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TiVo and DIRECTV FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

WeaKnees.com Information FAQ

Who is WeaKnees.com?
Why the name "WeaKnees.com"?
What are the shipping and payment options?
What is your warranty?
What is your return policy?
Do you offer RAM upgrades, TiVoNET or Turbonet boards or other TiVo enhancements?
I want you to upgrade my TiVo for me... How fast can you upgrade my TiVo and send it back to me?
How do I make an appointment to bring my TiVo to you for upgrading?
I have other questions about TiVo and TiVo upgrades, but I'm not a customer. Can I contact you? What if I have no intention of purchasing anything from you?
What about other DVRs?


TiVo Pre-Sale Questions FAQ

What is TiVo?
Should I purchase lifetime service or monthly service for my TiVo?
How can I move video recordings from my TiVo to my computer for burning to DVD or CD?
My TiVo is broken! Can you fix it?
How do the Series 1 Standalone TiVo DVRs, Series 2 TiVo DVRs and Series 3 and Series4 TiVos differ?
What are the differences among the TiVo-branded standalone TiVos, the (now discontinued) Sony SVR-3000, the Humax T800 and T2500, the TCD540-series and the TCD649-series TiVos?
What are the differences among the original Series3 TiVo (TCD648250), the TiVoHD (TCD652160) and TiVoHD XL (TCD658000)?
What are the differences between and among the original Series4 TiVo Premiere (TCD746320), the Premiere XL (TCD748000) and TiVo Premiere Elite (TCD758250)?
What is TiVo Basic?
Why do the Standalone TiVo DVRs have four levels of recording quality, but the DIRECTV/TiVo units have only one?
Will the TiVo control my model cable box/Dish Network receiver/DIRECTV receiver?
How are the number of hours calculated on a TiVo?
Where can I get information about different TiVo models?
Will TiVo continue to support upgrades?
I want to preview the instructions - are those online?
How can I check my old drive(s) to see if they are OK?
What if I want to try this myself?
What about adding RAM?
What is the TwinBreeze? What is the Advanced Cooling Pak? What is the PowerTrip?
What are the physical dimensions of a TiVo?
What is OTA (Over the Air Antenna)? How can I get HD into my TiVo?
Can I record more than one show at one time on my TiVo?



Upgrade Kit Pre-Sale Questions FAQ

Do your TiVo Upgrades come with the latest software?
Can I save money by buying blank computer hard drives from a store and putting them in my TiVo?
Where can I learn more about upgrading my TiVo on my own?
Why are the number of hours you use different than the number of hours I see on other web sites?
If I use your TiVo Upgrade Kit (or have you upgrade my TiVo), will I lose my lifetime subscription?
If I use your upgrade kit (or have you do my TiVo upgrade), will I lose my programming and TiVo settings?
How do I know if I have a one-drive TiVo or two-drive TiVo? Why does it matter?
Do I need the Advanced Cooling Pak? Do I need the PowerTrip? Do I need the TwinBreeze?
How long will it take to upgrade my TiVo if I purchase a TiVo upgrade kit?


Upgrade Kit Pre-Sale Questions FAQ

I have a TiVo and I am having problems with it; where can I go for help?
Where can I find local access numbers?


HR20 / HR21 / HR22 / THR22 / HR23 / HR24 / HR34 / HR44 / HR21P DIRECTV HD DVR FAQ

Which units can use external storage?
What are the base capacities of the HR20/HR21/HR22/THR22/HR23/HR24/HR34/HR44/HR21P and how many hours can the HR20-700, HR20-100, HR21-100, HR21-200, HR21-700, HR22-100, HR22-800, HR23-100, HR23-700, HR24-100, HR24-500, HR24-700, HR34-700, HR44-500, THR22-100 and HR21P (HR21-Pro) record?
Do you offer hard drive upgrade kits for the HR20/HR21/HR22/THR22/HR23/HR24/HR34/HR44/HR21P?
If you upgrade my HR20/HR21/HR22/THR22/HR23/HR21 Pro, can you move my settings and programming to the new drive?
Can I run an HR20/HR21/HR22/THR22/HR23/HR21P with two drives?
What is the warranty on HR20/HR21/HR22/THR22/HR23/HR21 Pro complete units and upgrades?
Can I purchase / own the HR20/HR21/HR22/THR22/HR23 DIRECTV Plus HD DVR, or will any order from weaKnees be considered a lease?
Can I purchase / own the HR21 Pro HD DVR, or will any order from weaKnees be considered a lease?
Should I even bother trying to have my HR20/HR21/HR22/THR22/HR23 characterized as owned?
Does the HR20/HR21/HR22/THR22/HR23/HR21P have the TiVo operating system? Can I get an HR20/HR21/HR22/HR23/HR21P with the TiVo operating system.
What are the differences between the THR22 TiVo and the HR20/HR21/HR22/HR23/HR24/HR34/HR44/HR21P DIRECTV Plus HD DVR?
What are the model numbers of the DIRECTV HD DVRs?
What about external storage for DIRECTV HD DVRs?
What is Multi-Room Viewing? DECA? Whole Home DVR?


External Storage for HD TiVo DVRs

What are the benefits of choosing either internal or external storage for my HD TiVo?
Are WeaKnees upgrades "verified" by TiVo?
Why do I need to send in my TiVo HD/TiVo Premiere for an upgrade?


WeaKnees.com Information FAQ


Who is WeaKnees.com?
We are computer consultants who became interested in TiVo, since they happen to be simplified computers running the Linux OS on PowerPC chips (the same chips in Macs). We began working with our own TiVos, upgraded them for clients, friends, and family, and the demand was so great that we began selling TiVo on eBay and direct on the Internet. We have been selling and upgrading TiVos since 2000 and have thousands of satisfied customers. We have sold countless upgraded TiVos and encourage prospective customers to review our customers' reviews of us. You can find those reviews on our feedback page and at ResellerRatings.com.

Find more information about WeaKnees.com on the WeaKnees Blog and at the weaKnees TiVo Forums.

Why the name "WeaKnees.com"?
We chose the "weaknees" moniker for several reasons. We were looking for a name that would, in a word, express the feeling that TiVo users get when they first start using a TiVo. We think you'll be amazed by TiVo and, frankly, weak in the knees. But please don't judge TiVo by our lack of marketing savvy. Try it yourself! And remember the spelling when trying to find us! When you're looking for our TiVo and TiVo upgrades, it's WeaKnees.com, and not weakknees.com, weak-knees.com, weeknees.com, weekknees.com, weakness.com or weekness.com.

