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Capture MPEG From TiVo

timothy posted more than 13 years ago | from the look-out-for-flying-lawsuits dept.

Television 225

cworley writes: "Andrew Tridgell devised an ethernet for the TiVo a few months ago, but decided not to post any of his vide extraction software, in fear of a Napster-like backlash against TiVo (some of the legal implications were directly discussed in a recent slashdot interview). But, today, MPEG extraction has been released in the TiVo underground, although rough around the edges, it allows the user to view TiVo recordings on any PC in the LAN in real time, as well as save the mpeg2 recordings on your PC." Update: 06/07 05:40PM EST by C : As of a few minutes before this update, the thread regarding this software was pulled from the forum in question. From the message: "We wish for this topic to be 100% dead on this site form this point forward. Thank you." As many users have already said in the comments, there are serious implications with the relese of these tools, that TiVo will have to deal with. I am also disappointed, but not surprised, that the forum thread was pulled.

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So now I can .... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#168184)

write that script that streams the playboy channel into alt.binaries.multimedia.erotica?

Re:Turn of face time (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#168185)

Good point. I almost forgot that all positions on slashdot are made by one person who is unable to form new opinions based on new information.

I wish /. had a retard moderation.

Re:Yay! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#168186)

Take them out of episode format? Are you nuts man? The cliffhanger endings make watching DW much nicer. And I never ever seem to get tired of seeing the trailer and intro credits roll by. To each his own, I suppose. :-) I've got around 100 VHS tapes filled with DW myself. One day I'll put them into the computer too. --A fellow fan

Re:Dr. Who Definitive Site (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#168187)

There is already a massive effort underway for Dr. Who. Nearly all available who is capped and available in digital formats. See The DW Archive [] site for more information. P.S. The preferred format is EPISODIC!

Re:How incredibly hypocritical! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#168188)

Um, you do realize how many people read this site and how many different opinions are represented here, don't you? It's not necessarily the same people posting one thing, then posting the exact opposite later. Your percieved "hypocrisy" is nothing more than short-sighted immaturity on your part.

Re:Oh Sure, kill the AVS forums... (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#168190)

Here's a link to the "real" site. Note posting as AC so no Kharma whoring here. [] WTF is this 2 minute delay between posts now!

Mundie? (1)

echo (735) | more than 13 years ago | (#168196)

I wonder how long will it be before Microsoft uses this and DeCSS as an example of how open source "threatens intellectual property"?

Re:Turn of face time (2)

Defiler (1693) | more than 13 years ago | (#168198)

TiVo didn't put that connector on there just to be irritating. It's on the PowerPC reference board from IBM that they designed the TiVo around.

Re:Same for Digital Cable? (1)

Zarquon (1778) | more than 13 years ago | (#168199)

Why try to send _decoded_ video over a USB port? It makes much more sense to keep the existing MPEG encoding and then dump it for editing.. (much like this tivo hack is for.. so you don't have to go analog->mpeg->analog->computer->endformat).

Re:this is not napster (3)

Zarquon (1778) | more than 13 years ago | (#168200)

Well, there is one major restriction for now: IO. Tivos don't have any fancy IO ports on them by default, just a serial port. That leaves three options: Building the ethernet card hack (or buying it) which isn't cheap, physically removing the hard drive and reading it on a computer (no mfs drivers yet, AFAIK), or streaming the sucker over a low-grade serial port (think weeks).
Also, except for a few boxes where you can get a bash prompt without opening it, all these methods void your warranty.

Re:Hope you're ready for the "fun" to begin... (3)

Zarquon (1778) | more than 13 years ago | (#168201)

Well, if the damage is already done, and your tools are so much better than Nick Hull's, why don't you release yours (well, tridge's) now?

It is interesting... (5)

fade (4063) | more than 13 years ago | (#168207)

... watching how commodity appliances based on free software evolve and mutate beyond the intentions of their creators. While this is obviously good for the consumer, this kind of activity seems to be broadly percieved as threatening to the producers of these toys. I wonder if the real threat to free software systems in embedded roles is the building legal backlash; eventually the costs of defending engineering choices is going to offset the advantages of choosing free systems to begin with and purely pragmatic people (accountants) will decide that it's not worth the effort and time. Is this what groups like the MPAA, RIAA and the proprietary software houses are counting on?

Re:Hey, maybe.... (1)

bonehead (6382) | more than 13 years ago | (#168208)

Well, yes, that's (normally) rather easy to do. Pointless and stupid, but rather easy.

Re:this is not napster (1)

bonehead (6382) | more than 13 years ago | (#168209)

I hardly think that the same people who could install napster are going to be able to hack napster, get linux up and running, etc - its too much trouble for your average idiot.

By your logic, the only people who are able to use Napster are those who were able to write their own client from scratch. Sooner or later, one bright guy makes it easy enough for the average idiot. Then the shit hits the fan.

Re:Hey, maybe.... (1)

bonehead (6382) | more than 13 years ago | (#168210)

Yeah, I've read it. A bunch of whining and crying about, essentially, nothing.

Re:this is not napster (1)

bonehead (6382) | more than 13 years ago | (#168211)

I was simply stating that it is more difficult to hack your linux-based Tivo appliance, then it is to install the window-based Napster client.

My logic does not allow you to conclude "the only people who are able to use Napster are those who were able to write their own client from scratch."

Let me clarify. You're stating that applying these tools today is beyond the reach of the average idiot. I agree completely. My point is not about the state of things today, but the direction that things are now headed.

My point is that this brings us a step closer to the day when the average idiot will be able to use his TiVo to easily trade video over the 'net. Sure, he may have to recruit a technically oriented buddy to install the ethernet, but the software side could be made every bit as simple as Napster.

Re:Hey, maybe.... (1)

bonehead (6382) | more than 13 years ago | (#168212)

t's not pointless and stupid if you want to use this new hack. It doesn't work with the 2.0 version of the software.

I'm sure it will soon.

Re:Hope you're ready for the "fun" to begin... (1)

bonehead (6382) | more than 13 years ago | (#168213)

The thing is that they CAN'T change the codec. All of the encoding/decoding is handled in hardware, and the processor isn't nearly powerful enough to implement a software codec.

More likely they'll just change the software so that it refuses to operate on a modified box.

