TiVo Wireless Adapter Review & Raffle

Dave Zatz —  January 8, 2006

Let me get this out the way first… Yes, it’s significantly faster than your typical wireless adapter. How fast, you ask? 60% faster! Now your mileage will vary depending on your current TiVo hardware, network hardware, and network configuration. Having said that I tested TiVoToGo (TTG) using different TiVo models against various adapters and the results were generally about 60% faster.

The adapter itself is solidly constructed. The base is brushed silver metal with enough heft and a non-skid rubber backing to stay put. The design is clever in elevating the antenna for increased reception. That antenna portion of the adapter is dark grey plastic with a TiVo logo and looks nice next to my TiVo units and furniture. Lastly, the adapter is bundled with a light grey USB cable, as it doesn’t hang directly off the back of the unit. At fifty bucks, the price is comparable to most wireless adapters. I can’t image TiVo is making any money off this thing given the smart design, solid construction, and next generation wireless chip. For the moment, TiVo’s online store is the only place to purchase one.

My advice… if you already have adapters meeting your needs, there’s no reason to upgrade. Those of us who frequently use TTG will queue up transfers overnight or while at work — so the bump in speed isn’t such a big deal. Additionally, any adapter is sufficient to pull in guide data and networking features such as Yahoo!

There are a few reasons to consider purchasing the custom adapter. It�s priced competitively, so if your unit isn’t currently networked and you’re planning on going wireless I suggest picking one up. If your multi-room viewing (MRV) transfers aren’t happening in real-time you might want to buy a couple. Lastly, if you’re using TTG to transfer shows from your home to office and want a boost, grab one.

Since I love you guys so much, I’m raffling off the TiVo adapter I used for testing. Leave a reasonably intelligent comment on any TWO stories posted 1/1/06 – 1/15/06. Be sure to include something like ‘enter me‘ in your comments, so I know you’re interested. Only US mailing addresses please.

73 responses to TiVo Wireless Adapter Review & Raffle

  1. Steve Firestone January 8, 2006 at 10:30 am

    Looks great. I’m hard-wired now, but am considering adding another TiVo soon and this would fit the bill!

  2. ENTER ME

    Great review, I was curious about the advantage of this device to the normal usb adapters. I want!

  3. Enter me

    I see that the card is a wireless G card, is it compatible with Wireless B? I have a wireless access point that is B only and would like to know if this card will work for me.

  4. ENTER ME

    Thanks for the review Zats! Always enjoy your page.

    …danny

  5. I’m glad to here that the testing yielded better results. Enter Me in the raffle. Thanks a million!

  6. great review. the new broadcom chip looks excellent. i may just have to buy one for the new TV setup downstairs, or… ENTER ME please!

  7. Hi there. First time seeing this website. Thanks for posting about it on TivoCommunity.

    I currently have a Belkin pre-N network and two TiVos, both with different G adapters. For some reason, every once and a while my TiVos will not be able to find the adapters. It seems to have happened much less frequently with the latest software rev, but I’m curious as to whether this has ended completely with the new adapters. Any idea?

    Enter me please.

  8. ENTER ME!

    Great review. I am going to link to it off of my site.

  9. ENTER ME.
    I have two TiVos and ome to experience room to room transfers – watching shows across the network. Can normay adapters accomplish that or will I require two of the new Wireless? if I hardwire one will the speed of the new adapter meet readl tie transfer times?

  10. Enter me please…

    I’ve been using a wireless b setup to get data to/from my TiVo, and it’s been painful, to say the least.

    With the increase in transfer speeds, I think this TiVo adapter is going to make a LOT of people like me very happy!

    Thanks for considering!

  11. The 60% is intriguing. I currently have one TiVo wired and the other wireless (linksys). Any chance you could post how you tested? I think I remember you asking (over at TCF) if Galleon reported the transfer rates… is that what you used to measure? Could you post your “before” and “after” so that we can see how our transfers compare?

  12. Oops.. forgot my “enter me please” on that last comment! :-)

  13. Enter me.

    I have one hardwired TiVo and one wireless (with a linksys 11mbit adapter) TiVo. There’s a serious speed difference between the two when I’m doing TTG transfers; I hope this can remedy it.

  14. Ryan, I tested three different ways… First, I took a 30 minute show recorded at ‘high’ and timed the transfers. Second, I started transferring shows and timed how long it took for 100MB to make it to the PC. Third, I used Galleon for actual throughput measurements. I averaged all the data together and came up with my 60% increase.

    I didn’t post specific numbers because I figured everyone’s network and hardware are different, thus the numbers would vary (mine also fluctuated) – seemed like the percent increase was the important info. But here’s one example… my most remote TiVo (Humax Burner) transferred shows at 198 kilobytes/sec (according to Galleon) using a Netgear WG111 versus 330 KBps with the TiVo adapter on my WEP network.

