Archives For Hacks

Banish TiVo Pause Menu Ads

Dave Zatz —  July 25, 2014

Next up in our buy more TiVo series are steps to hide intrusive pause menu advertising. While TiVo produces arguably the best DVR, beyond consumer sales and service, the company augments revenue by leveraging their userbase for advertising and analytics. The vast majority of these initiatives are applied with a soft touch, but pause menu ads clearly cross the line by layering paid promos atop television content. As TiVo says, Continue Reading…

Waterproofing Your Gadgets

Dave Zatz —  March 24, 2014


The Digital Reader is out with a post covering yet another waterproofing coating. While I wouldn’t roll the dice with aftermarket “nano” coatings on devices not designed for immersion and I don’t trust Lifeproof after evaluating two cases, the broader hope is that major manufacturers would directly integrate water resistant technologies… as we’ve started to see from Samsung and Sony tablets and smartphones. Of course, an obvious use case would be taking your Kindle to the pool or tub. And protecting your device from minimal splashes and the occasional, accidental dunk may not require a significant investment of money or cutting edge technology… as both I and the Geek Tonic household have been using inexpensive Zip-loc sandwich bags to protect our “books” in moist environments for years. However, I will tell you that wiping away “screen” condensation (in that steamy shower) works way better with non-touchscreen Kindles since the plastic transfers touch pretty darn well.


For many years, I’ve relied upon a small ASUS wireless bridge (WL-330gE) for a variety of blog and personal projects around the house. And, frankly, I’m long overdue for a 802.11n upgrade… especially as I consider a second TiVo Mini — in my kitchen, lacking both coax and Ethernet connectivity. I’d originally considered having Verizon wire me up with another FiOS TV jack but, after their recent rate increases, that’s off the table. Powerline is another option, and probably a safer bet than wireless, yet I remain firmly anti-clutter.

So I briefly took a look at ASUS’ latest and greatest portable router (WL-330N), which does indeed add higher speed, greater distance 802.11n capabilities — but at $47 it was a bit more than I cared to spend for this sort of product. Not to mention, configuration of my model has always been something of a pain. Enter the TP-Link TL-WR702N Continue Reading…


Beyond easy drive replacement, it’s come to light that the TiVo Roamio and updated Minis are capable of displaying arbitrary web pages and streaming H.264 video. I suppose it’s really no surprise given the Roamio’s Chomecast-esque DIAL capabilities and upcoming HTML5 Opera app platform. Fortunately, this new method of TiVo interface is unprotected and the infinitely useful kmttg has already been updated with rudimentary support – adding a new Web tab, as shown above. But I imagine it’s just the beginning…


TiVo Roamio On The Operating Table

After a mere 24 hours on the market, WeaKnees has delivered TiVo Roamio hard drive expansion. It may not come cheap, but the additional recording capacity certainly enhances the value of a new TiVo. And, perhaps amusingly, the TiVo Roamio Plus with 3TB of storage now clocks in at less than the stock TiVo Roamio Pro (also at 3TB). Weaknees offered up a little color, informing me that both Roamio hardware enclosures utilize 3.5″ hard disks but replacing drives in the smaller form factor base Roamio is a bit trickier and requires different tools (T8). Self-install kits will be made available once these guys catch their breath and it sounds like the team is hopeful of ultimately offering 4TB drive expansion options.

  • TiVo Roamio 500GB (stock), $200
  • TiVo Roamio 2TB $350
  • TiVo Roamio 3TB, $450
  • TiVo Roamio Plus 1TB (stock), $400
  • TiVo Roamio Plus 2TB, $500
  • TiVo Roamio Plus 3TB, $570

(Coupon codes from their recent email blast should work, $10 off Roamio with ROAMIO and $25 off Roamio Plus with ROAMIOPLUS.)

Update: Turns out hard drive upgrades may be supported by Roamio out of the box! Of course, you’ll need a Torx drive set and a a suitable drive, along with a willingness to tinker and potentially void you warranty. (Thanks Brennok!)

sad_tivoMultiple data points had indicated a TiVo Mini launch this week… yet here we are, Miniless. As to the shifting announcement, one can only guess – perhaps TiVo’s still getting the device’s technical or marketing ducks in a row. Better yet, maybe they’re taking time to reevaluate the TiVo tax. Regardless, TiVo support seems to have confirmed the situation as we understand it:

We had to delay the release. Unfortunately we have not announced when the release was rescheduled to.

So while we wait, or perhaps in lieu of an eventual TiVo Mini purchase, by using an iPhone or iPad as an intermediary, TiVo Stream owners can already move video from TiVo to a secondary television via Apple TV. Now it is a bit of a hack and, in my experimentation, I did experience some dropped frames. But for occasional usage or those on a tight budget, here’s how you’d expand the capabilities of a TiVo Stream: Continue Reading…

Know any digital media junkies living in Canada? If so, you’ve likely heard how good we supposedly have it here in the US when it comes to streaming video and that their options are seriously limited… despite nearly two years of Netflix. And, as it turns out, the Canadian Netflix library does indeed pale in comparison to its American equivalent. But some industrious individuals have managed to bypass Netflix’s relatively weak geo-authentication by merely changing their Xbox or PS3 DNS settings. The video above demonstrates how to configure a Canadian-based Xbox 360 for US Netflix and the process is similar for enabling US Netflix on a Canadian PS3. Of course, you Canucks would require an active Netflix account and will want to keep an eye on the video description for specific network settings as the successful ones seem vary by region and periodically lose access. Further, as Netflix encodes and distributes their streams in dozens of variations, this specific hack appears limited to the PS3 and Xbox gaming consoles… and the backdoor could be closed at any time.

As our digital streamers have shrunk in size, placement options have increased. And I stumbled upon this clever little mount for my Apple TV.

The Innovelis Total Mount ($20) can be positioned in three ways – either bolted to your wall with included screws, Velcro strapped to a HDTV wall mount, or hung from your HDTV by clipping into the television vents. I opted for the vent mount, and I imagine most investing in this solution will do likewise. Innovelis kindly includes clips for various vent style (vertical, horizontal, circular) and I picked up a 1ft HDMI cable via ebay for $2.98, shipped.


As you can see from the pics and video, the solution nicely cleans up the (minimal) clutter. I don’t have any overheating concerns and my Apple TV actually responds better this location as the remote IR bounces off the walls or ceiling en route to the set-top.

Based on my success with the Apple TV mount, I’ll be picking up a second… as Innovelis also produces one for the similarly shaped Roku 2. But my second 1′ HDMI cable won’t be sufficient, given the proximity of HDMI ports to preferred vent location on our larger living room television and I’ll be ordering a 1.5′ or 2′ replacement.