TiVo officially launches eSATA support – as well as MRV, TTG, and progressive downloads for the S3 & HD

Western Digital WDG1S5000N for TiVo

We’ve known for a while that Multi-Room Viewing (MRV) and TiVoToGo (TTG – including TiVoToComeBack, TTCB) have been scheduled for release in November, and that TiVo promised eSATA support by the end of the year. And the recent release of the 9.2 software for the Series3 and TiVo HD announced that it had latent support for eSATA, just waiting to be turned on.

Well, it looks like TiVo might be delivering on those promises a bit early. This morning TiVo and Western Digital both issued press releases announcing TiVo’s eSATA support and Western Digital as the first ‘TiVo Verified’ storage device vendor. Both press releases are below. The first, and so far only, TiVo Verified external storage option is the Western Digital WDG1S5000N aka the 500GB My DVR Expander. This drive will add up to 600 hours of SD capacity, and up to 65 hours of HD capacity.

Until now this drive has been marketed to users of the Scientific Atlanta 8300-series cable DVRs, so it makes sense that the same drive would be used on TiVos. The MSRP is $199.99 and, according to the press releases, it is (or will be) available from Best Buy and online from TiVo.com. It is also available directly from WesternDigital.com.

What isn’t clear is if this means this is the only drive that will work with the S3 and HD once the feature is officially activated, or if this is the only drive that will be officially supported and endorsed, and that users can use other eSATA drives at their own risk. I’ve asked TiVo about this and I’ll update once I hear back. There have been rumors than the S3 will work with any drive but the HD will be ‘locked down’ to only approved drives. I’m hoping that is not the case. I’ve also asked if it is possible to use drives in the same family, such as the WDG1SU5000, or if it must be the one specific model. An important question as there are differences in pricing and availability.

There is supposed to be more information at www.tivo.com/expand, but as I write this the page is not yet live, it is still a placeholder. It will probably be up later in the morning.

As for MRV & TTG/TTCB, there are no surprises. The functionality is exactly what TiVoPony said it would be back in September. SD transfers between S2/S2DT units, SD & HD transfers between the S3/HD units, but only SD transfers from an S3/HD to an S2/S2DT – which makes perfect sense, the S2/S2DT cannot play HD content. TTG includes transfers of HD content to a PC, and back to a TiVo. I’ve asked TiVo if this means they’ll be turning these features on starting today, or if this announcement is a ‘coming real soon’ kind of thing. I let you know what I hear.

We already knew that 9.2 includes Progressive Downloads, since it is in the boot message users see after their unit upgrades. But this is the official announcement, and it also confirms that this feature is only for the S3 and HD. I don’t understand why this feature would be limited to the S3/HD, and I’m hopeful that it will come to the S2/S2DT in the future. I’ve inquired with TiVo about this and we’ll see what they say.

EDIT: See my follow-up post.

The TiVo and WD press releases are below:

TiVo Delivers Anticipated Upgrades and Updates for Series 3 and TiVo HD

TiVo Inc. (NASDAQ: TIVO), the creator of and leader in television services for digital video recorders (DVRs), today announced the new availability of several exciting feature upgrades and product support for TiVo Series 3 and TiVo HD customers. The news includes the availability of external storage (E-SATA) from Western Digital, the introduction of Multi-Room Viewing and TiVoToGo availability and the new feature of progressive downloads – all for Series 3 and TiVo HD subscribers. Please see below for more information on the news.


  • The My DVR Expander external hard drive is capable of storing up to 600 hours of standard-definition (SD) or up to 65 hours of high-definition (HD) television programming based on 500 GB of hard drive storage.
  • This is current the only TiVo Verified external storage device.
  • The My DVR Expander is compatible with both TiVo HD and TiVo Series3 DVRs.
  • WD’s My DVR Expander external hard drive is available now in the United States from Best Buy retail stores and by ordering online from TiVo.com/store.
  • MSRP for the My DVR Expander drive with 500 GB is $199.99 USD.

Multi Room Viewing (MRV)

  • MRV allows you to transfer programming between TiVo DVRs.
  • It now includes support for Series3 and TiVo HD DVRs, meaning you can share shows between Series2, Series3, and TiVo HD boxes.
  • Only SD recordings may be sent from a Series3/TiVo HD to a Series2.