What are the shipping and payment options?
Please see our shipping and payment options information.

What is your warranty?
Our complete warranty policy is here. If you have any questions about our warranty, please contact us. Generally, our philosophy regarding warranties: Being without a TiVo is a terrible thing. Therefore, we spend a great deal of time testing our hard drives and upgraded TiVo recorders before we sell them, so that our customers do not have problems down the road. When we encounter defective parts, we don't use them! Finally, we hope all TiVo users (customers and others) will use the our helpful protection information to help protect their TiVos from the biggest sources of potential problems.

What is your return policy?
Please see here for our return policy.

Do you offer RAM upgrades, TiVoNET or Turbonet boards or other TiVo enhancements?
No, we don't, but you can find these parts and other TiVo parts and accessories here. The reasons we currently don't sell these products are many, but the most important reason is that these types of upgrades are not as user-friendly as adding capacity. Adding hours to a TiVo is a "do it and forget about it" experience. Adding RAM, ethernet or other types of enhancements can require Linux and networking experience that many of our customers do not have. These hacks requires a knowledge of home computer networking. As of now, we have decided not to offer that product line. Our goal is to provide hassle-free TiVo upgrades to our customers. Therefore, we shy away from enhancements that are not "plug and play" and extremely user-friendly.

I want you to upgrade my TiVo for me... How fast can you upgrade my TiVo and send it back to me?
Send us your TiVo and we'll upgrade it for you when you buy any TiVo upgrade and add our upgrade service. We'll email you immediately with our shipping address and shipping instructions. Professional Upgrades and Deluxe Upgrades are done by us - you send us your TiVo, we upgrade and test it, and then send it back to you. In the case of Deluxe service, we also copy all programming/settings to the new drive(s). Turnaround time is generally within 1-3 business days. Free return shipping is via UPS Ground - faster options are available during checkout. We generally note any exception to this on our website. If you have any questions about shipping, feel free to email us at info@weaknees.com.

How do I make an appointment to bring my TiVo to you for upgrading?
We offer walk-in appointments; we must know in advance that you are coming. Please contact us for more information, or place an order and put the words "PICK UP" in the "customer notes" field (below your credit card information). Please please be sure that you have read our walk-in information before coming! We operate out of a warehouse, not a retail store and offer walk-ins as an accommodation to our local customers. We do not accept credit cards in person; please place your order online, in advance, if you plan to walk in.

I have other questions about TiVo and TiVo upgrades, but I'm not a customer. Can I contact you? What if I have no intention of purchasing anything from you?
At bottom, we're TiVo addicts. We probably spend far too much time, in fact, keeping abreast of all of the latest TiVo hacks, tricks and all things TiVo. We enjoy sharing our knowledge with other TiVo enthusiasts, but our first priority is taking care of our customers and prospective customers. We regularly and rapidly respond to inquiries at the weaKnees TiVo Forums, so please visit there if you have any TiVo-related questions. If you are looking to upgrade your TiVo on your own--using a non-weaKnees hard drive--please understand that we cannot afford to offer free phone support. Please refer to the many resources available online, such as the Hinsdale TiVo Upgrade website and the Interactive TiVo Upgrade instructions. If you are looking to get your TiVo repaired, we'd suggest the fixmytivo TiVo Repair site, as well as the weaKnees TiVo Repair and Troubleshooting page.

Having Trouble Finding Our Upgrades? It's not Weakness TiVo, Weekknees TiVo, Weeknees TiVo or Weakknees TiVo!

What about other DVRs?
We now offer kits and professional installation for many other units in addition to TiVo:

TiVo Pre-Sale Questions FAQ
What is TiVo?
TiVo is a life-changing experience, plain and simple. TiVo will revolutionize the way you watch television. Since we're not marketing experts (look no further than our domain name to confirm that), we would much prefer you to find the answer to this question on your own, by looking at TiVo's website and by seeing what others have said about TiVo. Many, many articles have been written about what TiVo can do. Many commentators at the end of 1999, 2000 and 2001 called TiVo the 'Gift of the Year.' We encourage you to read about TiVo and its benefits from others who have done a far better job at explaining what TiVo can do for you. Naturally, if you have any questions, feel free to email us. In a sentence, though, we can say what we've been saying to friends, family and potential customers for a long time: TiVo will change your life!

Should I purchase lifetime service or monthly service for my TiVo?
Currently, lifetime service is available for any standalone TiVo ("standalone" means a TiVo without a built-in DIRECTV receiver) that we sell on our website. Lifetime service is $499 for your first standalone TiVo, and $399 for each additional Generally, here are some of the factors we would recommend you consider when deciding whether to purchase monthly service (monthly service prices range from roughly $12.95/mo to $19.95/month for the first TiVo, with the higher monthly prices applying to the TiVo Premiere, Premiere XL and Premiere Elite) or lifetime service ($399 or $499 for the life of your TiVo unit):

- If you purchase lifetime service for your TiVo and later want to upgrade to a different TiVo, you will have to purchase lifetime service again for your new TiVo. However, there is a good chance that you'll be able to sell your used TiVo with lifetime service and recover a good portion of the amount you paid for lifetime service. There is no telling what the market for used TiVos with lifetime service will be in the future, but purchasing lifetime service, unlike purchasing monthly service, will retain value.

- If you purchase lifetime service and your TiVo malfunctions down the road, you will have no alternative but to get your TiVo fixed. If the problem is with the hard drive or power supply, we can do the work. If the unit is a standard definition standalone TiVo, we have can repair just about any problem (power supply, hard drive, motherboard): See our flat-fee TiVo repair page. If you face a non-drive malfunction and instead had purchased monthly service, then for less than the cost of a repair, you might be able purchase a used, inexpensive TiVo of the same type and move your drive from one TiVo to the other.

- TiVo has been around for more than a decade, but if for some reason you are concerned about the longevity of TiVo (the company), then purchasing monthly service is certainly safer than purchasing lifetime service. We believe that TiVo is gaining market traction and is not likely to cease its subscription service. We also believe that even if TiVo has significant financial problems, the subscription portion of the service, which is fairly easy to provide, is likely to survive.

