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TiVo File Encryption Cracked

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the platform-equity dept.

Encryption 250

An anonymous reader writes "TiVo file encryption has been cracked. Details on the project can be found on the wiki. Mac and Linux users rejoice!" The project page says, "The conversion still requires the valid MAK of the TiVo which recorded the file, so it cannot be used to circumvent their protection, simply to provide the same level of access as is already available on Windows."

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250 comments

Yay fair use (2, Insightful)

spyder913 (448266) | more than 7 years ago | (#17103676)

This is good news for people who are trying to use content they recorded, like they should be able to.

Re:Yay fair use (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#17103806)

Funny, I've been doing this with my ReplayTV for years now. I made the decision to go replay instead of Tivo back then and enjoyed full access to my content, no features removed (I still have a commercial skip button that works, no pause ad's and everything works as it should and was promised when I bought it.

Nice to see that TiVO owners can catch up to the rest of us now, but a smarter decision at the beginning would have given you that choice from the start.

if someone figures out how to take a TiVo and install a linux distro on it and a mythtv install I'll be all over buying a Tivo or two to hack, but until then. I'll keep using my networked replays.

Oh no! (4, Funny)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104364)

A cloud of smug!

Re:Oh no! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17104456)

Not to mention the unbalanced parenthesis.

Re:Yay fair use (2, Informative)

LordSkippy (140884) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104400)

And I've been pulling shows off my Series 1 TiVo for years now too. What's your point?

Re:Yay fair use (5, Insightful)

Manchot (847225) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104638)

Commercial skip: Still works on the Tivo, except now you have to push a six-button sequence every couple months to get it to work.
Ads: Barely visible. They either appear on the bottom of the Now Playing screen, in which case they're optional, or it takes up an eighth of the screen during the commercial for the product being shown. In essence, the latter are only visible in the short time while you're fast-forwarding, showing you a stationary ad for a couple seconds. Those ads are exceedingly rare anyway. (I saw one for the Wii yesterday during primetime, but that's the first I've seen in weeks.)

It seems to me that many people on Slashdot, the Richard Stallman crowd especially, act like Tivo is most evil company on the planet for a few very minor faults (especially when it comes to DRM). In reality, I like Tivo because while they do pay lip service to the likes of the RIAA and the MPAA, it is only lip service. They didn't actually remove the commerical-skip feature: they just put in an easy workaround to get it. They included DRM to prevent themselves from getting sued, but it is extremely minimal DRM that is easily circumvented by the owner of the Tivo with a single DirectShow filter. If ReplayTV had paid lip service, it might still be around.

In fact, Tivo even does things that most Slashdotters would applaud, but are villainized nonetheless. Though they have a few patents, a lot of it is for innovative hardware. They aren't like some of the patent-whores who patent things invented fifteen years ago: they basically co-invented the DVR, and made a damn good one. They even use Linux and released their code under the GPL. And yet, we still hear Stallman complaining about the fact that the Tivo hardware locks you out from changing the software. What he (and many others) apparently miss is that when you buy a Tivo, you're not buying a general purpose computer: you're buying a DVR. I mean, God forbid that they prevent users from running them out of business by buying the hardware for far less than it costs Tivo to make it and loading MythTV onto it. (Yes, Tivo subsidizes the cost of the hardware, but only because you are agreeing to pay for the service.)

Re:Yay fair use (2, Interesting)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104970)

Quite simply, I shouldn't need to indulge in a "hack" that is a well known secret in order to get my PVR to skip ahead 30 seconds. You've just been conditioned to accept this. Nevermind how annoying it is anytime there's a power hit.

It's really quite nice being able to completely power down the MythTV box that sits in my living room. If I do the same to my Tivo, not only does stuff not get recorded but I will have to re-enter that stupid hack to get my 30-second skip back again.

That's not even getting into the fact that any PC in the rest of the house can be a cheap and easy "Tivo" for free, part time, and without needing to maintain another payware Tivo subscription.

How much would 4 Tivo's cost you on a monthly basis?

Re:4 tivos = $6/month on directv (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17105366)

or $5 for those long standing customers. For two tuners per unit. And in my case, in HD.

Shortly I'm going to try to get a fusion card to work in HD-OTA with a new box, but don't kid yourselves on the costs. A tivo runs 40+ watts and costs about $3/month to run. An efficient PC is likely to be double that, at best. (the older CPUs - perhaps we're talking Athlons - burn 90-100 watts on their own.) The older machine will also need a new hard drive for the storage needs, esp for the HD crowd. Add another 60-100 there.

13/month seems like a hard sell to me, but the dtivo units run way cheaper than the PC route, with the simple reliability that can't be matched by general purpose PCs.