  15. Jason Kazmierczak January 8, 2006 at 4:14 pm

    Awesome review. I love reading your Tivo blog. I’m looking to get a wireless adapter for when I go back to college this semester. “ENTER ME” Thank you very much.

    My address is 5333 S. Newcastle, Chicago, IL 60638

  16. Jason Kazmierczak January 8, 2006 at 4:22 pm

    “ENTER ME”

    In reference to your January 7th post about Google Video I am also very unimpressed with Google Video. There’s just small video clips of things that are totally boring. Paying $2 for videos that you can get for half that price is not going to convince anyone to use Google Video. Google needs to create something amazing for Google Video, a new break through, like they have done for web browsing, such as Page Rank. Until they have that big break through users won’t be interested in using Google Video.

    “ENTER ME”

    Jason Kazmierczak
    5333 S. Newcastle
    Chicago, IL 60638

  17. Sounds like a snappy little device. I would consider buying one if not for the fact that WPA is not supported.

    -= Enter Me =-

    Best,

    Michael

  18. Enter Me!

    Thanks for the review, I’m going to uprade my home wirless network to a G router and thus get a couple wireless G upgrades, thanks for your insight.

  19. WhilE I already have a NeTwork adaptER, My transfEr speeds are rather low. I suspect this may be because of the adapter I use, which is 802.11B, so I would get a speed boost just from going to G.

    Due to certain environmental factors that can’t be corrected at this time, I’m unable to queue more than three at a time, so overnight isn’t an option. *Le Sigh*

  20. I recently upgraded to a wireless G adapter, and it’s actually *slower* than the old B adapter! I would love to know why they have to release a special adapter. Does it do something mine doesn’t already do?

    PS: Please enter me too.

  21. Enter me, please. And thanks for the good look at this new adapter. I’ve got a Netgear WG111 like yours on my bedroom TiVo, and it’s both a little too slow and a little too flaky for my tastes. I’ll probably give that to my parents (I’m replacing my ancient expanded Series1 that they’re using with my free Dockers TiVo) and look at this new adapter… either free from you, or purchased from TiVo.

  22. ENTER ME!

    Thanks for the review. I’m trying to decide between hardwire or stepping up to wireless “G.” Presently have “B.” Anyway, Happy New Year and go Seahawks…

  23. Enter Me

    Like this site. full of info

  24. Enter Me. Thanks for the review of the new adapter. I would like to get one for my 540 series TiVo. With its slower processor, it would really help transfer speed. I wonder if TiVo is also considering a wired adapter, because I think they would do well with those also.

  25. Enter me

    I was curious about your 60% metric. Is your comparison against other G adapters or B as well? I’ve heard the current working G’s don’t really perform at G speed.

  26. Enter me

  27. I sure wouldn’t mind my MRV transfers being a bit faster. I have multiple TiVos and use them to record things airing at the same time. It’s nice to be able to watch things in either the living room or the bedroom. Nice review.

    Enter me!

  28. Enter me please… :)

    I am def interesded in anything that can speed up the TTG show transfers. That is the one part about TTG that is kind of galling. My netgear handles updates and such just fine but it sometimes drops connectivity during show transfers which is irksome.

    Thanks for the review.

  29. Thanks for the review and the pics. I definately want one, hopefully I can win one so the wife doesnt’t have to nag me about buying one :)

    Enter Me.

  30. I’ve often wondered if the new Series 3 machines will have better USB 2.0 response and work better with existing hardware as well. But, with a built-in ethernet jack, I’d just use wireless :) ( Enter Me )

  31. Enter Me

    Is anyone actually able to get real-time between two SA TiVos with 802.11b adapters? This adapter would definitely be worth it to me for MRV, although obviously I’d need two of them…

  32. Your daily postings have been a great help to us in setting up our Tivo, and selling its benefits to our friends.

    Setting up a wired network in our home is very difficult so this wireless solution is perfect.

    ENTER ME!

  33. ENTER ME

    I wonder if this will work with a b access point or router, and if with that config the speed is still reasonably fast? What is the real world difference between TIVO B and G?

  34. I’d be curious to see if this adapter would help out in my case. I’ve got a 802.11g wireless connection now, and the network performance is abysmal. The wifi signal strength tends to run between 45-60%, which isn’t great, but it should be fairly functional. However, when browsing to any HME/apps.tv type of selections, it takes *forever* to navigate. Watching videos or listening to music via the network just flat-out doesn’t happen.

    When I can find time, I’m hoping to rewire the wired portion of our network so that I can relocate our AP, and hopefully improve the signal to our Tivo.

