Tag: TV

New IceTV sales tatics

So IceTV sends me the following email…


However, I don’t have any recording device associated with my very legacy account. I haven’t been a paid subscriber with them for probably 5 or more years. Yet as you can see they thought it might be nice to send me an email that might provoke me to do something.

Hate to say it IceTV, but I won’t be giving you any money now or in the future. I promptly unsubscribed from the emails. Since IceTV and I will never be friends, now I will be a customer. They burnt the brand with the whole Skippa.tv saga.

EDIT: Looks like they dropped the skippa.tv website, so links to http://skippa.tv currently do not work.

TiVo Series 3 Internal 2TB Hard Drive Upgrade

We’ve had a TiVo Series 3 for a very long time, in fact we actually have two units. I purchased the first one very early on when they came out and the second unit I got during a run out of refurb units (a year after I got my first).

We did have a 1TB DVR Expander for each unit, as I bought one at full price on first unit purchase and got the second at a promo price with the refurb unit. Unfortunately they never stood the test of time and died some time ago. You can imagine recording with a 160GB internal drive is not that great when it comes to space available.

About 4 months ago, I stumbled across some discussion on Whirlpool relating to upgrading the internal hard drive on these units and what would be required to be performed. You can read all about it in this thread here. I downloaded everything required and figured I would do this sometime. I actually also have and older computer that would work as the machine to perform this.

Recently circumstances changed and subsequently with the fall out associated with IceTV failing to deliver our Skippa.tv we decided to upgrade one of the internal drives in our TiVo Series 3.

I purchased a Western Digital Green 2TB – Model WD20EZRX, and proceeded to follow the directions on the forum post here and here (later link the one I followed, shown in summary below by bullet points).

Basically I got my computer I was going to use, hooked up my new WD20EZRX drive (and booted the wdidle3 ISO I downloaded). I executed wdidle3 /D to disable IntelliPark on the WD drive, if it has worked you will see “Idle3 Timer is enabled and set to 3720 seconds (62.0 minutes)”. This means it had worked. Shutdown the computer, disconnect the drive. Since you should remove power from the drive to ensure this change takes place on next restart. You could boot wdidle3 ISO and check it by running wdidle3 with no switches to see that it reports it back.

Next you need to burn the JMFS ISO and ensure that you have removed the original drive from the TiVo Series 3 and connected it to first sata port, and your drive you will clone to (WD20EZRX) onto the second sata port. I now used a USB cdrom, as I had no free sata ports. So booted the JMFS ISO.

  • Run the menu item to do the disk copy from original drive to new drive.
  • Run the menu item to do the expansion of your new drive.
  • WD20EZRX doesn’t support AAM setting, so nothing to be ran relating to that.
  • wdidle3 already performed earlier.
  • I opted to supersize my drive, which means after all steps above done, shutdown. Using WinMFS to “turn on supersize”. This requires your machine booting from Windows, having new cloned drive connected on sata bus and selecting it and enabling the supersize. After this is done you can shutdown, install drive in TiVo Series 3 and look at all the new space.

Screen grab below showing output post JMFS expansion (step following clone operation);


Screen grabs below showing before and after capacity obtained;

Before Upgrade
Before Upgrade
After Upgrade
After Upgrade

Tivo Series 3 Backup

I was surprised to find out in the last few days that you can backup your TiVo internal hard drive and subsequently also upgrade/replace it.

We have two TiVo’s and unfortunately the WD DVR expansion units we had on both have long since died unfortunately, and now I know we can upgrade the internal drive. I pulled one of our units apart and hooked up the drive to a Windows XP machine and created a truncated backup. Just incase, below is a screen grab from the Windows application I used.


After you select the drive, you can run a backup of the drive. Which I did quite promptly.


Ubuntu 14.04 Server with TvHeadend and Realtek RTL2832U USB tuner

If you seen my previous posts here and here. I can confirm that the instructions I provided on the post here are still applicable to the installation of TvHeadend on Ubuntu 14.04 Server.

I just installed Ubuntu 14.04 Server tonight and tested the installation process of TvHeadend per my other notes and it works fine.

Ironically enough so far I really like Ubuntu 14.04 Server, so I will leave it running for a bit and see how much I do like it after a few days and/or weeks.

Ubuntu 12.04.4, TvHeadend and Realtek RTL2832U USB tuner

This week I setup an old Dell Optiplex 755 tower with Ubuntu 12.04.4, TvHeadEnd and Realtek RTL2832U USB tuner to perform some DVB-T recordings. The installation I performed of TvHeadEnd is the exact same one I documented some months back when I used the same USB tuner on a Raspberry Pi. You can read about it here.

