Hillcrest Electronics Ltd TiVo graphic

TiVo Upgrades

Hillcrest Electronics Ltd

I'm regularly asked "Are you still supporting Tivo?" The answer is ABSOLUTELY YES.

I’ve been doing these upgrades and supporting Tivo since Day 1 and have performed well over 400 upgrades so far.

Despite the Tivo Series 3 Recorders, originally sold in NZ and Australia being over 10 years old now, they’re still considered to be the most user-friendly and reliable hard disk based TV recorders ever sold here.The official Tivo hosted service was closed down in Oct/Nov 2017, turning these recorders into a "dumb" TV Tuner with basic recording capability and an inaccurate clock. Most of the Tivos that turn up on Trademe are unmodified and have very limited appeal and value. However, your Tivo can be saved! An enthusiastic and long standing group calling themselves "OzTivo" managed to figure out how to host a replacement EPG (Electronic Program Guide) and upgrade existing Tivos to work as they used to, with series passes, and the usual various search options. This has been going strong ever since then. Over 3000 Tivo’s have been brought back to life and owners just rave about them. The OzTivo group have been around since before 2002.

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Our TiVo Upgrades and Support

To get an idea of what the process is, please check Darren King's Dr TiVo site. The upgrade consists of a replacement PROM chip and upgraded software. I’d be happy to do the upgrade for you if you’d like to send or bring your machine(s) to me. I use only brand new PROMS fitted in a socket. Please bring or send just your TiVo box itself (no accessories) unless you use a 1TB TiVo extender drive as well, which you should also send with it’s cables and power adapter.

The modification requires two steps:

  1. The Surface Mount PROM chip must be replaced with a modified one mounted in a socket on the motherboard.
  2. The TiVo’s upgraded software needs to be installed and patched.

You should not lose your existing recordings, but you will need to recreate any season passes you have for use with the new EPG guide. The complete process will cost you $77+GST= $88.55 incl. I’ll also clean the unit and service the cooling fan which is good preventative maintenance. That’s all that’s needed to get you back up and running.

A hard disk upgrade is worth considering as your existing 320GB drive was made in 2009 and may be on borrowed time if it hasn’t failed already. A new 1TB drive will give you 400 HD hours of recording space, rather than the 120 HD hours of the 320GB drive and a 2TB drive – 800 HD hours. Feel free to call or email me if you have additional questions.

 If you’d like a hard disk upgrade to a new Western Digital (purple) surveillance grade hard disk, the following are options when carried out at the same time. This will retain your existing recordings, unless your current hard disk is defective. These prices are correct as of September 2021, but may change as hard disk prices are volatile. Hard disk upgrades can also be done in the future.  

  • 1TB: $80+ GST
  • 2TB: $130+ GST

I accept EFTPOS, cash, and DC. Sorry no credit cards. I’m generally available for drop offs and pickups any time Mon-Fri after 9.30am or weekends after 11am. Please call or txt first before calling in as I also do IT work in the field on call, and can get called out at fairly short notice. Evenings after 8pm are also OK. You can also send your TiVos to me and I’ll courier them back when done.

Note: The new EPG data is coming from multiple sources, which are different to the sources used previously. The underlying IDs are different so you will need to recreate any Season Passes you’ve created in the past. In addition, Season Passes need to be created with the default option of “First Runs and Repeats”. This has always been the default setting. If you choose “First Runs only” the season pass may not work.

The new OzTiVo mothership is being run by enthusiasts with a passion for the TiVo, and they have been supporting the previous TiVo models in this way since 2002. No guarantees are given that this free service will continue forever, but history shows it will likely run for many years as there are so many passionate TiVo lovers In Australia and NZ involved.

Please keep track of progress in my regular postings under the name “Spong”
in the Geekzone forum here

I can also supply just the PROM chips and sockets if you have someone able to handle surface mount soldering. In this case these will cost you $7+GST per set plus a single payment for postage and handling at $4+GST or you can collect by arrangement. Please advise the name and full address, including postcode to send them to, and advise when you’ve made the deposit and the number of sets required. Please place your name as the reference along with TiVochips.

My bank account name is: Hillcrest Electronics Ltd ASB Bank Acc No: 12 3042 0367592 00

Contact details:

Email : Email Dave here

Website : http://www.hillcrest.net.nz/

Phone : +64 9 479-5793 Mob: 021-674455

Address : 33 Honeysuckle Lane, Mairangi Bay, Auckland 0630, New Zealand