    (ps: enter me)

  35. Did your network steal your money, hawk your stereo, and cuss you out in front of your friends?
    If so, I’m sorry.
    I hope not, though.

    ENTER ME Please.

  36. I HIGHLY recommend the new TiVo USB 802.11g adapter. I noticed a tremendous improvement in MRV performance (2:1 better than real-time), as well as a boost in Galleon and HME performance (particularly when browsing large music and picture libraries.) My old Linksys adapters are headed for the landfill.

  37. I’m hoping this will make my life SO much better because I already purchased a NetGear MA111 USB 802.11b adapter and it just isn’t STRONG enough to hold on to the signal, so I can’t actually do all these cool new things. If I don’t win, will somebody in same position as me tell if it’s better, OR I WILL!
    Please ENTER ME, thanks!

  38. ENTER ME please.

    What sort of range does this adapter seem to have? Is it comparable to most or significantly better. My current 802.11b adapter needs to be hanging down in the heating duct for it to get a “good” signal.

    Thanks for the review.

  39. I’m the only one to notice that your wireless network is named ‘Crack Whore’? Wow…

  40. Terry, I was wondering why it was taking so long to get a mention. ;) Makes me wonder if I should even bother posting pics!

  41. ENTER ME

    Thanks for reviewing it. I have to admit I was a little bit skeptical on the performance rumors…

  42. Hey Dave,

    Would it make a difference if I still have an 802.11b router and use these? The improved performance would be great. I was looking to replace my old 802.11b router and the one USB wifi that still b. Wonder if have a G network and just one of these adapters would help.

    Thanks for the review.

    Please Enter Me

  43. Would this improve the performance of Music and Photos viewing? I have an 802.11g network and wireless adapter and get drop-outs too often.

  44. Great blog, good to see more postings lately.

    I found I have used my TiVo much less lately since my roommate bought an HDTV, so I was particularly happy to find out about the (hopefully) impending release of the HD TiVo.

    Combine that with TTG for mac, and I’ll be a happy camper!

    I’d love to use this adapter to finally get that ethernet cord out of the middle of my living room! ENTER ME!

  45. Does it specifically support 128 bit WEP encryption? I do not care about WPA.

    Plese ENTER ME.

  46. Dave and Terry,

    Looks like a Mr. Speakish noticed the “Crack Whore” name as well and alluded to it. Although he did it too subtly for anyone to notice.

    ENTER ME

  47. Doh! I’m so used to filtering out non-sensical comments and spam, I missed his clever reference!

  48. This is an excellent review. One might think the adapter is a pure gimmick but it sounds like a quality product. Once again this blog rises above the miasma of the internet to serve as a standout beacon of accurate and timely information.

    Please ENTER ME

  49. Looks really ENTER ME swift and modern like a ENTER ME convertible automobile back in the ENTER ME 1970s!

  50. ENTER ME and save me from my Netgear-induced WG111 hell!

  51. Enter me

    Thanks for the review. My tivos are wired right now but I’m trying to get rid of the cabling. You think Tivo makes a profit on these?

  52. ENTER ME

    This looks great. Easy way to remove cable clutter in the apt.

  53. Bought one on Monday.
    Arrived on Wednesday.
    Getting 98% – 100% signal consistently.
    I noticed no difference from wired to unwired, other than the missing blue wire running along the baseboard.

  54. My adaptor arrived yesterday. When my Netgear WG111 worked, I was able to download a 1.2gb program in 85 minutes. With this new adaptor, I can now download the same file size in 50 minutes.

    AND, the adaptor is reliable and doesn’t require me to reboot the DVR to restore my connection.

  55. I am a new Tivo user and have spent innumerable hours trying to find a compatible USB adapter. This adapter seems to be the answer. Thanks for the review and advice. ENTER ME.

  56. ENTER ME – Thank you for all your research. I recently purchased a 2nd Tivo and a Video iPod … so I’m ready for Tivo To Go!

  57. ENTER ME Sweet. If it really is 60 percent faster, that will be really awesome.

  58. I have the netgear wireless and get between 187KB – 250KB per second for all TTG transfers. I was considering going wired for performance and reduce dropped connections. Do you think the Tivo wireless is as fast as a wired connection? Thanks

  59. I hope your wireless is MAC address locked, as your SSID Is listed in the screenshot!
    Enter me!

  60. ENTER ME PAA-LEEZ

    My biggest drawback to purchasing a 2nd TiVo for my Mother-in-Law is that her TV is on a different floor, in the other end of the house, with no convenient phone jack. I would have to reach her with with my wireless G router which I fear would be futile since my signal is 33% with my TiVo on the same floor, same side of the house. Your review was informative and may make me consider again the 2nd TiVo! Thanks! mydriatic@comcast.net

  61. ENTER ME
    I was so disappointed when I saw that this was available only two days after I purchased the Wireless USB Device from the Tivo Store Website. In fact, I saw that this was released before my product arrived from Tivo. I was secretly crossing my fingers and hoping that they would have swicthed my order to ship with the New Tivo Wireless USB Device, but I guess they used me to move their old inventory.

