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Putting TiVo's Home Media Option to Work

The Home Media Option (HMO) lets TiVo make friends with your computer. When you tell your computer what items to share, TiVo dutifully places them on its handy menus. TiVo expands the viewing potential of your digital photo library, and it can become a digital jukebox, playing your computer's music through your home stereo.

Scheduling recordings through the Web

How can you tell TiVo to record something when you're on vacation, visiting a friend, or at work? TiVo's Remote Scheduling feature places your TiVo within earshot of any Internet connection. TiVo's Web site lets you search by show name, title, actor, or director. When you locate your show and select it, the Web site routes your request to your TiVo. TiVo records it — with as little as 15 minutes notice, if your TiVo connects through broadband.

Here's how you can make Remote Scheduling work:

1. Purchase and install TiVo's Home Media Option.

2. Log on to "TiVo Central Online" at TiVo's Web site.

Head to TiVo Central Online. Log on using the email address/password combination that you used when purchasing the Home Media Option, and TiVo Central Online appears.

3. Search for and select your upcoming program.

TiVo Central Online allows the same searches as TiVo's menus: show title, keyword, actor, or director. Enter your search, click Go, and TiVo Central Online scans the next seven days of listings. TiVo Central Online's Browse by Channel option lets you view a day's listings for any channel that you receive, up to seven days in advance.

4. Verify your recording time and choose Record this episode.

When you choose a show, TiVo lists its description and first upcoming airing. Any additional upcoming showings appear in a list below the description.

5. Set your recording options and then click Schedule It.

TiVo's Remote Schedule has one basic flaw: It doesn't know if you've already scheduled another recording for that time slot. And it can't discover any conflicts until it talks to your TiVo.

To deal with this potential problem, the Web site asks you what it should do:

• Only record if nothing else conflicts.

• Cancel other programs if necessary.

Publishing music and photos to TiVo

TiVo Desktop software lets you publish — a fancy word for list — your computer's music and photo folders on TiVo, where you can reach them as easily as TV shows.

You can make a file accessible to TiVo by simply dragging and dropping it. It works like this:

1. Open TiVo Desktop.

2. Click the tab describing what you want to publish: Music or Photos.

TiVo Desktop separates song and photo files into their own areas, each accessible with their own tab.

The top of TiVo Desktop shows the music or photo files on your computer; below, it shows the files currently published on TiVo.

3. To publish a file or folder, drag it from TiVo Desktop's top half to its bottom half.

Any music or photos that you drop onto TiVo Desktop's bottom portion appear on your TiVo's menu. Anything you publish appears immediately on TiVo's "Music and Photos" menu, ready for you to play or view it.

4. To remove a single file or folder, right-click it and choose Unpublish.

To remove accidentally published material, right-click its name from the Published list and choose Unpublish. It immediately disappears from the published list, as well as from your TiVo.

Playing MP3s on TiVo

HMO turns TiVo into your personal jukebox, making it easy to find the right tunes at the right times. TiVo sounds best, of course, when hooked up to your home stereo. TiVo lets you play songs the same way you display photos:

1. Select Music & Photos from TiVo Central.

2. Choose your computer from the list.

Single-computer households see only one computer; on networks, choose the computer that published the music that you want.

3. Navigate to the appropriate folder.

Push the Arrow buttons to move between folders; press Select to open a folder.

4. Play the song or folder.

Press Play on a folder to play everything inside. Press Play on a single song to play that song, followed by the rest of the folder's songs.

5. Press Enter for options.

While playing a song, TiVo offers the same options as with slide shows: repeat playing the folder's songs, shuffle the songs when playing, and whether or not to include subfolders.

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