- If you have DIRECTV and are looking to purchase a DIRECTV/TiVo combination unit (also known as a DIRECTV DVR), then your only option is monthly service. A monthly fee of $7/month will activate the TiVo service for all standard definition DIRECTV DVR units on your DIRECTV account. The THR22 High Definition DIRECTV DVR requires the TiVo service ($5/mo) AND the DIRECTV DVR service ($7/mo), but this $12/mo charge covers all THR22s (and all other DIRECTV DVRs) in your house. For those who have an older SAT T60, DSR6000 or GXCEBOT and who purchased lifetime service with TiVo, that service will remain on your DIRECTV account and you will not have to purchase monthly service for the TiVos on your account. (Beware of anyone trying to sell you a DIRECTV DVR with lifetime service!)

How can I move video recordings from my TiVo to my computer for burning to DVD or CD?
TiVo has released its "TiVoToGo" (TiVo Desktop) software, which is now available for all Series 2, Series 3 and Series 4 Standalone TiVo DVRs. With this software, Series2, Series3 and Series 4 (TiVo Premiere) DVR owners can connect their recorder to a home network and transfer programming to a home computer. From the home PC (or Mac), recordings can be burned to DVD using special DVD burning software. Keep in mind that some programming (especially high definition programming) can have copy protection flags that might prevent you from moving it to a PC or Mac.

The TiVoToGo Software is currently NOT available for DIRECTV DVRs with TiVo. If you own a DIRECTV DVR, you can connect a DVD recording device to TiVo just as you would connect a VCR to your TiVo. You can play your recordings from your TiVo and record them to the DVD-R device. In addition, a number of TiVo DVRs with built-in DVDs have TiVo with a built-in DVD-recorder. With this unit, you can burn your recorded shows to DVD, but if you have DIRECTV, you'll also need a separate DIRECTV receiver.

My TiVo is broken! Can you fix it?
If you have a Series 1 or Series 2 TiVo, we can fix 99% of problems, all for a flat-fee. See our flat-fee TiVo repair page. If you have a Series3 or Series4 TiVo, please see our Series3 and Series4 HD TiVo Repair Page for more information or assistance troubleshooting your problem. Please see our TiVo powering up page and our TiVo repair page for more self-help troubleshooting information.


How do the Series 1 Standalone TiVo DVRs, Series 2 TiVo DVRs and Series 3 and Series 4 TiVos differ?

Series 1 TiVos vs Series 2 TiVos

  • Smaller footprint - the TiVo itself is smaller than the older models from Philips and Sony.
  • Better components - the original components were good, but some components (especially modems) began to fail over time. We have yet to see a failed modem in a Series2 TiVo.
  • Faster processor and more RAM - Ever wait when you set a Season Pass or scroll through a list? These new units are up to four times as fast as the older ones.
  • USB/Ethernet ports - The new units have USB ports (and, in the case of the standalone dual-tuner Series2 TiVo, an ethernet port) that can be used to access local ethernet networks for guide data (TiVo service is still needed), to download content from the Internet, to move content between TiVos, and to move content to and from a PC.
  • Off-air Recording - Series1 TiVos and Dual-tuner Series2 TiVos cannot record off-air programming. Older single-tuner TiVos can, but require a converter box. Series3 TiVos, on the other hand, can record digital off-air stations.
  • Additional features - The Series2 TiVos also can be purchased with a built in DVD recorder, which enables you to burn your recorded shows to DVD.

 

Series 2 TiVos vs Series 3 / Series 4 TiVos. There are many differences between Series2 and Series3/Series4 TiVos. Among them:

  • High Definition - The primary difference between Series 2 and Series 3/4 TiVos is that S3 TiVos can process, record and play back in high definition
  • Cable or Satellite Boxes - Series3 / Series4 TiVos cannot be used with satellite at all. When used with cable, you will use a CableCARD rather than a cable box. The CableCARD is essetially a cable box on a card, and is inserted directly into the Series3/Series4 TiVo and programmed by the cable company.
  • Netflix - Series3 / Series4 TiVo boxes can stream Netflix; Series2 units cannot
  • Off-air Recording - Dual-tuner Series2 TiVos cannot record off-air programming. Older single-tuner TiVos can, but require a converter box. Series3 TiVos, on the other hand, can record digital off-air stations.

    The Series 4 TiVo Premiere and TiVo Premiere XL can reord off-air programming, but the TiVo Premiere Elite cannot.

Series 3 TiVo DVRs vs Series 4 TiVo DVRs.

  • Number of Tuners - The TiVo Premiere Elite is TiVo's first four-tuner DVR. It can record 4 channels at the same time, using a single cable line and a single CableCARD. The unit requires a digital cable signal and will not record from satellite or an off-air antenna. The other HD TiVos (Series3, TiVoHD XL, TiVo Premiere, TiVo Premiere XL) all have two tuners.
  • Digital Display- The original Series 3 TiVo has a digital display on the front which says, among other things, what is recording on each tuner. No other Series3 or Series4 TiVo has that display.
  • Additional Information - Please see our Series3 and Series 4 TiVo DVR Comparison Chart for additional differences among these units. See also this FAQ.


What are the differences among the TiVo-branded standalone TiVos, the (now discontinued) Sony SVR-3000, the Humax T800 and T2500, the TCD540-series and the TCD649-series TiVos?

These units are all standard definition TiVos.

  • Tuners - All of these units, except for the TCD649-series (TCD649080 and TCD649180) have a single tuner. The TCD649-series has two tuners. The dual-tuner TiVo can record one analog station and any other station at one time. If you have a cable provider that has all digital signals (in other words, if you connect your cable from the wall directly to a cable-ready, analog TV, you get no stations), then even the dual-tuner TiVo will provide only one tuner. Note: All of these units are standard definition.

  • Appearance - the Sony brand has buttons and a small joystick on the front. It also has a more high-tech appearance. The Sony is silver; the TiVo-branded and Humax-branded units are black. The TiVo TCD540 and TCD649 series also have a nightlight on the front of the unit that can be controlled through the TiVo interface. The TCD540 unit is gray with a white light; the TCD649 is black with a white light.

  • Remote - the Sony, on one hand, and the TiVo and Humax, on the other hand, have different remote designs (and different remote codes). The TiVo remote has a switch that enables you to switch between two TiVos; the Sony does not. The Sony and Humax remotes are silver; the TiVo remote is dark gray (TCD540) or black (TCD649).