Re:Hope you're ready for the "fun" to begin... (1)

bonehead (6382) | more than 13 years ago | (#168214)

I can't speak for sorphin, but as someone who knows the "secret handshake" I can tell you what it is that I'm pissed about.

I'm pissed that this is quite likely going to force TiVo to take action against modified boxes. I'm pissed that the modifications I've been enjoying on my TiVos up until now will, in all likelihood, not be possible in the future.

I'm pissed that the next time I buy a 20 hour TiVo, it will probably have to remain a 20 hour TiVo.

I'm pissed that I'll probably have to install a land line again, since running serial PPP over my cable modem probably won't be an option anymore.

And I'm sure that the folks who dropped a hundred bucks to add ethernet are going to be pissed when that little circuit board is rendered useless.

In short, there are plenty of reasons to be disturbed by this that have nothing to do with elitism, exclusivity, or "secret handshakes".

Re:Hope you're ready for the "fun" to begin... (1)

bonehead (6382) | more than 13 years ago | (#168215)

First of all, they're not "my" secrets. I never had a copy of the tools, nor did I really want them. If I had asked nicely, I probably could have gotten ahold of them, but they're certainly not "my" secrets.

And I understood perfectly well what your point was. No need for you to clarify. I was simply pointing out that you are flat out wrong.

I'd be more than happy to explain *why* you're wrong, but since you blindly insist on missing a point that's been spelled out clearly on many occasions, I'd probably just be wasting my breath.

Re:Hope you're ready for the "fun" to begin... (4)

bonehead (6382) | more than 13 years ago | (#168216)

Gotta agree with sorphin on this one. Beneath the cheers of all the people shouting about what a great thing this is, there are a handful of folks who understand the probable ramifications, and are truly dismayed that this software was released.

Sure, it's useful, and a cool thing to be able to do. But having this stuff out there will likely have negative repurcussions that could have been avoided if things had been handled properly.

You can scream your "Information wants to be free" battle cry at the top of your lungs all you want. It doesn't change the reality that the people who own the rights to that information DON'T want it to be free, and will fight to maintain control.

My bet is that the public availability of this software will end up being a lose/lose situation.

DirecTiVo fears unfounded (1)

markb (6556) | more than 13 years ago | (#168217)

Bah... if they really cared they should not have saved the unencrypted stream to disk.

Besides, how does it matter if you extract video from a DirecTiVo rather than a stand-alone TiVo hooked to a DirecTV receiver? It's the same content, and the same copyright holders. Distributing extracted video would be copyright infringement either way.

Same for Digital Cable? (5)

waldoj (8229) | more than 13 years ago | (#168219)

My roommate just got digital cable, which came with a really incredible cable box. It's a Scientific-Atlanta Explorer 3100, which comes with a smartcard slot (PCMCIA sized), s-video output, 2 USB slots, 2MB flash memory, 10MB of DRAM, a 54MIPS Sun MicroSparc RISC processor, DES decryption and a damned fast upstream connection. When we first flip to a channel, the video is digitally distorted for a second or so. (You know, like low-quality RealVideo.) This is because it handles video in an MPEG format. So this has got me thinking -- surely there's some way that I can take this native MPEG video format and export it, presumably via USB, to a hard drive or CD burner or something.

So what I'm wondering is if the same good hacking that's enabled MPEG captures from Tivo will permit capturing video from these fancy digital cable boxen.


Re:Great! (3)

Sethb (9355) | more than 13 years ago | (#168221)

Or, you could just use a Terapin device which can record to CD-R

Here's a link to their store []

P2P is a problem with Video files. (3)

unsung (10704) | more than 13 years ago | (#168224)

The strange thing about video is that I simply don't have the patience to watch the same show again and again like I would music files. Probably has to do with the fact that I can't do much else if I'm watching TV shows, whereas with music, I'm driving a car, reading a book, surfing the net, doing my dishes...

Bandwidth also is an issue... in fact, I didn't even realize this until I put it down here, but - Music files you can download (albeit painfully) through dial-up. Movie files? full length MPEG2 (DVD) movies are 8 GB!... MPEG4 you can bring a movie down to 700MB. When was the last time you downloaded an entire linux distribution over DSL? Takes a while, doesn't it? Basically, DSL users can spend a couple of hours downloading one movie provided there's a reasonably fast server... but in instances of P2P, who's going to open their bandwidth so that 10's of not hundreds or thousands of people grab their movies? Ok, I may do it from home for about a day just for kicks, but I wouldn't be able to do it from work (where most of us have faster connections).

Hope you're ready for the "fun" to begin... (5)

sorphin (14046) | more than 13 years ago | (#168225)

cuz it's gonna soon as the media finds this, and of course, it hits TiVo... all i can say.. Thanks alot chris.. (cworley).. now the 'vcd kiddies' will strike, piss everyone off, make tivo act, and there goes my hobby.. all i have to say, is if/when tivo acts, you'll see *why* we didn't release the tools we have.. (which, i can tell you work probably better than nickhull's)..

Chief #TiVo Elitist

Safe from DMCA (4)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 13 years ago | (#168229)

This is interesting, because the party that owns the copyright on the encrypted streams, and the party that encrypted (Tivo? Or the Tivo machine?) are different.

The owner of "Hogan's Heroes" can't sue you under DMCA for cracking the encryption, because they broadcast it without encryption. Their content doesn't have a "technological measure that effectively controls access."

Tivo can't sue you under DMCA for cracking their encryption, because they don't own the copyright to the stuff being decrypted.

It's legal.


Re:Does this work for DirectTivo boxes? (2)

Otto (17870) | more than 13 years ago | (#168231)

It doesn't record the encrypted stream, it records the decrypted stream. Decryption happens before it's passed out of the DirecTV "tuner". There's two decryption chips on the mobo.

And yes, it's stored as MPEG2, with some minor modifications for speed improvements, most likely. But yeah, this util will likely work without a lot of modifications on a D-Tivo, which is the whole problem. DTV won't like people being able to pull their streams off the unit.

Re:Hope you're ready for the "fun" to begin... (1)

CerebusUS (21051) | more than 13 years ago | (#168234)

I agree with you, but remember: all TiVo has to do to shut this down is change the codec used to store the data. The real depressing thing is that it could cause the programmers to engage in an AIM-like way with hackers instead of working on much cooler, more legitimate features.

