Tivo Transfers

Part of the fun of exploring the brave new world of HDTV and Series 3 TiVo is figuring out how to get Tivo-recorded shows onto the Mac and preserved on DVD, and to go the other way around, from the Mac to the TiVo (i.e. watching BitTorrent movies in the living room). None of this is built in, exactly, or well-documented. But it’s do-able.

For the First Case, I’ve used TiVo Desktop, which only comes bundled with Toast Titanium 8 (grrr — if you’re going to bundle a network connection on a device, then software to make it work should be included free), then burned to DVD with the awesome VisualHub.

I haven’t yet mastered the art of the Second Case, going from the Mac to the TiVo. Michael Alderete, who was a communications ace at Be back in the day, has written an excellent guide covering the process soup-to-nuts. We hooked up on the topic through a post in the VisualHub forums, and I wound up throwing in a few edits to his doc.

This document describes set-up and processes for downloading videos from the Internet using BitTorrent or other mechanisms, and then transferring them to a TiVo Series 3 high-definition (HD) recorder, for playback on a high-definition TV (HDTV).

Ironically, I haven’t yet gotten the Mac –> TiVo connection working yet myself; TiVo says my “brain” (that’s this Mac’s hostname) is empty. I suspect a firewall issue. Alderete’s directions assume Tiger, not Leopard. The problem is that in Leopard you need to manually poke a firewall hole for the apps you want to be able to communicate with the rest of the world — but Tivo Transfer is a preference pane, not an app, so there’s no clear way to add it (adding the preference pane module to the list of apps hasn’t unblocked the pipes).

Will get this licked eventually. And keep burning DVDs when necessary until then.

Music: Henry Kaiser :: It Happened One Night

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