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TiVo to Mac Users: Buzz Off 52

Posted by pudge
from the no-you-buzz-off dept.
jamie writes "Though TiVo's website still claims it's 'working hard to make the TiVoToGo feature' work on Macs, its CFO just admitted otherwise. Bringing your recordings to your Mac to watch, he said, seems unlikely 'unless we find a way to record it under the current platform, and I don't think that will happen in the next few years.' Translation: no DRM, no content. Fortunately for Mac users, there are alternatives..."
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TiVo to Mac Users: Buzz Off

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  • Boo hoo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cryptochrome (303529) on Friday April 15, 2005 @03:31PM (#12247912) Journal
    Well then, I guess Apple has nothing to lose by rolling out its own box and iTunes-based service, as has been rumored. Some say the mac mini is a trojan horse destined to serve exactly this purpose.
    • EyeTV? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by commodoresloat (172735) on Friday April 15, 2005 @04:08PM (#12248470)
      I think you're right, and that may be on the horizon, but many people want PVR now. Hence EyeTV [elgato.com] -- am I missing something here, or does EyeTV replicate everything that TiVO offers? Why would someone buy TiVo over EyeTV?
      • Re:EyeTV? (Score:5, Informative)

        by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Friday April 15, 2005 @04:30PM (#12248780)

        am I missing something here, or does EyeTV replicate everything that TiVO offers? Why would someone buy TiVo over EyeTV?

        EyeTV is missing a number of features. First, you need a mac to interface with and control it. Next it does not have the concept of season passes. Third, it does not record suggestions in it's spare space. Fourth the UI is not quite as nice.

        On the other hand, EyeTV has no DRM, a built in editor, burns VCDs and DVDs, has no monthly fee for scheduling, is much easier for hard drive upgrades, and can be used to rip your existing video collection.

        I bought an EyeTV a year or so and am delighted with it. There are still some TiVo features I'd like, but all in all I prefer having control and easy archiving.

        • Do you know if EyeTV is able to record HD tv off unencrypted cable channels?

          I'd hate to buy the EyeTV 500 (I believe)but only be able to record HD TV over air.
          Thanks.
          • Do you know if EyeTV is able to record HD tv off unencrypted cable channels?

            I don't know. Probably, but you should ask Elgato. They were very prompt about answering the one e-mail I sent to support.

    • Re:Boo hoo (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hey! (33014) on Friday April 15, 2005 @04:15PM (#12248572) Homepage Journal
      Kind of a crappy position for the marketing people at Tivo. It's either (1) Give people one more reason to by a Mini, so when Apple rolls out its own PVR they can crush Tivo like a Ferrari rolling over a toad, or (2) piss off all the Mac fans so they'll cheer when Apple rolls out its own shiny PVR solution.

      The only difference is whether anybody feels sorry for Tivo.
    • Yeah, that's why the Mac Mini has a remote control, TV tuner, and TV-centric GUI. Oh wait, it has none of those. Once you add all the stuff needed to make a Mini into a PVR, it costs twice as much as a Tivo.
  • DRM (Score:5, Informative)

    by dr00g911 (531736) on Friday April 15, 2005 @03:38PM (#12248017)
    Well, I'd been sitting on this since I got my Tivo2Go update and figured it out in approximately fifteen minutes. It looks like Tivo's screwing all us Mac types now, so I've got no cause to keep it to myself anymore.

    Fire up Safari and go to https:// or choose the tivo from your rendezvous/bonjour bar and change it to read https://

    User name: tivo
    Password: your tivo access key that you can get from your Tivo account online

    From here, you can download encrypted files off of your Tivo to your Mac via a web interface. From there, it's a matter of scouring a few forums to find the correct command line tools to strip the DRM off of files and leave you with pristine, quicktime playable, Toast burnable .m2v files. In deference to the DMCA, I'll leave the forum scouring as an exercise to the reader. The terms 'tivo' 'demux' 'mac' and 'key' generally appear on the same page.
    • Re:DRM (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      lets stop being coy... post a link to the page... as an AC if you wish...
    • Re:DRM (Score:2, Informative)

      by A Drake Man (809441)
      Not quite that simple. I just tried to download with a friend's Tivo and instead of downloading the file, it downloaded a text file that reads:

