How to Set Up a Phone Connection

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During Guided Setup, which begins automatically when you start up your TiVo DVR for the first time, you need to choose the setting that will allow your TiVo box to connect to the TiVo service.

To change your phone dialing options any time after completing Guided Setup, go to TiVo Central and select Messages & Settings > Settings > Phone & Network > Change phone or network settings, and then update your options as needed.

What will I need to connect my TiVo box to a phone line?

Series1, Series2, and Series3 boxes: You simply need to connect a phone cord from the closest phone jack into the phone jack on the back of your TiVo box.

Premiere and Premiere XL: You will need to purchase a phone adapter from the TiVo Store to use connect your TiVo box to a phone line.

Roamio Series, Premiere 4, Premiere XL4, and Premiere Elite: These boxes are not compatible with phone connections and cannot use the phone adapter. You will need to connect these boxes to a wired or wireless network.

The following options are available. Click a link for more information:

NOTE: If you already completed Guided Setup and you need to change your toll-free number, go to Choosing a Local Dial-In Number.

Dial In Number

Dial Prefix

Call Waiting Prefix

Tone/Pulse Dialing

Availability Detection

Dial Tone Detection

Dialing Format

Dial-In Number

This is the phone number the TiVo box dials to connect to the TiVo service. To use a dial-in number, the TiVo box must connect to the TiVo service through a standard analog telephone line. See Information About Phone Connections for more information on what kinds of phone lines can connect to the service.

Dial-in numbers that count as local calls are available in most areas.

To choose your dial-in number:

  1. If the TiVo box is in Guided Setup, select Dial-In Number from the Phone Settings screen. To change your phone dialing options any time after completing Guided Setup, go to TiVo Central and select Messages & Settings > Settings > Phone & Network > Change phone or network settings.
  2. You will see a list of dial-in numbers. If you are changing phone settings after completing Guided Setup, the dial-in number you previously selected is checked.
    • To choose a different number from the list, highlight the numbers and press Select.
    • To choose a number from a different area code, scroll to the bottom of the list and select Enter Your Area Code. If necessary, your TiVo DVR will make a brief toll-free call to download an updated list of dial-in numbers.

    NOTE: You can also check to see which local access numbers are available in your area by using the TiVo Dial-In Numbers tool. In some areas, local and long distance toll charges may apply. You are responsible for any charges you may incur when using a particular access number. To help minimize costs, try the following:

    • Switch to a broadband connection. If you have a high-speed internet connection in your home (typically from DSL or a cable modem) then you can connect to the TiVo service using broadband. Using a broadband connection eliminates the need for a phone line and will allows you to access additional features not available with a phone connection. For more on using broadband, go to How to Connect a Tivo DVR to Your Network.
    • Try a nearby area code. You may find that dial-in numbers in area codes other than your own are local calls for you. Depending on your calling plan, out-of-state calling rates may be lower than in-state rates.
    • Check your phone calling plan. Contact your telephone service provider and verify you are on the best calling plan for your needs. If your phone company does not offer a plan with free local calls, ask about other options for reducing charges for local calls. Additionally, many long distance phone carriers offer an option to prepay for calling minutes at a reduced rate. This might be an option for you.
    • Call your local telephone service provider. If you are not sure whether a dial-in number will incur toll charges, you can always call your local telephone service provider to ask whether a particular number will be a toll-free call.

    IMPORTANT: We do NOT recommend disconnecting the TiVo DVR from the phone line as a method of decreasing phone call costs. While your TiVo box will work without a constant phone connection, you will have to connect the phone line at least once a week in order to get program information and keep your service updated. Although calling once a week decreases the frequency of calls, it does not decrease the total amount of data the TiVo box needs to retrieve; instead of making short calls every 24–48 hours, the TiVo box will make one long call each week. If this phone call fails, the TiVo box may run low on Guide data until the next phone call.

Dial Prefix

In some cases, your TiVo DVR might need to dial a prefix before calling in to the TiVo service (for instance, if you need to dial 9 to get an outside line).

To set up a dial prefix:

Select Dial Prefix from the Phone Settings screen.

