I’m pretty comfortable with computers and replacing hard drives. I’m also comfortable with burning CDs. If this neither describes you nor anyone you know, then you may just want to skip this.
About 3 years ago I bought a TiVo with a lifetime subscription (possibly one of the best moves in my life!)
You may or may not know that such a subscription is NOT transferable to any other TiVo, so it makes my box somewhat precious.
OK, 2 years ago I checked out this addon kit from http://www.weaknees.com which added 160gb to my 40gb for a total of 200gb.
I will say that the 2nd hard drive kit that I bought from them was everything they said it was and it worked. I didn’t appreciate that fact that they charged me like twice as much for the hard drive as I can get it elsewhere ($160 for a 160gb hard drive?). It was still way cheaper than if I had bought a TiVo with that much capacity. It worked and I was happy.
Two happy years pass. My TiVo started to act up. Things got slow. Then the stuttering, which I read MEANS hard drive failure.
OK, time for “Dr. Cotton” to operate! I pulled out the older 40gb drive, the one that came with the box, and I ran a non-destructive repair utility (spinrite) which, after running for 30 HOURS, found gobs of errors. I hoped it fixed things, but upon re-install and boot, TiVo wouldn’t get past the ‘powering up’ screen. This means, of course, that I’ve lost all my programs 🙁 So long, Heros. Thank GOD this didn’t happen that one year when I taped the entire season of 24 before watching the first episode!
Now, DURING this 30 hour diagnostic I asked, “What if the 2nd hard drive I installed (the 160) is the one that’s having the problem???
So, I went back to http://www.weaknees.com They offered a non-destructive duel drive 320gb installation (it would preserve my programs, but I now know that wouldn’t be the case, see below) for $330!
So now I start to do the math. Before taking the next step, I asked how much have I plugged into this TiVo in the first place? $130 for the box, $300 for the lifetime subscription, $160 for the 2nd hard drive upgrade = $590. NOW I was looking at ANOTHER $330, bringing the total to $920????
That was just too much, especially considering this is NOT a HD-TV TiVo.
THEN I found another website very simliar to Weaknees called http://www.ptvupgrade.com. They offer hard drive kits too, but they ALSO offer an incredible utility for $20 which you burn to a CD, then adding a new hard drive to your PC, sets it up to work with TiVo.
Well, I bought a 200gb hard drive from Fry’s for $60 INCLUDING shipping. I burned the CD, set up the hard drive in my PC per their instructions, it took a few minutes, powered down the pc, put the new hard drive into my tivo and after TiVo had to call and get updates… IT WORKS!
Now, I COULD have put that 160 in as well and I’d have a total of over 250 hours (I believe). The PROBLEM with duel drive systems is that the TiVo system “marries” the two drives. If one hard drive goes you lose all of your programs. You may reasonably say wouldn’t that be the same with a single drive? The point is that with two drives not only have you doubled the capacity, you’re equally doubling your chances of having a single hard drive failure but losing everything.
The beauty of this program is that I HAVE IT FOR THE LIFE OF THE TIVO. NOW, anytime in the future, if I DO want to add a second drive (I still have the bracket and adapters from Weaknees) I can do it, and/or I could replace the single 200gb drive with say, a 400gb drive!
THIS IS THE WAY TO GO IF YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT A DO IT YOURSELF TIVO UPGRADE.