    In fact, now that I think about it. Maybe due to my purchase, their inventory of the old NetGear USB Wireless cards dropped and they began to ship the new & improved card. I may be partly responsible for the new card now available. Now if that isn’t a reason to send me one of the new devices, I don’t know what is

  62. My only problem with the release of this adapter is that it seems to be the ONLY adapter that is available on the open market that is compatible with Tivo. How convienient for Tivo… IE: They don’t write any new driver updates that allow the slew of new USB g-band adapters out there to work.

    I suppose I could just hack my tivo, and write some zany code to use any adapter I want, but Im no code g33k and I like my warranty intact…

    It just makes me wonder Tivo’s intentions when the only NEW adapter available is their own, otherwise its off to ebay to find some old school adapter.

    My two cents.

    Enter me if you want, I’m sick of searching for adapters that actually WORK…

  63. Enter Me – This sounds like a great adapter and I could really use it. But it’s still frustrating that Tivo won’t support the jillion G adapters on the mrket (one of which sits gathering dust next to my Tivo).

  64. Great forum. Just stumbled on it. I’m seeking feedback:

    Is wired TiVo network THE choice for fastest transfers? My setup includes three Series 2 TiVos on a wireless 802.11b network with Linksys WUSB11 v.2.6 or v.2.8 adapters, all posting signal strength 75%-90%. MRV and TTG transfer speeds are painfully slow, approx 2X-3X show length at High Quality. Approx every other week I’m forced to restart at least one TiVo to re-recognize LinkSys adapter (note: this problem seems to have disappeared with recent “Music, Photos AND MORE” v.7.2.1 software update). If I switch-out my wireless adapters to Linksys wired USB200M adapters, will I get greatly improved MRV and TTG transfer speed and increased connection reliability? It’ll be a lot of work to cable, but with the new network features (e.g. 365Live) and desire to stream MP3s through TiVo, I’m looking for the best setup. Thanks much!

  65. Generally speaking, wired is always preferable to wireless for speed and reliability. However due to the way TiVo processes and outputs data, the TiVo wireless adapter has proven to be as fast as a wired connection in a few community tests.

    If you do go wired, you should know TiVo currently supports v1 of the USB200M. Software for v2 is being developed/tested as described here… http://research.tivo.com/wired/

  66. Thanks, Dave. USB200M v1 in stock @ net $16 ea. Any reason I should wait for v2 stock at likely higher price? After converting to hard-wired I’ll post my comments regarding actual, if any, speed and stability improvements.

  67. Sounds like a decent deal and you can be in business sooner rather than later (when the software is upgraded) — so I say go for it!

  68. Patricia J Rice March 9, 2006 at 4:28 am

    Hi,
    I just discovered this great blogspot. I think I am hopelessly addicted to TIVO no matter how frustrated I get trying to get a consistent network going. (Yes, I do realise that surfing my neighbor’s signal makes it more difficult- what can I say- I’m recently laid off.)
    I think I am as addicted to the problem solving as I am to having a sweet, genuine, “Home Entertainment Center,” finally cobbled together from my 20 year old amp, cheap (but good) speakers, a second hand DVD player, my TIVO of course, and my barely sufficient work issued laptop running Tivo Desktop. I can’t believe how much I love this!
    Am I turning geek? Anyway, I think that TIVO adapter just might solve all my networking problems and I can get on with life, and enjoying huge music libraries over real speakers and remotely scheduling shows on a whim!
    Thanks, PJ

  69. Patricia J Rice March 9, 2006 at 4:33 am

    OOP, meant to say,

    “ENTER ME” please.

    PJ

  70. ENTER ME

    On April 10th I ordered one one of these based upon your early review. Now I might get one free by typing the words ENTER ME in my “Reasonably Intelligent” comment.

  71. ENTER ME.

    I like that your network is called “Crack Whore.”

    = )

  72. Jason Stevenson May 10, 2006 at 10:48 pm

    Please “ENTER ME”.

    Multi-room viewing is no where near real time with my d-link 54 g wireless card on one Series 2 dvr and a wired connection on my Series 2 Dual Tuner… I was dissapointed.

    I hope this adapter fixes the problem.

    Thanks,

    Jason Stevenson

  73. will this let me transfer tivo files straight to my pc on my home network ?