TiVo Goes HTPC

When choosing the perfect chassis for a home theater PC (HTPC), something that is more “consumer electronics” (CE) looking is often desired. Missing Remote reader, Kirby Baker, didn’t just buy off the shelf in his quest. He modified a TiVo Series 1 chassis and built an extremely capable HTPC inside. Kirby did an awesome job and it is a lot of fun to think about the possibilities of old CE chassis!

You can check out his original thread in our forums. After the gallery, is the system build list and description of the steps involved to modify the TiVo Series 1. We would love to see more of these creative re-uses so let us know if you’ve come up with something.


Here is the hardware list:

  • Retired Philips HDR-212 TiVo (removed mainboard, IR/LED board (front panel), power supply, basically gutted 100%)
  • Intel DH61AG motherboard
  • Intel G620 cpu
  • G.SKILL 8GB (2 x 4GB) 204-Pin SO-DIMM DDR3 1066 (PC3 8500) Model F3-8500CL7D-8GBSQ
  • Intel X25-M Mainstream SSDSA2MH080G2R5 2.5″ 80GB SSD
  • 19V 7.9A  150w AC-DC Power Adapter from mini-box.com
  • Cooler Master BladeMaster 80mm PWM (replaced the rear TiVo case fan with this)
  • StarTech USB A to USB Motherboard 4-Pin Header F/F 2.0 Cable, 6″ (Used for USB flash drive installation of Win7, and for the Lenovo N5902A remote dongle to move it closer to front of case if need be)
  • StarTech BEZELWRKIT ATX Case Front Bezel Wire Kit
  • IR Receiver for Intel CIR motherboards with MCE remote (ebay, same unit you guys have reviewed)

I pulled the power/reset switched from an old ATX computer case I had laying around to get the tan colored housings that the power/reset switch from the StarTech set would go into, which then allowed them to be hot-glued into the empty holes from the Tivo’s coax ports.

With the Tivo IR board removed, the Intel CIR module was easily hot glued to the side of the hard drive area of the Tivo, gives perfect operation from wide angles and distances.

On the TiVo case, after everything was removed, I used an arbor press to flatten out the standoffs in the sheet metal as they did not align with the Intel motherboard mounting holes.  

Looking at the back of the case, the motherboard back panel hole was cut from the old telephone jack hole (using its lower left corner as the starting point).  This allowed the full height I/O panel to be used and not end up with any of the original holes being partially there after cutting to size.  Had I used the half height I/O panel, the top row of connector holes (s-vid, composite, L/R audio) would have been visible and created an issue cosmetically. Also, as you can see from the pictures, it would still be possible to cut a hole above the I/O panel for a riser card to mount side-ways (however I have no plans for that).

Based on the I/O panel height, non-standard height motherboard standoffs had to be used.  Normally I think they are 1/4″ for most cases, but I ended up having to use 3/8″ standoffs, which I luckily had some.  New holes had to be drilled in the bottom of the case for standoffs to screw into, and tapping those holes to the proper size (6-32) must be done carefully so as to not break the tap.  Do no over-tighten standoffs either, just snug fit.  I also did not overtighten the screws that went into them, just snug again.  If I ever disassemble it again, I will use locktight on the standoffs to give them some extra grip.

Front panel LED’s were just hot-glued to the original TiVo light-pipes.  Works quite well, but is a 2 person job!

Kirby Baker