  • Hardware - The Sony has an internal drive bracket that will hold a second drive. The Sony also has a large power supply that is sufficient to power up two drives. The TiVo-branded unit and Humax-branded units all require the TwinBreeze and the PowerTrip to run two drives.

  • Features/Functionality - The TiVo/Humax Series2 standalone units and the Sony SVR3000 all have the same basic features and functions. The both also support the home media feature. The TCD649 TiVo model has a second tuner that will enable you to record two shows at the same time under certain circumstances. Specifically, you can record one channel from any source other than antenna, and another show from an analog, non-scrambled cable channel through the RF input

What are the differences between and among the original Series3 TiVo (TCD648250), the TiVoHD (TCD652160) and TiVoHD XL (TCD658000)?

The original Series3 TiVo, the TCD648250 (also called the TCD648250B), was the first HD TiVo for cable. It has two CableCARD slots in the rear, a digital display on the front (which shows what is recording on each tuner, among other things), is THX Certified, and came with a TiVo Glo remote. The unit came with a 250GB hard drive from the factory.

The TiVoHD (TCD652160) is the lowest-capacity HD TiVo available. It shipped with a 160gb hard drive, includes a lower-end, standard peanut remote, and has two CableCARD slots in the front of the unit and has no digital display on the unit. It is not THX certified.

The TiVoHD XL (TCD658000) has the same look as the TiVoHD (eg. card slots on the front, no digital display), but ships with a 1TB hard drive and is THX certified. The unit also includes a Glo remote.

What are the differences between and among the original Series4 TiVo Premiere (TCD746320), the Premiere XL (TCD748000) and TiVo Premiere Elite (TCD758250)?

The TiVo Premiere and TiVo Premiere XL are two-tuner DVRs that accept a single multi-stream CableCARD and a single cable input. The Premiere (TCD746320) comes with a 320gb hard drive from the factory; the XL (TCD746320) has a 1tb drive, but each can be upgraded to a max of 4TB. Each unit has an on-board Ethernet port for Internet access and a TiVo-branded wireless adapter can also be used. The Premiere and XL can dial in using a phone line, but a separate USB Phone Modem adapter is required. The Premiere XL is THX certified; the Premiere is not. The XL comes with a higher-end, backlit, programmable and learning remote. The Premiere lacks the higher-end remote, but it can be purchased separately. The Premiere and Premiere XL can both record from cable (analog and digital) and an off-air digital antenna.

The TiVo Premiere Elite, like the XL, is also THX certified and comes with the same higher-end remote. Unlike the XL, however, the Elite has 4 tuners (ie it can record 4 shows simultaneously). The Elite can ONLY record from digital cable. It is not compatible with satellite or an off-air tuner. In addition, the Elite (unlike either the Premiere or Premiere XL) has MoCA built into it. MoCA allows you to combine Ethernet and cable signal onto one cable line, but requires a separate MoCA adapter to combine the satellite and Internet onto one coax line.


What is TiVo Basic?
TiVo Basic is a version of the TiVo service that is included in some TiVo DVRs from Pioneer and Toshiba for free. It has fewer features, and is upgradable to TiVo Plus. Units with TiVo Basic are no longer manufactured.

Why do the Standalone TiVo DVRs have four levels of recording quality, but the DIRECTV/TiVo units have only one?
DIRECTV's television signals are compressed digital signals. The DIRECTV/TiVo units are equipped with technology that allows the TiVo to record those compressed digital signals directly to the TiVo's hard drive. Therefore, when the signal is recorded and then played back through the TiVo, there is no quality loss. Thus, the DIRECTV/TiVo units record in only one quality: Best.

On the other hand, the Standalone TiVo units (which work with cable and satellite) convert the signal into digital form. At the time of this conversion, the TiVo must compress the signal prior to saving it to the hard drive. This is true even if the Standalone TiVo is connected to a DIRECTV receiver or a digital cable box.

Interestingly, the Series3 TiVo units (TCD648250 (and TCD648250B), TCD652160, TCD658000) and TiVo Series 4 units (TCD746320, TCD748000 and TCD758250) mix both of these concepts. When recording analog, standard definition programming, it is possible to select the recording quality because the TiVo is taking an analog stream and converting it to digital. However, when recording a high definition signal, the TiVo records the digital signal directly to the hard drive, so you cannot specify the recording quality.

Will the TiVo control my model cable box/Dish Network receiver/DIRECTV receiver?
In most cases, the answer is yes. For specifics, this link contains a list of receivers and their compatibility with a standalone TiVo box. Please note that DIRECTV DVRs with TiVo have a DIRECTV receiver built in and will not control another box. TiVo units will not control C-band satellite receivers. Also, please note that standard definition TiVo boxes are much happier controlling standard definition cable (or satellite) boxes, so if you have a standard definition TiVo and have a choice, ask your cable company for standard definition cable box.

How are the number of hours calculated on a TiVo?
TiVo standalone units (i.e., TiVos without a built-in DIRECTV receiver) have four levels of recording quality. At the best recording quality, the rule of thumb is that the number of hours is equal to 0.35 times the number of gigabytes. At the lowest recording quality (basic), the number of TiVo recording hours is 1.2 times the number of gigabytes. Because drive sizes vary slightly (an 80 gigabyte drive may be 81.9 gigabytes or 80.0 gigabytes, for example), the exact number of hours in any given TiVo cannot be calculated precisely in advance. DirecTiVo units generally get about 0.875 hours per gigabyte of storage space. The hours reported on a DirecTiVo is a maximum amount; the actual number of hours yielded will vary based on the type of shows you record (eg. sports take up more space on a hard drive than do, say, soap operas, due to the amount of motion). NOTE: DIRECTV/TiVo standard definition combination units have only one quality level--perfect. These units record directly from the satellite stream and do not require recompression. Likewise, the THR22 HD DIRECTV TiVo records the digital stream directly, as does the TiVo Premiere Elite. See our other FAQ entries and our TiVo Buying Guide for more assistance.

Where can I get information about different TiVo models?
We recommend seeing the TiVo reference site TiVopedia. There's good technical information about every US TiVo model there.

