work, Dan posted a step-by-step procedure. If you powered the TiVo DVR up without everything ready to go beforehand, you may need to reset it by going into demo mode.)
    For TiVo Series2 DVRs preinstalled with 3.x software, only certain wired adapters work for initial guided setup.
    For TiVo DVRs preinstalled with 4.0 software, it should also be possible to use the older supported wired adapters to perform initial guided setup.
    For DirecTiVos (DirecTV DVRs with TiVo) w/ USB, a hack is also required to enable the USB ports.
    For TiVo DVRs without USB ports (non-Series2), see the TurboNET, AirNET, and CacheCARD upgrades from the forum sponsors at the top of the page.

    If you have a firewall that blocks outbound traffic, you will probably be interested in knowing what ports to open on the firewall. Thanks to Dave Platt, embeem, and DaveLessnau for the info on wired adapters that work with 3.x.

    Want to use TiVo with VoIP (e.g., Vonage)? Try the Vonage Question thread.
  • Why is your TiVo changing channels and recording even though you haven't told it do so? What are those entries in the Now Playing list with the TiVo logo? Don't worry, these are called “suggestions” and are mostly harmless. For more info, see TiVo's article What Are TiVo Suggestions?
  • If you are having flickering or brightness problems, see the thread TiVo adjusts brightness. If you have a Motorola DCT6200 or DCT5100 cable box and have a flicker problem or incorrect colors across the top two-thirds of the screen, instead see the entries for those boxes in the Cable/Satellite Box Compatibility & Codes List.
  • If your TiVo remote is sending erroneous signals to your Zenith TV, see Edmund's posts from the Remote mishaps thread.
  • If your TiVo exhibits occasional kazoo-like audio distortion, see the Bad audio from Tivo? / "Intermittent" "squealy" audio / "Kazoo" Audio thread. Listen to this audio sample to hear if you have this problem.
  • Do you suffer temporary audio loss with an RCA TV and possible video problems, with both fixed by power-cycling the TV? You have a defective TV. :(
  • Is volume abnormally low on your TiVo? If all sound is low, including TiVo's sound effects, then the problem may be the audio output op-amp. If volumes are different for different TiVo outputs, the problem could be voltage supply to an op-amp. Check recordings made before the volume problem developed and/or alternate inputs to see if it might be a problem with one of the TiVo's inputs. If not, then the problem could be swapped resistors that produces improper voltage and the eventual failure of a voltage regulator. Here is a picture of the place to check the voltage. Good soldering skills and equipment are needed to correct the problem.
  • How does one tell how much free space is remaining? As mentioned above, no method exists in the normal interface. A common workaround is to total the hours used by suggestions since suggestions are generally deleted first.

    For TiVos accepting the S0RT code, Now Playing can be sorted to show the order in which shows will expire for deletion. With backdoors, tvlog can be searched for disk usage information and some TiVos also have a backdoors Disk Space Usage screen. Additionally, an on-screen free space indicator hack is available.
    Again, see The Free Space Indicator Thread for further general discussion of this topic.
  • Want to copy recordings from TiVo to a DVD or computer? Dan203 summarizes the methods available here. Want to edit out the commercials, too? See the thread Tivo to PC, edit out commercials then burn to DVD. Possible?
  • Want to control TiVo with an RF remote? (RF lets you control TiVo over much longer distances and through walls.) Many options are available (see the second page).
  • Have a DCT6200 cable box and incorrect colors on the top half of the screen? See the following threads for Motorola's diagnosis and fix for the problem and a poster-submitted possible workaround.
  • Why is video quality worse after installing TiVo?

    First, check these samples of TiVo DVR video output to see whether or not your video quality is notably different from what is shown there. Many more examples of TiVo video quality can be found at the C/J/K Dramas board, including the thumbnails below.

    Second, TVs are shipped with sharpness and contrast set way too high for optimum home viewing, and TiVo and other digital devices make the problems with the factory default settings very visible. Ideally, calibrate your TV with the Avia or Video Essentials DVDs (available at some public libraries). HDNet test patterns can also be used. Proper calibration is the most important thing that can be done to improve video quality, whether or not using TiVo. At the very least, turn sharpness and contrast way down.

    Third, if using cable without a cable box, make sure the input signal quality is good. Weak signals and overly strong signals can both cause video problems, more so with TiVo and other digital devices (DVD recorders, cable modems) than with analog TV sets. Some cable companies will send a person out to measure signal quality with a meter. That is the best way to go. Signal quality is also shown on the diagnostics pages of Scientific Atlanta Explorers and many web-accessible cable modem diagnostics pages.

    Finally, fundamentally, standalone TiVo DVRs perform lossy compression on the video signal, which means some information/quality is lost. MPEG compression artifacts will be introduced (blockiness, loss of detail in dark areas,…). “Grain” (clumpiness) should not be introduced, however.
Please contribute by posting other important TiVo links. :)
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It's only a little way down the page right now, but: <bump>

Great page, Charles, how long did it take to throw together?
I've been thinking about writing such a post for many days now and finally sat down and pounded it out this morning. I started with a test post this morning to see if the forum allows em-dashes in thread titles, so between that and the time I finished the post was about 3&frac12;&nbsp;hours. Hopefully, for that amount of effort, people will find it useful. :)
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Great post! Somebody should sticky it to the top!
You missed "42"!! (but really: <bump>)

Awesome collection of info, and drafted on Christmas to boot. :up: Definitely sticky that thing, mods.
Originally posted by ccwf
Somehow, I had omitted the link for the TiVo Web modules list.
Just goes to show you that this thread isn't just for newbies-- I didn't even know there was a thread listing all the TiVoweb modules. I think I need to pop in to the UK forum every once in a while!
Originally posted by ccwf
I thought it might be a good idea....
Great work... I agree, it's a superb resource.