UPSs deal with power hits well, esp when the draw is only 40W. I can literally go an entire day. (OTOH, the hdtivo has been rebooting itself at ~2:30 the past two saturdays - very odd behavior)

Re:Yay fair use (2, Interesting)

trix7117 (835907) | more than 7 years ago | (#17105478)

It's really quite nice being able to completely power down the MythTV box that sits in my living room. If I do the same to my Tivo, not only does stuff not get recorded but I will have to re-enter that stupid hack to get my 30-second skip back again.
Are you saying that if you "completely power down the MythTV box" it somehow continues to record your shows? Are you talking about your master backend machine or a remote frontend? If you're talking about a frontend-only machine, that really isn't the same as turning off the TiVo. Also, does turning the power off on a TiVo (not pulling the power plug or anything) actually stop the box from recording? I haven't had a TiVo in my house for about 5 years (been using MythTV and cable company HD DVRs), but I thought the TiVo would turn itself on and record when your shows come on. I have been using MythTV for around 3 years and am a huge fan, but if you turn the box off, it isn't going to record. There are plenty of advantages of using MythTV over TiVo (the commercial skip and remote frontends you mention being 2), you don't need to be making more up.

Re:Yay fair use (2, Interesting)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 7 years ago | (#17105148)

I'll respond to this a bit... I have 2 DirectTivo's - a series 1 and a series 2.

I DO like my Tivo, but it is showing it's age. It's slow, and the feature you mention as "commercial skip" isn't (it's a 30 second skip.) I also want the ability to get programs off it (which I'll probably add a cache+net card to do on the S1.) At this point, after using tivo for about 5 years now, I want more. I want more flexibility, speed, features (play MP3's, photos, etc.) and storage. The Tivo has served me well, but it's time for Myth with my modded series 1 behind it to feed it. My noisy myth server with a pile of drives will sit in the nice cool basement, and I'll use some cheap desktops (or maybe even mac minis) on a few front-ends around the house.

Re:Yay fair use (1)

Balthisar (649688) | more than 7 years ago | (#17105378)

(My Series 1 didn't have encrypted video, either).

I retired my Series 1 early this year for the same reasons that you mention -- it was getting slow and didn't do everything else that I wanted it to do. So I built my MythTV box where it lives in its closet happily. For front ends, I use Xboxes. For non-HDTV, they're perfect. You can either install Xebian and the MythTV front end (sloooow) or just use XBMC with the XBMXMythTV script. Works well for my purposes.

Given that, I miss some features from my Tivo. Program ratings and suggestions come to mind, but as it is, I have too much of a backlog so its not a deal killer. The Tivo interface was spectacular, and I find myself fiddling with the XBMC remote control configuration and skins in order to bring back some of that Tivo elegance.

Re:Yay fair use (2, Insightful)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17105198)

Commercial skip: Still works on the Tivo, except now you have to push a six-button sequence every couple months to get it to work.

That's not commercial skip. That's 30-second skip.

ReplayTV's commercial skip, like MythTV's commercial skip, figures out what portions of the recorded show are commercials and then automagically skips them on playback. Certain VCR's (I think JVC) had similar functionality, just not as nice since fast-forwarding tape is a lot clunkier than seeking on a file.

Re:Yay fair use (1)

kmcrober (194430) | more than 7 years ago | (#17105468)

How does the software detect a commercial? Is there an underlying signal the machine picks up, or does it go by volume/brightness cues?

Re:Yay fair use (1)

irving47 (73147) | more than 7 years ago | (#17105332)

My problems with TiVo:
They have become Microsoftian in that they think they can charge out the butt for inferior service.
TiVo2Go on a Mac? No. Sorry. They'll promise they're working on it for a few years, but it'll take (what will likely be touted as illegal) hacking/cracking to even SLIGHTLY level the field.
All the while, I have my tivo hooked to my network and am therefore not using their dialup lines, (nor could I with voip)
So I'm paying the same price as people using more of their services.
All I get to use are season passes and programming data... for $13/month. $20 if I sign up now and don't want to do a contract..

Re:Yay fair use (2, Funny)

howardd21 (1001567) | more than 7 years ago | (#17105184)

quote:
if someone figures out how to take a TiVo and install a linux distro on it and a mythtv install

I believe that is called a "PC", you can buy them, or do like I do and just buy the parts you need and build it.

Possibility for series3 HD Tivo? (3, Interesting)

adam (1231) | more than 7 years ago | (#17103682)

After reading the linked "details" article, I am at a loss to tell whether or not this will work with HD-Tivo. I've wanted to buy one of these for a long time (and they've recently hit the market [engadget.com] , but at $700ish I can't justify the cost unless I have some way to archive my programing (and Tivo2Go is not offered for HDcontent). HD-DVD and BluRay are both non-starters at the moment, whereas HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, etc all play assloads of HD content all the time (including many movies that aren't out on DVD yet, as well as their own series such as Deadwood, Dexter, etc).

So can anyone tell me if this actually brightens the prospects of being able to use a series 3 HD Tivo to record HD shows and then archive them offline for storage? I did RTFA but the jargon about headers and address bytes and whatnot got a little heavy for me.

Re:Possibility for series3 HD Tivo? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17103852)

No, this just applies to standard def content from a Series 2 TiVo. You must use the Home Media Option to get the files off the TiVo top begin with. The Series 3 TiVo (the HD version) does not support the Home Media Option.

