Is There Any Way to Get Around DirecTV’s Stupid Phone Line Requirement for Their HDTV TiVo Units?

A reader writes:

“I just moved into a new high rise building, WiLine installed a WIMAX phone system in the building that doesn’t allow my TIVO to dial out. That is, I can not successfully complete a connection to activate my unit. Have you encountered problems like this before? I am not confident that WiLine knows much about DirecTV and TIVO and I have two DirecTV HD TIVO units that I can’t activate because I can’t get them to connect via my phone line. I am starting to think I should have just gone with Comcast and SBC. (Just kidding)”

This is really frustrating to me. There is no reason at all that DirecTV needs to have this phone line requirement other than the fact that they want to sell you crap. In a world where many are choosing to forgo land lines in favor of cell phones, VOIP and Wi-Fi, why should someone be required to pay the phone company every month for no other reason than so that there TiVo can dial in to check in with the mother home ship DirecTV?

Requiring phone activation is stupid especially when it would be quite easy to enable ethernet access on these units and handle things that way.

Unfortunately I do not have a good answer to this question other than to wait for the Series 3 TiVo units to come out which should be able to use ethernet activation. Does anyone else have any suggestions or color on this issue? If you live around San Francisco there might be a beer in it for you.

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  1. Dave! says:

    I actually had to cart the damn thing over to a friends house, activate it, then bring it back and repeat setup for my network.

    They really need to get with the program…

  2. Dave Zatz says:

    According to TiVo, DirecTV chooses to limit available functionality on DTV units. Stand alone series 2 units no longer require a phone line for activiation or updates – you can use a wireless or wired network connection.

  3. Anonymous says:

    You only need to do it once for the first setup after that you don’t need the phone line. You can probable to it somwhere else in and then just take it home (annoying? Yes, but that pretty describes all things direct TV and HD).

  4. Phil says:

    I do not have a phone line in my house, only highspeed internet access. That prevented me from getting Tivo before, until the net updates.
    Thankfully my parents allowed me to use thier phoneline to dialup and setup.

    Since then, everything has been sound as a pound. (including two new HD hacks)

  5. I used this website’s directions for both my D-TiVo’s.

  6. Bryan Socha says:


    Just get your phone provider to change the config on your adapter to support fax/modem passthrough. If this is an inbuilding thing, I’ll be more than happy to assist them with more technical details if they are this clueless.

    Or if you have a fax line already, just connect your tivo to that.