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Old 06-07-2002, 03:50 AM   #1 (Print)
embeem
 
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Wink Have 3.0 and a digital cable box? read this...

The tivo is .. or was .. capable of controling certain digital cableboxes, the morotola/gi cable boxes in use by many cable companies. It's a feature that first showed up on the ATT series2 tivos and made it's way into the 3.0 code; unfortunately it was disabled before the final 3.0 release.

The good news is that you can reenable it and you don't need a shiny new series2 to use it .. the bad news is that it was disabled because most cable boxes lack the software/firmware to make use of it -- you'll need to be on atleast firmware version 7.54 to make use of it.

Checking the firmware:

If your cablebox has the 'TV Guide' firmware (and believe me you'd know if it did) you can check the firmware version via the menus

main menu -> setup -> cable box -> see confirmation -> yes

If not, you can check the firmwre via the diagnostic menu, walk up to the cable box, hit the power button on the front and then hit the select button on the front while it's powering off (be reasonably quick about it, you've only got about a second)

channel down to #6 and hit select to see your firmware
(you can use the remote)

when done just hit the power button again (don't worry, there's nothing you can break from the diagnostic menu)

The serial port on the cablebox:

Many of the cable boxes have a standard serial port on the back that you can just plug the tivo into, no adapters or anything needed. Some however only have two small 1/8" jacks like the serial connector on the back of the tivo .. I'm guessing you could just use a stereo patch cable in this case? (mine had a proper db9 serial connector)

Obviously if you're already running something using the tivo's serial port you'll have to disable it before you can get the tivo to control your cable box.

Now for the setting up the tivo:

You'll need to run the following tcl script on your tivo. The standard disclaimers apply, I'm not responsible for anything you break and don't bother customer service about a feature that's supposed to be disabled .. got it? good.. now for the script:

Code:
#!/tvbin/tivosh ### EXPERIMENTAL ### # 2002, embeem EnableTransactionHoldoff true set db [dbopen] transaction { set swsysa [db $db open "/SwSystem/ACTIVE"] set resgrp [dbobj $swsysa get ResourceGroup] set tmpgrp [lindex $resgrp 30] set tmpres [lindex [dbobj $tmpgrp get "Item"] 34] set val [dbobj $tmpres get "String"] if { $val == 0 || $val == 1 } { dbobj $tmpres set "String" 1 dbobj $tmpgrp remove "CompressedFile" puts "done, please reboot" } else { puts "wrong software version?" } }

(no, there's no space between the | 's)

After running the script (and rebooting) go into
Messages & Setup -> Recorder & Phone Setup -> Cable/Satellite Box -> Control Cable/Sat. Setup

You should now be able to select serial for your connector to the cablebox.

There's a few different options for brand, really it's just that some caleboxes are marked motorola and some are marked GI -- select whichever brand makes you happy.

After selecting your brand it'll want to do a serial test, the serial test is somewhat quirky .. best advice is if it doesn't work the first time hit cycle the cablebox (just use the power button) and try again.

If all works well your channel changes will now be via serial cable and you can get rid of those dorky ir blasters.

notes:
It is possible for the tivo to become unresonsive while trying to control the cablebox, typically it after the tivo has been unplugged. While this is a bug it is *normal* and doesn't indicate any serious problem .. just restart the cablebox and the tivo should respond again.

To avoid this problem you can add this to your startup
Code:
stty raw < /dev/ttyS3 echo -ne "\x10\x70\x00\x02\x03\x40\xc8\x27\x10\x03\x10\x78\x00\x03\x03 \x40\x00\x 68\x96\x10\x03\x10\x78\x00\x04\x10\x10\x40\x22\x0a\x98\xbe\x 10\x03" > /dev/ttyS3 sleep 2 echo -ne "\x10\x70\x00\x02\x03\x40\xc8\x27\x10\x03\x10\x78\x00\x03\x03 \x40\x00\x 68\x96\x10\x03\x10\x78\x00\x04\x10\x10\x40\x22\x0a\x98\xbe\x 10\x03" > /dev/ttyS3

(ignore the forum, all the \x__ stuff all goes on the same line)

It's abit messy but really all it does is turns the cable box off and on.

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88LYW46AhE01Uts8pa4TgZazxlo/FkMAS3i/Oqtm7Rf8C6QzXmbDgbN+fP+Fcu53FOtZXNXX
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Old 06-07-2002, 05:26 AM   #2 (Print)
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Re: Have 3.0 and a digital cable box? read this...

