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Tivo Hacks
by Raffi Krikorian

1 edition
August 2003
278 pages

Reviewed by Jason Menard, January 2004
  (7 of 10)

Tivo is a software service, coupled with a digital video recorder, which changes the way one watches TV. O'Reilly's "Tivo Hacks", part of their outstanding "Hacks" series, explores how to tinker with these magical little boxes. "Tivo Hacks" follows the same format as the other titles in the "Hacks" series. Each chapter is an enumerated series of tips and tricks that will have your Tivo doing summersaults by the time you're finished going through all of them.

The first two chapters describe hacks which will be of interest to the majority of Tivo owners, with the first chapter explaining a dazzling array of tricks that can be performed using only the remote control, and the second chapter carefully detailing the steps necessary to add more hours to your Tivo. Tivo is essentially a Linux box, and the remaining chapters offer hacks which exploit this fact. The later hacks are definitely for the more technically minded. The author does a fine job throughout in making each hack clear and understandable. If you fancy yourself a bit of a hacker, then after reading this book you should feel comfortable undertaking any of these hacks.

Is this book for you? If you have a Series 2 Tivo, really only the first two chapters are of much interest. The Series 1 boxes are much more "hackable" than the newer Series 2 boxes, and as a result the majority of the rest of the hacks will not work on the Series 2. This book, certainly beyond the first chapter at least, requires a certain level of technical ability, and as such is not for your average Tivo owner. In other words, I probably wouldn't purchase a copy as a gift for Uncle Irwin and Aunt Martha to go along with their shiny new Tivo. On the other hand, if you fit the target audience and want to get the most out of your Tivo, particularly if you want to expand the number of hours in your Tivo, this book will certainly come in handy. While you can certainly find most of the information in this book on the Internet, there is definitely something to be said for having it all in one place so that you may easily flip through it and reference it.

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