[SATLUG] DVR harddrive

John Pappas j at jvpappas.net
Thu Jun 18 16:42:47 CDT 2009

On Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 23:47, Geoff <geofff at w5omr.shacknet.nu> wrote:

> Does anyone know what sort of OS the TimeWarner DVR drives are using?

No, but I am SURE that custom drives make no financial sense.  My bet is

> She hasn't given the DVR box back to TW yet, and had some shows she
> recorded saved on there and wanted to know if it were possible to get
> 'em off before she gave up the box.  I said "Sure, it's possible!"
> knowing there was a big thread about it here a year or so ago...

May be possible, but maybe not probable.  I am nearly certain that the most
time effective way to get the shows she wants is going to be BitTorrent vi
BTJunkie.org or the like.  The other way would be to leverage the analog
hole (Video capture to VCR, DVDR, or Tuner Card).

Anyway, I have a couple hacked DirecTV Tivo systems, and in their native
format, they save files encoded/encrypted/bitshifted format.  Once you hack
the box (pull drive out, follow some instuctions using a special CDROM that
can mount the bitshifted Filesystems, you can hack the tivo kernels (there
is a primary and secondary system partition to allow for system upgrades,
upgrades the offline system partition, filps the boot order and reboots to
the new system) leaving the old system on the now offline partition.

The system partitions were RO ext2 but the video FS was a custom userspace

Could not retrive videos recorded before the hack though (still encrypted).

> What's the bottom line?  Open the box, pull the drive, connect it a PC
> (with some sort of adapter, I'm ass/u/me'ing) and read the drive?
> what format is it in?  Fat32, NTFS, ext3?

In theory, that is true.  Depending on the version of software that the PVR
runs, the format may or may not be a standard linux FS, but it is nearly
garanteed that the streams are encrypted, regardless of the format.

If they OEM Tivo, then you will have to research whether the encrypted ty
streams have been cracked; they had not been when I was using the tivos 3+
years ago.

> I'm guessing this is fairly typical of all cable systems, that offer
> dvr/tivo.

Most do use an embedded linux since developing a custom embedded OS is
non-trivial nor (usually) cost-effective.


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