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Tivo: The Resurrection


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On November 4th, my Series 2 Tivo died. It turned off, tried to turn back on, and never got past the orange screen with the black bar at the bottom and the text "Welcome. Powering up..."


I was sad. Googling the problem, I found that it was indicative of a hard drive failure. I called Tivo and they confirmed. I could replace the unit from them for $149.00. I declined, having seen new Tivos (the two tuner variety) at Best Buy with a signifigant rebate for the low price of $69.99. More research showed the same model without the rebate available for the same price at the Tivo website.


I called Tivo back and asked and they told me that the only way I could purchase the new one at the low price was by signing up for new service (1yr for 19.95 a month, 2yrs for 14.95, and 3yrs for 12.95). My current rate is 12.95 a month, as I had signed up prior to the msot recent pricing increases. Frustrated that I couldn't get a new Tivo with my existing service, I asked to cancel my account. Luckily for me my call got dropped the first time and the second time I hung up after waiting 30 minutes.


Back to Google, I found some sites claiming that putting a new drive in your Tivo is relativley easy. I found a software kit called Instant Cake (http://www.dvrupgrade.com/dvr/stores/1/instantcake.cfm) that lets you boot from a CD and copy fresh Tivo software onto a hard drive. Figuring worst case I'd be out $20 for the software I picked up a drive and set to it.


Opening my Tivo required a size 10 and 15 torx screwdrivers. The inside of my Tivo was super empty and easy to navigate. The CD booted perfectly and the install went fantastically. I popped the drive back in my Tivo andd powered it up and got the fantastic Tivo song!


In the end, for $70 total I trippled my Tivo's storage space (40gb drive to a 120gb drive) and kept my low pricing plan. I totally recommend this to people who want more space or have a Tivo with a dead drive they want to fix. I've read that you can put two drives in a Series 2 Tivo with a special mounting bracket, the only issue being that Tivo sometimes has trouble generating menus on really high capacity storage configurations (400Gb+).


One thing to be cautious of: the factory hard drive in the Tivo is SUPER quiet. My new 120Gb Seagate Barracuda is not so quiet, and from what I can tell now that I can hear the thing from across the room, it never spins down. Spend a little more and get a QUIET drive. You'll thank yourself later.

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