A Home with Multiple TiVos


I see this question asked on various bulletin boards from
time to time: "Why would anyone want more than one TiVo?" My response
to them is usually "Why would you not
want more than one?" The following will discuss all of the DirecTV TiVos I
have in my home, with the location, purpose, and notes about each.

LIVING ROOM

Model: HR10-250 (high-definition) DirecTiVo; hacked using
PTVnet and InstantCake and upgraded to software version 6.3a using the
"Slicer."

Uses: This one is the "family" TiVo and is used to
watch/record all sorts of programming.

Notes: Notice the JVC component switcher above the TiVo;
this switches between my HR10-250 and Xbox. Below the TiVo is my home theater PC,
and the cover is off due to the fact the power supply died, and the replacement
would be a special-order item, so I just used a regular ATX power supply
temporarily. The HTPC hosts music and photos for the rest of the TiVos in my
home, using HMO (Home Media Option); it also runs "Tivoserver," which
allows me to watch videos that are on the PC via my TiVos.

This is a picture of an ethernet switch, with an Xbox, a Vonage adapter, and a wireless
access point connected to it. The access point, used in conjunction with a Linksys WRT54GS
in the guest bedroom, extends the range of my wireless network. The switch in the picture
is uplinked (via an ethernet cable) to the same WRT54GS; also connected to the switch are
the HTPC and the HR10-250, of course.

Here is a picture of our HDTV, which is a 34" RCA
direct-view set. Notice the antenna above the center speaker; this is used to
receive "off the air programming" for the HR10-250.

MASTER BEDROOM

Model: Samsung SIR-S4120R; it has been hacked using PTVnet
and InstantCake, and has been "Superpatched" to enable HMO and MRV
(Multi-Room Viewing), which allows programs recorded on one TiVo to be streamed
over the network to another TiVo. Note that MRV is currently not possible with
the HR10-250 (mentioned above) due to the software not supporting it at this
time.

Uses: My wife and I use this mainly to watch programs shortly
before bed.

Notes: Notice the Linksys WRT54GS above the TV; this has
been hacked to function as a wireless ethernet bridge.

SON'S BEDROOM

Model: Philips DSR704; it has been hacked using the same
method as the Samsung above.

Uses: My son watches his cartoons on this.

Notes: To the left (above the DVD rack) sits a Linksys
WRT54G, also hacked to function as a wireless ethernet bridge.

GUEST BEDROOM

Model: Samsung SIR-S4080R; I recently hacked this one using
the "Zipper."

Uses: This TiVo mainly serves as extra storage (using MRV)
and as a TiVo to experiment on (so my wife doesn't yell at me for losing her
recorded programs). Occasionally, it also serves as a TiVo for guests, so they
can view/record their own programs.

Notes: Notice the Viewsonic box and the computer monitor;
these, together with a set of computer speakers, function as a TV.

Below is a picture of my main Linksys WRT54GS router and
Motorola Surfboard SB4120 cable modem. The switch downstairs and the TiVo in
this room are connected to the Linksys.

SHED

Model: Philips DSR704; also hacked using PTVnet and
InstantCake, and Superpatched for MRV and HMO.

Uses: This is the TiVo for my workout room, and it also the
TiVo my Slingbox is connected to, which I use often while I'm away on work
trips
.

Notes: I had this 10x12 Tuff Shed built to use as a workout
room, complete with freeweights and a stationary recumbent bike:

The shed is
wired for electricity, telephone, DirecTV, and ethernet (notice the Linksys
switch below the TV in the next picture).

The
TiVo and Slingbox are connected to the switch.

This is a picture of my Slingbox (pulled out for easier
view).

Though not really another TiVo, I can connect to the
Slingbox using a laptop or a Pocket PC for viewing programming anywhere in my
home (and beyond). My son especially likes to walk around the house watching
his cartoons on a Pocket PC.

In order to have all of those TiVos connected, the last
installer to come out had to link two multiswitches. With the exception the
of master bedroom, which would have been a wiring nightmare, each TiVo has two
coax cables connected to it in order to utilize both tuners, for a total of
nine coax cables.

In closing, I should mention the two main advantages of having
multiple DirecTV TiVos over multiple standard receivers: cost and flexibility. With DirecTV,
there is only one DVR fee ($5.99) for the entire home, so there is only the
"mirroring" fee for each extra receiver, regardless of whether it is
a regular receiver or a DVR. It wouldn't make much sense to not have all of the
receivers also be DVRs, especially since DirectTV DVRs can usually be obtained with minimal cost. With a little hacking (as noted above), programs can be shared among TiVos (but not the new "DirecTV + DVR" units). Note that with standalone (non-DirecTV) TiVos, you must pay a TiVo subscription
fee for each and every TiVo.