Hacking TiVo — not for the faint of heart

Every now and then I realize I’m at the far boundaries of my hacker cred. Such as when I read the directions for hacking a piece of popular hardware and turn pale. Today it looks like extending the TiVo with low level hack functionality like telnet, etc., requires rebuilding the kernel on the machine.

However, TiVo released an official SDK called the TiVo Home Media Engine (HME) last year, which allows developers to extend the platform with third party applications. I was pretty excited about this until I checked out the list of third party applications, which is pretty small even taking into account the additional list of downloadable apps. I’m frankly surprised that there aren’t more developers hopping onto the platform. What’s going on?

Might it be that the original hardware hackers who blazed the trails aren’t excited about playing with the official SDK precisely because it’s official?