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Tivo Roamio Upgraded

Tivo Roamio

Tivo Roamio

With my Tivo HD unit (circa 2008) showing the “black screen of death” more and more often, it was time to act and get a new Roamio. While the name is a little peculiar, this device is no joke. The strength of the Roamio is the remote viewing of recorded content included on the Plus and Pro models, but I kept it simple and went with the basic Roamio. I figured I could always expand the basic version with the add-on hardware if needed but for the most part, I don’t foresee myself remote viewing recorded content.

Instead I used the difference in costs between the basic and Plus models to buy a larger hard drive. The basic comes with a 500 GB drive that can record up to 500 hours. I got a highly rated WD Red 2 TB drive to replace the stock drive. I was thinking of getting the AV-tuned, Green line of WD drives, but the cost was more, and Amazon reviews said the Red line works just as well in a Tivo. Again because of costs, I didn’t go all the way with a 4 TB drive. As is, this 500 GB to 2 TB increase quadruples recording time which is good enough for my recording habits.

WD Red drive

WD Red drive

Anyways, upgrading the internal drive in the Roamio is very easy now. No special software utilities needed. Just swap out the physical hardware, and the Tivo firmware takes care of the rest upon startup. For more details about the hard drive upgrade, check out this Tivo Community thread.

Getting the side clips unclasped was the hardest part of the upgrade in my opinion. Unmounting the original drive just takes time and patience to remove the screens and mounting brackets.

500 GB drive out, 2 TB drive in

500 GB drive out, 2 TB drive in

If you’re installing a CableCard (multi-stream only), look on the underside of the Roamio for the CableCard slot.

After putting the Tivo back together and hooking it up, the Roamio initializes the new drive and doesn’t skip a beat.

Upgraded Roamio booting up

Upgraded Roamio booting up

What can I say? The Roamio is way faster than the Tivo HD. The interface is better but sometimes the old school, low resolution screens show up. The peanut shaped remote is smaller with some different button placement but is more responsive relying on RF signals rather than strictly line of sight IR.

I connected the Roamio to my Tivo HD to transfer existing recorded shows. For speed, I connected the two units with an Ethernet cable (straight through, not a crossover). The Roamio saw the HD unit whereupon I could transfer its content to the Roamio. After several hours, this process was done (truthfully I thought this would take much longer).

So far so good with the Roamio although I went through the settings to stop the auto-recording of suggested content. At times, I noticed the red light was illuminated indicating shows were recording. I didn’t have any applicable Season Passes scheduled so I wondered what was going on. After disabling this auto-record feature, the red light no longer goes on randomly.

Definitely a worthwhile investment for sure.

Here are more pictures of my Tivo Roamio drive upgrade.

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