Updating Tivo with Vonage
Danielle writes, I am having a problem with a second TiVo box that I purchased last fall. My problem is that we changed our phone service to Vonage, and now we can't get TiVo to download. I know that it has to do with not having an analog phone connection, and I've tried a couple of different things, but still can't manage to get it to fully download.
One of the things Vonage doesn't do well is act as an interface for Tivo to place calls to the service. For some reason the default phone number for Tivo doesn't always work well with Vonage. Despite the Tivo number being just another phone number, this is a big frustration for Tivo owners. Since you're using Vonage on what is likely either a Cable or DSL connection, your best course of action is to bypass the phone line altogether and use your home network to update Tivo.
The back of Series 2 Tivo boxes has a couple of USB ports. These support both USB to Ethernet and USB to WiFi connections for integrating your Tivo into a home network. If your Tivo is located in a room where it's convenient to make a wired connection, wired is definitely the way to go. A wired adapter, like the Linksys USB200M costs about $25 and provides a connection for both updating your guide and transferring files to your PC for use with Tivo Desktop.
If your Tivo is in a room with no convenient access to a wired network, consider getting a USB to WiFi adapter. The official Tivo WiFi adapter is your best bet. Priced at $50 direct from the Tivo online store, the adapter handles 802.11g networking and according to Zatz Not Funny is faster than a typcial 802.11g adapter, in addition to offering the typcial user-friendly Tivo experience. Any 802.11g wireless adapter will provide fast wireless access to your Tivo for both updating the guide and transferring files to Tivo Desktop. Wireless costs more than wired, at about $50 for the Linksys WUSB54G adapter, but the extra money is certainly cheaper than hiring someone to install a hardwired connection near your Tivo.
In either case, once you connect the network adapter, you need to configure your Tivo to join your home network. From Tivo Messages and Settings, choose Settings, Phone & Network Setup, Edit Phone or Network Settings, followed by TCP/IP for wired or Wireless for a wireless network connection. From there the steps vary slightly depending on your home network configuration. Tivo makes the steps very self-explanatory in their menu system.
Once you finish with configuration, you need to change your connection type by selecting Yes, connect via the network. When finished, you should be able to get future updates to your Tivo via your home network. If your Tivo has issues making a network connection you can attempt to force the Tivo modem to use your network connection instead by adding the dialing prefix ,#401 to your dialing options. This re-routes calls from the modem to use the network connection.
If using a network connection isn't an option, there are a few things you can try to get Tivo to dial over your Vonage service. The first thing to try is choosing an alternate number for Tivo to dial. For some reason, many of the default numbers don't work with Vonage. An alternate number may or may not work. Try several. Another solution may be to alter the modem connection speed by inserting a dial prefix before the phone number. Using the prefix ,#036 should do the trick, if an alternate phone number doesn't resolve the issue.