Network your TiVo

First published: November 29th 2011. Last updated: January 22th 2012.

Perhaps the most important part of the 15.2 software update for Virgin Media's TiVo is the Ethernet ports being enabled. This is required for multi-room streaming, a feature which is almost but not quite there. However, there are other uses for networking your TiVo as well, which you can do right now.

But first, why can't you use Virgin's own network to connect your TiVo(s)? And how do you connect your TiVo(s) to your home network?

  • Why should you use your own network instead of Virgin's?
    Well, the typical home network (LAN) will have an maximum upload speed of 100Mb (1000Mb for Gigabit networks). That's compared to the 1Mb upload speed for the dedicated broadband connection for each TiVo. So, its better for Virgin, and you, to use your home network to steam content rather than upload that data back to the regional headend, and then back to your other TiVo box. There will be much less traffic on your own network and more chance of content streaming without interruption, especially when streaming HD MPEG 2 content.
  • How do I use my own network with my TiVo(s)?
    Well, you need to connect your TiVo(s) to your router, via the Ethernet port at the back of the box. But connect it with what?
    • Ethernet Cable (Best choice)
      The 1st and best choice. Connect from your TiVo, to a spare port on your router. That's great if your TiVo is near your router, but what if it isn't?
    • Homeplugs  (2nd best)
      Homeplugs use the spare frequency in your home's electrical ring-main circuit to establish a network connection. You'll need at least 2 Homeplugs to establish a connection, one connected to your router, and the others connected to your TiVo(s).

      Better yet, consider purchasing network switches and connect your 'slave' Homeplugs to them, that way, you can use the connection for other networked devices apart from your TiVo, such as game consoles, networked TVs, Blu Ray players etc.

      Homeplugs are rated at different network speeds, including 85Mb, 200Mb and 500Mb. In theory, 85Mb Homeplugs should be sufficient for HD MPEG 2 streaming. Real life network performance will be a bit less than 85Mb, but it should be good enough to stream HD, considering that the bitrate for a typical MPEG 2 HD channel on Virgin is between 13 - 17Mb. As always with purchasing computer and network technology, if you can afford more performance, then you should spend the extra money, because one day, you may need the extra performance.
    • Wireless (3rd best)
      Compatible Wireless N Network Adapters are available for the TiVo Premiere but at the moment, Virgin don't have any plans to sell their own branded adapters. Given the bitrate of MPEG 2 content (especially HD), I'd say wired or Homeplugs are the better option and are more likely to produce better streaming results.
  • Prepare your router and your TiVo(s)
    If you have a restricted range for your DHCP addresses on your router, you'll have to go to your Router Configuration page and reserve a new DHCP address (or 2) for your TiVo(s) if they don't appear on your home network. Next, on your TiVo, you need to goto Home >>> Help & Settings >>> Settings >>> Network Remote Control, and allow network-based remote controls to access your TiVo.

    You'll also need to get the Media Access Key for each TiVo, this is a code which allows devices and applications on your network to connect to your TiVo. You can find this via Home >>> Help & Settings >>> System Info >>> Media Access Key.

So, after you've put all this effort in, what do you get out of it?
Its a 'blockade' alright, and not just for the episode title
  • Multi-room streaming between TiVos (eventually)
    If you have more than one TiVo and both of them are networked, you'll be able to see the other TiVo at the bottom of the My Shows list, and you can select that TiVo and view its My Shows list, as well as delete content from that list. Eventually, you'll also be able to stream recorded content from TiVo to another.

    I say 'eventually' because at the moment that functionality is restricted by the broadcasters. I suspect that Virgin will have to get approval from various broadcasters in order to stream their content, and I also suspect that we may not be seeing Sky content streaming from TiVo to TiVo anytime soon, considering that Sky are pushing their own streaming services for their own content to their own customers.

