Hillcrest Electronics Ltd TiVo graphic

TiVo Upgrades

Hillcrest Electronics Ltd


I’ve been involved with TiVo upgrades from the beginning, and have, and still do provide ongoing support to the developers (as a tester) as well as support to end users. I’ve modified over 280 TiVos so far and owners have been absolutely thrilled with the results. I’m a qualified Electronics and Computer technician and have operated as Hillcrest Electronics Ltd since 1985. See below for full details about how Hillcrest Electronics Ltd works with TiVo.

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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. I have good stocks of the modified PROM chips, and I’d be happy to do the upgrade for you if you’d like to send or bring your machine(s) to me. As this is my livelihood, I’m afraid I’m not able to do this for free as Darren in Australia sometimes does. (He has a full time job as well). I use only brand new PROMS fitted in a socket, unlike some modifiers who remove the original PROM using excessive heat, reprogram them, and solder back in. I’m strongly against that method used to save costs, and have seen some failures occur after they’ve done this. It’s false economy, and rectification is expensive.

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 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 PROM replacement, based on 0.5hr labour, and all parts including the PROM and socket, will cost you $55+GST. I’ll also clean the unit and service the cooling fan which is good preventative maintenance. The labour charge to upgrade the software is $21.25+ GST. That makes a total of $55.00 + $21.25 = $76.25+ GST = $87.69 incl. That’s all that’s needed to get you back up and running.

If you’d optionally like a hard disk upgrade to a new Western Digital (purple) surveillance grade hard disk, the following are options, including labour. This will retain your existing recordings, unless your current hard disk is defective.

  • 1TB: $134.90+ GST
  • 2TB: $175.10+ GST

For those on a budget, I can also use a Seagate Barracuda 1TB drive at $115.70+ GST. If the hard drive is upgraded to a larger one, there is no cost to install the software upgrade, so that $21.25+ GST charge above can be removed.

A hard disk upgrade is worth considering as your existing 320GB drive is 9 years old and probably on borrowed time if it hasn’t failed already. A 1TB drive will give you approx 400 HD hours of recording space, rather than the 120 HD hours of the 320GB drive and a 2TB drive – 800 HD hours. I’d need your TiVo(s) for approximately 1-2 days currently. Feel free to call me as you may have additional questions.

For work carried out here, I accept EFTPOS, cash, and cheques (with ID). Sorry no credit cards as the banks take too much from low margin businesses. 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 (at this stage) 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 won’t work. This may change in future.

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. Already work is being carried out on the next stage of automatic software updates with new features.

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 $5+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 : david@hillcrest.net.nz

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

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

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