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TiVo Hacks by Raffi Krikorian

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Hack #51. Figuring Out Your TiVo's IP Address

Before you can even get to your now-network-enabled TiVo—let alone do anything interesting to it—you need to figure out just where it is on your home network.

All devices on the Net are ultimately accessible by IP address: a set of four numbers providing it with a unique (at least in the realm at hand) ID. Just as the postman must know the address of your house before being able to deliver your latest Amazon.com goodies, so too must you know TiVo's address on the network before you can do anything interesting with it.

Figuring out a TiVo's IP address differs by series and depends on just how you brought it online.

Series 1

As you might expect, given the hackish way in which it was made network-aware, determining the IP address on a Series 1 is a little tricky.

Nowhere in TiVo's menu system is it simply going to tell you its IP address, so let's ask nicely at the Bash prompt [Hack #30]. The ifconfig ("interface configuration") command reports on and configures a computer's network interfaces: Ethernet, WiFi, modem—anywhere the computer jacks itself into the network. In TiVo's case, usually the only interface of interest is the phone line (which we are no longer using). And now that TurboNET Ethernet card [Hack #49] we popped into place on the motherboard.

Using the ifconfig command, ask for information on eth0, the first ("zeroth" actually) Ethernet interface, like so:

bash-2.02# /sbin/ifconfig eth0
eth0   Link encap:Ethernet HWaddr 00:C0:F0:51:90:E9 
     inet addr:192.168.0.3 Bcast:192.168.0.255 Mask:255.255.255.0
     UP BROADCAST RUNNING MULTICAST MTU:1500 Metric:1
     RX packets:6725 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:97
     TX packets:3953 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0 coll:0
     Interrupt:29 Base address:0x300

There's a lot of useful information in that output. Most importantly, TiVo does indeed recognize the TurboNET card as providing an Ethernet connection with a hardware address of 00:C0:F0:51:90:E9, as evidenced by the first line. Knowing the hardware, or MAC, address of your network card can be helpful if you're going to be bridging your TiVo onto a WiFi network that restricts access by hardware address, or if you want to configure your DHCP server to always hand the TiVo the same IP address. The second line contains the golden ticket, your TiVo's IP address: 192.168.0.3. Both the hardware and IP addresses above are for my TiVo; your numbers will obviously be different.

Series 2

Surf TiVo menus to TiVo Messages & Setup Settings Phone & Network Setup (see Figure 4-13). There, take a look at the top right and you should see some text that reads "IP address." The number after it—192.168.0.7 in my case—is your TiVo's IP address.

The Phone & Network Setup screen under TiVo OS 4.0, showing the IP address

Figure 4-13. The Phone & Network Setup screen under TiVo OS 4.0, showing the IP address

Ping!

With that IP address in hand, you can give it a ping to see if your TiVo is alive—at least as far as the network's concerned. The term "pinging" borrows from the world of ships and submarines, which use sonar to locate underwater objects (usually one-another); they send out a loud "ping" sound and watch their instruments carefully, noting how the sound waves echo and bounce about and providing a virtual picture of their environment.

  • Pinging your TiVo (or any other computer on the network) means sending a small chunk of data and waiting for it to echo the data back. The ping utility is available to just about any computer operating system with a network heartbeat. Get to the command line (Applications Utilities Terminal on Mac OS X, Start Run... command on Windows) and type (replacing 192.168.0.7 with the IP address of your TiVo):

    $ ping 192.168.0.7
                         
    PING 192.168.0.7 (192.168.0.7): 56 data bytes
    64 bytes from 192.168.0.7: icmp_seq=0 ttl=64 time=7.131 ms
    64 bytes from 192.168.0.7: icmp_seq=1 ttl=64 time=3.116 ms

Press Control-C to stop pinging.

As long as you see echoed responses (e.g., 64 bytes from...), you can be sure your TiVo's online. If nothing comes back, your ping sitting endlessly at PING 192.168.0.7 (192.168.0.7): 56 data bytes, your TiVo's not responding and you should go back and check to make sure you're using the right IP address and took the right steps to getting your Series 1 [Hack #49] or Series 2 online [Hack #50].

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