    In the meantime, all we can do is wait. When Virgin does get streaming enabled for TiVo, it will prove to be a significant feature - at present, other UK PVRs such as Sky+, Sky +HD and BT Vision don't support multi-room streaming between boxes.

    You can view all TiVos currently linked to your home network by selecting Home >>> System Info >>> Multi Room Streaming. Each TiVo has a service number and that's how its identified on the Multi Room Streaming screen. The TiVo you're currently using will have a  * next to the last 4 digits of the service number and selecting it will show the connection status, TiVo Box Name, Model, Home Network (LAN) address and software version.
  • Remote Control

    IMPORTANT: There's a pilot version of the TiVo software (Version 15.2-01-2-C00) which disables third-party apps from accessing TiVo!

    There's software programmes available which will let you remotely control your TiVo. As already mentioned, you must enable Network Remote Control for your TiVo and as well as the Media Access Key, you'll also need the home network (IP) address for your TiVo, usually it will be something like 192.168.something.something.

    • From your web browser
      You can access a list of recorded content from your PC by going to the home network address from your browser: https://192.168.[something].[something]. So, if your TiVo's IP address is 192.168.0.10, then go to https://192.168.0.10

      Once there, TiVo will ask you for a username and password, which are:

      Username: tivo
      Password: [TiVo's Media Access Key]

      Once you've entered that info, you'll see a Now Playing list of recorded content, with subfolders for programmes with more than 1 recording, episode titles, descriptions and recorded dates, along with the file size of each recordings. Don't hold your breath waiting for the images to load - they never do.
    • From apps/software programs
      (I'll try to update this list as more options become available): 
      • TiVo Commander (Android)
        No need to wait for Virgin to release the Android version of the iPad app, because the Commander is waiting to obey your commands. Remote control your TiVo; View My Shows; And search for content - all from your Android phone or tablet. That's the good news. The bad? Gizmo Lovers reports that the app has been removed from the Android Market due to a request from TiVo. 
      • RCX for TiVo (Android)
        More remote control fun for Android and a great option now that TiVo have removed TiVo Commander. 
      • VM TiVo Net Remote (Windows)
        Remote control your TiVo and change the TV channel from your own desktop. The latest version now displays Virgin's TV Guide.
      • TiVo Net Remote (Windows Phone, Version 7.5 or higher)
        I don't have a Windows Phone so I'm unable to test this app, but the description says that it will work on a TiVo Premiere (so there's a chance that its Virgin-TiVo compatible) and that "The app uses your home network to control the TiVo by sending commands to it via its IP address. The keypad makes text entry of WishLists and Searches a breeze."

24 comments:

gsituffers said...

sweet - may consider getting another tivo

Cherry Hinton Blue said...

What about connecting two TiVo boxes directly by Ethernet? Is that possible?

Jason (Admin) said...

What about connecting two TiVo boxes directly by Ethernet? Is that possible?

******

To each other? Doubtful, something would have to assign a IP to them, that would be your router, but you can connect from TiVo(s) to Router via Ethernet or Homeplug:

TiVo >>>>> Router <<<< TiVo

Tudor said...

I don't see why you cannot connect two TiVo together with the correct crossover cable and assigning each TiVo it own 'hard' address. They don't have to use DHCP.

MegaZone said...

In the US you can connect two TiVos directly. They use ZeroConf if there isn't a DHCP server or you haven't assigned a static IP. I'm not sure if UK models are the same.

As for applications - I'd expect most, if not all, of the apps used in the US would work. I've covered a number of them so check out my posts for apps to try. I'd love to see you do a roundup of the apps and if/how they work with the UK boxes.

Posts to check out:
http://giz.lv/qkO1wp
http://giz.lv/pq6Frs
http://giz.lv/eKkczC

speajc said...

The app 'Peanut' also works for the iPhone, available for free in the app store. Very limited functionality though, might as well just use the real remote control.

Ignatius said...

Any news on whether you can stream data from - or even see & manage - data on the tivo desktop application running on a PC on the same network?