Re:Possibility for series3 HD Tivo? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17104084)

After reading the linked "details" article, I am at a loss to tell whether or not this will work with HD-Tivo. I've wanted to buy one of these for a long time (and they've recently hit the market, but at $700ish I can't justify the cost

Amazon's third party sellers [amazon.com] are showing $660 now. After Christmas, the price might even get down to the mid-500s for those lucky enough to order from the cheapest seller before he's out of stock. And if the DRM is a major annoyance, as the reviews suggest, one might even start seeing very cheap used items.

Re:Possibility for series3 HD Tivo? (4, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104114)

It won't. Series 3 do not have the necessary feature enabled because Cable Labs won't let them (yet). Look for it in a future release (if hell freezes over).

For getting video off a Series 3, I worry that it will take an external drive (once they enable THAT) and then get the files that way.

I say all this as a Series 3 owner who, really, doesn't have a ton of use for extracting video.

In short: Series 3 need not apply.

Re:Possibility for series3 HD Tivo? (2, Insightful)

Macrat (638047) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104372)

You've already paid for an expensive HD TV and the extra charges for the HD channels.

Now you are going to cry over the cost of the HD Tivo?

Re:Possibility for series3 HD Tivo? (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17105008)

Yup. A HD TV isn't expensive really. Anymore HD is just a standard feature with any TV that's a decent large screen TV for watching movies. All of that progressive DVD content will be more than adequately cool. You don't even need to futz with the HD channels (payware or otherwise).

Infact, when stacked up next to a nice progressive DVD those HD channels aren't that hot anyways. Even when not compared to good DVD's in a side by side comparison those HD channels aren't that impressive.

Many people don't have the visual acuity to tell the difference.

i've been copying files for a while off mine (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17103714)

whats the news? i've been doing this for a while, they come to the pc in a proprietary format and then i use tshow to clean them up. I'm using a series 1.

Re:i've been copying files for a while off mine (2, Informative)

NSIM (953498) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104800)

Apples & Oranges, the data you get from the disk on a Series 1 is no-DRM, unencrypted marginally proprietary MPEG-2, the stuff you get from a series 2 via Tivo to Go is DRMed and not easy to un-DRM, so you need a TIVO-annointed software component to read it, this is about removing the TIVO-annointed requirement ;-)

Re:i've been copying files for a while off mine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17105256)

thanks for clearing that up.. :)

No it hasn't. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17103730)

It hasn't been "cracked", since it still requires your Media Access Key to decode the video.

Re:No it hasn't. (4, Insightful)

pegr (46683) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104182)

It hasn't been "cracked", since it still requires your Media Access Key to decode the video.
 
Remember what Bruce says kids: In the classic encryption scenerio, A(lice) encrypts her message to B(ob) to protect it from C(harles). With DRM, Bob and Charles are the same person!

Re:No it hasn't. (3, Informative)

mrsbrisby (60242) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104294)

It hasn't been "cracked", since it still requires your Media Access Key to decode the video.
Yes it has. The MAK isn't the key to the encrypted stream- the MAK is what's printed on the System Information page in the TiVO.

This defeats TiVO's DRM that was used to prevent Linux and Mac users from watching shows on their PC.

Please stop replying if you have no idea what you're talking about.

Re:No it hasn't. (0)

Sparohok (318277) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104646)

The MAK isn't the key to the encrypted stream-

Yes it is... RTFWiki.

This defeats TiVO's DRM that was used to prevent Linux and Mac users from watching shows on their PC.

TiVo's DRM prevented Linux and Mac users from watching their shows only as a side effect. The intent of TiVo's DRM is to prevent people who don't know the MAK from watching the content.

Please stop replying if you have no idea what you're talking about.

Ahem. :)

This is a nice piece of reverse engineering, but no encryption scheme was cracked.

Re:No it hasn't. (5, Interesting)

mrsbrisby (60242) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104772)

The MAK isn't the key to the encrypted stream-
Yes it is... RTFWiki.
No it isn't. read the wiki yourself. I've been following it for months.

The key is produced through a (previously) unknown tranformation involving the MAK. Since the MAK is published, as well as the cipher, as well as the protocol.

TiVo's DRM prevented Linux and Mac users from watching their shows only as a side effect. The intent of TiVo's DRM is to prevent people who don't know the MAK from watching the content.
I don't know what the intent of Tivo's DRM was, and I strongly suspect you don't either.

The DRM as implemented couldn't do what you say it was intended to do- people regularly rip from their tivo and show the results to people who don't have the MAK.

This is a nice piece of reverse engineering, but no encryption scheme was cracked.
Its a wonderful piece of reverse engineering, but if you're nitpicking that people didn't break the turing cipher, I've got news for you: Nobody had to. They broke the method of creating the key.

DMCA? (5, Interesting)

Thunderstruck (210399) | more than 7 years ago | (#17103734)

If I recall, the DMCA prohibits trafficing in technology to bypass security measures on copyrighted media put in place by the owners of that copyright.