      <h2>Bad Request</h2>
      session id missing
      • Try turning on cookies. Still works here unlenn you've gotten an upgrade that I haven't.
        • I felt it may be an issue with Safari, so I tried it in Firefox and worked great. Thanks for the tip, now to travel to distant websites and figure out if it can be decoded!
    • by Lon (37445)
      dr00g911 - hey, please give a little more - I tried as you suggested and have not found any command line tools for OS X. I know of Win2000/XP methods but need OS X. Thanks!
    • Why would you want to pay a monthly service fee to TiVo and still put up with crap like that? Dump them, get a tuner card and get pristine stuff that will not be broken by the next update. Sony and Apple had different ideas about MP3s vs DRMed music and both got a clear message from consumers (iTMS is only accepted because you can burn a CD). For TiVo and MS Media Center the message should consist of 2 words, 7 letters and massive migration to "untrusted" computing platforms.
    • I got the files off my TiVo but I can't for the life of me figure out how to use ffmpegX to convert them to work on my PSP. Is it so against the law and evil that I want to watch Robot Chicken on my PSP from my TiVo??
      • by Lon (37445)
        Sadly, I think the PP is a red herring. I've been watching the TiVo Comunity Forums since TiVo to Go came out and no one has a mac-only solution. Googling comes up empty, too. I'd love to be proved wrong, however.

        Currently solution requires access to DirectShow filters - hence only Win2000/XP methods.

        Please let me know if you do find anything!
    • Re:DRM (Score:2, Insightful)

      by SoLO (91992)
      matter of scouring a few forums for command line tools, huh? Hmm the only command line tools I have found are for Windows, and those still require the directx security to decrpyt. Please enlighten us as to what native mac tools you use to decrypt the stream?
      The dealdatabase and tivocommunity forums dont currently have mac native tools.....
      I wish I was proven wrong here :(

    • Re:DRM (Score:3, Insightful)

      by smartin (942)
      I think this is either a troll or the this guy is confusing .ty files with .tivo files. There are lots of resources for splitting .ty files for both the mac and Linux but as far as I know (and I've looked) there are none for .tivo files.
  • roll your own... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by enrico_suave (179651) on Friday April 15, 2005 @03:42PM (#12248080) Homepage
    as I repeatedly like to say... I love my series 2 Tivo, but *this* is one major advantage to building your own pvr as opposed to buying a STB.

    I don't have to wait (nearly as long) to add functionality to my DIY PVR's... I can take advantage of a bevy of open source and commercial projects to install/modify/tweak to do what I want with my content, all without annoying DRM getting in the way.

    A DIY PVR is neither as cheap or as easy as a TiVo (but it doesn't have to be very hard) but with a homebuilt PVR I don't have to deal with half hearted empty corporate promises and waiting... and waiting. I can drag/stream content (from my PC PVR)over my network to my g4 gooseneck imac right now and play it. If I pony up for a plextor convertX I could record mpeg2 right to the Mac. If I'm feeling adventuresome I could put the MythTV OSX client on it (and so on, and so on...)

    All the times I've heard "why would you spend XYZ dollars on a PC/MAC based PVR, when a TiVo is 99 dollars or cable co DVR is 5 bucks a month?" This typoe of shennanigan is why.

    I can move content freely to other platforms without waiting for a bunch of giant corporations to figure out how to get their DRM to talk to eachother or if they can spare the development time to support a given platform. *sigh*

    All i need is obtrusive banner ads during FF to really burst a blood vessel =P

    e.
  • by enrico_suave (179651) on Friday April 15, 2005 @03:45PM (#12248117) Homepage


    MythTV [mythtv.org] including support for the Plextor ConvertX (which has linux drivers as well as a Mac flavored version [plextor.com] bundled with Elgato's EyeTV [elgato.com])

    *shrug*

    e.
  • by jeffehobbs (419930) on Friday April 15, 2005 @03:50PM (#12248187) Homepage

    This is probably as good a time as any to put in a plug for El Gato's products [elgato.com]. They make some really excellent hardware and software that can do TiVo-style recording via Mac OS X. It works and works well, with no DRM whatsoever.