Enter the dial prefix, and then press the PAUSE button to enter a comma. The comma creates a two-second pause after the TiVo box dials the prefix is dialed. Depending on your phone system, more than one pause may be necessary to insert the appropriate pause between the prefix and the dial-in number.

Entering a calling card number, "unlisted" number, or dial suffix

In some instances, you may need to use the Dial Prefix setting to enter your dial-in number manually. This is necessary if you want to use a dial-in number that you found using the TiVo Dial-In Numbers tool, but which is not included in the list of available dial-in numbers on your TiVo box. This is also necessary if you need to enter a dial suffix (for instance, to end a call) or if you use a calling card to connect to the service.

If any of these situations apply to you, follow these steps to enter the numbers as a dial prefix:

  1. Select Dial Prefix from the Phone Setting screen.
  2. Enter the following into the Dial-In Prefix field:
    • Prefix (for instance, a "9" or the numbers required to make a call using a calling card) followed by a comma. (Use the PAUSE button to enter a comma.)
    • Dial-in number, followed by a comma
    • Suffix (if necessary), followed by a comma
    • Final comma, allowing an additional pause before dialing. This is necessary to allow the TiVo box to place the call correctly.

For example, if your phone system requires you to dial a prefix to get an outside line and a suffix to end the call, the entire Dial-In Prefix string might look similar to this:


In this example:

  • 9, = dial prefix, followed by a comma
  • 4080001234, = dial-in number, followed by a comma
  • 8, = dial suffix, followed by a comma
  • , = final comma to allow the call to be placed correctly

NOTE: If the Dial Prefix field contains a dial-in number, the string must always end with two commas, even if a suffix is not used.

Call Waiting Prefix

The TiVo box uses the call waiting prefix to disable call waiting while the TiVo box connects to the TiVo service temporarily. Without a call waiting prefix, the TiVo box may drop its connection to allow incoming calls to ring through. If this happens, the TiVo box will try connecting again later.

To set up a call waiting prefix:

  1. Select Call Waiting Prefix from the Phone Settings screen.
  2. Enter the call waiting prefix, and then press the Pause button to enter a comma. The comma creates a two-second pause after the TiVo box dials the prefix. For example, you might enter *70, (depending on your phone company).

NOTE: The most common code that phone companies use to disable call waiting is *70 (star-seven-zero). Check with your phone company to find out how to disable call waiting in your area. Press CLEAR to enter a star (*), and remember to press the PAUSE button after you have entered the prefix to insert a comma.

Tone/Pulse Dialing

By default, this setting is set to "Tone." If your phone system uses pulse dialing rather than tone dialing, change the TiVo box setting to "Pulse" here. (Most phone systems are tone.)

Availability Detection

When Availability Detection is on, the TiVo DVR checks whether the phone line is in use before it attempts to connect to the TiVo service.

This setting is off by default. With Availability Detection turned off, if you have another modem call in progress (on your computer or other device), the TiVo box may disrupt the call when it attempts to call the TiVo service.

If you have a standard dial tone, and Availability Detection is off, make sure Dial Tone Detection is on (see below). If you are experiencing "Failed, Line unavailable" errors, or if the TiVo box is not making phone connections, you may have a low-voltage phone system that the TiVo box cannot detect. In this case, it is best to have Availability Detection off.

Dial Tone Detection

When Dial Tone Detection is on, the TiVo box will check for a dial tone before it starts dialing. This setting is on by default.

However, if you have a non-standard dial tone, or a stuttering dial tone (as some voicemail systems have to alert you that you have new messages), the TiVo box will be unable to detect the dial tone and will not make its call. To avoid this situation, turn Dial Tone Detection off.

NOTE: With Dial Tone Detection and Availability Detection both turned off, if you happen to be talking on the phone when the TiVo box tries to connect you will hear its modem dial. You may continue your conversation; the TiVo box will disconnect within 20–30 seconds.

Dialing Format

After you choose your channel lineup (by answering one or more What’s on channel …? Questions) the TiVo box will ask for the dialing format in order to make its first Program Guide Data call to the TiVo service. Most people just need to dial a seven-digit number to reach a local phone, but if your phone company requires you to dial other digits, such as "1", or your area code, or both, before you dial a local phone number, you will be able to choose the format on the Dialing Format screen.


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