On demand video


Whether via Netflix, Blockbuster (very slow on-demand :-)) or online via Internet, ODV is here to stay.  It’s a given.  I just want to get that out of the way.

In a way, I think TiVo should be thanked for pioneering the video appliance and the very easy to use UI.  They helped introduced lots of people to watching videos on their own time, at their convenience, as opposed to the TV/cable network’s.

Once people see what TiVo can do for them, other uses pop up and the genie is out of the bottle.   There are other related uses besides recording TV/cable/satellite shows.  Such as automating, digitizing movies (going from manual, post office ship DVDs of Netflix, Blockbuster) to renting, buying videos on line, on demand.  The video on demand usage has been known and attempted for a long time, going back to the early cable days.

Time Warner, back in the early 90’s partnered with SGI to do VOD at several location around the US.  There were lots of technical hurdles that had to be solved before something like this can become a reality.

Recently, companies such as Akimbo, CinemaNow, Movielink, 2Wire (AT&T Uverse), OpenTV, ZillionTV, VUDU, Roku(Netflix, Amazon), AppleTV, etc… etc… all joined, some have failed, some are failing, others are….

As someone who worked at 2Wire and later at VUDU, I have some knowledge about what the companies were trying to do, and the issues they faced.  I also worked at SGI during the Time Warner VOD trials were going (I was working on the XFS and IRIX 64 bit port projects).

Of course, the content owners – movie studios, TV networks, etc. — aren’t going to sit still and watch others make money off their work.  So HULU and various other studios web sites were launched, offering streaming videos from their content library.

The competition in ODV is getting fierce!  Good for consumers (yes, very confusing, but good to have choices!), but bad for these companies.

SSD and servers

SSD or Solid State Drives is one of the next hot tech fad… besides multicore CPUs/GPUs, cloud computing, virtualization, Brittney Spears comeback, Mel Gibson hot, new young girlfriend…

Heh, sorry, let my hand type faster than my brain.

My brothers and I were discussing about the merits of adding SSD to servers.  One of the things discussed was whether a new interface (connector, bus, whatnot) is needed to make most efficient use of SSD in servers.  People were looking at adding dedicated bus, slot, whatever to motherboard so you can get the highest throughput from SSD.

My argument is that, that is not really needed, except for the jobs that demand the highest possible speed.  And even then, it should really be decided on a sliding scale.  How much is an additional percent of extra speed worth to you?

I think that for most people, using the existing SATA/SAS (I/II/III) interface is “good enough”.  Yes, you do not get the best speed, but the benefits still make it worth using, and the low cost will induce people to use it.

SATA interfaces come for free on all modern motherboards.  Most servers support hotswap SATA drives.  Not all support hot swap PCI/PCI-X/PCI-e slots.  Secondly, with hotswap SATA/SAS drives, you can do it without having to open up the case and/or powering down the system.  If you have more than a handful of servers to upgrade, you will appreciate this.

Next step up above SATA is SAS, which is mainly used in I/O intensive applications (such as DB servers, LDAP servers, etc.).

Don’t forget too that if you go with add-on cards — PCI, PCI-X, PCI-e — you also most likely will have to deal with drivers.  Your OS is not going to automatically make use of these add-on SSD cards without drivers.

TiVo Hacks for Beginners

Imported from Tin TiVo link

27 March 2008 – 21:32 TiVo Hacks for Beginners

Collected TiVo Hacks


Sorry, several months ago I went to work for a startup in the DVR, IPTV field, and that had taken all my time…. I’ll try to update and add more over the holidays….

Dec 13, 2006 – TiVo File Decoder – A utility to convert .tivo file (produced by TiVoToGo) to a normal MPEG2 file. In another word, .TiVo files can now be converted on any machines and OS that can compile TiVo File Decoder C program. It used to be that you have use DSD and can only run on Windoze using TiVo’s Desktop .dll.

This is cool!

Dec 13, 2006 – Converting your DVD for viewing on TiVo – A guide on how to convert your DVDs to MPEG2 file, and transferring it to your TiVo for viewing. This is if you want to put all your DVDs and video material on a computer to use as your video server. Hmm, I wonder if this can be done with a Series3…

TiVo unveils its 1st Hi-Def Series3 DVR

Jan 2006 – Wow, 2006 already!

NEWS from Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on the TiVo Series3. Thanks to MegaZone

Highlights includes:

  • 2 CableCARD – supporting MultiStream (CableCARD 2.0) or SingleStream (CableCard 1.0).
  • Dual tuner – actually can use simultaneously any 2 tuners. Has 6 tuners in it: 2 cable (analog and digital), 2 ATSC and 2 NTSC.
  • Coax cable in, and coax antenna in
  • Output includes: HDMI, Component, S-Video and Composite.
  • Network: 2 USB ports, 10/100baseT ethernet and a modem
  • Sound: stereo and optical outputs
  • Video encoding is still MPEG2, but understand and play MPEG4 AVC/H.264, VC-1 (WMV9), e.g. same codecs as HD-DVD or Blu-ray.
  • An external SATA port for TiVo external SATA drive.

(locally cached)Pictures of Series3 taken by MegaZone.Dec 2005 – Did some house cleaning, removed dead links, added new links.

Oct 2005 – Start to look at my S2 SA again. I’ve let it updated to 7.2.0… next week, I’ll see about putting killhdinitrd on again.

Aug 2005 – Update on work on my S2 SA. I’ve been too busy with new job to do anything on my TiVo. It’s currently running 7.x… I am looking at upgrading to a DVR that can do HD, possibly a 2Wire MediaPortal set top box.

April 2005 – I am updating the links on this page. Please let me know if something is not working. I am in the process of “un-sleepering” my S2 SA. I’ve actually got it to work using killhdinitrd and also monte. But having problem getting the new Tivo 7.1 to work… I’ll post my experiences and how I got the problem resolved (IF)…

This page contains my collection of TiVo Hacks links that I’ve found as I was starting to learn about my AT&T Tivo Series 2/40 machine.

At first, I had no idea where to start, what to look for or what to do. Hopefully, by collecting all these links in one place, it will help other people.

PS This page is most useful when you send me corrections and additions. It has to evolve and stay updated to be any good. So please, let me know if a link does not work or is outdated. Thanks!

Network for TiVo

Newbie FAQ


Hacking a series2

DirecTivo Hacks

Other cools hacks

TiVo books

TiVo Hardware/Software Upgrades or Repair

NOTICE The following links are for your convenience. I do not recommend nor endorse the services. I disclaim all liabilities.

Additional related sites/Links

TiVo Online Discussion Communities

  • Suggestions welcomed….

Linksys WRVS4400N hacking

This link:


got me started.  Thanks to TrNSZ, whomever he is.

I managed to d/l GPL code for v1.1.03 from Linksys and built fw image that works, e.g. I u/l it to my wrvs last night, and rebooted into it.  Everything work as before, routing, firewalling and wifi…. phew! 🙂

Next is to adding features/functionalities.  More to follow.

I found link to the 1.1.13 src, compiled and have been running that for last week or so.  So far so good….