The limitations on Tivo are copy protections put in place by a third party, not the owner. (I can still record the same programs on my betamax with no trouble.) Have I missed something?

Re:DMCA? (3, Interesting)

Aadain2001 (684036) | more than 7 years ago | (#17103824)

IANAL, but from my understanding it can summed up as: the MPAA/ABC/CBS/etc can't sue them for this (they didn't put the protection in place), but TiVo certainly can!

Re:DMCA? (3, Interesting)

ahknight (128958) | more than 7 years ago | (#17103928)

It's not TiVo's media. You are, however, breaking the license agreement for the service if you do this and they can disconnect you. That's about it. (IANAL, either)

Re:DMCA? (1)

Aadain2001 (684036) | more than 7 years ago | (#17105586)

They can definitely shut off your service (thus turning your TiVo into a brain dead PVR), but I still think they are the ones who can sue under the DMCA. While the content (TV show, movie, etc) is not their legal property, they did produce the file that exists on the TiVo and on the user's computer once transfered. The whole reason for the encryption was to prevent the files being shared, thus a form of copyright protection. It's a stretch, but with the current US legal system it's not hard to see TiVo wining a case like this.

Re:DMCA? (4, Informative)

Jerf (17166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17103876)

Why "recall"? This is the Internet. Look it up.
Sec. 1201. Circumvention of copyright protection systems

            `(a) VIOLATIONS REGARDING CIRCUMVENTION OF TECHNOLOGICAL MEASURES- (1)(A) No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title. The prohibition contained in the preceding sentence shall take effect at the end of the 2-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this chapter.
I don't see any reference to who is adding the "protection". This is probably a DMCA violation.

'Course, unless you run Linux but have never watched a DVD, you've pretty much already opened that door.

IANAL, but while I'm sure you could argue either way, I'm pretty sure that the better argument is that the DMCA is intended to allow non-owners to add protection, as TiVo is here, for exactly the sort of things TiVo is doing.

Re:DMCA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17104150)

Read the rest of it:

(3) As used in this subsection--
(A) to "circumvent a technological measure" means to descramble a scrambled work, to decrypt an encrypted work, or otherwise to avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair a technological measure, without the authority of the copyright owner; and
(B) a technological measure "effectively controls access to a work" if the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation, requires the application of information, or a process or a treatment, with the authority of the copyright owner, to gain access to the work.

TiVO is performing the encryption, NOT the copyright holder. It's not at all clear that that constitutes "effective control" for the purposes of the statue.

Re:DMCA? (5, Funny)

acklenx (646834) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104472)

No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.
Call me crazy, but if you can circumvent it, then it doesn't seem like it effectively controls access. So you can crack anything that you can crack, duh.

Re:DMCA? (1)

Jerf (17166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104860)

Call me crazy, but if you can circumvent it, then it doesn't seem like it effectively controls access.
You'll have to take that up with Congress and the Supreme Court.

cfulmer's sibling to my post is a much more interesting counterpoint.

A further interesting point is that while TiVo may not have directly contracted with the media companies (and maybe they did, I just don't remember and if they do have a formal contract none of my internet searches could find it), they clearly added this protection to placate them, and it's pretty clear the media companies wouldn't approve of this.

Re:DMCA? (1)

AusIV (950840) | more than 7 years ago | (#17105626)

it's pretty clear the media companies wouldn't approve of this.
Is it? We're not talking about music or (new) movies, we're talking about things that are being aired on TV. Every once in a while I'll miss an episode of one of my favorite shows and torrent it. A case point: The TV show Day Break is airing the entire series during a 12 week period. No reruns, no option to buy on iTunes, and if you miss an episode, there's no legit way to catch up - so it's either torrent it, continue on in confusion, or forget about the series. I was intrigued by the first episode, but missed the second. Rather than drop the series, I torrented it so I could keep up. I'm sure ABC would rather have had me torrent one episode so that I'd watch the other 10 when they air.

Sure in the case of many shows, they'd rather you buy the DVD to get caught up on past seasons, but they're still coming out more or less ahead of they get a regular viewer from people downloading.

Re:DMCA? (1)

OldManAndTheC++ (723450) | more than 7 years ago | (#17105364)

In this case, the author is using the alternate meaning of effectively, which is to say, "for all practical purposes." So one might also write it as "a technological measure that has the effect of controlling access to a work blah blah..." The author may have wanted to imply a vague concept of access control, for whatever reason.

Re:DMCA? (2, Interesting)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#17105354)

'Course, unless you run Linux but have never watched a DVD, you've pretty much already opened that door.

There's every reason to believe dvdcss (and this software) is perfectly legal under the DMCA, as it falls under "interoperability":

`(3) The information acquired through the acts permitted under paragraph (1), and the means permitted under paragraph (2), may be made available to others if the person referred to in paragraph (1) or (2), as the case may be, provides such information or means solely for the purpose of enabling interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs, and to the extent that doing so does not constitute infringement under this title or violate applicable law other than this section.

