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September 2, 2014

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Could the Netflix Player by Roku be used as a MythTV frontend?

by Brad Linder, posted Jul 11th 2008 8:57AM
Netflix player by Roku naked
Roku, the company behind the $99 box that lets you stream Netflix movies over the internet to your TV has released the source code for the set top box. And the hacking has already begun. Some folks have already reported they can access the box via telnet.

MythTV News raises an interesting question: Could the Netflix Player be a cheap frontend for the Linux-based MythTV media suite? MythTV's backend software requires a full computer with a decent CPU, hard drive, and RAM to run. But it might be possibel to shoehorn the frontend software, which lets you access media stored on the backend, onto a less powerful device.

As Dave Zatz points out, the software used on the Netflix Player is signed. What that means is that modified code will not run properly, and the box should automatically revert to the last good version of its software if it encounters hacked or modified code. But it is at least theoretically possible to send software updates to the box, and to update the bootloader. And that means it's possible that someone might be able to find a way to run MythTV or other software on the Netflix Player. Just because a platform is locked doesn't mean it can't be unlocked. Just look at the iPhone.

[via eHomeUpgrade and Hack A Day]

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aTV Flash makes Apple TV hacking easy, for a fee

by Brad Linder, posted May 23rd 2008 1:08PM

aTV Flash

Wish you could use that Apple TV box next to your TV for web browsing, reading RSS feeds, or even just playing DivX video? You could do a little software hacking yourself, or if you're worried about mucking things up, you could pay $60 for a USB stick from aTV Flash loaded with software that will do all the dirty work for you.

Here are just a few of the things you'll be able to do with your newly hacked Apple TV:

  • Play DivX, XviD, AVi, and WMV files
  • Play uncoverted DVD files
  • Sync and play videos without iTunes
  • Surf the web with a WebKit/Safari-based browser
  • Rent HD movies from Jaman
  • View weather forecasts
  • Read RSS feeds

And best of all, the developers claim the software does not void your Apple TV warranty.

[via TUAW]

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Neuros offers $3500 in bounties for TiVo synchronization solution

by Brad Linder, posted Nov 30th 2007 5:57PM
Neuros OSDThe folks over at Neuros and DVR Upgrade have an interesting way of adding new features to their flash memory-based MPEG-4 recorder. They decide what features it would be really cool to see and ask the open source hacker community to help them build those features into the device.

Neuros's latest challenge: synchronize recordings between a TiVo and a Neuros OSD recorder. The end result would be pretty cool. Ideally, what would happen is that you'll be able to schedule a recording on your TiVo, and you'll automatically record that program on both your TiVo and your Neuros OSD. That means you'll have a high quality video waiting for you to watch on your TV set using your TiVo, and a lower quality, smaller sized video sitting on a flash card for watching on the go on your iPod, PDA, or other portable media device.

Neuros is putting up $3500 in prize money for this challenge. That bounty is divided into two parts: $1000 for anyone who figures out how to make this work using TiVo's online scheduling capability, while $2500 goes to anyone who can figure out a more direct method using a hacked TiVo running TiVoWebPlus.

[via Dave Zatz]

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Jaman releases movie rental hack for Apple TV

by Brad Linder, posted Sep 28th 2007 1:00PM
Jaman Apple TVThe Apple TV is a $300 box designed to let you watch iTunes content on your TV set without plugging your computer directly into your TV. It streams content from your Mac and the internet over your home network.

While Apple has yet to authorize third party development on the Apple TV, hackers have been adding applications to the box pretty much since the day it was released.

Hackers have added RSS feeds, support for non-iTunes videos, and the ability to upgrade your hard drive. Now Jaman has released the first commercial plugin for renting movies from the Jaman service. But since Apple doesn't support any 3rd party Apple TV applications, the only way to install the Jaman player is by hacking your TV. In other words, don't expect any support from Apple if you wind up messing up your system. In fact, even Jaman says they won't offer support for their Apple TV software.

If that last paragraph didn't scare you off, you can find a detailed review and installation guide at Apple TV Hacks.

