TiVo Experiences

Just sharing some of my experiences…





I had two TiVo HD units.  One of them continues to run fine after about 8 years.  I recently bought in extender drive from Western Digital for it.


The other started rebooting and hanging.  I thought the issue was that the HDD inside had gone bad, so I found an interesting web site by Mr. Ross Walker and I used his information to replace the HDD in that unit.  Nice guy, and I appreciate all of his help.  He also pointed out that I could test the power supply by driving the HDD with an external PC power supply.  The TiVo HD had also started throwing S03 errors and wouldn’t pull down guide data, but that was resolved by reloading the drive from an image of my other TiVo HD.


Sadly, after much work, I gave up trying to rescue it.  Both of my HD’s have life time service.  Really disappointing that TiVo no longer provides any support.  The on line recovery sites make explicit statements that for your $99 they will check it out, but that they don’t guarantee they will fix it.  There are lots of TiVo HD’s for sale online, and lots of complaints from many years ago about TiVo HDs rebooting and hanging and not being fixable.

TIVo Bolt


TiVo - Bolt 500GB Unified Entertainment System - 4K Ultra HD - White - Front Zoom


I ordered and installed a 500 GB Bolt in early May ’16.  Installation in place of my dying HD was pretty easy.  Only the new Bolt wall-wart power supply required any “behind the cabinet” install work.


Here’s the good so far:

1.      The Time Warner multi-stream card I pulled out of the dead HD works and graduated to 4 streams

2.      I was able to use TiVo’s web site to transfer all ~250 wishlist and season pass items out of the dying TiVo HD and into the Bolt.  Major accomplishment

3.      The new Bolt remote emits both RF and IR.  And the Bolt receives both IR and RF.  So I can continue to use my Logitech multifunction remote control.


The bad so far:

1.      The Bolt doesn’t output video as component or composite.  So far I think I’m unable to connect it to my Slingbox.  L/R audio does come out of the 1/8” jack on the back, but not video.  Note: I had to buy a TiVo Mini and cable set to fix this issue.

2.      The TiVo iOS app says that my Bolt does not support streaming out of the home.  I can sometimes get it to stream inside my LAN.  But TiVo’s information about streaming make grand promises about streaming everywhere.  In the mean time, I’ve connected to my Slingbox and have out-of-home streaming again.


More to come….

Original Phillips TiVo

Series 1




Terrible News: On 16 Aug 16 TiVo sent me Email telling me that they are killing guide data support for my two Series 1 boxes.  I paid about $400 each for lifetime support for my two Series 1 boxes, but sadly, “lifetime” apparently means “so long as TiVo wants to”.

They are offering me a $75 cash card as compensation for the loss of my two investments.

I have to wonder if this is one of the first of many negative outcomes from TiVo having been purchased by Rovi?

I have two original Phillips analog input units (Philips 30 Hour PTV Recorder).  I had to replace the HDD in one of them years ago, but they are running like champs still.  The only issue I have with these is getting them to make calls to the TiVo service through my Vonage lines.  These have life time service.

TIVo Mini


TiVo Mini with RF Remote (Current Version)


I ordered a TiVo Mini off of Amazon for $137.00.  ($12 cheaper than off the TiVo site.)  The mini connects via Ethernet (RJ-45, not WiFi) to my Bolt.  It presents a full user interface just like the Bolt’s.  It shows the content of the Bolt, and it uses one of my Bolt’s tuners to show live TV or any other content from the Bolt.  I put the Mini into the back bedroom and connected the HDMI output to a small TV.  It sits next to my Roku 4 and is the main device in that bedroom for TV.  I’ve pulled out the Time Warner digital tuner and will return it to TWC shortly.


The good:

1.      The Mini’s RF remote controls the Mini like an RF remote.

2.      The Mini also takes IR inputs from my old TiVo remote, and the new Mini RF remote outputs IR to control the Samsung TV I’m using with it.

3.      The Mini outputs pretty much all the needed formats, 480i through 1080p, and all the steps.

4.      The UI is nearly identical to the Bolt so I don’t have to learn another new one.  There are slight differences reflecting that the Mini doesn’t have tuners, etc.

5.      No TiVo service fee

6.      The mini supports analog outputs (but you have to buy the cables, shown below)


The bad so far:

1.      Since I ordered it from Amazon it took a full 24 hours for TiVo to “activate” it.  Until then it was useless.

2.      When I played an Amazon video it only went out the HDMI connector.  The Mini turned off the analog outputs.  So at least for that one movie, I can’t stream Amazon movies out through the Slingbox.


I’ve hooked that Mini’s component output to my Slingbox.  The Sling’s IR remote sets atop the Mini and it provides me a full “out of the home” access to my in-home TV experience (just like I had with the TiVo HD).


TiVo Mini Composite and Component Cable Kit




I ordered these off of Amazon for $19.99 (free shipping with Prime, and $6 cheaper than off the TiVo site).  As I note in the TiVo Mini section these are required if you want analog outputs from the TiVo Mini.


Web site by Arch.  Contact me with any questions or comments.  Last updated 19 Aug 16.