Technology & Gadgets

Hacked and upgraded Hughes HR10-250 (TiVo)

Hughes HR10-250.jpg Well, I finally got my act together after six months at a hard drive company and hacked my HR10-250 (actually, I have two, here’s the manual). Here’s what I have now:

  1. Changed from built-in (noisy) 250GB Western Digital Hard Drive to extremely quiet 500GB DB35 Seagate drive (this is optimized for PVRs).
  2. I installed a NetGear FA120 USB 2.0 Ethernet adapter ($22)
  3. I installed a fresh HR10-250 drive image using Instant Cake ($20)
  4. I installed a PTVnet upgrade ($20)
  5. I installed a "newer" version of HackMan (for TiVoWebPlus)

Then I futzed around with it all day, now I have internet access to my TiVo from anywhere in the world. I’m considering adding a TiVo status in WordPress, but this is a little two Reality TV for me. I’m still running a little short on the features I want, mainly because I haven’t figured out how to disable encryption on this box:

  • Pull programs off the TiVo, convert to MPEG2 (it appears I did not disabled scrambling properly)
  • Stream content off the TiVo (again, it’s the scrambling, I think)
  • Pull content off the old TiVo HDD onto the computer or onto the new TiVo (will be difficult, scrambled using a different key, I think).

I should be able to close these items in a few weeks, but for now, the web access to show lists is simply awesome. For those also interested in doing the same, here’s the correct order (usual rules apply, if you think you might screw up your TiVo and you’re going to void your warranty, you’re right!). Don’t do any of this, ever.

  1. Disconnect all PC hard drives, set CD-ROM on Primary Master IDE to boot. Connect PATA (IDE) TiVo drive (blank) on Secondary Master with jumper set to Master.
  2. Boot the computer using PTVnet (counterintuitive), it’ll ask where everything is (hda = CD-ROM, hdc = TiVo HDD), and then ask if you have an Instant Cake CD.
  3. Go ahead, throw in the Instant Cake CD when asked, it’ll do as told, and about 1.5 hours later, voila.
  4. Switch the disk jumper back to CS (Cable Select).
  5. Insert disk in TiVo (need two Torx to open case = T10, T15), replacing current drive.
  6. Boot TiVo with TV attached. Go through guided setup. When through, go to reset/restart system
  7. Delete and erase everything. This will take 3 hours on a 500GB. Screen should be red "PVRupgrade" TiVo screen during this time.
  8. Go through guided setup again. Go to info page on TiVo, should show correct number of hours (462 SD, 62 HD).
  9. Connect network adapter (it must be 1 of the 3 recommended by PTVupgrade).
  10. Find TiVo’s network address (comes up as PTVupgrade as a name on your DHCP server)
  11. Upgrade Hackman to newest version (ftp, telnet).

Simple, eh? Discerning readers may ask why I have two HR10-250’s. It’s a short story. One died under warranty. They shipped me a new one. I asked if they wanted the old one back. They said no, it was mine. Hence, two.

By Dave

He was born in Canada, but currently lives in Boulder, CO up in Boulder Heights.

5 replies on “Hacked and upgraded Hughes HR10-250 (TiVo)”

Hey, if anyone knows what I’m doing wrong on the scrambling let me know:

I used the AlphaWolf patch at:

Following the instructions very carefully:

mount -o remount,rw /
cp /tvbin/tivoapp /tvbin/tivoapp.orig
cd /tvbin
mv tivoapp tivoapp.tmp
cp tivoapp.tmp tivoapp
chmod 755 tivoapp
echo -ne “\x3C\x02\x00\x00” | dd conv=notrunc of=tivoapp bs=1 seek=6984684

I checked using ciphercheck.tcl, and all new recordings are still scrambled. What gives? I used the Instant Cake 3.1.5f HR10-250 disk, so I don’t actually know about unscramble.o in this kernel. Please, drop me a line.

Hi Dave,

Sorry for not posting this sooner. I also originally tried the AlphaWolf method with less than favorable results. After restoring my unpatched kernel, I used this technique:

Scroll down several replies to Will for advice on how to insmod unscramble.o . The posts above Will’s contain unscramble.o in archived form. Will’s technique works well for me. It has the added benefit of my being able to stop unscramble.o by simply rebooting …

Hope this helps,

[…] My JVC HD-ILA’s lamp shattered on Tuesday. It’s had about 400 hours (max, estimated) on it. Fortunately, replacement is covered because the lamp is SUPPOSED to be good for 7000 hours. Also fortunate, if I did have to pay for it, it would be $199 + S&H. No TV except Azureus this weekend unless I figure out how to hack the scrambling on my TiVo or give in and connect the itty-bitty 14" TV. […]

Thanks B.

Unfortunately, unscramble.o is a binary for a different processor ("not for this architecture"), for all versions I found on DealDatabase. I did find the entirely revised kernal from ScrambleLabs that was designed to work on the HR10-250, but I haven’t figured out how to "Monte" this kernal onto my box (seems to be derived from Three Card Monte, but the use of killhdinitrd escapes me, and nobody has written a simple how-to on getting this done).

I guess I’ll wrestle with this on the weekend. Still no TV lamp! 

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