There were always two things that I thought were off-limits to the TiVo hacking community:

1) the program guide - TiVo makes its money here
2) exporting the movies - copyright problems... it's no longer a time shifting device, but a digital format copying device

Re:Same for Digital Cable? (1)

cruelworld (21187) | more than 13 years ago | (#168235)

Yes you can, but probably not with that set top box. The DVB stream goes directly to a mpeg decoder ASIC and is decoded; it never touches the CPU. To select channels all the CPU does is change PIDS.

Re:Safe from DMCA (1)

lordpixel (22352) | more than 13 years ago | (#168236)

I think we have the same box.

It has blanking plates for FireWire ports... they're labelled as such but they're not there on that model.

Be interesting to see what could be achieved with a model which did have the ports wired up. All fair use, of course.

Lord Pixel - The cat who walks through walls

Re:Dr. Who Definitive Site (1)

Michael O-P (31524) | more than 13 years ago | (#168239)

I get BBC America on the Dish Network. My cable company totally sucks; for years, even after expanding to digital cable they would not add the Sci Fi Network to their lineup. I changed to Dish Network and have been totally happy with it.

Re:this is not napster (1)

Unknown Poltroon (31628) | more than 13 years ago | (#168240)

Pardon me, but some of us are above average idiots, thank you very much. Everyone tells me this, so it much be true.

I fear the backlash (1)

barryblack (31922) | more than 13 years ago | (#168242)

I don't think this is necessarily a good thing. Tivo has flourshied, in part, do to the support of the industry. This has allowed tivo to offer more services at a better price. However, this support has alwasy been based no TIVO not hurting the industry. This is why tivo doens't have a commercial skip. It takes away from advertising that tv networks depend on. I'm sure once tv networks start seeing shows on the net sans ads, things are going to change- TIVO will crack down on the community and a lot of useful stuff will get shut down. No more ethernet hacks, no more shell support, no more non-encrypted mpg data.

Re:Don't get out much, do we? (2)

brianvan (42539) | more than 13 years ago | (#168254)

Well, yea, it can be done now... hell, I can do it... but it's time consuming and difficult. This makes it automatic. And once it's done... well, it's difficult to reverse. And I'm not talking about people recording the shows using this hack indefinitely... I mean, once they're on your hard drive, or burned to CDR, they're pretty much YOURS. And once they're on the Internet, it's hard to get them off of it.

Besides, yea there's TV rippers out there, but that scene doesn't compare to the movie rip scene... especially because why go through all the trouble of downloading an episode of the Simpsons when it's gonna be on 6pm every day anyway? Perhaps this will increase the speed of deployment and availabilty of TV shows to the point where it becomes a worthwhile scene to be involved in.

And, unlike with movies, syndication will remain popular. It's less trouble to watch the Simpsons at 6pm than it is to go find it on your computer and choose a random episode. Most likely, people will watch the Simpsons more when it's NOT supposed to be on, which is the same as time-shifting, which is legal. Of course, the entertainment industry does lose a lot of control here, hence there's probaby some reason they'll create (if it doesn't already exist) to make this horribly illegal (you know, like 15 years in jail for every episode you "pirate")...

One step closer for consumers... (5)

brianvan (42539) | more than 13 years ago | (#168255)

and one step farther back for the entertainment industry.

Over the past... I dunno, say 20 years... the media and entertainment industry has been hyping up and trying to plan the deployment of their ultimate wet dream: on-demand pay per view for everyone and everything. This would mean total control over viewership, programming, and revenue for the entertainment industry... the whole thing about choosing stuff to watch when you want to watch it is just a red herring, cause ultimately you won't have everything at your fingertips at once even if they could provide it that way. It'll just be what they want you to see. Hence, just like today, you might have a choice of when you want to start watching a movie (except you'll have a greater flexibility in choosing the start time), but just like today there will be days when all that's available to watch is "Battlefield Earth" if they so choose to do that. (That's a great scheme, to play one movie all day on a PPV channel no matter how bad it is) That's obviously a bit extreme of a scenario, but I assure you their intentions are not much different from that.

On the other hand, the public does not want pay per view, and on-demand service is not enough compensation to deal with such a nuisance. Furthermore, people want access to EVERYTHING at any time... hey, I wanna watch that old episode of "Growing Pains", get it NOW. I'm in the mood to watch "The Godfather", so bring it to me. Or, perhaps I want to see the Redskins win the Super Bowl in '87 again. And I want to see the best commercials from 1993, just to be nostalgic. This is what people want... and they want it in decent quality, and they don't want to pay a lot to do it. Unfortunately, this would kill broadcast television, the home video market, and the video rental market all at once - hypothetically, anyway. Just like Napster is killing radio, CD sales, and music stores - it's not really, but some people think the potential is there.

This just hastens the massacre on the way. TiVO itself is bad enough... but now people will be distributing those episodes of "Seinfeld" on the Internet for everyone to watch at anytime. It won't make a squat of difference at the moment on ratings, but once people have a taste of something like that, they continue down that path with or without the help of the entertainment industry. So, it's up to them to either provide services that would improve on what's available in the underground, or to die a slow miserable death trying to fight the oncoming rush of things bigger and better.

Of course, I don't support the idea of media being FREE, but then again, if there's not a convenient and practical way to pay for it, I'm not gonna deny myself the enjoyment of what's out there...

Re:Turn of face time (2)

wiredog (43288) | more than 13 years ago | (#168256)

Is he a troll? Yes. Does he have a point? Most definitely.

Is this really different... (3)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 13 years ago | (#168259)

.. than having a computer with a TV-in port?

Turn of face time (5)

hattig (47930) | more than 13 years ago | (#168264)

So, already I see Slashdottians doing a complete U-turn faster than it takes to say "George Bush". Earlier today, TiVo was evil, nasty, dictatorial and enslaving...

now their hardware is hackable and can be used to distribute video around a house (but could it stream video from another computer in the house - say a CD-jukebox all burned with MPEG movies?), so instantly people will forget about earlier ("Ooh, I've lost the functionality to record what I am currently watching" story).

Anyway, so what is the "PCI style" connector on the TiVo? Is it a PCI slot in reverse (connector instead of slot)? If so, then why not just get a PCI ethernet card, so some jiggery with the interface (turn a connector into a 90degree angle slot) and use that?