Re:DMCA? (3, Interesting)

cfulmer (3166) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104010)

Well, the relevant part of the DMCA is this:

'a technological measure "effectively controls access to a work" if the measure, in the ordinary course of its operation, requires the application of information, or a process or a treatment, with the authority of the copyright owner, to gain access to the work.'

(that's 17 U.S.C. 1201(a)(3)(B)). Under your reading, where it says "with the authority of the copyright owner," that means that the copyright owner has to approve the encryption being put in place. Since I don't think Tivo has agreements with all the media companies, I don't think this applies. Also, I don't think Tivo adds anything to the media, so it doesn't have any copyright in it. So, under this section, you're right.

But, there's another section, 17 U.S.C. 1201(b) which says that you cannot traffic in something that circumvents "a technological measure that effectively protects a right of a copyright owner under this title in a work or a portion thereof." And, here, it does that if it "prevents, restricts, or otherwise limits the exercise of a right of a copyright owner under this title." That's a bit odd to read -- the expression "a right of a copyright owner" is a term of art which basically means "the things only copyright owners can do." The end result is that you cannot traffic in circumvention devices, even if they circumvent something that was not put there with the agreement of the copyright owner, so long as it keeps you from doing something that only the copyright owner can do (i.e. *copying*).

I think that the end result of this odd situation is that people can circumvent the encryption on the Tivo, but can't provide a tool for others to do the same thing.

[See a lawyer before you rely on this.]

Re:DMCA? (1)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104074)

Not if it's technology to bypass security measures in order to achieve interoperability [hellerehrman.com] .

Granted, there's been a few conflicting precedents (DeCSS/libdvdcss) but I think it's well within consumer's rights to watch Tivo-recorded video on whatever OS they darn well please. And on that topic . . . why doesn't Tivo already have a Linux client? It's the native OS on the box itself, after all . . . then again . . . Tivo hasn't shown itself to be particularly supportive of the community that created the base software it depends on. The boxes won't run unsigned code.

Re:DMCA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17104112)

Legal or not, I think you are forgetting the fact that the **AA does not care about the law.

cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17103736)

The next step then is to attempt to brute force the media access key by validating the 'decrypted' data from each attempt. MAK's are fairly short numbers really, I'd imagine it would take a while, but should be possible, no?

Maybe this means I can cancel my tivo subscription on one of my TiVos and copy the decrypted recordings to the one without the MAK?

Cool, but not *too* cool. (4, Interesting)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17103742)

It's cool that Mac/Linux users can now access their media in the same way as Windows users have been able to. It's not *too* cool (ie: dangerous to TiVo, and by extension the implementors) because you still need your MAK key, and all it does is provide the same level of access as TiVo already provide to windows users.

The crucial thing here is that TiVo took a business decision not to support Mac/Linux users. They can't really complain when those users decide to support themselves, giving themselves the same abilities that TiVo provide to Windows users...

Personally I think this is the right balance - my TiVo has been sitting in a corner since I moved house - the new cable box does everything TiVo did, and does it in HD (although the interface sucks a bit. Bad comcast). With this though, I can see a new lease of life for the TiVo ... a few creative uses come to mind :-)

Simon

Re:Cool, but not *too* cool. (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17105060)

Sorry, but I've got to call you on that one. I'm a Mac user and I love my Tivo (I've now got a Series 3). I can't extract video because I have the S3, but I don't have much desire to any way.

That said...

They can't really complain (emphasis mine) when those users decide to support themselves, giving themselves the same abilities that TiVo provide to Windows users...

That's false. People will want the functionality, but TiVo certainly reserves the right to complain.

That's like buying a little Ford Focus and being mad that you can't tow 3000lbs. You knew that going in. The one exception is the people who bought their Series 2 before HMO was available.

They bought it when it wasn't even an option for Windows users.

TiVo did the smart thing and went after the largest share of the market first. I agree they should add Mac support (Linux is another argument), but they didn't give up their right to control access to their box because they didn't do what you (or someone else) wanted.

John Bolton Resigns: +1, Good (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17103788)

While John Bolton needs no introduction, I do want to state that I cannot, in good conscience, step aside and let slimy so-called experts arouse inter-ethnic suspicion. Some background is in order: We were put on this planet to be active, to struggle, and to serve on the side of Truth. We were not put here to tap into the national resurgence of overt commercialism, as Bolton might think. What he is incapable of seeing is that if you want to hide something from him, you just have to put it in a book.

I have the following to say to the assertion that it's perfectly safe to drink and drive: Baloney! This should be a chance to examine and bring problems to light, to share and join in understanding, but Bolton feels he has not only a right, but also a duty, to put the gods of heaven into the corner as obsolete and outmoded and, in their stead, burn incense to the idol Mammon. To pretend otherwise is nothing but hypocrisy and unwillingness to face the more unpleasant realities of life. I know very few headstrong, gruesome malefactors personally, but I know them well enough to surmise that his proposed social programs may have been conceived in idealism, but they quickly degenerated into reprehensible jingoism. The next time Bolton decides to make people suspicious of those who speak the truth, he should think to himself, cui bono? -- who benefits?