Will TiVo continue to support hard drive upgrades?
weaKnees has an excellent relationship with TiVo even though we are not affiliated with them. We have been providing hard drive upgrades and related services for nearly 10 years now, and we have every reason to believe that TiVo will continue to support hard drive upgrades. In fact, when TiVo first became available, TiVo/Philips offered capacity upgrades as a service to existing customers. At some point, TiVo decided that it was not cost-effective to do so. After TiVo stopped doing upgrades, they came out in support of the growing community of users who upgraded their TiVos on their own. We believe (as do many others) that TiVo would suffer a massive public relations disaster if they stopped supporting TiVos with added capacity. In addition, TiVo executives have publicly acknowledged and thanked upgraders for their enthusiasm for TiVo. You should note, however, that TiVo does not support all types of TiVo hacking. For example, TiVo does not support RAM upgrades, extracting video and, obviously, subscription theft.

I want to preview the instructions - are those online?
You can preview the instructions that you will receive in your TiVo upgrade kit, so that you will know how easy the process is.

How can I check my old drive(s) to see if they are OK?
If you want to test a hard drive to see if it is ok, there are two ways to do that. The first is by removing the drive and testing it using the drive manufacturer's utility. For more information, see this thread in the weaKnees TiVo forums. The second is by running a "kickstart 54" test from within the TiVo (not available with Series1 TiVos and DIRECTV TiVo DVRs). For more information, see our TiVo Kickstart Codes page.

What if I want to try this myself?
We recommend this interactive TiVo Upgrade Instructions website and Hinsdale TiVo Upgrade site for those who want to do the computer work an upgrade requires. This will give you a good indicator of what is involved in preparing your own hard drive. Please note that weaKnees does NOT provide phone or email support for the Upgrade Instructions website. Also note that if you purchase a hard drive upgrade kit from weaKnees, the Upgrade Instructions website is not necessary, because we do all of the PC/software work here before we ship your drive.

What about adding RAM?
Computers (and therefore TiVos) have two kinds of memory: RAM and hard drives. We specialize in adding hard drives (and therefore hours) to TiVos, but we find that adding RAM memory to your TiVo is a mistake. TiVo memory upgrades are unstable, unhelpful, and require practices that can permanently damage your motherboard, rendering your TiVo beyond repair. In addition, all of the Series 2 TiVos have no open RAM slots, so RAM upgrades are not possible.

What is the TwinBreeze? What is the Advanced Cooling Pak? What is the PowerTrip?
WeaKnees.com has engineered a number of custom TiVo products designed to make upgrading certain models easy and reliable.

The TwinBreeze is the name of our Series 2 hard drive bracket, designed for easy installation and durability. It was also designed to hold a second cooling fan. The TwinBreeze does not require any double-sided tape or other similar adhesion to be installed, so it can be removed at any time without requiring permanent modification to your TiVo. The TwinBreeze bracket is included with all upgrade kits that require it. Note: The TwinBreeze does not refer to the fans, which are part of the Advanced Cooling Pak.

The Advanced Cooling Pak (ACP) is an optional package that is offered with many of our upgrade kits. The ACP can only be installed together with the TwinBreeze bracket. The ACP consists of one or two fans (depending on the TiVo being upgraded), rubber washers and mounting hardware.

The PowerTrip is a device designed to protect the TiVo's power supply. It is recommended in any Series 2 TCD240040, TCD24004A, TCD240080, TCD24008A, TCD240140, TCD540040, TCD540080, TCD540140, TCD649080, T800 and T2500 that is running two drives. We include the PowerTrip at no extra charge in all of our "add" and two-drive "replace" kits for those models. If you are upgrading a TiVo with one of our upgrade kits, we will include the PowerTrip if we believe it is necessary or advisable. For more information, see our PowerTrip page.

What are the physical dimensions of a TiVo?
All TiVos, except for the Philips HDR-series, the Sony SVR2000/3000, the Toshiba, Humax and Pioneer DVD burners and the high definition units, are rougly 15"W x 12.5"D x 3.25"H. The SVR2000 and HDR-series TiVos are 17"W x 12.5"D x 4"H. The Pioneer 810H/57H dimensions are 16.5"W x 15.5"D x 3.75H. The Series3 (THX-edition) is 16.5"W x 13.5"D x 3.25" H. The TiVoHD (Value edition, TCD652160) and TiVoHD XL (TCD658000) are 16.50"W x 12.75"D x 3.5" H. The TiVo Premiere (TCD746320), TiVo Premiere XL (TCD748000) and TiVo Premiere Elite are all 16.50"W x 9.7"D x 2.4"H.

What is OTA (Over the Air Antenna)? How can I get HD into my TiVo?
OTA is a transmission format by local broadcasters to distribute the major networks in HD format. Please see our OTA HD page for more information.

Can I record more than one show at one time on my TiVo?
All DIRECTV DVRs with TiVo (which require DIRECTV) can record two shows at the same time. Standard definition DIRECTV TiVos and the HR10-250 require two lines from the satellite dish in order to record two shows at once. The THR22 HD TiVo can record two shows at once using two lines or, if you are using a SWM system, you can record two shows using only one satellite line.

If you have cable, the standard-definition TCD649080 and TCD649180 can record two shows at the same time, so long as one of those shows is from an analog, non-scrambled cable channel (through the RF input on the TiVo).

All HD TiVos for cable (TCD648250, TCD652160, TCD658000, TCD746320, TCD748000) all can record two shows at once, but you'll need two CableCARDs (or one multi-stream CableCARD) to record two shows in HD. The TiVo Premiere Elite can record up to 4 shows and requires a single multi-stream CableCARD.


Upgrade Kit and Pre-Sales Questions FAQ


Do your TiVo Upgrades come with the latest software?
Generally, all replacement kit upgrades come with the latest software. In cases in which a newer software version has been released, your TiVo will download the latest version as soon as they connect to the TiVo service for the first time after the new drive kit is installed.

Can I save money by buying blank computer hard drives from a store and putting them in my TiVo?
All of our upgrade kits come with hard drives that have been specially prepared for use in your TiVo. With a preformatted drive upgrade kit, you simply follow our instructions and install the drive--no PC is necessary. If you are looking to save a few dollars and are willing to invest the time, then you can purchase a blank DVR hard drive and, if applicable, a SATA to IDE adapter and prepare it yourself. If you have a PC, if you have basic Linux knowledge (not a must, but helpful) and if you have a rudimentary understanding of your PC's insides (eg. you know what an IDE cable is, you know what "primary" and "slave" means and you know what a "jumper" is), then you may be able to perform the drive preparation on your own. Keep in mind that older-model TiVos use IDE hard drives, which are not readily available any longer.

