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Help File: Moving recordings from old to new TiVo

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Q: I just upgraded from a TiVo Series 2 to a high-definition TiVo. How do I transfer my old recordings to the new box?

A: Neither the TiVo HD and the newer TiVo Premiere include any video or audio inputs, just a coaxial connection for an antenna or a cable-TV feed. Instead, explained TiVo product manager Jason Todd, you have to link the two over a home network.

(Since the TiVo Series 2 didn't include an Ethernet port, much less WiFi, you'll first need to add a wired or wireless network adapter to the old unit.)

In one scenario, you'd install the TiVo Desktop program on a PC or Mac and use that to copy recordings from the old box, then send them to its successor.

In another, you'd send recordings directly from one TiVo to the other -- if you haven't already transferred your TiVo service to the new model. First, you'd unplug the old TiVo from the network. Second, you'd move your account to the new TiVo and set that up. Third, you'd disconnect your network from its Internet connection (usually, by turning off the cable or DSL modem). The old TiVo, unable to see if it had service, would then give you a 14-day grace period in which to transfer the recordings.

What if you don't own a network adapter for the old TiVo, let that 14-day grace period elapse or own a first-generation recorder that can't be networked? Then you'll have to connect a VCR, DVD recorder or computer with a video-capture adapter to the old TiVo and use that to record its output.

Why didn't TiVo include regular audio/video inputs on its new models? Todd said that the TiVo HD and Premiere are meant to replace cable boxes, making that function extraneous: "Once it's understood that it's a DVR replacement box, there's no need for video inputs anymore."

Wrong. The next time, TiVo's engineers should spend less time fussing about their device's purity of essence and more time solving customers' problems.

Rob Pegoraro attempts to untangle computing conundrums and errant electronics each week. Send questions to The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or Visit for his Faster Forward blog.

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