Aside from the fact that I find it sickening to watch Bolton confuse, befuddle, and neutralize public opposition, his sophistries are like a Hydra. They continually acquire new heads and new strength. The only way to stunt their growth is to ensure that the values for which we have labored and for which many of us have fought and sacrificed will continue in ascendancy. The only way to destroy Bolton's Hydra entirely is to provide more people with the knowledge that he speaks like a true defender of the status quo -- a status quo, we should not forget, that enables him to peddle the snake oil of stentorian philistinism. He insists that his imprecations are all sweetness and light. This fraud, this lie, is just one among the thousands he perpetrates. Impertinent vandals don't think like you and me. And if that seems like a modest claim, I disagree. It's the most radical claim of all.

Bolton's objectives constitute one of the many conduits of sectarianism in our culture. Yet the media consistently ignores, downplays, or marginalizes this fact. It would be nice to say that temperamental, audacious nihilism doesn't exist anymore, but we all know that it does. The pen is a powerful tool. Why don't we use that tool to make Bolton pay for his crimes against humanity? I'll give you an example of this, based on my own experience. As you know, by allowing him to squander irreplaceable treasures, we are allowing him to play puppet master.

Many people who follow Bolton's goals have come to the erroneous conclusion that Bolton has his moral compass in tact. The truth of the matter is that this is yet to be comprehended by most unrealistic freebooters. Period, finis, and Q.E.D. He wallows in his basest behavior. To top that off, I stand by what I've written before, that he managed to convince a bunch of what I call crapulous, intemperate slanderers to help him glamorize drug usage. What was the quid pro quo there? He doesn't want you to know the answer to that question; he wants to ensure you don't point out the glaring contradiction between his idealized view of interdenominationalism and reality. No one can claim to know the specific source of Bolton's plaints, but this view dangerously underestimates the gloomy quality of Jacobinism. His faithfuls probably don't realize that, because it's not mentioned in the funny papers or in the movies. Nevertheless, the problem with Bolton is not that he's scummy. It's that he wants to require schoolchildren to be taught that he has the mandate of Heaven to put our liberties at risk by a pestiferous and socially inept rush to blow the whole situation way out of proportion.

The foregoing greatly simplifies the real situation, but it does indicate in a rough, general way that if Bolton could have one wish, he'd wish for the ability to deploy enormous resources in a war of attrition against helpless citizens. Then, people the world over would be too terrified to acknowledge that Bolton keeps telling us that mealymouthed buffoons and the most superficial backstabbers you'll ever see should rule this country. Are we also supposed to believe that he has achieved sainthood? I didn't think so. It is probably unwise to say this loudly, but his mind has limited horizons. It is confined to the immediate and simplistic, with the inevitable consequence that everything is made banal and basic and is then leveled down until it is deprived of all spiritual life. Who is behind the decline of our civilization? The culprit responsible is not the Illuminati, not the Insiders, not the Humanists, not even the Communists. No, the decline of our civilization is attributable primarily to John Bolton.

Bolton is interpersonally exploitative. That is, he takes advantage of others to achieve his own intransigent ends. Why does he do that? People often ask me that question. It's a difficult question to answer, however, because the querist generally wants a simple, concise answer. He doesn't want to hear a long, drawn-out explanation about how purists may object to my failure to present specific examples of Bolton's uncouth hastily mounted campaigns. Fortunately, I do have an explanation for this omission. The explanation demands an understanding of how if history follows its course, it should be evident that my current plan is to fight for our freedom of speech. Yes, he will draw upon the most powerful fires of Hell to tear that plan asunder, but it has been said that most other pathological meanies are not as choleric as they seem. I, in turn, assert that if we let him threaten, degrade, poison, bulldoze, and kill this world of ours, then greed, corruption, and clericalism will characterize the government. Oppressive measures will be directed against citizens. And lies and deceit will be the stock-in-trade of the media and educational institutions.

I, hardheaded cynic that I am, understand that Bolton's words are a hotbed of denominationalism, but when you tell Bolton's spin doctors that Bolton is unable to distinguish bona fide science from astrology, channeling, crystal healing, telekinesis, psychic surgery, and all the other New Age pseudoscientific drivel floating about, they begin to get fidgety, and their eyes begin to wander. They really don't care. They have no interest in hearing that he should keep his thoughts to himself. Regular readers of my letters probably take that for granted, but if I am to insist on a policy of zero tolerance toward imperialism, I must explain to the population at large that I must clearly reach out even to my most ostrich-like readers and show them how ageism is an exclusive, rather than an inclusive, societal force. Still, I recommend you check out some of his quips and draw your own conclusions on the matter. If you'll allow me a minor dysphemism, the word "honesty" does not exist in Bolton's vocabulary. Or, to phrase that a little more politely, Bolton uses the very intellectual tools he criticizes, namely consequentialist arguments rather than arguments about truth or falsity.