Please note, though, that in our opinion, all hard drives are not created equal. We only use drives that are specially made for use in digital video recorders; they are not standard desktop drives.

If you want to buy your own drive, we offer blank DVR drives (see here). Also, we have written the "Interactive TiVo Upgrade Instructions" site (link below) to make it easier to load the software you need, but a decent knowledge of Linux helps greatly. Updates to the upgrade instructions are in the "TiVo Upgrade Blog" that we maintain. Also, if you try to install the TiVo software on your own and do something wrong, it is possible to corrupt the software your existing TiVo drives.

Bottom line:

  1. If you're willing to invest some time to learn how, you can definitely purchase blank drives and prepare them. If you'd prefer to spend your time doing something else, or if your computer skills are minimal, then you might prefer to purchase a TiVo Upgrade Kit.
  2. If you have a TiVo already and are looking to upgrade, then acquiring the parts on your own is not likely to save you much versus buying a pre-configured WeaKnees.com TiVo Upgrade Kit. Our kits include the parts that you'll need, and in many cases, purchasing parts separately (such as tools, cables, bracket, blank drive, etc.) can be more expensive than purchasing a ready-to-install kit.


Where can I learn more about upgrading my TiVo on my own?
We have put together a number of links to "how-to" guides, Q&A forums and the like on our TiVo forums. See also our Interactive TiVo Upgrade Instructions (Support for this site is NOT available - it is a do-it-yourself tool).

Why are the number of hours you use different than the number of hours I see on other web sites?
There are several reasons: (1) Because drive sizes vary (a drive labeled 120gb may be 119.5gb or 121.0 gb), (2) because the number of hours depends on the software version (and others may quote hours based on older software versions), and (3) because some web sites exaggerate the number of hours their drives will produce. The best way to compare prices is to find out the size of the hard drive you are purchasing and how many gigabytes your TiVo will have, in total, after the upgrade. Please do not be fooled by inflated hours quotes. If you have any questions about the number of hours, please feel free to email us. When in doubt, or when faced with conflicting information, ask how many gigabtyes your TiVo will have after an upgrade.

If I use your TiVo Upgrade Kit (or have you upgrade or repair my TiVo), will I lose my lifetime subscription?
No. Our upgrade kits will not impact your paid TiVo subscription. If you already have lifetime service, you can purchase a kit (or have us upgrade your TiVo for you) and you will not lose your service. Please note that opening a TiVo will void the factory warranty.

If I use your upgrade kit (or have you do my TiVo upgrade), will I lose my programming and TiVo settings?
If you have a one-drive TiVo that can hold two drives, adding a second drive will not impact your settings or programming. If you have a two-drive TiVo, in most cases you can upgrade without losing your programming, but upgrading a two-drive unit and saving programming is very time consuming and requires you to send your TiVo or drives to us. If you have a one-drive TiVo and want to purchase a two-drive upgrade, for an additional charge you can send us your TiVo and we will not only perform your upgrade, but we will move all of your programming to your new two-drive TiVo (for this service, simply add the "Deluxe Upgrade Service" to your cart before checking out). If you have a two-drive unit and want us to save your programming, for an additional charge you can send us your TiVo and we will not only perform your upgrade, but we will move all of your programming to your new one- or two-drive TiVo (for this service, simply add the "Deluxe Upgrade Service" to your cart before checking out). Under any circumstance, once you upgrade, your TiVo will operate just as it did before the upgrade.

How do I know if I have a one-drive TiVo or two-drive TiVo? Why does it matter?
WeaKnees.com offers two types of upgrade kits. An "ADD" kit adds to your existing storage, and can only be used if you currently have one drive. A "REPLACE" kit replaces your existing hard drive or drives. For more information on choosing a kit, see our Add / Replace Information.

If you already have a TiVo and want to upgrade, determining whether you have a one-drive model or a two-drive model is important. A one-drive model is the easiest to upgrade. With a one-drive model, you can add a second drive without losing any programming or settings. With a two-drive model, it is very time consuming to save settings when upgrading with one or two new drives. In a two-drive model, you must either purchase a one-drive REPLACE or a two-drive REPLACE upgrade (i.e. replace both of your original drives with one or two new drives) OR you must perform some additional steps to reprogram your original drive. If you have a two-drive TiVo, we can reprogram one of your original drives and replace the second drive with a larger drive.

If you have a standalone Philips recorder, your TiVo is a one-drive model unless you have an HDR312 or HDR612. If you have an HDR112, HDR212, HDR31201, HDR31202, HDR31203 or HDR31204, you have a one-drive model. If you have a Sony SVR2000 or Sony SVR3000, you have a one-drive unit. If you have a DirecTiVo (Sony, Hughes, Philips), contact us and we can help you determine whether you have a one-drive unit or a two-drive unit (or see our DirecTiVo page). The older (130040) AT&T Series2 TiVo has one drive (with room for two). The 60-hour TiVo-branded Series 2 TiVo has one drive (with room for two). All other TiVo-branded DVRs (TCD240080, 24008A, 540080, 240040, 24004A, 540040, 240140, 540140 and 230040), Humax T800/T2500, Hughes units (HDVR2, SD-DVR40, SD-DVR80 and SD-DVR120, HR10-250), Philips (DSR7000, DSR704, DSR708), RCA DVR39, DVR40, DVR80, Samsung units (all models) and other newer DIRECTV/TiVo units each has one drive and, without the TwinBreeze bracket (which is included in all of our "add" and two-drive kits for these untis), has room for only one drive. All TiVo/DVD players/recorders (eg. Toshiba SD-H400, Pioneer DVR-810H, Humax DRT800, Toshiba RS-TX20, RS-TX60, and Pioneer Elite 57H) all have one drive and room for only one drive.

Do I need the Advanced Cooling Pak? Do I need the PowerTrip? Do I need the TwinBreeze?
The Advanced Cooling Pak is available for TiVo models that have the TwinBreeze installed. The ACP consists of one or two fans, depending on the TiVo model in which it will be installed. We generally do recommend the ACP, especially if you are looking to reduce noise or if your TiVo will be used in an enclosed space (such as an entertainment cabinet). If you are looking to maximize cooling, but do not mind the noise, then we would recommend that you install only the bracket fan (which comes in every ACP), but not the replacement for the factory fan (which comes in some ACPs).