Quote:
Originally posted by embeem
Code:
stty raw < /dev/ttyS3 echo -ne "\x10\x70\x00\x02\x03\x40\xc8\x27\x10\x03\x10\x78\x00\x03\x03 \x40\x00\x 68\x96\x10\x03\x10\x78\x00\x04\x10\x10\x40\x22\x0a\x98\xbe\x 10\x03" > /dev/ttyS3 sleep 2 echo -ne "\x10\x70\x00\x02\x03\x40\xc8\x27\x10\x03\x10\x78\x00\x03\x03 \x40\x00\x 68\x96\x10\x03\x10\x78\x00\x04\x10\x10\x40\x22\x0a\x98\xbe\x 10\x03" > /dev/ttyS3

(ignore the forum, all the \x__ stuff all goes on the same line)

It's abit messy but really all it does is turns the cable box off and on.
Have you managed to find Moto/GI documentation for the serial control, or is that reverse engineered from the Tivo code? In either case, do you have any more information on it you could share?
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Old 06-07-2002, 01:24 PM   #3 (Print)
Dan203
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This may no longer be necessary. According to this thread in the Coffee House it looks like they have added back serial support to the finial version of 3.0.

Dan

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Old 06-07-2002, 09:58 PM   #4 (Print)
snead
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Still doesn't control Sci.Atlanta boxes, though, does it...?
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Old 06-07-2002, 11:48 PM   #5 (Print)
rhobite
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Quote:
Originally posted by snead
Still doesn't control Sci.Atlanta boxes, though, does it...?
I don't think so.. I turned on serial control on my Series2, and the only cable boxes listed were GI and Motorola..

Serial control works great though. I'm glad they finally enabled it. My cable box has only had 7.54 for a week or two, too. AT&T finally got around to rolling it out, just in time.

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Old 06-08-2002, 06:47 PM   #6 (Print)
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Seems to be only for AT&T Series 2 box with a special 3.0 version. Aside from embeem's great code, maybe there is a special keypress to get the option like Advanced Wishlist. I don't happen to have the right firmware, so it doesn't matter much to me, but maybe others can try that.

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Old 06-08-2002, 09:38 PM   #7 (Print)
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Thank you so much!
Series 1 SA v3.0 / Motorola Box

If you want to make your own cable:
1/8" Stereo mini -> DB9 Male
Tip - Pin 3
Ring - Pin 2
Sleeve - Pin 5
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Old 06-09-2002, 02:44 AM   #8 (Print)
Spire
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Question

Whoa.

ModiStru, are you saying you do not have an AT&T-branded Series 2 unit, and serial control is working for you (i.e., serial control actually appears as an selectable option when you to into Cable Box Setup?

What is the model number of your TiVo unit, and what is the exact version of the software, as reported on the System Information screen?

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Old 06-09-2002, 03:22 AM   #9 (Print)
embeem
 
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Spire: The above code enables the option on any tivo running 3.0.
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Old 06-09-2002, 11:26 AM   #10 (Print)
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Yes Spire. And one of them is three years old.

Philips 312 140Gig v3.0-01-1-000 w/TiVoNet
Philips 212 140Gig v3.0-01-1-000 w/TurboNet
Both w/Motorola DigCable boxes @ v7.54 controlled serially.

First screen off of 'Cable Box' setup asks to choose IR or Serial now that the script has been run.

This is so cool! No more 5% trashed channel changes, and a decent improvement in channel changing speed.
Oh, and the power cycle code works great too Embeem! I know exactly what you mean about losing control after a power outage. Had a Sony DSS back two years ago & always had that problem. Called customer service about it & was told to unplug the DSS for a couple of seconds.
I'll have to try and simulate a power failure later to see your amazing handywork in action. In the meantime, I do see the boxes cycle power during a TiVo reboot.

Thanks!
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Old 06-09-2002, 02:39 PM   #11 (Print)
Vespa
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Nice news....but I am stuck with wayyy older firmware. Are there any good sites around to show me how to hack into the motorola box? I'd love to turn off the channel banner completly.
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Old 06-09-2002, 03:53 PM   #12 (Print)
markp99
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Almost nothing related to MOT Cable Box hacks... I too was LOOKING in an attempt to disable that pesky channel banner... Closest I could find to a hack was MOT diagnostics (PWR Off, then Select)....nothing configurable here...

