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CNET News.com: Hackers don't upset TiVo--yet

Aug 05, 2000, 21:32 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ian Fried)

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"Hacking has become a big issue for makers of devices that are engineered and marketed to perform specific functions but can be converted to other uses by the technically savvy. Earlier this year, hackers found a way to turn Netpliance's I-opener Internet appliance into a Linux-based PC. Unlike the well-publicized Netpliance hack, which eventually led the company to revamp its business model, TiVo customers who modify their digital video recorders still use the company's service, which includes on-screen, interactive program guides."

"We're not trying to circumvent what the actual unit does," said Mike Hill, a software consultant in Cincinnati whose Web site offers free instructions for modifying TiVo. Hill said he added a second hard drive to expand his 14 hours of storage, instead of paying for a $300 upgrade. Plus, he couldn't part with the device long enough to get it upgraded."

"For the past month, Hill has offered his BlessTiVo instructions, which help people modify the Linux-based TiVo unit to recognize a second drive. Hill said more than 1,000 people have downloaded the instructions from his site, but he estimated that probably fewer than 100 people have actually added a hard drive. ...People are bound to play around with these new devices, Hill said, particularly if they are based on Linux."

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