  • TiVo HD and Series 3 users can now enjoy TiVoToGo functionality.
  • TiVoToGo™ transfers are available to all networked TiVo DVRs. This service enhancement allows users to transfer programs from a TiVo box to a desktop or laptop PC.
  • Using TiVo Desktop software for Windows or Roxio Toast 8 or Popcorn 3 for Mac OS, TiVo subscribers can now transfer recordings from their Series 3 and TiVo HD boxes for playback, DVD burning, or converting to portable device formats on personal computers.

Progressive Downloads

  • The progressive download feature gives TiVo subscribers the ability to watch TiVoCast content while it is still downloading, including Amazon Unbox on TiVo.
  • When a download begins, the TiVo box checks the speed of the download, and calculates whether you can begin playback. If the download speed is going faster than playback speed, it will let users start playback immediately.
  • If the download is slower, it will wait until users have enough of the program “buffered” on disk to be able to play it from start to finish without hitting the end of the buffer, and then let you start playback.
  • This service is available for TiVo HD and Series3 subscribers.

For those with additional questions please feel free to contact:

Andrew Pray                          Krista Wierzbicki
Ruder Finn for TiVo                  TiVo
415.348.2738                         408.519.9438
praya@ruderfinn.com                  kwierzbicki@tivo.com

Company contacts:
Constance A. Griffiths
WD Press Relations

Bob Blair
WD Investor Relations



My DVR Expander™ External Hard Drives Verified Compatible with TiVo Series3™ HD And TiVo HD DVRs

LAKE FOREST, Calif. – Oct. 23, 2007 – Expanding consumers’ TV recording capabilities by as many as hundreds of hours, WD® (NYSE: WDC) today announced that its My DVR Expander™ external hard drives are verified compatible with TiVo® HD and TiVo Series3™ DVRs (digital video recorders). Available now at Best Buy retail stores and online at TiVo.com/store, the My DVR Expander external hard drive is capable of storing up to 300 hours of digital standard-definition (SD) or up to 60 hours of high-definition (HD) television programming based on 500 GB of hard drive storage1. Users can instantly expand their recording capacity by simply attaching the My DVR Expander drive to their TiVo HD and TiVo Series3 HD DVRs. The My DVR Expander external hard drive is designed for TiVo subscribers who want even more room to store not only broadcast content, but also broadband content that TiVo makes available through TiVoCast partners, including movie and TV downloads via Amazon Unbox™ on TiVo.

“We’re thrilled to team up with WD to enhance the personal viewing experience on TiVo by providing subscribers with an easy-to-use solution that allows them to get even more out of their DVR with extra hours of space for more of the content they enjoy,” said Jim Denney, vice president of product marketing, TiVo. “With the growth in HD content available today, DVR capacity becomes more important to our subscribers who do not want to miss a minute of their favorite TV shows.”

“As the adoption of storage-hungry HDTV continues to grow, the demand for additional storage becomes increasingly important to consumers,” said Jim Welsh, vice president and general manager of WD’s branded products and consumer electronics businesses. “WD’s My DVR Expander external hard drive enables consumers to have greater control and convenience over their entertainment options.”

The My DVR Expander external hard drive, a TiVo Verified™ product, has been tested for compatibility with TiVo HD and TiVo Series3 HD DVRs. It is certified compatible with Scientific Atlanta 8300 Series digital video recorders (including models 8300 HD, 8300 MR and 8300 HD‑MR). Further compatibility of the My DVR Expander drive is planned as other cable and satellite DVR manufacturers enable the eSATA (external SATA) ports on their currently-deployed DVRs.

Availability and Pricing
WD’s My DVR Expander external hard drive is available now in the United States from Best Buy retail stores and by ordering online from TiVo.com/store. MSRP for the My DVR Expander drive with 500 GB is $199.99 USD.

More information on the My DVR Expander external drive may be found at www.tivo.com/expand.

About WD
WD, one of the storage industry’s pioneers and long-time leaders, provides products and services for people and organizations that collect, manage and use digital information. The company produces reliable, high-performance hard drives that keep users’ data accessible and secure from loss. WD applies its storage expertise to consumer products for external, portable and shared storage applications.

WD was founded in 1970. The company’s storage products are marketed to leading systems manufacturers, selected resellers and retailers under the Western Digital and WD brand names. Visit the Investor section of the company’s Web site (www.westerndigital.com) to access a variety of financial and investor information.