I you do find somthing, post it here. Several DCT users 'round here

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Old 06-09-2002, 08:35 PM   #13 (Print)
farleyruskz
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For all of you who have serial control working under 3.0...is there anyone whose cable provider is NOT AT&T? I have a Philips Series I TiVo running 3.0. I have a Motorola DCT-2000 cable box running 7.54 firmware. I ran embeem's script and enabled the option for serial, but have been unsuccessful in getting my cable box to respond to serial control. I do not have AT&T as a cable provider - I have a smaller, more local company (Armstrong). I don't see why there should be any difference between a DCT-2000 running firmware 7.54 from Armstrong than one from AT&T, so I'm a little frustrated reading reports from so many others who have been successful in this area.
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Old 06-09-2002, 08:43 PM   #14 (Print)
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It's not AT&T specific, although just because the firmware supports serial control doesn't mean it's enabled.
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Old 06-09-2002, 10:58 PM   #15 (Print)
rhobite
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Quote:
Originally posted by markp99
Almost nothing related to MOT Cable Box hacks...
Just a guess here.. but the software / firmware is probably provider-specific, maybe even market-specific. I believe the DCT2000 series has 1MB of flash memory, where they can load whatever software they like. Typically this is the TV guide software but some people don't have any software (just the basic ROM). It's actually a lot faster without the software. I don't think there are enough similar platforms to allow people to hack the DCT and collaborate.. some people may have different versions of the software and firmware, different options enabled, etc.

Maybe I'm wrong, I'm just speculating here. Serial communication was only one way, before the 7.54 firmware rolled out.. now that 2-way serial is enabled on many boxes, it may be easier to gain access through serial communications.

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Old 06-09-2002, 11:36 PM   #16 (Print)
jamus
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Quote:
Originally posted by markp99
Almost nothing related to MOT Cable Box hacks... I too was LOOKING in an attempt to disable that pesky channel banner... Closest I could find to a hack was MOT diagnostics (PWR Off, then Select)....nothing configurable here...

I you do find somthing, post it here. Several DCT users 'round here


I hate using the box too.

A while back, I got sick of it. I hacked added the analog lineup and used RF as the source. So, for the digital channels it uses the cable box, and for the analog channels it uses the RF.

It works quite well. Still works in 3.0. It isn't for the faint of heart (required manual mfs/db modifications) and I wasn't successful the first time.

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Old 06-09-2002, 11:51 PM   #17 (Print)
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If you want an easier way to do the RF + cablebox then try the following script:
Attached Files
File Type: txt setup.txt (6.8 KB, 2610 views)

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E4pFXEMBEEMXXv2L0TlAFOYC3/2HtWFvYiL3md0h2cxuU1BFugTKBBaOi1GH/7265DTD4a57
7fg1JOK8+3nCiZvRjl11Bit4LuaXA4KjPh0OHCyFIpSP2VJkb5pkY2M5HPlB N0/UawyQBhSM
CVnB02kbxifsgVYcYfEiTG2qfIdFXmstrEhW9gpe+5OxEYid979qu1Esg2YH NA7W8tSTd1t9
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Old 06-10-2002, 04:29 PM   #18 (Print)
Spire
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Quote:
Originally posted by embeem
Spire: The above code enables the option on any tivo running 3.0.
Ack! For some inexplicable reason I forgot that this thread was about your code, and thought that ModiStru had somehow gotten the Serial Cable option to magically appear on an unhacked Series 1 unit. Sorry for the confusion.

Using your code, I was able to get the Serial Cable option to appear on one of my own TiVo units. Nice! However, it then ends up being unable to communicate in any way with the cable box (Motorola with firmware version 7.54), no matter what I do.

I suspect the problem might have something to do with the physical connection. I am using the serial-to-DB9 cable that comes with the TiVo recorder (cable is verified to be in working order), and I am connecting it to the cable box's DB9 port labeled "data". This particular cable box has no 1/8" "high speed" or "out of band" jacks at all, so those are not an option. Is the connection I'm trying to use correct?

I also have another (older?) cable box that does have "data" and "out of band" jacks, as well as a DB9 connector (this time labeled "RS-232", not "data"). This cable box is hooked up to another TiVo recorder at the moment, and is kind of inaccessible physically, so I haven't tried it yet -- although I did check that it also has the requisite firmware version 7.54. If I do decide to take this cable box out and try it, which jack should I use? If it's the "data" or "out of band" jack, I'll have to go out and buy a stereo 1/8" patch cable.