F*CKING BT-GOATSE.CX-INTERNET threw me off after 10 minutes online and then not let me back on again. 30 redials, all with engaged tone. calm ... calm ... calm ... the glass has done nothing wrong.

Re:hot damn (1)

Monte (48723) | more than 13 years ago | (#168265)

time ot buy a TiVo...

I think you'd be well advised to hold of a bit. As others have mentioned this could be a case of "easy come, easy go" - TiVo can (and I imagine will) send your box an "upgrade" that'll stomp the guts out of the hack.

If you're going to buy a Tivo, buy it because it's default operation is of sufficient value, not because of back doors that might get locked. That way you won't get burnt.

Does this work for DirectTivo boxes? (1)

SgtClueLs (54026) | more than 13 years ago | (#168268)

My only question is, does this work with DirectTivo boxes? I know that the Tivo software does NOT record Direct Tivo streams as mpeg. They save them as the encrypted steam direct from DirectTV. (That's how the Dual Tuners will work once implemented, they record both encryped (One Card to decode) and decyrpt on the fly while you're viewing it)

Interesting idea. Wonder how the networks are gonna handle it. HBO and other good pay network mini-series might have a huge revenue lose if people can just down load it over the internet. Hmmm.....

just like the dinosaurs (1)

CiXeL (56313) | more than 13 years ago | (#168270)

all these monopolys getting larger and larger while open source is growing and evolving at its feet, the monopolys are merging and marging into fewer and fewer is this leading up to some new form between socialism and capitalism?

All Information Wants to Be Free (5)

Louis Savain (65843) | more than 13 years ago | (#168274)

All multimedia should be set free.

I agree. The only property worthy of the name is tangible property. If you cannot put a fence around it or put chains on it or lock it up in some manner, it does not belong to you. Once it is released to the world, it belongs to nobody or to everybody. There are tens of millions of copies of Windows and MS Office being used freely around the world right now and there isn't a damn thing Microsoft can do about it. The Brazillian goverment in now using patented AIDS drugs to cure AIDS victims without sending a cent to the patent holders. Information (ideas, music, software, inventions, writings, etc...) wants to be free. There is no stopping it.

IP laws are unnatural and IP owners must rely on powerful police states to force people to comply. Only big-brother type governments can enforce them. The only way to defeat IP laws is to copy it all and download it all!

You may ask, "What are artists, inventors and programmers going to do for a living?" My answer is that the system must be changed. What is everybody going to do when AI and advanced robotics replace everybody? We need a system based, not on labor, but on everybody being guaranteed an inheritance in the earth, a piece of the pie, an estate if you will. What we do with our piece is up to us. Such a system would ensure a totally free market the way it was supposed to be. No more slavery, no more sucking up to those who exploit us. Real freedom.

Demand Liberty! Nothing less!

I'm not sure why this is a big deal (1)

ahertz (68721) | more than 13 years ago | (#168275)

I'm not sure why this is a big deal. There are other ways to get high-quality MPEG videos onto your computer than this. For example, Hauppauge [] has recently come out with a new TV tuner with on-board MPEG2 compression... take a look here [] . I'll admit it's a cool hack, but it's hardly the only possible source of high-quality video like this. Claiming that this Tivo hack alone will allow a "video napster" is just silly.

Re:Same for Digital Cable? (1)

Emil Brink (69213) | more than 13 years ago | (#168276)

Well, the theoretical bandwidth limit for USB 1.x is 12 Mbps. Assuming a 320x240 8-bpp format (not exactly something to rest your eyes on), that gives you ~19 fps... Going up to more reasonable 16-bpp format of course drops you down to ~9 fps, which isn't really video anymore. ;^) Perhaps you should investigate sticking a network adapter in that PC Card slot, assuming it really is PCMCIA?

Re:Same for Digital Cable? (3)

Zak3056 (69287) | more than 13 years ago | (#168277)

Damn you waldo, now I'm going to have to resist tearing into my cable box when I get home from work. Hmm.. Or maybe I'll just bust up my roommate's. Heh.

If you're being serious, I'd be careful. A large number of (leased) cable boxes include an anti tamper circuit. Take the screws out and pop the cover in the wrong way, the unit gets zorched. This could incur liability when you attempt to get the cable company to replace your box ("You opened it?! You pirate!")

Distribution extended to all multimedia (1)

jason_z28 (73458) | more than 13 years ago | (#168278)

This is great to see. First it was mp3's, then DVD's, now TV. When will the industry learn that this is the future. All multimedia should be set free.

Hey, maybe.... (1)

Jailbrekr (73837) | more than 13 years ago | (#168279)

These guys can also hack the TiVo to downgrade it back to 1.3.........

Re:Turn of face time (1)

intuition (74209) | more than 13 years ago | (#168280)

Is it not possible for people to hate the executive's decisions at Tivo, Inc. yet still like the Tivo appliance itself?

I don't see how the two are mutually exclusive.

Please avise.

Re:this is not napster (1)

intuition (74209) | more than 13 years ago | (#168281)

I was simply stating that it is more difficult to hack your linux-based Tivo appliance, then it is to install the window-based Napster client.

My logic does not allow you to conclude "the only people who are able to use Napster are those who were able to write their own client from scratch."

Furthermore, hacking Tivo in its current incarnation is not within the realm of the idiot who cannot program his vcr. Ironically, maybe thats why he/she has Tivo.

this is not napster (5)

intuition (74209) | more than 13 years ago | (#168282)

As has been said before, The reason napster was so sucessful was that it enable the average idiot to establish a node on a P2P network and share files.

I hardly think that the same people who could install napster are going to be able to hack napster, get linux up and running, etc - its too much trouble for your average idiot.

As an aside,

"The software is functional, but has limitations that we hope to remove in the future.

Direct viewing can only be done on a Linux PC."

Now all you people who whine about Windows Media, Realmedia, Quicktime, et al. can have your day of glory.

