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Thread: perma-hacking the s3 ? Brainstorm ...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    72

    perma-hacking the s3 ? Brainstorm ...

    I've been griping on this forum ... sorry about that.

    The problem is, I'm not a tivo enthusiast. I'm not a tivo fan. To be honest, I have no interest in tivo (per se) at all.

    All I want is a consumer grade HD DVR that is DRM-free, and after a lot of research and reading, I came to the conclusion that a hacked s3/HD tivo was really the only route. Other routes involved very marginal hardware, unreliable IR blasting, and experimental channel-changing-over-firewire, and that's before you even got to the question of interface and wife-friendlieness, etc.

    So, unless something new has arisen in the last 12 months, I am convinced that the only reasonable way to record arbitrary CATV channels in HD, without DRM, is with a hacked s3/HD tivo.

    The problem is, this requires a commitment to being a tivo hacker and enthusiast that I think is unreasonable. I have no problem with the initial hacking, etc., but with 3-4 updates coming each year, on an unpredictable schedule, and with NO community alerts like a simple RSS feed for updates, one is forced into being a "tivo hacker" on an ongoing basis.

    I'm just not interested. It's my own problem, nobody elses fault - I just don't care that much about tivo to be babysitting my hacked box all the time.

    So again, my problem, not your fault, etc. Therefore, the following two questions are just _out of curiousity_:


    1. Has anyone proposed any meaningful solution for making a tivo perma-hacked ? Even outlandish suggestions like running the real tivo software in a jail, or chroot, while running the hacked software underneath, or further breaking their protection mechanisms, etc. - has there been any speculation _at all_ as to how a perma-hacked tivo might ever come about ? It's not quite ten years now that people have been hacking tivos, but it's close ... In all of this time I can't be the only one whose life is too busy to be rehacking/reapplying/babysitting all year.


    2. Am I correct in my analysis of the currently available DRM-free, HD recording choices out there ? Is it generally agreed that a hacked tivo really is the only way to (reasonably) pursue this kind of functionality ?


    Thanks.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Dougal County
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    1,015
    As I mentioned here a while back, you could have a small script on standby to rehack a new software installation for you. The tricky part is automatically disabling encryption, since that involves a binary patch to tivoapp. I'm sure you could whip up some code that will search the new binary for the previous "target" code, but that just sounds too risky to me.

    Automatically rehacking enough to at least keep access to the box after an update is rather trivial. I've attached a proof-of-concept (as in:Completely Untested) tcl script that defines a "reboot" proc, checks mfs for a new software version and if found, sources installSw.itcl to install it. installSw.itcl should use the "reboot" proc instead of /tvbin/reboot, which should in-turn rehack your new partition for you, retaining shell access.

    I have tested this concept successfully before, but I just whipped up this code out of boredom (at work). I could VNC into my home computer and dig up my old scripts but I don't even know if I still have them.

    TivoWebPlus includes code for creating TivoCentral mail messages, so one could even extend this to create a message in the Tivo UI informing you that a software update has taken place, letting you know it's time to patch tivoapp. Running the script from cron (say, every night at 1 am) should take over the installation process before the tivo can do it itself.

    Again, this is just a proof-of-concept, and the script would likely need to be modified for a custom setup, since it only copies over a hacked kernel, rc.sysinit.author, /tivo-bin, and disables iptables. But, maybe this can be some kind of starting point.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by jt1134; 12-29-2008 at 01:47 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Posts
    6,414
    There is one other option available to you. You could build yourself an HTPC and get one or more of the Hauppauge HD PVRs. The HD PVR can record HD content from a cable box or HD receiver via the component outputs with no DRM issues (at least none that I'm aware of). Granted, this is not the most elegant solution but it does allow you to record unencrypted content from any HD source. OTOH, a hacked S3 Tivo or Tivo HD can do this for you for far less expense but since you seem to have no interest in hacking your Tivo I see no other recourse for your situation.

    Hacking Tivos is a hobby for most of us and not necessarily a means to an end. This is a forum for Tivo hackers and hobbyists that want to learn the process. If you have no interest in Tivo hacking then you're simply in the wrong forum. You will probably find yourself more at home with the folks over at the Tivo Community Forum.

    As for the investment in learning the process being unreasonable, I beg to differ. I will admit that it does take a lot of reading and searching to find what you're looking for but everything you need to know to hack a Tivo HD or S3 Tivo is right here in these forums. You just have to decide what having a hacked Tivo is worth to you. Just remember that you have to pay to play and that you have to play to win.
    Please don't PM me or any other members looking for personal assistance. You'll do better by posting (after you've exhausted the search feature, of course) and taking advantage of the collective expertise of the membership instead of a single individual that may or may not be able to help you. Thank you and enjoy your stay at DDB!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    72
    Quote Originally Posted by captain_video View Post
    There is one other option available to you. You could build yourself an HTPC and get one or more of the Hauppauge HD PVRs. The HD PVR can record HD content from a cable box or HD receiver via the component outputs with no DRM issues (at least none that I'm aware of). Granted, this is not the most elegant solution but it does allow you to record unencrypted content from any HD source. OTOH, a hacked S3 Tivo or Tivo HD can do this for you for far less expense but since you seem to have no interest in hacking your Tivo I see no other recourse for your situation.
    Hmmm... this was, of course, the first option that came to mind back when I started pursuing this, and it was almost immediately rejected because this only works for unencrypted/unprotected content.

    That is, you can't get full quality digital recording of HBO (and increasingly, just about every premium channel delivered over cable). Honestly, I don't think you can count on the ability to record anything but the channels that are OTA anyway... right ?

    Ahh... I just re-read what you wrote and see that you are talking about grabbing it over the COMPONENT outputs. And yes, I suppose that would work.

    Originally I didn't want to do this because I wanted to get a full quality digital signal without the digital->analog loss ... however, now that I see how unbelievably bit-starved the channels are in the US, I suppose it really doesn't matter....

    Hmm... I may reconsider the HTPC route with analog inputs ... since the quality is garbage anyway, who cares about the analog->digital conversion ?

    Thanks for the comments.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Posts
    77
    Tiver, I know this isn't what you asked for, but my main suggestion would be to just accept that it'll take a little bit of hacking to keep things going smoothly. If you're reasonably linux familiar, my opinion is that you can keep up with TiVo's software updates and rehacking with an investment of about 5-6 hours of research and tweaks a year, once you get over the initial hump to grasp the concepts.

    The media content generators don't want you to have DRM free digital versions of their content. It's inherent in the system that you'll have to do some work to overcome the hurdles they manage to insert. There is still enough of a community at DDB to seriously diminish the amount of work you'll have to do by virtue of the work and contributions of others to create a community. You can contribute back in a number of ways, some of which are pretty painless.

    The only other thing I can think of to suggest is to pay someone to do it all for you, to keep up with DDB, etc.

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