Getting The Most Out Of Your TiVo

So Why Would I Want To Add Another Hard Disk To My TiVo?

Warning: Performing this procedure will VOID the warranty of your TiVo.

The easy answer to this question is, of course, to add more program storage space to the TiVo. If you were to purchase a 14-Hour Model TiVo at your local retailer, keep in mind that those 14 hours are in the "Basic Quality Mode" setting. If you want to record at a higher quality setting, it will require more hard drive space. Using MPEG2 compression, Basic Quality is good for programs such as cartoons or talk shows, and it will give you close to VHS resolution; but, for sporting events or action movies, Basic Quality Mode falls short due to "artifacting." If you own a large screen TV or a projection TV, due to artifacting you will almost be forced to record in the Best Quality Mode setting. On a 14-Hour TiVo, you will only have slightly more than four hours of program storage. It is possible to combine different recording quality modes, but one shortcoming of TiVo is that it does not have an indicator for the estimated available space remaining on the hard disk.

The low cost of IDE hard drives and the fact that TiVo runs the Linux OS led to the theory that it might be easy to add additional storage to a TiVo unit. Over the last few months, the process has become easier and more automatic, with fewer steps to follow. By adding an additional hard drive or replacing both of your TiVo hard drives, it is possible to gain as much as fourteen (or more) times the storage capacity of the original drive that shipped with your TiVo. This could add additional value to your TiVo, for not much additional out-of-pocket expense. The amount of storage that can be added depends on what size hard drives you wish to use. We would not recommend that you use a hard drive over 120 GB, as the current TiVo Linux kernel and IDE controller are not set up to support drives beyond 137 GB natively.

Note: This "how-to guide" is written for users of Single Drive Stand Alone TiVos. These instructions will NOT work for DirecTiVos or dual drive TiVo units. (It is possible to upgrade both the DirecTiVo and Series 1 Dual Drive units if you consult some of the resources that we give you in this article such as - Understand that this is beyond the scope of this article.) Also, this was written based on a Series 1 TiVo unit. We understand that it will not work with a Series 2 unit. The process is very much the same for the UK TiVo, but since we didn't have a UK TiVo for testing this process, we are unable to verify the results.