Guest Post: The TiVo® Remote – It does more than you knew it could

 In Consumer

Guest writer, MegaZone (his real name), has been a TiVo user since 2002 and has used nearly every model of TiVo DVR since the Series1.  He maintains the TiVoCentral Yahoo Group, TiVo Lovers LJ Community, and Gizmo Lovers Blog.  We hope you enjoy his TiVo remote advice!

tivo remote from 2010

Recently, TiVo posted to the Facebook fan page asking what button users would add to the TiVo remote. This ‘button’ question received a lot of comments!

After reading through all of the requests, I noticed a great deal of them were for features already available through the TiVo remote! It is a shame that people have what they want right now and don’t even know it, so I thought I’d compile them into a single post. I hope you find these helpful.

First of all, the TiVo service has a number of shortcuts in TiVo Central – the first ‘TiVo’ button press brings you to TiVo Central, the next press jumps to the shortcut:
TiVo+TiVo = Now Playing List
TiVo+0 = Plays the boot up animation
TiVo+1 = Season Pass Manager (#1 Priority)
TiVo+2 = To Do List (2 Do List)
TiVo+3 = WishList Search (3 Wishes)
TiVo+4 = Search by Title (Search 4 Titles)
TiVo+5 = Browse by Channel (no more clever mnemonics)
TiVo+6 = Browse by Time
TiVo+7 = Record Time/Channel
TiVo+8 = TiVo Suggestions
TiVo+9 = Showcases
TiVo+Slow = Messages & Settings

Note the mnemonics for easily remembering 1-4.  On the new TiVo Premiere box with HD Menus enabled only TiVo+TiVo through TiVo+5 exist – TiVo+4 is Search and TiVo+5 is Browse TV & Movies, the others are the same.

Also, in most of the menu screens Channel Up or Down is also Page Up or Down (and is labeled as such on some remotes). Lesser known, the Advance key (looks like ->|) will jump to the end of the menu on the first press, then the top on the next. These really speed up moving around the menus.

In the Now Playing list ‘1’ toggles the sort between name and date, and ‘2’ turns grouping on and off – or hit ‘Enter’ for a menu. When groups are on you can highlight a group and hit ‘Play’ to play the entire group bottom to top, and ‘Clear’ will delete the entire group (These work on TiVo Series3 DVRs & up).

There were many votes for a 30-second skip function – and it’s in there! While watching a recording enter Select-Play-Select-3-0-Select on the remote (SPS30S) and the Advance button becomes a 30-second skip button. The TiVo Premiere remote has a new 30-second scan feature which fast-forwards instead, but the skip backdoor is still there.

There’s another hidden feature – Select-Play-Select-9-Select (SPS9S) turns on a clock and elapsed time indicator (when playing recordings) in the lower right. With both of these entering the code again turns the feature off (it is a toggle).

There are others that vary depending on the box and software, but those two are the really useful ones.

Want a way to stop recording Suggestions? Go to: Messages & Settings -> Settings -> Recording -> TiVo Suggestions -> No, don’t record TiVo Suggestions

Want one-button to delete – use the Clear button. Highlight a program and hit Clear. This also works in the program description screen, To Do List, etc. Most everywhere you can delete, the Clear button works.

Clear is also good for getting rid of on-screen displays like the progress bar if it is blocking something in the picture.

Several people wanted to jump from the SD to the HD version of a channel or to make it record the HD channel.  I suggest removing the SD channels completely, then it will always use the HD version: Messages & Settings -> Settings -> Channels -> Channel List

This is also useful for removing channels you never use.  Channels removed from the Channel List just don’t exist for the TiVo service, so they’ll never be used for Suggestions, match a Wish List search, show up in the Guide, etc.  Just because you receive a channel doesn’t mean it has to be in your list, you decide.

TiVo has a QWERTY remote coming out soon, for those of you that want to type in the TiVo menus and not use the ‘Ouija Board’ input. But right now the software on the TiVo Premiere box (14.x) and the latest on the TiVo Series3/TiVo HD DVRs (11.0h – rolling out now) supports USB HID. HID is Human Interface Device – geek speak for keyboards and mice. Yes, if you have the newer software you can plug a standard USB keyboard into the TiVo, including those with wireless dongles, as long as they don’t need special software.  In addition to the standard alpha-numeric text entry, other remote functions are available – a list has been compiled.  There are some limitations; at this point alpha input doesn’t work in any HME screens – which includes Netflix, Amazon, Swivel Search, etc.  But it works in the native screens like Title Search and WishList Search.

There are also third party apps which let you type into your TiVo DVR over the network from a PC or smartphone, if you enable the Network Remote Control: Messages & Settings -> Settings -> Remote, CableCARD, & Devices -> Network Remote Control -> Enabled.  Once enabled you can use applications such as TiVoRemote on your PC/Mac or TiVoRemote (no relation) for Android.

People also seemed to be confused about what the remote controls can do. Start with Messages & Settings -> Settings -> Remote, CableCARD, & Devices -> Remote Control. The TiVo remote can control the power on BOTH your TV and receiver. Program the TV power like normal, then do the procedure again – only this time enter the IR code number for your receiver (maybe it’s receiver first than TV, but the point is it can do both). One press sends both signals.  I’ve been using this feature for many years now, it is very convenient. Also, the TiVo Series3, Glo, TiVo HD XL, and Premiere XL remotes are all learning remotes – so even if it doesn’t have the IR code you need, several buttons can be programmed by ‘learning’ from your existing remote.

Some people asked for a ‘Stop’ button – but there is no need. If you hit ‘Left’ on the directional pad you Stop where you are in a recording and return to the menu. In fact, the DVD/TiVo combo units did have a Stop button – and it did pretty much the same thing as Left in all the TiVo functions.

People asked for a ‘Last’ button to go back to the last channel from the one you’re on now – the ‘Enter’ button does that, and on some remotes it is labeled Enter/Last.  And ‘Live TV’ will change the tuner when you’re already in Live TV, each press will toggle back and forth between the two tuners.

Turning off the remote backlight (on those that have it) was asked for – and is also already there.

Toggling video output modes was requested – 480i/480p/720p/1080i – and the TiVo Premiere remote has this, just press ‘Down’ on the directional pad while watching video.

I covered a lot here, and I’m sure there are still suggestions. Note that the TiVo Web site has a page where you can submit your requests directly to them:

I hope this helps you use your TiVo remote more effectively.  If you have any tips & tricks that I left out, or any other questions, just comment below.

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