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TiVo Hacks by Raffi Krikorian

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Hack #33. Connecting to TiVo Serially

With your TiVo offering a Bash shell prompt over its serial port, let's tap your computer into that flow of bits.

With Bash-over-serial [Hack #30] enabled, your TiVo is spitting bits over its serial port into the ether, just waiting for someone to access its Bash prompt. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to get those bits to your computer. Go on, you've already done the hard bits.

On the back of your TiVo is a port labeled "serial," which is just about, but not quite, like the RS-232 serial ports on the back of a PC. The only real difference is the connector; rather than a standard serial port, TiVo's resembles a headphone jack.

Tip

For some of you, TiVo's serial port might already be in use, to connect your TiVo unit to a cable box or satellite receiver. Unfortunately, you can't use the port simultaneously for both purposes. You can enable the prompt when you want to get access, and disable it later, but that can get to be a real hassle. There are other ways in; take a gander at [Hack #49].

First, let's make sure that you have the right cable to wire your TiVo to your computer. You need to get a hold of the serial control cable that shipped with your TiVo; it has a standard RS-232 serial connector on one end and what looks like a headphone plug on the other (see Figure 3-1). You're also going to need a null modem adapter (also shown in Figure 3-1), available at your local computer or electronics store. Lastly, you may also need ...

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