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TiVo Remaining Space Indicator

Yes, we get the question all the time: How can I see how much space is left on my TiVo?

It’s a good question. Since we’re in the capacity-upgrade field, our customers often want to know how far they are from filling up their unit.

The problem is, TiVo has no official way to tell how much space is left. Why is that, you may ask? We surmise that TiVo thinks it would cause more problems than it would solve. There really is just no easy way to express how much recording space is left, for a few reasons. On standalone TiVos, you have four different recording qualities, so TiVo would have to pick one, and it may not be the one you’d choose. On DirecTV combo units, different shows are compressed at different ratios, so a number could only be very general. Further, on each of these units, deleting a one-hour show may not make the reported number rise by one hour, further adding to the confusion.

But there is a way to get a rough, but usable, gauge about how much space there is left on your unit: TiVo Suggestions.

TiVo Suggestions is a feature where, based on your recording history, your Season Passes, and your thumbs settings, the TiVo will try to determine what shows you like. And it can auto-record them, which is the key.

When it is set to auto-record TiVo Suggestions, the unit will fill up all remaining space with suggested shows. This may take a few days. But once the Suggestions list is full, those shows are the first to delete as other shows that you’ve picked to record take priority on the drive.

So by viewing the list of TiVo Suggestions, and since they take all otherwise ‘available’ space, you can gauge how much space you have left.

Here’s a screenshot of one TiVo with some suggestions recorded:

TiVo Suggestions
TiVo Suggestions

As the list grows from 11 shows, more space is available. If it shrinks to single digits, then your shows may be in jeopardy of being deleted. If it’s down to one or two, watch out!

To turn on auto-record of TiVo Suggestions, you’ll find the option on most units here:

Messages & Settings -> Settings -> Recordings -> Suggestions

Just set it to auto-record, wait a few days for the queue to fill, and you’re all set!

6 replies on “TiVo Remaining Space Indicator”

I’ve been doing this for years. I don’t think I would have to use my toes to count the number of times I’ve actually watched a suggestion, but I’ve always had them record.

Even if you don’t record suggestions, once the “deleted” folder fills up, that will give you a guide to space left as well (or the combination with suggestions, if you use that)

How do shows in the Deleted folder factor into the free space concept?
I can have very few shows in TiVo Suggestions, but my Deleted folder will have 85 shows. Is there a hidden expiration date on Deleted shows so that for a couple of days after being deleted they will still occupy space?

When I notice few Suggested recordings, I go through my Deleted folder and permanently delete as many big recordings (1+ hour HD shows, any HD live sports) as possible.

Robert, you ask how shows in the Deleted Folder (DF) factor into free space? Every time you delete a show, it goes to the DF. The DF expands to use all the space not used by your recordings. Once the DF has used all the empty space on your hard drive, you can get a rough idea of how much space is available by seeing how many recordings are in the DF. When you record another show, it will remove a show (or shows) from the DF to make room for the new recording. As you record more shows, the DF count decreases. As you watch a bunch of shows and then delete them, the DF count increases.

I much prefer using the DF count rather than the Suggestions.

Still don’t understand why TIVO can’t figure out how to put a “percentage remaining” indication on their units. Comcast DVRs have it on their units, and they have many if not all of the “drawbacks” and “confusion” that TIVO DVRs have. TIVO, if you’re listening or reading……..hire someone from Comcast who’s smarter than your engineers and have him or her figure it out for you. Believe me, if Comcast has done it, it’s not brain surgery!!

Why not just include a system menu option to show the amount of free space in megabytes? That would be useful to some of us.

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