Good Argument For An Open Box (1)

owillis (74881) | more than 13 years ago | (#168283)

The (valid) concerns some are posting on how Tivo could react to this seem to make the idea of an "open source" PVR box (with some sort of dialup for scheduling data) even more palatable.
OliverWillis.Com []

How incredibly hypocritical! (2)

Controlio (78666) | more than 13 years ago | (#168284)

I seem to recall a thread no more than a day ago where legions of people were going to start class-action lawsuits against a company for not being able to use their product (which they sell for much less than cost) in a manner opposing what the box says is required for full functionality (namely the TiVo service)... but now when someone breaks into the TiVo and figures out how to do something illegal with it, everyone sings it's praises!

I can't stand it anymore. I can't stand this hypocrisy. When someone wants to use the product in an unintended manner and fails (hence full recording capabilities without service), they scream, whine, bitch and moan to the company and every available media outlet possible. They threaten legal action, and promise to make said company's life a living hell until they get what they want. But when someone is successful in getting TiVo to do something that it was designed not to do (hence perfect video extraction), people flock to it.

I have NO PROBLEM getting TiVo to do all these incredibly bizarre things it was never meant to do (like Caller ID, video extraction, or asking me if it should call for chinese takeout). The only problem I have is when people can't make it do something, and they threaten the well-being of the company. TiVo is bar none the GREATEST electronic device I own, and I can't imagine my TV viewing experience without it. So now TiVo will not only have to deal with the legions of imbeciles that want to sue to use their product (again, sold AT A LOSS) without service, but now the legal problems with decoding DirecTV service and digital distribution of said service is going to keep TiVo more than occupied for a long while. And as stated elsewhere in this posting, all the public release of this hack will lead to, is TiVo doing a lot more anti-hacking coding, which makes all of us in the TiVo hacking community much worse off.

(P.S. When I stated this was illegal, I'm referring specifically to the DirecTV combo boxen, for which this is SURELY going to be a major legal problem. Other applications, such as the standalone boxen, present a blurry legal issue that I'm sure this discovery will bring to the forefront.)

Big Ugly Dish (1)

Kreeblah (95092) | more than 13 years ago | (#168293)

Combine this with a Big Ugly Dish grabbing wild feeds, and you have a simple, relatively cheap way of grabbing high-quality (up to 700-line resolution, I believe) programs for later viewing (and, yes, for distribution, for those of you of that mindset). It'd make it worlds easier to make VCDs in much higher quality, and with no commercials (example: a copy of the Voyager finale which was taken from the satellite feed was turned directly into an MPEG and is being distributed as a set of DVD-quality VCDs on the internet; I can't imagine that was easy or quick with the current generation of PCs, unless the poster had access to a hardware MPEG recorder, which haven't been that cheap).

Re:Best insight I saw in the discussion... (5)

cworley (96911) | more than 13 years ago | (#168298)

I changed my mind. That hinking doesn't make sense.

Tivo as Napster doesn't fit. They are not the medium of exchange, they're the capture device.

There are a lot of capture devices, including Hauppauge's PVR which also captures mpeg. Nobody's going after them.

TiVo loves it's hackers. They bring in money... not much but they need all they can get.

DirectTV's DSS hackers steal service, TiVo's hackers pay for service -- I don't think TiVo want's to change that arrangement and make it hostile.

If DirectTV has a problem with DirectTiVo's (which the ethernet hardware and software don't work on, anyway), then I think TiVo will be able to convince them there's more value in "spying" on their customers (which is legal by the DirecTiVo eula) than there is in shutting them down.

Shut the hackers down, and they'll find a way around the service altogether, and still be extracting mpegs.

Spy on the hackers, and you'll be able to pinpoint who's distributing MPEGS from DirecTiVo's -- if anyone does.

Plus, there is no DMCA-style encryption for the MPAA to claim "beyond fair use".

I've changed my mind from that post.

Logically, this will be a win-win situation.

Look how many folks responded in slashdot that they're going to buy a TiVo today!

Re:It is interesting... (2)

Winged Cat (101773) | more than 13 years ago | (#168301)

One would hope that accountants would clue in to the extra sales that a better product brings in, to counter the threat of suits. On the other hand, given the percieved rising cost of litigation these days, that hope may be in vain.

Re:One step closer for consumers... (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 13 years ago | (#168302)

just like today, you might have a choice of when you want to start watching a movie (except you'll have a greater flexibility in choosing the start time), but just like today there will be days when all that's available to watch is "Battlefield Earth" if they so choose to do that. (That's a great scheme, to play one movie all day on a PPV channel no matter how bad it is) That's obviously a bit extreme of a scenario, but I assure you their intentions are not much different from that.

Extreem? Oh, you mean like radio stations only play top 40 songs from the last 40 years as if there were only 160 songs written, recorded and worth broadcasting? I see.

Re:Dr. Who Definitive Site (OT) (1)

wfaulk (135736) | more than 13 years ago | (#168316)

You're not missing much Dr. Who by not having BBCAmerica. They just show Robot (1st Tom Baker, the beginning of season 12) through, I believe, The Robots of Death (next to last story of season 14). Over and over and over and over again.

Re:Turn of face time (1)

displacer (136053) | more than 13 years ago | (#168317)

The "PCI Style" connector on the tivo is not a PCI connector electrically, just physically. Electrically it is closer to ISA. The bus adapter that is sold on plugs onto this connector and provides one ISA slot. You can then plug in an ISA ethernet card (or whatever else as long as it doesn't require DMA) and install the linux driver for it.

BTW the hackers have got it to the point where you don't need to know anything about linux to hook up the ethernet to the TiVo. The rest of it still requires a bit of work.

Schweet!!! (1)

BiggestPOS (139071) | more than 13 years ago | (#168318)

But can I download Mpegs Into, say something I snagged from alt.binaries.futurama ?

Re:don't be silly (1)

Fishstick (150821) | more than 13 years ago | (#168324)

>Why would a determined pirate bother with hacking a TiVo?

Partly agree. The thing that makes this so attractive is the TiVo _service_ that automates the recording of the shows. I've been mumbling everytime I see a TiVo ad that I'd run out and get one if there was a way to burn DVDs out of the thing. If I could set it to record all of the episodes of my shows and then easily transfer them to DVD (sans commercials), that would be something _really_ worth having.

Determined pirate? No. Fat, lazy coder guy who wants to watch what he wants, when he wants for years and years? Ubetcha!


Re:Distribution extended to all multimedia (1)

uberdood (154108) | more than 13 years ago | (#168328)

All multimedia should be set free.