The installation was flawless and simple as you’d expect. The system has been running a few days now and capturing what I want. It also allows me to point VLC client on other machines at the system to network stream any of the DVB-T channels the tuner can tune against (also shown in the previous post linked above).

Thinking of buying another tuner to be honest, so I can record from 2 different channels that don’t share the same stream/multiplex id.

Realtek RTL2838 DVB-T tuner on Raspberry Pi with TvHeadEnd success

I decided to give my DVB-T usb dongle (Realtek RTL2838) another go with the Raspberry Pi and TvHeadEnd. As I thought the newer version of Raspbian if available might address the condition I had previously where I had no dvb device after plugging it in. Older post found here.

It would appear it was a good to check this out again.

I downloaded the latest Raspbian available from the Raspberry Pi site. The version available at the time of this post is the one below;


I installed to an SD card and booted my Raspberry Pi.

I plugged in my Realtek RTL2838 tuner and it detected fine and when I checked for the dvb device structure, it was populated all correctly, which never happened previously at all.

[26848.628778] usb 1-1.3: new high-speed USB device number 6 using dwc_otg
[26848.741110] usb 1-1.3: New USB device found, idVendor=0bda, idProduct=2838
[26848.741147] usb 1-1.3: New USB device strings: Mfr=1, Product=2, SerialNumber=3
[26848.741166] usb 1-1.3: Product: RTL2838UHIDIR
[26848.741183] usb 1-1.3: Manufacturer: Realtek
[26848.741199] usb 1-1.3: SerialNumber: 00000001
[26848.851456] usb 1-1.3: dvb_usb_v2: found a 'Realtek RTL2832U reference design' in warm state
[26848.857238] usbcore: registered new interface driver dvb_usb_rtl28xxu
[26848.921368] usb 1-1.3: dvb_usb_v2: will pass the complete MPEG2 transport stream to the software demuxer
[26848.921447] DVB: registering new adapter (Realtek RTL2832U reference design)
[26848.965698] usb 1-1.3: DVB: registering adapter 0 frontend 0 (Realtek RTL2832 (DVB-T))...
[26849.001551] r820t 0-001a: creating new instance
[26849.014447] r820t 0-001a: Rafael Micro r820t successfully identified
[26849.021655] Registered IR keymap rc-empty
[26849.022183] input: Realtek RTL2832U reference design as /devices/platform/bcm2708_usb/usb1/1-1/1-1.3/rc/rc0/input0
[26849.022231] rc0: Realtek RTL2832U reference design as /devices/platform/bcm2708_usb/usb1/1-1/1-1.3/rc/rc0
[26849.022262] usb 1-1.3: dvb_usb_v2: schedule remote query interval to 400 msecs
[26849.035148] usb 1-1.3: dvb_usb_v2: 'Realtek RTL2832U reference design' successfully initialized and connected

And device files

root@raspberrypi:~# ls -la /dev/dvb
total 0
drwxr-xr-x  3 root root   60 Jan  1 14:51 .
drwxr-xr-x 13 root root 3080 Jan  1 14:51 ..
drwxr-xr-x  2 root root  120 Jan  1 14:51 adapter0
root@raspberrypi:~# ls -la /dev/dvb/adapter0/
total 0
drwxr-xr-x 2 root root     120 Jan  1 14:51 .
drwxr-xr-x 3 root root      60 Jan  1 14:51 ..
crw-rw---T 1 root video 212, 4 Jan  1 14:51 demux0
crw-rw---T 1 root video 212, 5 Jan  1 14:51 dvr0
crw-rw---T 1 root video 212, 3 Jan  1 14:51 frontend0
crw-rw---T 1 root video 212, 7 Jan  1 14:51 net0

Next I configured other tools before compiling and installing the TvHeadEnd per the steps below;

sudo apt-get install unzip libcurl4-openssl-dev pkg-config git build-essential dvb-apps

cd ~
git clone https://github.com/tvheadend/tvheadend
cd tvheadend
sudo make install

At which point I executed the binary via “tvheadend -C” and I could now access the web interface for the TvHeadEnd software via http://raspberrypi_ip:9981/ where I could now see my dvb tuner was detected.

At this point you now have to configure the network and channels according to your region. Can be a bit tricky, but I followed the info available at the post here (step 14). This helped me make sense of the sequence of actions.

