October 23, 2006

New Tivo Features for Tivo Desktop

For those of you using a Tivo series 2 or later, I recommend that you check out the latest version of Tivo Desktop 2.3! Download the latest version (2.3a) here. Tivo Desktop has finally added a very necessary feature entitled Automatic Transfer. This means you can tell the software to automatically move a particular series or season to your computer immediately upon recording. This is a much needed feature preventing you from having to manually transfer each recording you wish to dump off the Tivo. This ensures you that your show will be downloaded to your MediaCenter, iPod, or Palm device in plenty of time to run. Don't worry, the old features all still exist. For those of you not familiar with Tivo Desktop, you will also gain features such as streaming your mp3 collection through your TV or browsing through photos on your computer. This is all available for free through tivo. My next feature request to this addition takes it one more step. I would like for Tivo Desktop to automatically remove the recorded program from my Tivo upon the completed and confirmed transfer of the program. Perhaps next time..


And now..for those of you already familiar with Tivo...a few tips I have discovered over time...Some of these are very obvious, others are not. Some are fun, other just entertaining.

1. Remote Control Shortcuts: Did you know that you can use shortcuts on the remote control to avoid browsing through the entire menu. Sometimes you just want to go straight to your destination. Observe the following table.

Button sequenceMenu displayed
TiVo button + 1 (or TiVo + TiVo)Now Playing
TiVo button + 2To Do List
TiVo button + 3Wish Lists
TiVo button + 4Browse by Name
TiVo button + 5Browse by Channel
TiVo button + 6Browse by Time
TiVo button + 7Record Time/Channel (manual recording)
TiVo button + 8TiVo Suggestions
TiVo button + 9Network Showcases
TiVo button + Slow Motion buttonMessages and Setup

2. Thirty Second Skip: Hopefully most of you are using this already, no doubt a few aren't aware of this option yet. You can remap the Advance button (the Play arrow with a vertical line at the right edge, just above the numbers), which normally brings you to the end of a program or, if you're at the end, takes you to the beginning. (Also, if you're fast-forwarding, the Advance button will skip you to the next tick mark.) I don't find myself using this feature often. When we're done, it'll act as the 30-second skip. Here's what to do.

Bring up any recorded program or live TV. Then enter the following sequence on your remote:

Select > Play > Select > 3 > 0 > Select

You'll know the combination worked when TiVo rings out three dings of the Thumbs Up sounds Your Advance button will now skip forward by 30 seconds each time it is pressed. Usually 3 to 5 presses will get you right through the commercials. On occasion you'll need to use the back 8 seconds button directly across from it.

Do note one annoyance with this change: Unfortunately this is not permanent. If your TiVo ever needs to be rebooted (after being unplugged or as a result of a power failure) you'll have to reapply the hack.


3. Expensive Clock: Yes, you can post the time on the Tivo. Not sure why you would want to use this, but if you follow the key sequence below, you can place the time in the lower right hand corner of your screen.

Select, Play, Select, 9, Select

Enter the code again to remove the clock.

4. Disappearing Progress Bar: Annoyed with the lingering progress bar at the bottom of the screen? Make it fade out faster by entering the following button combination:

Select, Play, Select, Pause, Select

5. Easter Eggs: There's something about showing off some cute trick your gadgets can do that tempts all of us to push the buttons to see what happens. Many electronic devices and software programs have hidden features, often called "Easter eggs." Easter eggs are tucked away behind obscure keystroke combinations. TiVo is no different. To see a TiVo Easter egg, follow these steps:

  • Enable closed-captioning display on your TV.
  • Using your TiVo remote, go to Browse by Name.
  • Select the characters SHAGWELL.
  • Press Thumbs Up.

You'll be presented with a short video hidden inside your Tivo.

If you look closely, there are more Easter eggs inside this one.

That's enough for now. Have you found Tivo tips and tricks that you would like to share?

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