TiVo announced the enabling of their esata ports and the availability of the my DVR expander, will these work with your units?

The My DVR Expander will work on units purchased from us as long as they have not been upgraded or contain a “primary” drive that has already been expanded.  We do not disable the ability for the My DVR Expander to work properly, but it is a function of the tools used in the upgrade community – to date there is no known way to offer an upgraded unit that will also work with a My DVR Expander as a “plug and play” device.   There is a way to configure an upgraded TiVo to work with a My DVR Expander, however it involves reconfiguration of the software on both of the drives, so we’d need all the equipment here to do so.  With that in mind, we will always recommend single drive configurations over dual drive configurations be cause they are inherently more reliable.

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 Series2 bracket should take between 15-45 minutes The Series2 bracket 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.

What is a DVRupgrade kit?

An easy-to-install kit, specifically designed for your TiVo. Simply open the case with the specialized tool included with your kit, install the components as directed, and you are finished! There is no requirement to utilize a computer and no technical knowledge or experience is needed on the part of the consumer!

Is modification of my TiVo legal?

Yes, modification of your unit, either on your own, or by using one of our kits, is completely legal. By opening your unit, you will void the original manufacturer’s warranty. With that said, most failures are due to the hard drive, which can be easily replaced, so the risk is worthwhile. Modification using our kits and services does not relate to theft of the TiVo service or intellectual property in any way, shape or form. TiVo, Inc. has no problems with these activities, and we’ve maintained a positive relationship with TiVo, Inc. since our company’s inception, which pre-dates that of all of our competitors.

How do I know if I have a one-drive TiVo or two-drive TiVo? Why does it matter?

DVRupgrade.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 Series2 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.

What types of hard drives do you use?

Over the years, we have used number of high-quality disk drive products from several vendors such as Maxtor, Seagate, Samsung, Western Digital and Hitachi.

We strive to only use DVR A/V drives for our kits and our units. These are drives made specifically for the DVR/Living Room environment, and we have found that they produce much better results over the years.

How are DVRupgrade kit capacities determined?

TiVo standalone, non-HD units have four levels of recording quality. At the best recording quality, the number of hours is approximately one third of the hard drive capacity (eg.  A 160GB drive yields roughly 55 hours at the highest quality).  At the lowest recording quality (basic), the number of hours will be approximately 20% more than the drive capacity (eg.  A 160GB drive yields roughly 192 hours, at basic quality).

DirecTV TiVo DVR units do not allow you to adjust quality.  They use a ‘variable compression algorithm’ which means recordings will take up more or less space, depending upon the type of broadcast.  (eg.   Sporting events and action movies take up more space on a hard drive than a newscast).  In either case, quality is ‘optimal’ regardless of what is recorded.  Hard drives usually yield approximately .875 hours per GB.  (eg.  A 160GB drive yields roughly 140 hours at best/variable quality).

Will I lose my settings if I install a replacement drive kit?

Yes. A replacement drive kit completely replaces the drives in your TiVo. Therefore, any preferences, settings and recordings will be remain on the drive(s) you remove from the unit.

A replacement drive kit replaces ALL of the drives in your unit – whether you have one or two, they must all come out. Installing a replacement drive kit will not affect your subscription with TiVo.

If you want to install a replacement drive kit and preserve your recordings and preferences, you can send your unit for a professional installation and we will do it for you.

Do your TiVo Upgrades come with the latest software?

We try to build kits with the latest versions of the software for each unit.  Unlike many other vendors, we actually have one of every TiVo and attempt to maintain a current library of images for use and prior to using one on a kit, it undergoes extensive testing.  With that said, there are several kits which will come with slightly older versions of the TiVo software and this should not be a concern; once your TiVo is reconnected and beings making its daily call, it will download the latest version of the software for which it is authorized and things will go back to normal.

For some Series2 standalone units, some units may ship with a software that will need you to use your phone line, instead of your network adapter to make your initial call and setup call.  Once your TiVo downloads the latest software again, your adapter should go back to working just fine.

Should I change jumpers on the drives?

Please do not change the jumpers on the drives we’ve sent you. Some add-on drive kits do require you to change the jumper on your original TiVo drive, however the jumpers on the drives we’ve sent you are intended to be set correctly, so please don’t change them unless specifically instructed to do so.  If you have ANY questions about the jumpers on a drive associated with a kit we’ve provided, please feel free to contact us at any time.