1 The total program hours that can be stored depends upon the format and data rate of the programming source, operating environment and other factors. Your results may vary. One gigabyte (GB) = one billion bytes. One terabyte (TB) = one trillion bytes. Total accessible capacity varies depending on operating environment.


Western Digital, WD and the WD logo are registered trademarks; My DVR Expander is a trademark of Western Digital Technologies, Inc. TiVo, TiVo Verified and Series3 are trademarks or registered trademarks of TiVo Inc or its subsidiaries worldwide. Other marks may be mentioned herein that belong to other companies. All other brand and product names mentioned herein are the property of their respective companies. Product specifications are subject to change without notice.

WD My DVR Expander photos: http://www.westerndigital.com/en/company/branding/digitalphotos.asp#
Product Spec Sheets: http://www.westerndigital.com/en/products/Products.asp?DriveID=334
Editorial review samples of WD’s My DVR Expander hard drives may be requested via WD’s Web site: http://www.westerndigital.com/en/company/pr/eval_request.asp

About MegaZone

MegaZone is the Editor of Gizmo Lovers and the chief contributor. He's been online since 1989 and active in several generations of 'social media' - mailing lists, USENet groups, web forums, and since 2003, blogging.    MegaZone has a presence on several social platforms: Google+ / Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / LiveJournal / Web.    You can also follow Gizmo Lovers on other sites: Blog / Google+ / Facebook / Twitter.
This entry was posted in Press Release, TiVo. Bookmark the permalink.
  • MickeS

    The http://www.tivo.com/expand page is up now, but doesn’t have much more than some basic info and a link to the FAQ and the TiVo store on it. The FAQ isn’t that useful – doesn’t answer the questions you posed above.

  • http://hdtivo.wordpress.com/ HDTiVo

    Congratulations to TiVo and to us subscribers! :)

    The addition of transfers to the cableCARD platforms marks an important moment in TiVo history.

    It not only is a significant feature addition, but will have measurable impact on TiVo’s business.

  • Chris

    I Ordered my hard drive today!! whooo hooo!

  • http://hdtivo.wordpress.com/ HDTiVo

    I got the impression from TiVo that the progressive download on S3 platforms only situation will at least last for some time. I didn’t get a sense whether they intend to bring it to the S2.

    I think it is useful to divide the eSata support subject into two categories: 1. PnP eSata 2. General eSata use.

    1. PnP : It looks like TiVo HD will be locked down to “verified” drives for now, while the S3 supports some or all of the ones it supported during development (when folks used KS62.)

    2. General: It looks likely that most eSata drives will work the “old fashioned way” on both the S3 and TiVo HD, doing the dirty work with MFS.

  • http://hdtivo.wordpress.com/ HDTiVo

    I wonder why TiVo has chosen to limit starting progressive download viewing in the way they have instead of letting it go like MRV, where you start right away and pauses be damned. I prefer the later legacy technique.

    Having multiple UI experiences for similar functions can’t possibly benefit anyone, can it?

  • Kevin

    megazone, where did you see the Tivo PR? I can’t find it anywhere on their site or searching the web. It amazes me that this huge release is out in the public, and no official peep out of Tivo save for on the TCF site.

    By the way, the new features are huge for Tivo’s future stand alone biz, and I hope they figure out how to market it.

  • http://weaktwos.livejournal.com weaktwos

    Reading the FAQ on the Tivo community site gives me the impression that I might have to renable my eSata drive.
    Of course, I may have read it wrong. I hope I’ve read it wrong.
    Furthermore, doesn’t that imply a risk that the recordings already on the drive would not be inaccessible?

  • Morac

    TiVoPony has confirmed that only the HD will only support official TiVo external drives (currently only the WD MyDVR). The S3 will support any eSATA drive because it is being “grandfathered” for those who used the backdoor eSATA activation.

    So the HD is “locked down”, but the S3 is not. That said, TiVoPony recommends using the official drive on the S3 since using an unofficial drive is not supported at all and if you have any problems after hooking up an unsupported drive, you are on your own.

  • http://www.gizmolovers.com/ megazone

    Kevin – I got on Ruder Finn’s press contact list so they sent me the release directly just like they do for the ‘mainstream press’.

    Weaktwos – it isn’t clear, but based on initial reports on TiVoCommunity.com people getting 9.2 don’t lose functionality with existing drives. We’ll see if that changes.