On behalf of everyone who is going to find this post useful in the days weeks months and years to come,

I thank you.
Great post !

I am a newbie and I have one question on the wiring diagrams.

I have an older JVC tv which only has 1 video input.
This is my eqipment: DTIVO, DVD RECORDER, DVD PLAYER, VCR, A/V RECEIVER, plus an outside antennae feed.

I tried to run my video feed from my Dtivo and DVD recorder, which I recently bought , through the receiver , but was unable to see the picture on my tv. I ran a S-Video in to the receiver and a composite out to the tv because I haven't had a chance to pick up any S-video cables.
I was wondering if this the reason I can't see a picture on my tv. Incompatible cables?

I'v temporarily ran my S-video from my DTivo straight to the tv and it's working fine. My audio is working fine from my Dtivo and the DVD recorder running to my receiver. I'm just unable to see any type of picture from my DVD recorder.

I want to be able to send recordings from my Dtivo to the DVD recorder so I can burn them to DVD-R and also record from my antennae onto the DVD recorder.

Is this possible or do I need some type of RF modulator?
Any suggestions on how I should wire this setup.
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You should post new questions in a new thread. Otherwise, this thread may get cluttered with random questions like Lori's similar, older thread did.

However, the likely answer to your question is that most A/V receivers do not convert between S-Video and composite. If you feed them S-Video inputs, then they output only S-Video.
How about a:

Help, I booted my TiVo drive attached to an XP computer! link?

It's here

I appreciate, that this may not be the correct list to add this link, if you feel that is the case, I'll happily remove this post....
It is out of scope for this part of the forum.

However, people do ask here about that issue sometimes (newcomers—such questions belong in the TiVo Upgrade Center part of this site; read JAB's guidelines post Replacing Hard Disks and Modems / Posting About Problems with Your Upgraded TiVo for more info) and are sometimes misadvised by forum veterans that a complete restore from backup is necessary, which isn't true. So, for now, I think it is worthwhile to keep your post in this thread, although I'll leave it out of the summary post.
I have directv in two rooms with a descrabler box in each room. I have a series2 stand alone tivo that I just bought in the living room.
I also like to watch live tv at times. I would imagine most newbies to this do until we get use to how tivo works.
We like to watch shows that are on at the same time we usually watch one and record the other.

I'm thinking the best way for me to do this on the bigscreen tv is to run a video signal in from the bedroom to the big tv. While tivo is recording the one channel I will switch to the other digital signal from the bedroom. I'm guessing the only things I will need is the video&sound cables plus an rf remote control to control the satellite box in the bedroom. This wont work for everyone unless they have a bedroom very close to the living room.

I wonder if directv makes a dual tuner box thats does not have tivo built in...

Great thread!
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My solution is: cable -> TiVo -> VCR -> TV. I put TiVo into Standby when I want to watch "real live" TV or use the VCR to record something. ZikZak's claim notwithstanding, I have actually run into situations where I need to record two things and watch a third at the same time because not one of them was being repeated. (Darn that broadcast television.) ;)

You might want to check one of these threads:

"The Watching Live While Recording Something Else Thread"
"How to set up VCR with record one and watch one channel with cable box option????"
"Recording a channel while watching another channel?"
Hi, I'm a new member. Purchased a Tivo for my Church. The church has an interal cable system. The Tivo will be used in a remote location from the main service for
time delay. Since Tivo uses downloaded programing is there any way to manualy programe the unit to record the church service . The books that come with the unit don't discuss this option. Thanks John
Please post questions in a separate thread and not in this one.
Originally posted by ccwf
Note: Please post TiVo questions in a .

This thread is for pointing out useful links, not for asking general TiVo questions. Using new threads helps ensure your questions gets seen and helps keep the information in this thread easy to find.
Anyways, the answer is that you should email the [email protected] address to see if they can add a custom lineup for you.
Okay, I read my books, I went to the TiVo web link. I called the Cable company and followed the directions I got from the TiVo web site about hooking up TiVo to watch one channel while recording another. The Cable company does not want to help unless I have them come out for a paid visit. The tiVo site info did not get me working. Best I have got is I can record a channel but I get no sound and now I also have no sound on TiVo when watching Live TV on Tivo. I am wondering if the DCT-6200 has something to do with all this but can not really point any fingers a this point.

I am ready to go Postal on the Tivo as nothing seems to help and I am very Frustrated.

I would appreciate any and all assistance I can get here.

Ray Siso Jr.
[email protected]
:confused: :confused: :confused:
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Okay it is now past 8 PM and I have Good News and BAD News.

The Good News is that the TiVo did record a program and it does have sound.

The BAD News is that it did not record what I told it too record. it gave it the title of the show I asked for but did not record 60 minutes. I think it recorded the channel I switched too just before I turned the TV off. Tomorrow I will look again at the directions for Recording one Channel while watching another and see it I can fathom something from that menu. If not I will return and see if someone has any additional ideas. Other than changing the Audio cables from the In to the Out connections nothing else has been changed.

More tomorrow.

Ray Siso Jr.
Are there any resources available that detail all of the differences between the Series 1 and Series 2 stand-alone Tivos?
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