And the day after when you're sitting in the dark without utilities and the grocery stores don't stock food anymore...

Oh, what was that sound? That was the sound of capitalism crashing.

Re:Dr. Who Definitive Site (1)

uberdood (154108) | more than 13 years ago | (#168329)

SCREW BBCAmerica. I want Channel Four on the Dish.

To TiVo or Not to TiVo -- That is the question (1)

TTop (160446) | more than 13 years ago | (#168332)

I see stuff like this that really makes me want a TiVo for it's hackability [] , Linux and open-sourceness. Then stuff like the earlier article and their subscription-based shenanigans knock me back a few pegs. I'm still sitting on my wallet, though. ReplayTV [] has no subscription fee... UltimateTV [] --well, on principle I can't give more $ to M$ then is absolutely necessary.

I think if TiVo got rid of the subscription model and went to a model fueled by hardware sales they'd have the best shot of becoming the ubiquitous device of this decade -- but with MS gunning at them and their continuing missteps, it's hard to see them becoming a widespread success. I'm still waiting to see what becomes of the vaporous but potential TiVo-killer Nokia Media Terminal [] . By the time these devices reach third generation, they'll be great--but I hate having to wait it out in the meantime!!

Re:To TiVo or Not to TiVo -- That is the question (1)

TTop (160446) | more than 13 years ago | (#168333)

But they're having financial troubles, too, a "lifetime" subscription could be pretty short-lived. Even with their new time-warping patent ;-)

Actually I think (1)

AntiPasto (168263) | more than 13 years ago | (#168336)

... that this is a better idea, than say, having all that multimedia crap on your computer a la 'ATI All-In-Wonder Radeon'... this way you have a dedicated device for all of your media needs. With its own processor.


Best insight I saw in the discussion... (5)

issachar (170323) | more than 13 years ago | (#168337)

Now this is the problem with all these admitedly very cool Napster-like copyright infringement tools.

This is a reposting of cworley/s comment on the TIVO discussion board [] .


Here's the scenario:

The code is released, TiVoNets/TiVo's sell like mad.

DirectTV gets wind, and tells TiVo to "shut them down".

TiVo complies: nightly dialin's delete files that aren't supposed to be there, add software that changes the MFS, add encryption to the MFS data (making any hacking illegal).

This drives the hackers underground. The honeymoon is over. TiVo treats its hackes like DirectTV treats DSS hackers.

The TiVo hackers subvert and make the program guide free.

TiVo looses it's revenue stream.

Everybody looses.


Until we find away to make information "free", without removing all incentives to make the content in the first place, these technologies will continue to be surpressed in the legal system. Simply saying "screw 'em" achieves nothing except to make the guy saying it feel all cool and defiant.

The other way. (2)

Marty200 (170963) | more than 13 years ago | (#168338)

What would be better would be to be able to copy mpeg2 from a computer to a tivo so you could watch movies stored on a server or copy shows to anoughter tivo.


Re:Turn of face time (1)

loraksus (171574) | more than 13 years ago | (#168339)

The point is that this was released in retaliation for what Tivo did. It still is evil etc... but fuckit, the technology works for us for the time being.

The slashdot 2 minute between postings limit:
Pissing off hyper caffeineated /.'ers since Spring 2001.

Don't get out much, do we? (1)

mbourgon (186257) | more than 13 years ago | (#168340)

now people will be distributing those episodes of "Seinfeld" on the Internet for everyone to watch at anytime

Um, you missed it. That was posted a few weeks ago on a.b.m. It's already being done... people with video cards and digital satellite "tape" the show onto their computer, encode it (VCD & DivX) and then post it. It's really nice, since I now have a copy of shows that will never be shown on TV, and can't be bought.

ObTopic: all this hack does right now is make it easier for the geeks to do geeky things. Some people use video cards and PCs, others will use TiVo and the hack. Only difference is this (depending on how easy it is to implement) could get widespread. And even if they do [encrypt|delete|workaround] the hack, the people with the video cards will still be out there. I leave the morality of this to the reader.

This doesn't work for DirecTV (1)

hirschma (187820) | more than 13 years ago | (#168342)

Um, there is no ethernet adapter for the DirecTV combo boxen - apparently no space to put one in. Or there aren't enough of them to make it worthwhile.

So this isn't a DirecTV issue...yet.

Category (4)

sulli (195030) | more than 13 years ago | (#168343)

Now this, unlike the previous TiVo story, [] should have been put in the Upgrades [] category!

Holy Jamoly! I can't run to the store quick enough (5)

arnie_apesacrappin (200185) | more than 13 years ago | (#168346)

Durning every discussion I've ever had about Tivo, I've always said I'll get one when I can pull the videos off for archive to DVD. I'm ready to put my money where my mouth has been for the last 18 months. If anyone is in Cincinnati, and you see a Silver Audi TT hauling tail, GET OUT OF THE WAY!

A big congradulations to all the people in the Tivo underground forum. They are true hackers and have done some really cool stuff to the little PPC linux box.

Re:Yay! (2)

graveyhead (210996) | more than 13 years ago | (#168348)

I also have about 100 tapes, about a quarter of which are store bought... most of Tom Baker (only missing that one silly episode with the big man-eating plant -- the second one, with k9 & romana), most (if not all, I haven't done inventory in a while) of Peter Davidson (kinda/snakedance rules!), about half of Jon Pertwee (karate master / scientist extroidainere), a good chunk of Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy. I wish there was more Patrick Troughton and William Hartnell episodes to be found, though. I hardly have any of those very early ones.

I have been thinking about taking them out of episode format because that's how I was introduced to Doctor Who, age 10 in 1982. My local PBS station, WTTW Chicago used to play episodes in their entirety, every sunday night. Some of the tapes in my collection are from that period. I guess it's just a question of nostalga.

Well, your fingers weave quick minarets; Speak in secret alphabets;

Yay! (3)

graveyhead (210996) | more than 13 years ago | (#168349)

My Dr. Who collection thanks Mr. Andrew Tridgell. Now I can precisely edit those separate half-hour episodes into complete episodes. This rocks!