[via last100]

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TiVo HD upgrades are ready

by Brad Linder, posted Aug 1st 2007 6:15PM
WeaKnees upgrades a TiVo HD
We just saw a post on the WeaKnees blog announcing that the TiVo retailer is shipping upgrade kits for the new TiVo HD. In a few more days the company will be ready to ship pre-upgraded TiVo HD units as well.

The other day we told you that the new boxes include a slight change to the TiVo file system which means that the old software tools for preparing hard drives weren't working. But the hacker community doesn't take that sort of new sitting down, and sure enough, a member of the TiVo Community Forum has posted an alpha version of a new tool that works with the TiVo HD.

If you're the handy sort, you can use the WinMFS tool to replace the 160GB hard drive that comes with the TiVo HD with a larger disk on your own or order an upgrade kit from WeaKnees or DVRUpgrade. Or if you can hold out a few days longer, both companies should receive shipments of TiVo HD units which they will be upgrading and selling.

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Last Comic Standing: New York, Canada, and San Antonio (season premiere)

by Jay Black, posted Jun 15th 2007 2:22PM
A spotlight and a microphone. Ahhhhh, so nice.(S05E01 / S05E02) First, let me apologize that this is being posted so late. There was a little mix-up behind the scenes here at the TV Squad Office Plaza and Community Fun Center that left both Paul Goebel and myself thinking that the other would be reviewing this episode. Our lead blogger asked "What happened to the review?" and all we could do was point at each other and make monkey noises. It's all sorted out, now, and you can expect new Last Comic Standing reviews with the same timely freshness that TV Squad reviews all its other shows.

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How to really really expand Series3 TiVo storage

by Brad Linder, posted Jun 3rd 2007 6:14PM
eSATA driveLast month some fine folks at the TiVo Community Forum figured out how to enable that little eSATA port on the Series3 TiVo to let you plug in an external hard drive and expand your storage. Just one problem, it wouldn't work with modified boxes. So if you'd already upgraded the internal hard drive, no external happiness for you.

The latest version of MFSLive lets you have your cake and eat it too. In other words, the LiveCD of TiVo hacking tools will let you upgrade your internal hard drive and add an eSATA hard drive, meaning you could theoretically create a TiVo with 2TB of storage. That's somewhere around enough storage for nearly 300 hours of HDTV recordings or a mind-boggling 2500 hours of standard definition TV.

[via Engadget]

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TiVo coming to Australia

by Brad Linder, posted May 29th 2007 10:20AM
TiVo Down UnderWhen it comes to personal video recorder technology, Australia has been in the dark ages. Australian law has made it difficult for companies to offer electronic program guides. And an EPG is almost as necessary for a good PVR as a hard drive.

Well the times, they are a-changing. You can get a Windows Media Center PC in Australia now, a few companies are offering set top boxes, and next year you won't have to import and hack a TiVo to make it work.

TiVo's partnered with Seven Media to bring Tivo service to Australian customers. The companies plan to design a platform that will enable TiVo boxes and software to work with over the air digital television in Australia. The platform will be available for use throughout the country.

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WeaKnees to sell 1TB Series3 TiVos

by Brad Linder, posted May 12th 2007 7:45AM
1TB TiVoThat piddly 250GB hard drive on a TiVo Series3 not doing it for you? The thing about buying a high definition PVR is that high definition TV takes up a lot of space, so you can only store about 32 hours of HDTV programs.

Well, DVR Upgrade and WeaKnees have been giving you the option of buying modified TiVos with hard drives up to 750GB. That should be enough for 100 hours of HDTV or 1000 hours of standard definition programming. But that's not good enough for you either, now is it?

Well, WeaKnees has announced that they're preparing a 1TB Series3 TiVo, capable of storing 144 hours of high definition recordings. Of course, WeaKnees charges $1250 to $1600 for a Series3 box with a 750GB hard drive, so don't expect the 1TB model to come cheap.

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How to add storage to your Series3 TiVo through the eSATA port

by Brad Linder, posted May 4th 2007 11:47PM
TiVo eSATA Ever since TiVo launches the Series3 high definition box last year, users have been staring longingly at the eSATA port on the back of their TiVo units. It's supposed to allow you to plug in an external hard drive, but TiVo hasn't enabled that feature yet.