Below is a screen grab showing VideoLan Client from my Windows 7 desktop and a web browser in the background attached to the TvHeadEnd which is running on the Raspberry Pi with the RTL2838 tuner.



EDIT: And to get my TvHeadEnd to auto start with boot I performed the following additional steps.

Created /etc/init.d/tvheadend file with the contents below;

# Provides: tvheadend
# Required-Start: $local_fs $remote_fs $network
# Required-Stop: $local_fs $remote_fs $network
# Should-Start: $syslog
# Should-Stop: $syslog
# Default-Start: 2 3 4 5
# Default-Stop: 0 1
# Short-Description: start/stop tvheadend Server


start() {
if [ -e $PIDFILE ]; then
PID=$(ps ax | grep -v grep | grep -w $(cat $PIDFILE) | awk '{print $1}')
if [ -n "$PID" ]; then
echo "$TVHNAME already running (pid $PID)."
exit 1
echo -n "Starting tvheadend: "
start-stop-daemon --start --background --pidfile $PIDFILE --make-pidfile --user ${TVHUSER} --exec ${TVHBIN} -- 
-u ${TVHUSER} -g ${TVHGROUP} -f -C
echo "Done."

stop() {
if [ -e $PIDFILE ]; then
PID=$(ps ax | grep -v grep | grep -w $(cat $PIDFILE) | awk '{print $1}')
if [ -n "$PID" ]; then
echo -n "Stopping $TVHNAME: "
start-stop-daemon --stop --quiet --pidfile $PIDFILE --name ${TVHNAME}
echo "Done."
echo "$TVHNAME is not running."
echo "$TVHNAME is not running."

status() {
if [ -e $PIDFILE ]; then
PID=$(ps ax | grep -v grep | grep -w $(cat $PIDFILE) | awk '{print $1}')
if [ -n "$PID" ]; then
echo "$TVHNAME is running (pid $PID)."
echo "$TVHNAME is not running."
[ -e $PIDFILE ] && exit 1 || exit 3

case "$1" in
start) start ;;
stop) stop ;;
restart) stop && sleep 2 && start ;;
*) echo "Usage: $0 [start|stop|restart|status]" && exit 1 ;;

exit 0

Now set the script as executable using below;

sudo chmod 755 /etc/init.d/tvheadend

Create a tvheadend group

sudo groupadd tvheadend

Create a tvheadend user that is part of the video group and tvheadend group.

sudo useradd -g tvheadend -G video -m tvheadend

And now set the initscript tvheadend to startup and shutdown as system does

sudo update-rc.d tvheadend defaults

Breaking Bad – Sensational

I got hooked on this TV series fairly late in the peace, and I must admit I did enjoy watching it. Bryan is a good actor and certainly loved him in this series where he had a lead role.

If you haven’t seen Breaking Bad, I highly recommend you put it on the list of something to watch.

I watched the final episode today on the way home from work and must say thought it concluded nicely, despite it feeling a little rushed towards the last few episodes. I feel a little sad that it’s all over now.

Farewell Breaking Bad…

TiVo bonus

Purchased a TiVo 160gb just the other week. It’s a run out model in a brown box. I had my suspicion it was a refurbish unit, however couldn’t get a straight answer. In any case I was going to purchase one, as it was far cheaper then the current 320gb models available. It comes with 12 months warranty.

Managed to get a bit knocked off price too. Brought it home set it up, then had to wait about 12 hours for the device to get the latest updates, then get enabled with the device name I selected. We already owned a older TiVo 160gb and I had the home networking package enabled/purchased.

While I was waiting for it to update I noticed TiVo offering a 1Tb Expander drive by redemption. Just need to setup a Caspa Wallet, then purchase a unit between a certain time frame. Of course pay for postage costs. Submitted details and got a error. Which clearly said the unit was believed to have been previously registered prior to the offer. Contacted the people behind the email address pointed out this was a unit purchased a few days earlier and falls within the period, and isn’t excluded by any conditions. To my delight, they fixed the problem with in 2 business days and then a few days later my credit card was charged for the postage. 1Tb Expander drive arrived today and it only cost me $10 for the postage. Very happy.

Terminator Salvation

Just finally got around to watching Terminator Salvation and I have to say I totally loved it.

Sam Worthington had a stunning role and the story line for this installment of the Terminator movie series was good too. Wonder if we will see another? Guess we will have to wait and see.