How to take control of your TiVo

How to take control of your TiVo: From Howard Wolinsky at the Chicago Sun-Times. “But I wanted more. I found, an online company based in Los Angeles that has been offering TiVo enhancements for four years.

To tweak our recorder, we bought a do-it-yourself upgrade kit from Weaknees that added 105 hours. (Note: And voided our warranty.) The installation wasn’t textbook. But through e-mail, Weaknees gave us the instructions we needed to complete the job.

Jeff Shapiro, co-founder of Weaknees, named for the feeling you get when you discover the power of TiVo, said it can make sense to just buy a high-capacity unit from the outset rather than upgrade. He said a 35-hour unit can cost $99 plus $189 for a 120-hour upgrade kit. In comparison, a 120-hour unit, costs $249.

His site has a buyer’s guide to help consumers sort out which machine to buy and whether to buy DirecTV’s TiVo service or stand-alone service. It’s very Talmudic.

Shapiro is a 1995 graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, who had worked as general counsel for a software company. He and his friend Michael Adberg started helping friends and family upgrade their TiVos. Soon, their hobby turned into a full-blown business. The power of TiVo strikes again.

Weaknees sells units with up to 320 hours of recording time as well as new units for high-definition TV. Weaknees also offers replacement remote controls in case your dog ate yours. Shapiro claims that has happened.

More intriguing to me was a new kind of remote that enabled me to control TiVo throughout my house. We only have one TiVo/DirecTV receiver, but our home is wired to carry signals to TVs through the house. Dean, the TiVo installer, said, ‘You know, satellite signals aren’t supposed to split.’ And yet they do.

The problem we faced was we couldn’t control the channel except in the room in which the TiVo receiver resided touse the line-of-sight infrared signal. That meant trips downstairs. Bummer, right?

Shapiro had a solution, a $56 radio frequency remote control. With the “Around the House Wireless Remote Control Extender,” you install special batteries that transform your TiVo remote into a wireless transmitter.”