Information About Phone Connections

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Your DVR makes a short daily call to the TiVo service during non-peak hours, typically between midnight and 5 a.m., to download the most current program information and necessary software updates. During this phone call, the DVR goes through the following steps:

  • Preparing: The DVR’s modem accesses your phone line and then dials the number you selected during Guided Setup.
  • Connecting: The DVR establishes a connection to the TiVo service, which synchronizes the DVR’s clock and verifies your account information.
  • Getting info: The TiVo service downloads program guide data and/or software updates to your DVR.
  • Disconnecting: The DVR ends its connection with the TiVo service.
  • Loading info: The DVR processes the information it has received from the TiVo service and loads it onto the hard disk.

If the connection fails at any point in this process, go to Phone connection troubleshooting.

This article contains the following additional information:

Types of phone lines that can connect to the TiVo service

Using the phone line while the DVR is connecting to the TiVo service

Using one phone line for multiple DVRs

Connecting/disconnecting the phone line

For instructions on setting up a phone connection to the TiVo service, go to How to set up a phone connection.

Types of phone lines that can connect to the TiVo Service

You can connect to the service through a standard analog phone line. You do not need a dedicated phone line for your DVR; simply use a phone splitter included with your DVR to connect both the DVR and your phone to the same wall jack. You can continue to use the phones in your home as you would normally.

To determine whether you can connect to the TiVo service using other types of phone lines, see the following table:

DSL Supported. When your analog phone line also carries DSL broadband service, and you want the DVR to connect to the TiVo service using dial-up, you must install a DSL filter on your phone line for optimal results. DSL filters are typically supplied with your DSL modem. Connect the filter to the wall jack, and connect the phone line between the DVR and the filter.

Since you have broadband service through your DSL connection, however, a better alternative is to connect to the TiVo service through your home network.

VoIP (Voice over IP) Not supported. We recommend connecting to the TiVo service through your home network. While some customers have reported success with the following VoIP providers: Comcast, Time Warner Voice, and AT&T U-Verse, the analog modem in your DVR is not designed to work with digital services.

Digital PBX Not supported. If you are installing the DVR in your home, it is highly unlikely that you are using a digital PBX phone system. These systems are typically used in hotels and office buildings. Connecting your DVR to a digital PBX system may permanently damage your DVR’s modem and will void your warranty.

Cell phone Not supported.


Remember, you can also connect to the TiVo service through your home network’s broadband connection. This will give you access to additional TiVo features, including:

  • Amazon Instant Video
  • YouTube on TiVo
  • Web video downloads
  • Universal Swivel Search (search both broadcast and downloadable content by title, actor name, or keyword)
  • Enhanced online scheduling capabilities. (Online scheduling requests will appear on your DVR usually within the hour. With a telephone connection, requests can take 25–48 hours to appear on your DVR.)

These features are available only when you connect to the TiVo service through a broadband connection.

Using the phone while the DVR is connecting to the TiVo service

The DVR generally makes a short daily call during non-peak hours, typically between midnight and 5 a.m. If you pick up the phone to make a call while your DVR is in the middle of its phone call, you will hear some static on the line. Hang up the phone, wait a moment to give the DVR time to release the line, and then pick it up again to make your call. Your DVR will hang up and will retry its phone call later.

The DVR should never interfere with your normal phone use. If you find that you are unable to get a dial tone or receive any incoming calls, your DVR may not be successfully releasing the phone line. For more information, go to Phone connection troubleshooting.

Using one phone line with multiple DVRs

Multiple DVRs can share one phone line. Each DVR automatically schedules a connection to the TiVo service at a randomly selected time, every 24 to 48 hours, to download program guide data. If one DVR attempts to make a service connection while another is already connected, both DVRs will release the phone line, and the DVRs will try again at a randomly selected time within 24 hours.

Connecting/Disconnecting the phone line

Unless it is inconvenient, we recommend that you leave the phone line connected to your DVR. The TiVo service will not interfere with your other needs for the phone line, and automatic daily calls will keep the DVR’s program information fully up-to-date and will allow your DVR to get the latest updates, including software, as soon as possible.

However, the DVR does not need to be connected all the time. After completing Guided Setup, you only need to connect the phone line about once or twice a week. Each time you connect the phone line, you should manually connect to the TiVo service to ensure that you receive the latest program and service information.

NOTE: Connecting to the TiVo service only once or twice a week may prevent software updates from downloading to your DVR properly.

To manually connect to the TiVo Service, from TiVo Central select Messages & Settings > Settings > Phone & Network > Connect to the TiVo Service Now.

Before you unplug the phone line, check the Phone Connection screen to make sure that the call was successful. The Last Call Status should say Succeeded or Pending Restart. If the status is Pending Restart, a software update will take effect after the DVR restarts. A restart will occur automatically at 2 a.m., or you can restart manually at any time.

If Last Call Status is not Succeeded or Pending Restart, try to make the call again by choosing Connect to the TiVo Service Now.

If this does not resolve the problem, go to Phone connection troubleshooting for help.


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