Well, your fingers weave quick minarets; Speak in secret alphabets;

Re:this is not napster (3)

graveyhead (210996) | more than 13 years ago | (#168350)

Yes, but you are forgetting about something crucial. DeCSS is also only usable by folks with know-how and that didn't stop the MPAA going after it with a vengance. I think their (spurious) logic is that if geeks can do it now, we will make it eaiser for Joe Sixpack in the future. Even though hardware mods are impossible for Average Joe, there are enough electronics geeks around the world who might be willing to do this for a price. A good percentage of us here in the US know someone who can crack cable/direct-tv recievers. Something like this might just be the excuse the MPAA is looing for...

Well, your fingers weave quick minarets; Speak in secret alphabets;

Re:Subscription Fees (1)

Ill_Omen (215625) | more than 13 years ago | (#168353)

ReplayTV has no subscription fee...
ReplayTV does have a subscription fee, it's just built into the cost of the device. I just checked on ThinkGeek today... a 30 hour ReplayTV device runs $529. A 30 hour TiVo runs $299. Add in the lifetime subscription fee of $199 and you're still paying $30 less than the ReplayTV device.

No, I don't own a TiVo or a ReplayTV device, I work for either company, and I don't know the features of either product. I've just seen to many posts talking about how ReplayTV is cooler because it doesn't have a subscription fee. At least TiVo offers a choice.

Serious implications (3)

ageitgey (216346) | more than 13 years ago | (#168354)

Anyone who ever gets on irc these days can see that pirated copies of TV shows are getting really popular. There are groups that exist only to release say Sopranos or Simpsons episodes. This hack will A. reduce their work-load tremendously. B. allow one person to basically capture/encode several shows instead of it taking several people to do one show. I'd be upset if I was HBO. At this rate I would not be surprized if we start seeing yesterday's baseball game,etc on the napster clones and IRC on a daily basis. But then again, isn't this what is supposed to happen? Video content on the net...

Re:All Information Wants to Be Free (2)

devnullkac (223246) | more than 13 years ago | (#168355)

I might ask "What are artists, inventors and programmers going to do for a living?" but I won't. The question I will ask is this: how can we measure the demand for information if you can't put a price on it? Free economies are not about moving money; they're about communicating demand. The greatest accomplishment of the free market has been the automatic determination of what everyone in the world should be doing, based on what everyone in the world wants for themselves. There are various distortions, but the idea still mostly works.

Even if we can all be guaranteed an inheritance in the earth, if information and "intellectual property" are taken out of the free market, how will an artist or a programmer know whether s/he is producing something of value to someone or simply wasting his/her time? Fan clubs?

SnapStream vs Tivo (1)

Maax (223760) | more than 13 years ago | (#168356)

If you haven't seen SnapStream [] , check it out.

I guess it's probably lower quality than what this functionality on the Tivo can deliver, but as another poster said - it's not like no-one saw this coming.

I'm glad people like SnapStream will keep doing this stuff on commodity PC hardware -- at the very least it will keep the pressure on embedded people like Tivo to keep the features coming.

hot damn (1)

Cephas Keken (224723) | more than 13 years ago | (#168357)

This is the niftiest crap I've seen in a while...
time ot buy a TiVo before the *insert four letter acronym for television industry, ala mpaa, riaa* gets ahold of this and shits chickens...somthing tells me it'll be alot easier to find the newest southpark episode now...

Hmmm.... (5)

Dave Rickey (229333) | more than 13 years ago | (#168364)

What would it take to create a bare-bones TiVo equivalent? Not anything fancy like Indrema tried to be, but the bare minimum (for the hardware, make the software an open source arrangement)? Seems like what you'd need would be:

1) A commodity-grade CPU and mobo, like a 400 Celeron (or equivalent Duron, I don't care). About $100.

2) A TV In/Out card that also contained a tuner (support having two tuning circuits, but lets assume only one for now). STB lists one at $129.

3) A network card (many of the most promising software expansions of the system would be dependant on transparent access to the internet). $20, max.

4) A hard drive. Maybe use some dockable approach? Anyway, you can get a 20 gig retail for $100.

5) A case and 200W power supply. $30 if you use a standard PC mini-tower.

Seems like that would be it. What are we talking, maybe $380 in parts (most of that for the Tuner cards)? And you could probably get most of that stuff cheaper.

Why not? Compared to an entire operating system that is ported to just about every platform in the freaking world, this is a trivial problem. Just Keep It Simple, Stupid, don't attach all the freaking bells and whistles to the hardware, make that as simple as possible and then use software to leverage that capability.

People don't want yet another game console that is also a TiVo, nor do they want a really complicated system that requires them to learn how to code C.

Most non-geeks can't figure out why open source is anything they should give a damn about, and couldn't care less if big media is locking them out of things they never even knew were possible. But put a Open Source turnkey TV recording device in their hands without any built-in crippleware, and god help the poor bastard that tries to take it away after they've gotten used to what it can do.

--Dave Rickey

Re:Hope you're ready for the "fun" to begin... (3)

ryanvm (247662) | more than 13 years ago | (#168366)

all i have to say, is if/when tivo acts, you'll see *why* we didn't release the tools we have

I'm a huge fan of TiVo, and lurking in the AVS forum, I've noticed that exact opinion is very common among TiVo owners.

But why? This is an extremely useful tool, and it also certainly falls under the concept of 'fair use'. Are you guys really such pussies that you'd rather buckle under potential pressure than "fight the good fight".

It's that kind of bullshit that has got us where we are:
"The record companies are fucking me over? Oh well, I'll go buy more CDs anyway."
"The MPAA doesn't want me archiving things that I paid to watch? I guess I better sit down and shut up."

I don't mean to be rude to you personally, but this is ridiculous. When your rights are being tread upon, you don't cower in fear that you'll lose even more. You stand the fuck up and do something!!!


Re:One step closer for consumers... (1)

UberLame (249268) | more than 13 years ago | (#168367)

40 songs and 40 years. That's 40x40=1600, not 160.

Re:Hey, maybe.... (2)

Zenin (266666) | more than 13 years ago | (#168374)

Well, perhaps if you had read the other /. article recently about TiVo [] , you'd understand why "downgrading" to 1.3 would be far from pointless or stupid. Perhaps you should join the world of the clueful before proclaiming something stupid...

Re:Hope you're ready for the "fun" to begin... (1)

EllisDees (268037) | more than 13 years ago | (#168375)

Looks like it's time to start attacking the 'program guide' problem...

