2004 UpdateOK, so this page is pretty old, as it was created several years ago, back when there was very little information available on the web (and even fewer pictures) describing how to upgrade an original Series 1 TiVo stand-alone box. Now there's much more information out there, and whole books have been written on how to upgrade and otherwise hack your TiVo. Still, some folks might still find the information below helpful so I'll leave it here. In the mean time...
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Adding a second drive to the Philips TiVo
First, some helpful tidbits...
- News flash: Quantum and Maxtor are
MERGING! Interesting, given that most TiVo upgrade drives come
from one or the other...
- The $100 rebate
from TiVo for new units purchased seems to have ended at the
end of December, 2000.
- A Macintosh version of the BlessTiVo utility has been written
and is now
available. I have not tried it.
- If TiVo gets "stuck" at the blue boot screen after the upgrade
for more than a few minutes, you did something wrong. Don't panic.
In my case, I forgot to move the jumper on the drive. There's a
sticker on the drive that vaguely explains this, and additional
(better) jumper information available on the
Quantum Support web site.
- One of the pictures below shows how the jumper SHOULD be
positioned, but beware: This picture may not apply to drives other
than the Quantum LCT15. Then again, why would you want to use any
other drive? This drive was (literally) made for TiVo!
[Actually, some Sony units reportedly won't boot with a
Quantum installed as the second drive. Then again, this page is
targeted at folks adding a drive to the *Philips* TiVo. For more
info on upgrading Sony units, search for "Sony" on the FAQ
- This whole upgrade would not have been possible without the
folks at the TiVo Underground at the AVS
TiVo Forum. These guys are great!
- If you want to give a thank-you to the folks who made this
possible, check out the PayPal
message thread for details on how. As of 8/17/00, there's a
- Of course, there would be no point to any of this if it
weren't for the AWESOME people at TiVo,
who made this most excellent device in the first place!!
- If you like TiVo, be sure to also check out the Philips
Pronto programmable remote control, and the amazing Remote
Central web site with all sorts of information, message
boards, and sample Pronto configurations that people have
- Compatible drive brackets are now available - see links
Next, some useful web links...
- TiVo Hack
FAQ - READ IT before attempting the upgrade!! This upgrade is
NOT for the squeamish!!
- The unofficial TiVo
Hackers Site - Drive "blesser" program can be found here
- AVS TiVo Forum -
Several TiVo-related message boards including TiVo
Fireball LCT20 30GB drive - roughly $100, give or take a few
bucks, at buy.com.
Fireball LCT20 40GB drive - roughly $120, give or take a few
bucks, at buy.com.
Fireball Plus AS 60GB drive - roughly $215, give or take a few
bucks, at buy.com. (Hopefully
Quantum will do an LCT version of this drive, as an LCT would
undoubtedly be cheaper, lower power, and quieter; then again, with
a $40 rebate
does it matter?)
- Check here
for any Quantum rebates that may be available (including the
Fireball Plus AS rebate
- $100 rebate from
TiVo - TiVo's old rebate program. Let
me know if you hear of any new rebates.
now sells drive brackets for $15.99 + S&H!!
Simple steps to bless a new drive...
After a great deal of swapping cables, connectors, jumpers, and
BIOS settings, I discovered this straightforward approach to blessing
a new drive that happens to work on the particular Dell desktop
system I used:
- If the CD-ROM is plugged into the IDE Secondary Master
connector, this may work. If not, you're on your own.
- Create the "TiVoBless" Linux boot floppy after downloading the
zip file from The
unofficial TiVo Hackers Site
- Power down the PC.
- Disconnect the IDE connector from the back of the CD-ROM
- Plug the IDE connector into the back of the Quantum drive
- Be sure the BIOS is set to "Auto" identify the Secondary
Master device (which the CD-ROM was)
- The Quantum drive comes from the factory configured as a
Master device so there's no jumper change needed
- Grab a loose power cable and plug it in to the Quantum
- Boot up the PC using the "TiVoBless" Linux boot floppy.
- Type "BlessTiVo /dev/hdc" and hit return. Follow the
instructions that appear.
- If the blessing process reports back a capacity less than
27GB, do NOT proceed. Read the FAQ
- Power down the PC.
- Unplug the Quantum drive power and IDE cables, and return the
IDE cable to the CD-ROM drive.
- Move the jumper over one position towards the power connector
to make it a "slave" device.
- Drive is now ready for installation into the TiVo. Again, read
the FAQ for
- Your mileage may vary.
To back up or not to back up...
I have a friend with a TiVo (same model as mine), so I figured if
I goofed up my TiVo, I could always restore my drive from his. Thus,
I don't have detailed steps for backing up the drive. That doesn't
mean you shouldn't do it. If you don't know what you would do if you
break your TiVo, then back it up first. You can either back it up to
another 15GB drive using "dd" in from the Linux boot disk, or you can
store an image of the drive (optionally compressed) as a file (or
series of files) on your PC hard drive.
