The rest of this page is provided as an archive, or perhaps if you have masochistic tendencies. Everyone else can safely ignore it.
Series 2 Tivos are network aware, which is great because you can easily grab the shows you've recorded and download them to your computer. As anyone who's done this knows, though, the problem starts here - these .tivo files are wrapped in some sort of a Digital Rights Management (DRM) layer. And while Tivo has finally made it possible to watch these shows on a computer, their solution only works with Windows XP.
I'm putting this page together to show you an easy way to convert those .tivo files into MPEG-2 files. While it's straightforward, it still involves Windows XP - running inside of Virtual PC (VPC). If you don't have VPC, you won't be able to do this. Additionally, your Tivo must be running software version 7 or greater - if Tivo Desktop doesn't support your Tivo, then this approach will not work.
The REAL solution, of course, is for Tivo to start supporting our favorite operating system! I have no doubt that a disproportionate share of Tivo owners are Mac owners as well. We like things that work, and work well. We don't like being shoe-horned into the poor solutions offered by the Windows hegemony.
IMPORTANT: While I believe this will work for most people, I make no guarantees. If it doesn't work for you, please don't expect me to solve the problem. Having said that, trying this out should be pretty much risk-free since it does not involve any hacking of your Tivo at all. If it doesn't work you're not out anything other than a little time.
It is also important to note that I did not invent this solution. It's been cobbled together from information scattered all over the web. The single most helpful page, though, was the Windows-specific information at http://www.zatznotfunny.com/ttg.htm.
Be sure to follow the steps in order. Note that most of this is being done inside your Windows XP virtual machine (the one being installed in step 1, below).
Now you've got all the tools installed. There are a few more necessary steps, though - and you'll need a .tivo file to do this. You can use Tivo Desktop to get the file, or you can just use your web browser. If your Tivo's IP address is 10.4.3.2, then just point your browser at https://10.4.3.2/nowplaying/index.html - put your Tivo's IP address in place of "10.4.3.2" but otherwise type EXACTLY that. Your login username is "tivo", and the password is your MAK.
I usually download the .tivo files onto my desktop using either Safari or Firefox (please see the notes further down the page regarding the use of shared folders in Virtual PC).
I should point out that transferring .tivo files off your Tivo is not particularly fast. So for purposes of this setup, just grab the shortest show you've got.
Once DSD has done its conversion, you can copy the file back over to your Mac's disk and then shut down Virtual PC. The converted file will be in MPEG-2 format, although it apparently uses an audio codec that Quicktime can't handle (even if you've purchased the MPEG-2 extension). MPlayerOSX and VLC will be able to play this MPEG-2 file as-is.
As noted above, the converted file is not compatible with Quicktime (or, by extension, iMovie). If you want to use one of these programs to further process your file, you'll need to do a couple more steps. Please note that I'm just giving you the bare-bones info here; you'll probably want to play around some with the two programs mentioned below, to learn their ins and outs.
Virtual PC has a nice feature called "shared folders" that allows you to specify a folder (or folders) that can be accessed both by your virtual machine and by OS X. This is advantageous because otherwise you have to copy files into Virtual PC in order to use them, which can be a slow process if the file is large (and .tivo files definitely fit this description!). Loading a file onto your Virtual PC's disk also (unsurprisingly) causes that disk to grow in size, which cuts down on your Mac's free disk space.
Unfortunately, with Virtual PC 6.1 I have been unable to get Direct Show Dump to successfully process a file in a shared folder; nor is it able to output a converted file directly into a shared folder. So if you're working with VPC 6, you'll likely need to copy the tivo file onto your VPC desktop; process it; and then copy it back to your Mac's desktop.
Virtual PC 7.0.2, however, seems to handle shared drives quite well. When I download a .tivo file into a shared folder in VPC 7, Direct Show Dump has no problems reading, converting, or saving to that folder.
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Document last modified on 02/04/2006