Re:Hope you're ready for the "fun" to begin... (2)

EllisDees (268037) | more than 13 years ago | (#168379)

Isn't space-shifting protected as well as time-shifting? Isn't this just a convenient way for people to copy a few episodes of "The Simpsons" to CD-R?

Re:Same for Digital Cable? (2)

banuaba (308937) | more than 13 years ago | (#168383)

My box has 2 unfilled 1394 ports on it and a filled USB port. Boy, I wish I was smarter, then I could l33t h4x0r my box...

The wierd thing is, I don't see how cable companies, being in bed with the RIAA and MPAA like they are, could ever offer anything that would be dump video through firewire to a PC of any sort.
Damn you waldo, now I'm going to have to resist tearing into my cable box when I get home from work. Hmm.. Or maybe I'll just bust up my roommate's. Heh.


Re:Is this really different... (1)

Chakat (320875) | more than 13 years ago | (#168385)

Yes and no. Basically, what you're doing is hacking your TiVO into becoming a dedicated MPEG-2 processor. You allow the TiVO to do all the realtime ripping while you go about doing whatever, and pulling it off when you get a round tuit. Now, the big question is will one be able to do the opposite, copy your MPEGs onto your TiVO.

Re:Hey, maybe.... (1)

Chakat (320875) | more than 13 years ago | (#168386)

It's not pointless and stupid if you want to use this new hack. It doesn't work with the 2.0 version of the software.

Re:Actually I think (2)

TheAwfulTruth (325623) | more than 13 years ago | (#168387)

And it's own spyware, and it's own subscription, and it's own auto upgrades to kill everything you've done to it. (Yes, I know you can use it without the phone line, but eveyone I know with one thinks the TV guide is the best part, and yes they are also HUGE linux supporters, not your average mom and pop, so I suspect a lot of you are using that as well) I HAVE an ATI allinwonder card in a dedicated media PC. The PC sits by my stereo rack (Still looking for a cooler rack case) it serves MP3's to the stereo and all PCs in the house. It serves video captured from the ATI card and from the net to the TV and all computers in the house. I can watch WinAMP visualisations on my big screen while playing the MP3's throught the stereo. I can surf the web and MUD from the TV. And so on. In this situation, my Windows media machine seems to be a lot more Linux like than the Tivo running Linux! Far more breadth of use and customization than a Tivo.

Re:To TiVo or Not to TiVo -- That is the question (1)

koreth (409849) | more than 13 years ago | (#168388)

If you don't want a monthly fee, you can pay up front for a lifetime subscription. That's essentially what ReplayTV does; the lifetime fee is included in the price of the unit (they don't give you the option of paying later). Just think of it as the TiVo being $200ish more expensive than the ads say, and work out whether or not it's worth that amount of money to you.

Re:Is this really different... (1)

big_nipples (412515) | more than 13 years ago | (#168389)

It's fundamentally not very different, however I believe it *will* create large problems. What this changes is the procedure for transferring TV into a PC (and subsequently anywhere else). Until now, this was a laborious process, whereas with this software, it is much easier. So, I fear that this could very well be attacked as an 'enabler' for copyright infringement and piracy. We'll just have to sit back and see what the MPAA, etc., have to say about it.

Well. (1)

Violet Null (452694) | more than 13 years ago | (#168393)

Not like no one saw this coming; same thing happened with the Nomad Jukebox quite awhile ago. This might actually convince me to go out and get one of these things, if I could start an archive of all the, say, Simpsons episodes.

That'd be worth the price of admission.

Re:Distribution extended to all multimedia (1)

Genoaschild (452944) | more than 13 years ago | (#168395)

The butterflies are free, why can't multimedia be?

Re:All Information Wants to Be Free (1)

Genoaschild (452944) | more than 13 years ago | (#168396)

No more slavery, no more sucking up to those who exploit us. Real freedom. Their are more then one type of slavery. The first type: chain them up, put them in the cotton field, let them suffer. The second type: Decrease labor demands, increase labor force. In this way, many employees will compete for low wages so they can buy massively inflated common goods controlled by the companies that employ them. Some place, somewhere in the world, someone will always suffer from the second and their hasn't been a single point in history where people haven't suffered from the first(including today.)

The people should inherit the Earth, no doubt. The question is, what happens when the population gets so high and that people that inherit this earth are getting smaller and smaller slices of the World's pie.

I like intellectual property laws. They should, naturally, be limited, say 7-10 years. If I spent $500 million on a research project with intentional profit of $700 million and you download my hard earned research and money for free and distribute it to the world, I am going to be pissed. After a few years, let it run its course, the information(program) should become free or open for secondary development and some freedom of information act should kick in.

As of Brazillians downloading free copies of Windows, their is nothing wrong with that on the basis that Microsoft is purely a monopoly. It makes massive amounts of money on its lacking products(at 40 or more bucks above the market justified price to the profit maximizing point) just so users can spends tons of more money on worthless upgrades. When the government becomes tyrant, it is *MORE* ok to rebel then when it is not or less.

don't be silly (1)

m08593 (455349) | more than 13 years ago | (#168398)

What causes Napster problems is the fact that it is a business; for personal use, you can still record, time-shift, space-shift, and do other things. Much as some institutions would like to make you believe, "fair use" is still the law of the land.

Besides, a video capture card is cheaper than a TiVo and easier to program, too. Why would a determined pirate bother with hacking a TiVo?

Re:All Information Wants to Be Free (1)

gnurd (455798) | more than 13 years ago | (#168399)

wow. a cure for aids. i dont quite remember seeing that patent.

Dr. Who Definitive Site (1)

RimmerExperience (456643) | more than 13 years ago | (#168400)

When are all of us fans going to create the definitive Dr. Who video site?

Where are our Region 1 DVD's? Where's the new series? Where's BBC America on my local cable provider?

(p.s. looking for tapes or MPEGs or ANYTHING! Get in touch) :)

Re:Yay! (1)

paranoid_us3r (458220) | more than 13 years ago | (#168401)

Personally, I was thinking all those "Wonder Years" now w/o commercials. ;-)

On a serious note, which agency or corporation will try to fight this?
ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, FOX... or will the individual companies that distribute/make the shows be the ones trying to quell this?
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