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TiVo Information and FAQ

TiVo Systems

TiVo, a device that records TV shows, has become hugely popular over the last couple of years. Here is some basic information about the Tivo recording unit:

- Records live TV programs, with a maximum capacity of about 140 hours (although some unity may be limited to only 40 or so hours).
- Is compatible with a variety of TV systems, and works with antennas, cables, and satellite configurations.
- Can be combined with just about any home network, allowing for digital music, digital photos, and TiVo online scheduling.

Besides the regular TiVo system, there are three other types that incorporate other technology:

- DirectTV TiVo - Works with DirectTV programming, incorporating 225 digital channels from which you can choose to record.
- DVD TiVo - Contains a DVD player and fully-functional TiVo recorder.
- DVD Recorder TiVo - Record your TV shows on DVD with this handy device. Stores many more hours than the TiVo device can alone. Of course, you can also take your shows with you as DVDs.

TiVo Service

The TiVo service is usually purchased separate of the actual unit. The service connects through your pre-existing phone line, much like a dial-up internet service. The connection to the service can also be made via broadband. With TiVo service, it is possible to have the device actually search for TV programs of your liking, and records them for you at your discretion. You can also have Tivo record every episode of a particular show.


Is TiVo expensive?

As far as TV home equiptment is concerned, TiVo is a relatively inexpensive addition. TiVo units range in price, but you can expect to pay around $130 - $200 on a name-brand system. The TiVo service is currently $12.95 per month.

How will TiVo work with my current TV setup?

TiVo can work with a variety of set-ups. It can be set up to run with VCRs, DVDs, cable, antennas, satellite, and more.

If TiVo uses the phone line, will calls be missed?

TiVo says no. TiVo will not interrupt current calls you may be making, in-coming, or out-going phone calls. The initial setup is the only time your phone line will be blocked from calls, but this should only take a few minutes.

Are there parental controls?

Yes, TiVo has parental controls, allowing parents to lock certain programs and set limitations on their children's viewing.

Can I record programs off the Internet?

Yes, but you will need the TiVo series 2. With this unit, you can use online schedualing to record your favorite shows. A broadband connection is highly recommended for this service, however.

Is TiVo hackable (i.e. able to be modified?)

Yes, much like a computer, it is. Because TiVo utilizes Linux, an open-source operating system, the device can be modified in various ways. For instancePsychology Articles, it is possible to increase TiVo storage space through hacking.

Article Tags: Tivo Service, Phone Line

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Bradley James is a senior editor at, a website containing many helpful consumer electronics review articles. For more information on TiVo technology, please visit our TiVo FAQ webpage.

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