While the eSATA ports on the Series3 and TiVo HD are not scheduled to be officially enabled until ‘later this year’, Series3 owners have been able to attach eSATA drives for a while now using the Kickstart 62 back door. However, this method does not work on the TiVo HD.
However, the just delivered 8.1.7c2 update for the TiVo HD seems to have opened a door for adding eSATA drives. Our old friend Spike2k5 has discovered that if you image a drive using MFSTools or WinMFS, you can then attach it to the eSATA port of the TiVo HD and it will be recognized. He has detailed his findings in a post at TiVoCommunity.com.
This is more complex than the method for the Series3, where you just plug-in the drive and the TiVo does the rest, but it is a nice find. If you read into it, it may reveal some of TiVo’s plans for eSATA. The Series3 seems to work with any eSATA drive you connect – with the caveat of the drive and enclosure needing to support the performance and reliability required. While the TiVo HD doesn’t recognize non-prepared drives. It could be that the TiVo HD will only work with some ‘TiVo-branded’ drives that have yet to be announced, similar to how it only works with the TiVo-branded WiFi adapter. or that could be reading too much into this, and it may just be that the TiVo HD doesn’t have the full eSATA software to work like the S3 does, and 8.1.7c2 just has unfinished software with only partial, basic eSATA support. So it recognizes an attached drive, and will use it if it has been previously ‘married’ to the internal drive, but that’s all.
I was tipped off to this by ZatzNotFunny.
In other eSATA news, WeaKnees Blog is reporting that more Scientific Atlanta DVRs are now supporting eSATA drives. They’re reporting that these models all support eSATA as long as they’re running the SARA software: 8300HD, 8300MR, 8300 HD-MR, SA8300, 8300C, SA8300C, 8240, 8240HD, and SA8240. SARA is the Scientific Atlanta Resident Application, the ‘default’ software. Some cable MSOs use other software, such as Pioneer’s PASSPORT, and if you have one of these your eSATA port is probably inactive.