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Washington Post: Breaking It Open, Making It Better

Mar 02, 2001, 17:40 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Kevin Savetz)

"...Two products in particular have become popular with hackers lately: the ReplayTV and TiVo "personal video recorders." These VCR-like machines save and play back television programming using hard drives rather than videotape. By adding a larger hard drive to a Replay or TiVo, a hacker can double or even quadruple the number of shows their PVR can record - a $250 drive can boost an older Replay box's capacity from 20 hours to 80. Some hackers go even further with tricks like adding an Ethernet card for networking to a computer or enabling PAL-format video output for use in other countries."

"The TiVo is particularly popular among hackers, in part because it uses the Linux operating system that many technically inclined computer users run on their own PCs. ReplayTV is more difficult to hack because it uses a proprietary operating system."

"The number of people who have modified their PVRs is not known. Hacking is "pretty much limited to a small group of technophiles who like tinkering," said Steve Shannon, vice president of marketing at ReplayTV. "I could probably count them on one hand."

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