Bolton believes that mediocrity is a worthwhile goal. Sorry, but I have to call foul on that one. Incendiarism and plagiarism are not synonymous. In fact, they are so frequently in opposition and so universally irreconcilable that not only does he revive an arcadian past that never existed, but he then commands his followers, "Go, and do thou likewise."

By refusing to act, by refusing to free people from the spell of parasitism that Bolton has cast over them, we are giving Bolton the power to destroy our moral fiber. If he doesn't realize that it's generally considered bad style to convince people that their peers are already riding the John Bolton bandwagon and will think ill of them if they don't climb aboard, too, then he should read one of the many self-help books on the subject. I recommend he buy one with big print and lots of pictures. Maybe then, Bolton will grasp the concept that some of the facts I'm about to present may seem shocking. This they certainly are. However, he hates it when you say that as a bastion of mercantalism, his dictatorial, offensive cabal has become a menace -- a menace, above all, to those of us who value liberty. He really hates it when you say that. Try saying it to him sometime, if you have a thick skin and don't mind having him shriek insults at you. When you get right down to it, Bolton's indecent plans for the future are in full flower, and their poisonous petals of Marxism are blooming all around us. When I was a child, my clergyman told me, "I, hardheaded cynic that I am, find Bolton's press releases not only insalubrious but also tactless." If you think about it you'll see his point. Lastly, John Bolton provides simplistic answers to complex problems.

Patriotically,
Kilgore Trout, C.E.O.

Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (1, Offtopic)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 7 years ago | (#17103848)

Neat idea and all -- the TiVo. Rather than fight with DRM, I'm using MythTV [mythtv.org] . All the shows I want are recorded, plus I get the added bonus of being able to drag and drop shows to my laptop for watching later. Add in the many other features that come with MythTV, and it's a wonder why people would use a TiVo. Check it out [mysettopbox.tv] , and you'll be amazed.

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (4, Informative)

Scutter (18425) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104026)

Check it out, and you'll be amazed.

I did, and I wasn't. It was a giant pain in the a** to set up and configure, it didn't work reliably, and the cost for hardware was way higher than buying a TiVo.

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (2, Interesting)

MoxFulder (159829) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104238)

The reason hardware for MythTV costs more is because Tivo sells their hardware at a loss, because they can count on making up for it in high subscription fees.

I recently spec'ed out a MythTV box with an 80gb hard drive and hardware MPEG encoding and a nice media center case for $350 shipped from NewEgg. A pretty good deal, I'd say, and it can actually be used for other things than just watching TV (it's got an Athlon 64, 512 mb RAM, and NVidia GeForce 6150 graphics).

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (1)

terrymr (316118) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104810)

hmmm I got my TIVO from directv, it records two channels at once and doesn't have a monthly fee either ... my programming charge would be the same whether I had tivo or not. If I could get my hands on a MythTV box for a reasonable cost that could a) record off of satellite and b) do so on 2 or more channels at once I'd be happy.

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17105086)

If you want to record off of satellite with a MythTV, just do the same thing that you would if you were using a standard S2 Tivo. Just do the same thing that people have been doign with Tivos and set-top boxes for years.

Some of us have already done the 2 tuners thing with S1 Tivos.

What hardware? (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17105604)

Any chance you want to list the set of hardware you were looking at?

I've been interested for a while in building a MythTV STB, but I've just been put off by the hardware issues. It seems like every video input card has some little niggling issue that might or might not make it work or break ... I understand that part of the "fun" is setting it up, but maybe I've just turned into an old fogey. I'm not going to buy hardware unless I'm sure it's going to work, and work well, with the software.

A while ago, I was all set to get a pcHDTV HD-5500 [pchdtv.com] because it's allegedly built from the ground up to be Linux-compatible, but even it had issues and didn't "just work" in many applications. (I've read posts by the developer and they blame the constant changes by the MythTV team to the backend that breaks drivers and forces the manufacturer into a constant cat-and-mouse redevelopment game in order to keep Linux users happy.)

I want something that can do ATSC, Clear QAM, and NTSC Analog cable, so that I can plug it into my Comcast line and get all my current (unencrypted) analog channels, plus whatever they're broadcasting in the clear via QAM, and I'd like it to do ATSC in case I decide to ditch cable in the future. I haven't found any hardware that seems sure to do that.

I've said elsewhere that I think there's a market for someone to put together an 'Anti-Tivo,' basically a TiVO without any of its absurd DMCA-driven restrictions. Sure, it would technically be illegal, but no more so than any Linux PC that plays DVDs right now. (And no more so than a modded Playstation, and they sell them on Craigslist all the time.)

I'd love to have a Linux STB, but even for someone who isn't a Linux noob, the field is very confusing and full of "works, sorta" products.

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (5, Informative)

scribblej (195445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104296)

It's a pain in the ass to set up and configure. I can't argue with you there. If you've done it once successfully, though (or two or three times) it becomes much easier.

However, I take issue with "didn't work reliably" and "cost was higher than a tivo."