For more information about the PowerTrip, see our PowerTrip page. We include the PowerTrip at no additional cost in upgrade kits for TiVos that need it.

If you are looking to add a second drive to certain Series 2 TiVo models, you will need a special bracket. We include the TwinBreeze bracket in all upgrade kits that require it. For more information about the TwinBreeze, see our TwinBreeze page.

How long will it take to upgrade my TiVo if I purchase a TiVo upgrade kit?
If you have a one-drive TiVo and purchase a TiVo Upgrade Kit from us, expect to spend about 10-30 minutes to upgrade the TiVo (once it is disconnected from your TV/entertainment system). Essentially, for an ADD kit for a standalone TiVo, your only tasks are (1) to secure the pre-formatted TiVo drive we send you to the bracket that we send you (other models don't even require a bracket), using the step-by-step instructions that we provide (approximately 5 minutes); (2) to open your TiVo using the Torx screwdriver that we supply and the "tried and true" instructions that we provide (approx 5 minutes); (3) installing the drive in the TiVo, using the step-by-step instructions that we provide (approx 3-5 minutes); and (4) closing the TiVo, using our instructions (approx 3 minutes).

If you have a two-drive TiVo and are replacing both drives with one or two drives, the level of complexity is no greater than with a one-drive TiVo, but it will take an extra 10-15 minutes to remove and replace the extra drive.

Installation of an upgrade kit containing our TwinBreeze bracket should take between 15-45 minutes, depending in large part on whether you have fans to install. The TwinBreeze was designed to install very quickly and easily and the installation instructions are fully illustrated.

NOTE: We wrote our TiVo upgrade installation instructions ourselves and we took a long time in doing so. To this day (or at least as of the date we last updated this FAQ entry?a good three+ years after we started selling TiVo Upgrade Kits), we have had very few TiVo upgrade purchasers call us or email with installation questions, which we believe suggests that our instructions are complete and simple. However, we are readily available to answer questions for any of our TiVo Upgrade Kit purchasers. Just send us an email.

TiVo Troubleshooting FAQ


I have a TiVo and I am having problems with it; where can I go for help?
We have a TiVo troubleshooting page, which is full of useful information if you are looking to self-diagnose your problem. These pages will help you through numerous problems, including TiVos that are stuck on "powering up" or stuck on the green screen that says "A Severe Error Has Occurred". These pages will also help if your TiVo has trouble dialing in, if you have Vonage or another VoIP service, and other problems. If you have questions not answered on these pages, please consult the customer service and support site at TiVo's home page (TiVo.com).

Where can I find local access numbers?
TiVo now has a list of access numbers on its site here.

HR20 / HR21 / HR22 / THR22 / HR23 / HR24 / HR34 / HR44 / HR21P DIRECTV HD DVR FAQ


Which units can use external storage?
The DVRs that we support can currently use external storage: The TiVo HD, TiVo Series3, TiVo Series 4 and DirecTV Plus HD DVR (all versions). We also sell all of these DVRs already expanded with larger internal drives.

What are the base capacities of the HR20/HR21/HR22/THR22/HR23/HR24/HR34/HR44/HR21P and how many hours can the HR20-700, HR20-100, HR21-100, HR21-200, HR21-700, HR22-100, HR22-800, HR23-100, HR23-700, HR24-100, HR24-500, HR24-700, HR34-700, HR44-500 and HR21P (HR21-Pro) record?
All HR20/HR21 units have a 300gb or 320gb hard drive (earlier versions have the 300; later versions the 320) from the factory. The HR21P (HR21 Pro) and HR22/THR22/HR23/HR24 units have a 500GB drive from the factory. The 320GB unit can record up to 30 hours of HD (in MPEG2); up to 50 hours of HD (in MPEG4); and up to 200 hours of standard definition. The 500GB units can record up to 100 hours in HD (MPEG4) and up to 65 hours in HD (MPEG2). Keep in mind that "up to" really does indicate a maximum capacity. If you are recording shows with a lot of movement (sports, action, cartoons), you are likely to max out at fewer hours, although DIRECTV now broadcasts nearly all of its programming in MPEG4 format.

Do you offer hard drive upgrade kits for the HR20/HR21/HR22/THR22/HR23/HR24/HR32/HR21P?
Yes. See our HR20/HR21/HR22/HR23/HR24/HR34/HR44/HR21-Pro DIRECTV HD DVR Upgrage page. weaKnees upgrades the HR20/HR21/HR22/HR23 by removing the factory drive and replacing it with a larger drive. If you have a unit that you want upgraded, you can send the unit to us for an upgrade. The pricing for an upgrade includes installation charges and the cost of ground shipping from us back to you. Turnaround time for the upgrade is generally 1-2 business days.

We also offer THR22 HD TiVo upgrade kits.

We also offer external storage for all of these units. See below for more information.

If you don't have the unit already, then the easiest and fastest solution is just to get an upgraded DIRECTV HD DVR or upgraded THR22 from us.

If you upgrade my HR20/HR21/HR22/THR22/HR23/HR24/HR34/HR44/HR21 Pro, can you move my settings and programming to the new drive?
Yes, we can now do this for the non-TiVo models. See our copy services at the bottom of the page. Please keep in mind that it is not possible to move content from one DVR to another. We can only move content from one (working) drive to another, so long as the DVR does not change.

Can I run an HR20/HR21/HR22/THR22/HR23/HR24/HR34/HR44/HR21P with two drives?
No, this is not possible. However, we currently have single drives as large as 2,000GB (2 terabyte).

What is the warranty on HR20/HR21/HR22/THR22/HR23/HR24/HR34/HR44/HR21 Pro complete units and upgrades?
Complete upgraded HR20s/HR21s/HR22s/HR23s/HR21Ps from weaKnees have a 90-day parts/labor warranty from weaKnees on all parts. During the warranty period, weaKnees will repair or replace a faulty unit/hard drive, subject to our warranty terms. If your unit (or a part) fails outside of the warranty period, weaKnees will work with your to get the unit replaced at a fair and reasonable price.