As is usually the case with these things, the members of the TiVo Community Forum have stepped in to finish the job. So here's the hack to activate that eSATA port on your Series3 TiVo. It only seems to work on an unmodified box, so if you've already cracked the lid and upgraded the internal hard drive, there's no guarantees. Also, this hack has been tested on boxes running TiVo 8.1.1 software.

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More AppleTV hacks - VIDEO

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 8th 2007 2:23PM
AppleTVThe AppleTV is turning out to be the little box that could. It could be an internet TV platform, it could be a full fledged computer, and it could even be a video game console.

In the short time since the AppleTV began shipping, we've seen hackers:

But that was just the beginning.

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Download Amazon Unbox movies to multiple TiVos

by Brad Linder, posted Apr 2nd 2007 2:00PM
Unbox TiVoThe HDTiVo Blog has uncovered a way to download Amazon Unbox videos to multiple TiVo boxes. So if you're living in a multi-TiVo household and you're not sure which room you'll wind up in when you want to watch your movie, this is how to send a movie to every box you've got:

  1. Click the download button for your video.
  2. A thumbnail page with a drop down box pops up asking you to choose the device to send the movie to.
  3. Next, a confirm page pops up.
  4. Close the confirm page without clicking anything.
  5. Now go ahead and choose another location from the drop down menu on the previous page.
  6. Repeat as necessary.
There you go. Now you can take up space on every TiVo in the house with the same movie. No more room for Law & Order reruns.

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Run Joost on an AppleTV

by Brad Linder, posted Mar 29th 2007 7:28PM
Joost on AppleTV

I'm starting to get the feeling I could make a full time job out of blogging about AppleTV hacks, but this one's pretty cool. Yesterday reports started to surface that you can install the WebTV program Joost on an AppleTV. Since I don't have an AppleTV, I couldn't put this to the test.

But luckily our friends at tuaw have an AppleTV, a Joost beta account, and a hacker spirit. Apparently the program was slow to load at first, but it does work. You'll need to run Joost using VNC so that you can type in your account name and switch channels. The AppleTV remote isn't supported. But hey, you can watch Joost on your TV using AppleTV. No complaining, okay?

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Hack your way to near-unlimited Netflix Watch Now Nirvana

by Brad Linder, posted Mar 5th 2007 12:25PM
Netflix Watch NowSo you know how Netflix is rolling out a service that lets you download some of the movies in your queue? And you know how the service only lets you watch a limited number of movies per month? Yeah, apparently it's not that hard to cheat the system.

Engadget reports that some users have essentially rolled back the clock to make Netflix think they've only spent a few minutes watching a film, when in fact they've spent two hours. So while an $18/month Netflix subscription is supposed to net you 18 hours of play time (in addition to DVD rentals), you can pretty much get unlimited views. It's probably only a matter of time before Netflix "fixes" this glitch.

Here's how it works:
  1. Wait for the movie to finish downloading, and then disconnect your network adapter.
  2. Clear your browser cache and cookies.
  3. Reconnect your network adapter after you've finished watching the movie.
  4. Netflix will subtract a few minutes from your clock, allowing you to watch dozens of additional movies this month.

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Hacking Vista to allow concurrent sessions

by Brad Linder, posted Feb 21st 2007 12:21PM
Vista Media CenterMicrosoft seems to have left out from Windows Vista the ability to log in to your PC without logging out another user. While this was something that was technically only supported on earlier Windows Server products, there was an easy hack that allowed you to replace a dll file in Windows XP.

Okay, so why is this important? Well, if you want to update your Windows Vista machine or access some files on it, but someone's currently using the media center application to watch a movie, you pretty much have to wait until they're finished watching, take over the machine until you're done, and then deal with an angry spouse.

On the other hand, if you could login from a remote computer without logging off the first user, one user could continue to use the media center while the other user performs tasks in the background.

Well, as tends to happen when Microsoft leaves a useful feature out of their operating systems, the user community finds a way to enable it. The fine folks at The Green Button are working on a hack. Unfortunately one of the primary developers had his computer (with the source code) stolen the other day, which could slow the progress.

[via Missing Remote]

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