Comcast and Tivo

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Hey Everyone!

So I thought I would give a quick update on what is going on around the Tristan circle of life. Last week I ordered a Tivo. This thing has been a pain in the ass. It took a week to get here. But there have been 2 major causes of frustration.

1. The Cable Card Experience.

So in order for the TivoHD to work you need to get a CableCard from the Cable Company. In the Seattle area we have Comcast. Usually for most of my issues I either hop on the Comcast Chat or get on Twitter and send a note to @ComcastCares. So my first try was with the Chat. I got one guy saying that I could just drive to the local Comcast Office and pickup the cable card. Slide it into the Tivo and drive home and call Comcast. Sounds good to me.

Some time passes…..

Tivo is actually coming now so I hop on Comcast Chat again and get a new person they tell me I need to schedule a tech to come out and install the card for a fee of $25. Previous guy told me I could do it myself.

The process of installing a cable card is basically moving one flap down and sliding in a PCMCIA card into the device. Didn’t seem $25 worthy to me. But I do recall charging people at Best Buy $160 for Hard Drive and OS Install.

Now that I had a conflicting argument from two different people. I hopped on twitter and sent a note to @ComcastCares I got the following reply.

Comcast Cares on Twitter

So I have two people saying the same thing. So I decide to shoot an e-mail off to Comcast Cares. we_can_help@comcast.com I get a prompt reply from a Detreon Roberts. He says they need to schedule a tech to come out. So I accept that answer for the time being.

So I get home that night and make a phone call to Comcast. I get to speak to an incredibly seductive sounding woman named Jen or Jenn. I didn’t ask for the spelling but I wanted info about my Cable Card. She said that I can just go down to the Comcast Office and pick it up. I tell her about all of my experiences thus far. She says “They don’t know what they are talking about. I setup a CableCard for a guy today took 3 mins over the phone” So I e-mailed Detreon back and he says. “You should really get an installer out” So on Saturday the girlfriend of awesomeness decided to partake on the adventure of the Comcast store and we got the CableCard. Came home and installed it and it took about 3 minutes and we were golden.

So I guess I would like to thank the first Chat Person and Jen from Comcast in Washington for being the most helpful. Everyone else needs to think about what they are doing.

2. Upgrading the Hard Drive in the Tivo.

So this was a fun process that I did when the girlfriend was out tending to her late kitty cat Indy. So I was home alone which was probably a good thing because I was incredibly frustrated by a few sources. So I was cranky and just wasn’t a pleasant person.

So the scenario is that the Tivo HD comes with a 160GB HDD which gives you about 20hrs of HD recording. This was not enough for me so I bought a 1TB external eSATA drive hoping I could just plug it in and be good to go. This was not the case as Tivo doesn’t like this idea so I had to hack the box to get it working. So I take the TIVO apart and pull the hard drive. I come to find out that it would just be easier to install the external drive into the TIVO. So I have to take apart this external drive which I didn’t want to do but kinda have to.

At this point I haven’t even powered up the Tivo. So I take apart the external drive and then go to my Computer. I have this Pentium 4 3.6ghz machine I use to just screw around with when I am not using my Mac’s. Luckily I had this thing around otherwise I would have been screwed. So I open up the computer and need to free 2 SATA ports. Currently I have all 4 being used so I boot up the machine and find the HDD that I am not using and power it back off and unplug the two drives. Come to find out that I had these in a RAID 0 configuration so the computer won’t boot. So decide to say screw it all I can just reinstall Windows 7 Beta and just use one drive and setup the other drives later.

So I had to install Windows 7 again to just do what I needed to do. After that process completes I go download the TIVO hacking software called WinMFS.

I then shutoff the computer hookup the 160GB tivo drive and the 1TB HDD. Boot up the machine and followed the instructions located here.

http://www.engadgethd.com/2008/04/17/how-to-upgrade-your-tivo-hd-with-winmfs/

I am always baffled when people ask me questions on how to do things with their computer. Since I can find every answer by googling. See here is how you can do it to.

http://tinyurl.com/d9obnl

So I followed that process and swapped out the 160GB HDD with the 1TB and the unit would power on and then crash. So I said WTF! I spent over an hour reimaging my PC with Windows 7 and the process didn’t work. So I swapped the 160GB drive back in and powered it on. This worked great. So I went through the setup process and then took the whole thing apart again to reimage the 1TB HDD with the above instructions. This process worked but took a great deal longer I was getting a bit more positive messages.

As a note if you are going to use WinMFS with Windows 7. Be sure you click “Run as Administrator” or this whole process will never work. So now with all of that completed I have 141hrs of HD recording and something like 1500 hrs of Standard Def recording.

So I got home at 8pm last Thursday and I didn’t finish with the Tivo Hacking until 1:30am. I was rather cranky by the end of the experience. The girlfriend doesn’t even appreciate the Tivo yet. Hopefully she will and I will get some good appreciatin back.

So that has been my Tivo experience. I must say after all of that work I am now an expert in the process of expanding the storage of the Series 3 Tivo’s.

I am sure there are more important things in the world to focus on. Anyone have any ideas?

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