Can I purchase / own the HR20/HR21/HR22/THR22/HR23/HR24/HR34/HR44 DIRECTV Plus HD DVR, or will any order from weaKnees be considered a lease?
Background: On March 1, 2006, DIRECTV instituted a program under which receivers are leased by default. This change had no impact on customers' bills, and in fact there were many advantages for customers: DIRECTV will provide a dish and installation for customers with new leased receivers. They will also provide support, after the warranty period, at reduced prices vs. the cost of acquiring a new unit. On the other hand, leased receivers cannot be re-sold and DIRECTV will replace them with refurbished units if they require service.

If you order an upgraded HR20/HR21/HR22/THR22/HR23/HR24 from weaKnees, you may be able to have DIRECTV characterize the unit as being owned. To do that, you must call 800-DIRECTV and ask for the access card department. Tell them that you ordered an HR20/HR21/HR22/HR23/HR24, give them the price and tell them that you want it to be characterized as being owned. In some cases, the price alone will be enough to have DIRECTV characterize the unit as purchased. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have a unit characterized as owned, you will NOT be able to get the unit (or a dish) installed for free or at a discounted price. In addition, you will NOT be entitled to any discounted replacement equipment should the unit fail. See below for additional information.

Although this may change at any time, as of this writing the HR34 / HR44 can only be leased.

Can I purchase / own the HR21 Pro HD DVR, or will any order from weaKnees be considered a lease?
The HR21P (HR21 Pro) will be considered owned, not leased.

Should I even bother trying to have my HR20/HR21/HR22/THR22/HR23/HR24/HR34/HR44 characterized as owned?
If you need an HR20/HR21/HR22/THR22/HR23/HR24 installed, or if you need a dish, then you should probably have the box characterized as being leased. Doing so will enable you to take advantage of DIRECTV's installation promotions for newly-activated equipment. In addition, if your upgraded HR20/HR21/HR22/THR22/HR23/HR24 fails in the future, you may be eligible for a reduced-price replacement unit if the upgraded HR20/HR21/HR22/HR23 is leased. You will likely not want to send the upgraded HR20/HR21/HR22/THR22/HR23/HR24 to DIRECTV in exchange for the replacement, but weaKnees can help get a working hard drive moved. If you successfully have your unit characterized as owned, you will not be entitled to any discounted replacement unit and you will be responsible for paying to have your unit (and dish) installed.

Does the HR20/HR21/HR22/HR23/HR24/HR34/HR44/HR21P have the TiVo operating system? Can I get an HR20/HR21/HR22/HR23/HR24/HR34/HR44/HR21P with the TiVo operating system.
The only DIRECTV HD DVR that has the TiVo operating system is the THR22. All of the other units have the DIRECTV operating system and there is no way to change a DVR's operating system.

What are the differences between the THR22 TiVo and the HR20/HR21/HR22/HR23/HR24/HR21P DIRECTV Plus HD DVR?
There are many differences; the units run on completely different operating systems. They have different remotes. The TiVo units have features such as Wish Lists, Suggestions and Swivel Search that the DIRECTV operating system does not have. However, at launch the THR22 does not have the ability to share content with other DVRs and cannot download DIRECTV's On-Demand content. The HR34 and HR44 (Genie) are 5-tuner DIRECTV DVRs; the other units all have 2 tuners.

What are the model numbers of the DIRECTV HD DVRs?
As of now, there are three main categories of DIRECTV DVRs with high definition: (1) the TiVo HR10-250, (2) the DIRECTV Plus HD DVR (which consists of the HR20 through HR24 and the HR21-Pro), (3) the HR21P (HR21 Pro) and (4) the DIRECTV Genie (HR34/HR44). While the "250" in the HR10-250 refers to the size of that unit's factory hard drive, the HR20-100, HR20-700, HR21-100 and HR21-700 (or any other number after the HR20- , HR21-, HR22-, HR23-, HR24- HR34- and HR44-) refers to the manufacturer of that particular DVR, as well as some internal differences (but no actual functional difference). The HR10-250 and HR20-700 are both silver, and the other DVRs are all black. Only the HR20 supports off-air channels within the DVR itself. All other units require an AM21 off-air tuner, which connects to the DVR. The The HR21P has various additional features geared toward the home theater market (such as rack-mountable brackets, serial control, and dual-fans), but is generally considered to be slower than the newer HR24/34 models. Finally, the HR34 and HR44 each has 5 internal tuners and is compatible only with SWM, whereas the other units all have 2 tuners and can be used with SWM or a standard dish.


What about external storage for DIRECTV HD DVRs?
WeaKnees.com sells and supports external storage upgrades for all DirecTV HD DVR models. External storage on these units replaces the existing internal drive, so the unit will then ignore the internal drive. This means that whatever size drive is in the unit won't matter; the DVR will use the external drive exclusively. Therefore, there is currently no way to get more than two Terabytes of storage on these units.

There are pros and cons of external storage, and overall, as with all DVRs, WeaKnees recommends internal storage upgrades as the preferred method in general. But some situations demand external storage on these units.

Pros: Essentially, the reason to get external storage on these units is because you already have the box, you don't want the downtime of sending the box in to us for the upgrade, and you need more space.

Cons: Having an external unit makes the physical setup that much more complicated with extra cables, extra heat, and extra power demands. Since the storage is external, you have more potential points of failure.

What is Multi-Room Viewing? DECA? Whole Home DVR?
We have a separate FAQ about DECA, Whole-Home DVR, Connected Home and Multi-Room Viewing.

External Storage for HD TiVo DVRs


What are the benefits of choosing either internal or external storage for my HD TiVo?
Benefits of internal storage: Replacing your internal drive with a larger one has several advantages. With an internal upgrade, all parts are inside the unit itself, total power consumption is lower, your original drive can remain on site as a backup, and with fewer moving parts (one drive versus two) there are fewer points of failure. For new purchasers, larger internal storage always makes the most sense. Benefits of external storage: Adding an external drive also has advantages. It's easier to install. You don't lose your settings and programs (with internal upgrades, that can be true in some cases also). And you can get a larger total unit - up to 4 Terabytes of storage, depending on the TiVo model.

Are WeaKnees upgrades "verified" by TiVo?
No, our external drive kits are not verified. We use what we've found to be the best drives available for our kits. We're convinced that these are the best drives for use with DVRs.

Why do I need to send in my TiVo HD/TiVo Premiere for an upgrade?
Only the original Series3 (TCD648250/TCD648250B) can accept an external drive without any software modification. All other HD TiVos require us to pair the internal and external drives using special software.


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