For more detailed instructions on how to do back up before you
upgrade, READ THE
Buy.com used to sell the Quantum
LCT15 15GB drive for about $80. Since it's no longer available, check
out the Quantum
LCT20 20GB drive for about $90. You should be able to use this
drive as a backup (or use it as your new "main" drive and archive the
Update (8/22/00): Since I just bought a few more TiVo's for family
and friends, I decided to order a 15GB drive to back up one of the
new TiVo's before upgrading it. Here's what I did:
- Since my computer doesn't seem to like drives on the secondary
connector, I installed the original TiVo drive on Primary Master,
and the new blank 15GB drive on Primary Slave (after moving the
15GB jumper to the slave position).
- I made sure Primary Master and Slave were both set to AUTO in
- I booted the BlessTiVO floppy, and held down SHIFT to get the
- I typed "TiVo_Bootdisk hda=bswap" to tell Linux that hda was
NOT my Windows drive but rather was the byte-swapped TiVo drive.
This gets around the normal limitation of not being able to do
anything with a TiVo drive (or blessing) on Primary Master.
[DO *NOT* do this if your Windows C: drive is still connected
as Primary Master!]
- I logged in as root, and typed "DD conv=noerror if=/dev/hda
- After several hours, I had a backup drive. To confirm, I moved
the slave jumper back to master, installed the drive into the
TiVo, and booted it. It worked fine.
I also wanted to copy the backup as a file (or series of files)
onto my Windows drive, and eventually burn the backup onto a series
of CDR discs. Here's what I did:
- Reconnected my Windows C: drive to the IDE cable as Primary
- Moved the original TiVo drive's master jumper to slave, and
installed it as Primary slave.
- Booted the BlessTiVo floppy.
- Typed "mount -t vfat /dev/hda1 /mnt" to mount the Windows
drive at /mnt.
- Typed "cd /mnt" and "ls" to verify the Windows drive was
- Typed "dd if=/dev/hdb bs=1024k |gzip -1c >tivodisk.gz" to
backup to a single file. (From what I hear, -9c doesn't save much
more space but takes even longer to perform.)
- I should've typed "dd if=/dev/hdb bs=1024k |gzip -1c |split
-b650m - /mnt/tivodisk.gz."
- Since I didn't, I typed "cat tivodisk.gz |split -b650m
>tivodisk.gz." to split the single backup file into CDR-sized
- To unmount the Windows drive before shutting down, type
Supposedly, to restore the image, I would simply type: "cat
/tivodisk* | gzip -dc | dd of=/dev/hdb obs=1024k"
PLEASE do not bother the nice folks at TiVo if you goof up your
- TiVo Inc. should not be expected to provide support for this
- The folks at the AVS TiVo Forum do not officially support this
upgrade (though the people on the message boards are pretty good
about answering questions).
- I do not support this upgrade.
- You're on your own!!
- Is that enough disclaimers for you? :-)
And now, the pictures...
(Click on any picture to see a larger, more detailed version!)
These pages were created on a Macintosh
PowerBook G3, using Claris
Home Page 3.0, GraphicConverter,
Photoshop, and uploaded with NetFinder.
All images and movies were captured (at HQ resolution: 1600x1200,
medium quality) with an Olympus
C2020 Zoom digital camera, and transferred to the PowerBook using
ImageMate USB reader for SmartMedia cards, where I reduced them
to 800x600 and 160x120 for the web.
Here lies an unsuspecting 14-hour Philips TiVo, shortly
before the operation...
The case is *REALLY* hard to open. Here's the best way we
found to pry it loose.
Once the cover is loose, slide it back about this far,
and then lift straight up.
An overview of the TiVo internals. Note the empty spot
where the second drive goes.
A white wire-tie holds down the extra power connector. It
needs to be cut.
New (black) wire-tie holds down bundle after freeing the
extra power connector.
This is where the upgrade drive will go. Note the
wire-tie waiting to hold it down.
Here's the original drive with stock mounting plate.
Brackets are now available from www.linux-hacker.net
Here's the new drive with the jumper moved to the correct
Here's the new drive with a rubber foot installed over
each of the four screw holes.
Here's the drive mounted with ties snugged down. Corner
tie is not ideal, but works.
Here's another wire-tie configuration, with a second tie
around the power connector.
Here's the TiVo boot screen that should appear right
after plugging the device back in.
Here's the second TiVo screen that appears shortly after
the first screen.
Here's the System Information screen, which shows that
the system is now 52+ hours.
Here's the Video Recording Quality screen showing the
various recording modes.
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Last Update: 6/11/04 - Added "this is old" notes to top.
Previous Update: 3/26/01 - Updated Quantum links,
comments, and rebate info
Previous Update: 11/14/00 - Updated Quantum links, comments, and
Previous Update: 10/08/00 - Added note about bigger images; updated
Previous Update: 08/28/00 - Added backup drive instructions; updated
Previous Update: 08/22/00 - Added link to TiVo bracket page; updated
backup drive comments
Previous Update: 08/15/00 - Updated links to TiVo FAQ (now at
Previous Update: 08/11/00 - Added note about Quantums in Sony TiVo,
tweaked backup comments
Previous Update: 08/10/00 - Added link to TiVo $100 rebate
Previous Update: 08/10/00 - First version
©2000-2004 Steve Lemke