Jason (Admin) said...

Thanks for the feedback everyone (especially MegaZone). :-)

JD said...

You can still download Tivo Commander, just not from Android Market!! Follow this link...
https://github.com/arantius/TiVo-Commander/downloads

Quantum Vision said...

Does this mean i could store TV on my PC, which has 4 TB of storage ?

KBG - Keighleyboy Group said...

Ethernet to Ethernet using the same one cable works, just not very practical for me having a very long cable go from one room to another, but it does work

Just make sure you choose...

"Let the TiVo box assign itself an IP address"

...and that static IP or DHCP is NOT chosen on both boxes

Lazarus said...

This might be a dumb question but is it possible to connect a PC to the TIVO Ethernet and access the internet through it?

The reason why I'm asking is that I have just had a Virgin TIVO installation and the documentation says that the Ethernet isn't used. But I'm about to build a media PC which would be wirelessly connected to, and sharing my home network but if I can share the TIVO's dedicated cable....

salim said...

I've never had a reason to stream between my v+ boxes. Could someone tell me why you'd want streaming between two tivo boxes? Thanks.

Lazarus said...

I was not intending to stream between two boxes. The idea was to use the stream, brodband, that drives the TIVO, as a broadband for a media PC rather than a wireless connection to my home broadband. I'm just not sure if it works this way and can be done.

surferkiwi said...

Just got 2 TiVo boxes. Followed KBG's advice. Linkied both boxes directly with ethernet cable. Selected "Let the TiVo box assign itself an IP address" but "static IP or DHCP is NOT chosen on both boxes" option not available. Every way I connect, Broadcasting Rights disallows streaming on every channel. Virgin Tech Support say only available in USA. Has anyone ever got this streaming between rooms to work in UK. So near, yet so far !

Simon said...

surferkiwi - I suggest you read the original blog post again...

Malindruil said...

Is there anyway to transfer Recorded Programs FROM your TiVo Box to a HDD on your PC.

I have access via the web browser to my box. The programs are listed.

I just want to transfer from box to PC HDD to make room for other Programs

Stewart Dienel said...

is there a way to watch the programs listed on the my shows page once logged into the tivo?

Stewart Dienel said...

is there a way to watch the recorded content on my pc

mark said...

Hi. Does any know why the third party app Peanut does NOT require the Media Access Key of the tivo box in order to work whereas logging on via a PC does require it? And is there a reason why I can not get two devices (iphones) to access the and negotiate a sucessful network connection to the Tivo at the same time.?

Rochdale Ranter said...

Hi, thanks for this blog. I have connected the Tivo to my router with a cat5 cable, configured a manual IP address and the right subnet, enabled remote control. I can ping the tivo but there is no response from http. Am I missing something?

Anthony

Rochdale Ranter said...

I have connected the tivo with a cable to my router, configured a manual IP address, enable remote control, I can ping but no http access. Am I missing something?

Mark Liddle said...

OK - I'm interested in this as well as my TIVO is likely to be swapped out due to disk issues and I would like to archive all the content before it is swapped. I can connect via browser and see what is on the box but need guidance on how to move content - any suggestions for tools/apps

Wouldn't You Like To Know said...

Quote: "Malindruil said...
Is there anyway to transfer Recorded Programs FROM your TiVo Box to a HDD on your PC.

I have access via the web browser to my box. The programs are listed.

I just want to transfer from box to PC HDD to make room for other Programs
21 July 2012 12:44"

===================================

I am interested in this too, I currently have the old VM TVDrive and am having TiVo installed on Tuesday.

Both the old TVDrive and the newer Samsung V+ box allowed archive to DVD etc... while watching other live, catch-up or recorded TV.

With the TiVo box you are restricted to live archiving, preventing you watching anything else at the same time.

Being able to archive off to a PC or HardDisk would be a great step - especially as I have a 1 TB drive attached to my Wii ;)

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