Network Remote Control of TiVo (iPhone!)

Dave Zatz —  May 1, 2008

The latest TiVo hack doesn’t actually require any hacking. Last fall, TiVo partnered up with Creston to integrate the Series3 into their home automation framework. While I haven’t heard anything since, it turns out the hooks are wide open (via Omikron) to any application or hardware on one’s home network – and possibly well beyond by implementing router port fowarding. Until something more polished is developed, the telnet protocol allows you to manually feed a variety of remote commands to a networked TiVo. For example, in the video above, I’m using a terminal application on my jailbroken iPhone as a rudimentary WiFi remote control. There’s some real interesting potential here…

But don’t take my word for it, give it a try. Launch any sort of terminal or command window app, telnet to your TiVo’s IP address using port 31339, and enter a few of these commands:

IRCODE PAUSE
IRCODE TIVO
IRCODE LIVETV
IRCODE THUMBSUP
IRCODE RECORD

Here’s two apps I’d like to see…

1. I’d like a nice graphical virtual remote for my iPhone (or other WiFi handset). I doubt it’d see much use in practice, but wouldn’t it look cool?

2. I want some sort of web app in which I feed it my IP address and TitanTV (or similar) credentials, and then at 5 past and 35 past the hour both tuners on my TiVo are polled. If anything is being recorded, the channel number is mated up to my lineup and guide data from TitanTV, with the resultant data being posted on the blog sidebar or to my Facebook status that says: Dave is recording Future Weapons on Discovery HD. Related, how about TiVo embed this sort functionality directly into their new MyTV Facebook widget?

27 responses to Network Remote Control of TiVo (iPhone!)

  1. Dave,

    I’m still hoping that the author of the NowPlaying Widget can somehow get it to work on the iPhone so we can download shows from the Tivo to the iPhone and watch videos from far-away lands.

  2. How could I forgot application #3… Wouldn’t it be cool if the Slingbox could control TiVo without an IR blaster?

  3. “Here’s two apps I’d like to see…” here’s this for Android, not iPhone, but does lots of similar stuff:

    “…AutoHTN is a Google Android program used to control a person’s home theater network. The goal of AutoHTN is to automate and control lighting, security sensors, cameras, electrical outlets, thermostats, streaming video from a HTPC, window blinds, and receivers.”

    Reminder Android is Open Source and not “lock” to any one piece of hardware. Yay!

  4. Indeed, how about an option in SlingPlayer to control the TiVo over IP? If it could reduce the remote latency even a little bit, it would be great… Of course, finding the IP address could be a challenge, but if the Slingbox were clever, it could probably do a local subnet scan looking for IP addresses with the magic port open… :-)

  5. Note that there is no feedback from the TiVo back to the “remote”. So there is no (easy) way to get status from the TiVo. That means no easy means to build that web app you want, at least not using the telnet feature.

    But the iPhone remote control would be cool.

  6. Oh – how about a war-driving network attack? Find open wireless access points, scan the local network to find all the TiVos, then issue the right sequence of remote commands to cause each TiVo to reboot to factory settings. You can do it from the internet as well, although it is highly unlikely that you will find any TiVos directly connected to a publicly routable IP address.

    You can do it to your “friends” if you have access to their network… or if you have the TiVo-Nuke program on your iPhone you can go to another house, ask to have access to the local WiFi, then scan for their TiVo and nuke it back to factory defaults.

    I’m actually not a bad person – I’m just paid a lot to think like one. This open network port that requires no authentication is an attack just waiting to happen.

  7. Tim, channel number and status are presented by default. For example, it’s been showing 0252 LOCAL – meaning I’m watching ESPN HD. If it says RECORDING, instead of LOCAL, it’s recording. But yes, the interaction is very basic and it appears mostly one way at this point. Though, there could be more to discover…

    I do agree the security is non-existent (unlike https into Now Playing for TTG downloads), so setting up port forwarding to the outside world shouldn’t be broadcast.

  8. Do you know if they plan on opening this up to S2 tivos?

  9. Michael Boggs May 1, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    Is this TivoHD and S3 only? or does this work on the S2?

  10. Reports on the forum are S3 and THD only, and I don’t have a S2 around here to test. If it isn’t active on the S2, I don’t see them messing with enabling and QAing it. I get the sense resources are moving away from the S2 platform…

  11. It is S3 & HD only – I confirmed by trying it on my S2, no luck. But it works fine on my S3.

    And I agree about the security concerns – I mentioned that in my post as well. I would like to see them add tivo/MAK authentication at least. And support of a secure connection (SSH instead of telnet, for example) would be nice, or you just have the added step of sniffing the password.

  12. Does not seem to work on my Series-2

  13. Why the comma in the first sentence?

  14. Because my editor took the day off?

  15. just need slingbox to use this instead of ir now. then i’d just need a maemo client and i’d be set for tb anywhere.

  16. Dave– You know we’ve been doing a “soft remote” in Beyond TV for a while now… see this blog posting:
    http://blogs.snapstream.com/2007/09/27/first-dvr-with-automatic-iphone-and-ipod-sync/

    I need to throw together a short video showing it off, it’s really cool.

    The one kind of amusing thing about this when we built it was everyone was turning off each other’s computers with it at first (since almost everyone at SnapStream runs Beyond TV on their PC). :-)

  17. FYI I discovered I can modify the built macros in the iPhone terminal program, making remote control more efficient and accurate. Though, it’s not as attractive as Rakesh’s BTV virtual remote.

  18. Is there a complete list of the codes? Here’s some I guessed. These work too and or rather do not generate an error.
    IRCODE UP
    IRCODE DOWN
    IRCODE LEFT
    IRCODE RIGHT
    IRCODE SELECT
    IRCODE ENTER
    IRCODE CLEAR
    IRCODE MUTE
    IRCODE SLOW
    IRCODE INFO

    I’d like to find the code for the Aspect on the TiVoHD.

  19. The link to the TiVo Community that I posted above offers a pretty extensive and possibly growing list:
    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=392385

  20. Dave – thanks for the info. I plan on integrating the TiVo into my home automation network (INSTEON).

  21. This sounds like an cool feature, just the kind of thing I obsess over…

  22. Baxter Elliott June 6, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    I want dim headphones.

  23. That would be one expensive remote – LOL

  24. I just installed the “MyDVR” application onto my iPhone. It seems to work pretty well…controls both my TiVos as long as the phone is within range of my home wireless router.

  25. Awesome that you can use your phone or tablet for your Tivo remote now. Always have my phone on me might as well pull it out of my pocket and turn my TV on with it.