I hope someone can help me get things working. Thanks!
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Old 06-11-2002, 06:31 AM   #19 (Print)
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After reading this through this post yesterday, I went home and attempted to activate the serial connection to my digital cable box (Motorola 7.54 firmware through Cox Cable). The hack part worked, and I was able to select The serial connection, but the Tivo said that it could never communicate with the cable box. I left it set to the serial connection and jumped back into live tv. Now, while my Tivo could not change the channel, every time I changed the channel on my cable box, the Tivo would apparently receive the data saying that the channel was changed through the serial cable because the guide would change to that channel. Any ideas why the Tivo would be able to read the data off the serial connection, but not write on it? Perhaps Cox Cable only partly enabled the serial connection on the cable box?
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Old 06-11-2002, 10:03 AM   #20 (Print)
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series 2 ?

Am i correct in assumeing that Series 2 units can't run this script?

Or is it ok to pop the drive in my PC, run the script from a Linux Boot Disc, and pop the drive back in the tivo?

I didn't wanna risk it without knowing if the TCL database stuff needs to be executed on the tivo directly or not.

Cheers,
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Old 06-11-2002, 10:38 AM   #21 (Print)
SuperRob
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Nope. TiVo-branded Series|2's are apprently out of the loop.

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Old 06-11-2002, 10:46 AM   #22 (Print)
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Actually, embeem has said previously in this thread:
Quote:
Originally posted by embeem
Spire: The above code enables the option on any tivo running 3.0.

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Old 06-11-2002, 11:52 AM   #23 (Print)
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mark:

While he does say that... it's imposible to get a BASH prompt on the tivo Series 2 due to the firmware from what i've read around... so you can't execute the code, that WOULD work on a Series 2 box, if i could get into the thing.

My question was more of, is the database minipulation that is made dependant on a tivo hardware making the change.

KC

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Old 06-11-2002, 01:10 PM   #24 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally posted by KermitTheFrog
it's imposible to get a BASH prompt on the tivo Series 2 due to the firmware from what i've read around... so you can't execute the code, that WOULD work on a Series 2 box, if i could get into the thing.

Is that a challenge?

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Old 06-11-2002, 01:17 PM   #25 (Print)
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*Evil grin* yup :-)

I double dog dare ya to figure out how to get BASH on a Series 2 ;-)

KC

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Old 06-11-2002, 10:51 PM   #26 (Print)
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What are the best options to get updated firmware on my DCT 2000 from AT&T. I'm on an older version and would love to be able to use serial control.

AT&T customer service tells me they don't do firmware upgrades. Does the upgrade come automagically or do I need to come up with an excuse to trade my box in for a new one. Any ideas?
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Old 06-12-2002, 09:35 AM   #27 (Print)
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That.. right there.. is the exact reason why Tivo doesn't want to push serial control to people at this moment. *sigh*

It comes automagicly, when at&t wants it too... not all boxes they put out in the field for replacement have the latest firmware... mine died when they pushed 7.54 to it and they replaced it with a 7.22 which upgraded itself a few weeks later to 7.54 again. Just be patient.. when AT&T wants you to have the new firmware, you'll get it.

But your not helping the cause any to get the menu item enabled by trying to con At&t into upgradeing your box.

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Old 06-16-2002, 12:18 AM   #28 (Print)
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So close and yet so far :/ I have a Motorola Digital cable box running 7.54 firmware on Charter digital cable. After running the enable script, rebooting and setting it for serial control, heres what I get. If I pick channel say 55, it will enter in 055 wait for a second, display the channel it was on, then flip to one channel below where it should be. from this point if i select channel 54 it does nothing (I think it knows its on the right channel already). If I use the channel down or channel up, it works okay IF the next channel in line is sequential (54 to 55 would work, but 704 to 720 would not).


I am guessing this is yet another reason this is not supported =) I would like to thank Embeem for coming up with the code to at least let me try this =) If any one wants more information yet me know. I would guess either not all 7.54 firmwares are the same, or maybe there is some other differance im not aware of. I gues its back to IR I go =)

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Old 06-18-2002, 12:33 PM   #29 (Print)
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Well I have a DCT-2000 Digital cable box and the 7.54 firmware but serial control is a no-go here on CableOne in the Biloxi/Gulfport Mississippi area. I was really hoping this would work for me cause I've missed a few shows because the IR blaster didn't get the channel change correct.

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Old 06-20-2002, 10:53 PM   #30 (Print)
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I have a Digital Instrument with firmware 15. something. On the back of the Digital Cable box there are 3 1/8" jacks. They are labeled

IR
High Speed Data
Out of Band Data

I assume that I would plug into the IR one. I tried a 1/8" mono plug but it didn't work. I guess it has to be stereo right? I have to find one tomorrow.
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