    ~jeff
    • I own an EyeTV 500. And Senator, the EyeTV 500 is no TiVo.

      At the heart of the EyeTV 500 it really only does timed recordings. It has some integration with TitanTV, but at the end of the day, it's half-assed - nothing even close to the reliability and flexibility of a TiVo season pass.

      To top it all off, about 10-20% of the time I ask it to record something, it fails.

      Yes, it is broadcast flag safe and has no DRM, but it still has a long way to go to be a TiVo.
  • Maybe TiVo should offer their software OR connections to their scheduling servers as a service. That way, you could roll your own PVR and then put the "TiVo OS" on it. They make money off subscriptions and are no longer beholden to the MPAA because since you're just using their front end and scheduler, whatever happens with the files once their on your HD isn't their legal issue anymore (because you sign an agreement to use their software responsibly, the EULA).
  • MythTV is really only an alternative if you have an old computer that is up to the task just laying around. But I certainly don't, and a quick look at the price involved suggests to me that it would be a heck of a lot cheaper for me to just buy a framegrabber for my Mac and copy shows from the TiVo using its "record to VCR" feature.
    • That is the route I've been going. I've been using the Canopus ADVC-300 (ever since my Dazzle* Hollywood DV-Bridge went crazy) to convert the S-Video out of the TiVo to a DV stream. Edit with Final Cut Pro, master with DVD Studio Pro, burn with Toast.

      Though I do have a PC and will give SonicDVD's trial a go. Of course, there's still a hole in their security. If I can burn them to a consumer DVD, then I can rerip it from the DVD in the same quality as it was burned, and no DeCSSing necessary so no DMCA
      • Yeee. . the MSRP on that Canopus ADVC-300 is $600! Buying a PC just for MythTV may be expensive, but it's not that expensive!
        • I picked mine up at Amazon.com for $478.79. Though it is my second as the first was DOA (and $523.99). (It has gone back up to $549.99 now [amazon.com].)

          The Dazzle* had given me problems before with distorted sound. I also tried ADS Tech's Pyro A/V Link but it had too many problems to be useable: it silently dropped large groups of frames; it had to be used as an uncontrolled device otherwise it couldn't capture more than 90 seconds of video at a time; being uncontrolled required FCP to beachball for long periods o
  • by Steve Cowan (525271) on Friday April 15, 2005 @04:35PM (#12248843) Journal
    There is another promising open-source Mac alternative [centerstageproject.com] which is just getting off the ground.
  • Try ReplayTV (Score:3, Informative)

    by TallGeek (31895) on Friday April 15, 2005 @07:05PM (#12250659)
    Get a ReplayTV instead. There are several Mac-friendly tools that can pull the MPEG-2 files off it over the network. You can even make your Mac/PC act like a networked ReplayTV and have the ReplayTV pull video from it and show it on your TV. You can play them using Apple's MPEG-2 codec for QuickTime (costs $20 or something) or VLC. With the QuickTime codec, you can convert the files to DV and then edit them in iMovie or Final Cut (Express) easily.

    Note: I only have experience with the 4000 and 5000 models, so perhaps the newer ones break all this, but I don't think so.
    • Re:Try ReplayTV (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I only have experience with the 4000 and 5000 models, so perhaps the newer ones break all this, but I don't think so.

      I can confirm that. I have a 50xx series and a 55xx series. Both work fine with mReplay, MPEG StreamClip, ffMPEGx, DVArchive, etc.
    • Re:Try ReplayTV (Score:2, Informative)

      by ab (5715)
      No kidding. Better yet, get some old ones that have Commercial Advance. TiVo people only think they skip commercials. Ninety-something percent of the time I don't see them at all. It's nice to just set down the remote and watch stuff commercial free.
  • by lightning01 (101001) on Friday April 15, 2005 @07:49PM (#12251030)

    PVRBlog reports that TiVo says his words were misunderstood. I think the quote was "Why can't we all just get along?" Tivo Doing Damage Control for Mac Fans [pvrblog.com]

"Never ascribe to malice that which is caused by greed and ignorance." -- Cal Keegan

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