My own MythTV works flawlessly, using a donated PIII-750 (cost: $0) for the server, and a Hauppauge 150 (cost: $60) for the tuner/encoder. There are no monthly fees. If you can show me a TiVo with lifetime subscription for $60, I'll be amazed. And tell my friends to buy it.

My MythTV also has features that TiVo will never have -- like the ability to automatically detect and skip commercials, the ability to select programs to automatically burn to DVD, and support for enough tuners to simultaneously record everything on every channel (well, in theory... I'd love to see the hardware for that!).

I like the TiVo. It's easy to use. But I like my MythTV a lot more. And I don't have to worry about what stupid decisions TiVo corporate might make -- like encrypting my videos so only I can watch them, support for the "Broadcast" flag, and wasting my storage space with advertisements.

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (2, Interesting)

scribblej (195445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104344)

One other thing I like about my MythTV. It doesn't "forget" whether I've watched a show or not after a few months. If I've watched something and told it I'm done with it, it's not going to record it again without my permission. Unlike the TiVo which will happily record shows you've watched a dozen times, if it's been long enough for the TiVo to forget.

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (0, Flamebait)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104682)

If you can show me a TiVo with lifetime subscription for $60, I'll be amazed.

Your MythTV didn't cost you $60. Just because someone donated the computer to you doesn't mean it was free. There's that and there's the time it cost you to put it all together and get it working. To me, even though I have an above average background with Linux, wasting all that time getting it working just wasn't worth the hassle to have yet another computer in my home.

My DirecTivo was "donated" to me by DirecTV because they fucked up my regular TiVo with their screensaver "upgrade" over a year ago. I demanded that they give me a DirecTivo (which was not affected by their "upgrade" and a year's receiver fee free). Now that my free time is up with my receiver fee, I am not going to claim my TiVo is totally free because of that (BTW it is now a $5/month receiver fee which I would pay anyway with DirecTV regardless if I had the Tivo or not).

Technically you should be amazed by my DirecTivo. Are you?

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17104804)

Technically you should be amazed by my DirecTivo. Are you?


Do I? O'boy, not just amazed, but I'm all hard.

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17104824)

In Soviet Russia, DirecTivos rewind YOU!

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17104880)

Technically you should be amazed by my DirecTivo. Are you?

Technically, I shouldn't -- since you pay a monthly fee and I stipulated "no monthly fees."

But I'm still impressed. You made out like a bandit. Congratulations. If I could get that deal for my friends, I would.

In this day and age, I find it difficult to believe that anyone couldn't get their hands on a free PIII-750. I specified that because it seems so outdated that companies have just got to be tossing them left and right. Maybe I'm wrong though, and it's not fair to count that as free.

Of course, if you count yours as free, then if I've been running my MythTV for over a year (which I have, just barely) then your $5/month means you'd have paid more than I have... and your cost is just increasing from there.

About the time it takes to set it up -- well, it's not too hard, really, but even so, yes, my time is nearly worthless. :)

Now what's your take on all the features you're missing, like the distributed architecture, commercial detection and skipping, free and open transcoding, including to DVD, and integrated video games, dvd player, and so on until it just gets silly?

-ScribbleJ

Posted anon because I think it's supposed to be polite after I had one comment modded up.

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#17105098)

You stipulated no monthly fees? You are using MythTV for OTA TV? Your reception must be rock solid for you to worry about recording stuff OTA.

Me, I pay a $5/mo receiver fee as part of my DirecTV service (it's just like cable but they charge you per TV). So unless you are doing this completely free via OTA, you're paying monthly fees too.

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (2, Interesting)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | more than 7 years ago | (#17105136)

Your MythTV didn't cost you $60. Just because someone donated the computer to you doesn't mean it was free.

Although I'm not sure what your point is here, I guess I'll go with it. Just because you griped enough to DirecTV and didn't get charged for a year doesn't make it free to you either. Be sure to count the time on the phone with them, the downtime without the service, and the general BS that you have to put up with when speaking w/ customer service.

There's that and there's the time it cost you to put it all together and get it working.

Depending on who you are, this is part of the adventure. Maybe as much fun and memorable as actually using it when you're finished.

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17104730)

Posted anon because I'm not whoring karma, really, I just suck --

How could I forget to point out the number-one ultimate things the MythTV does that TiVo *never* will?

It comes in a distributed architecture. You can have a MythTV server (like my PIII-750) locked away someplace with a cable connection, and can have any computer in your house display the streams from it -- so I can watch and "record" (*) my shows on my PC, on my television via my hacked Xbox (running a MythTV client), or on my notebook over WiFi anyplace! If I had a larger house with a lot of TVs (as it is I only ever watch on my PC) this would be the killer feature. One free MythTV server, unlimited clients.

I wouldn't factor the cost of the Xbox, notebook, or PC into the picture, though, since there's nothing preventing me from hooking the donated PIII-750 straight to a TV; it's even got an ATI tv-output card in it with another tuner, which I should, in theory, be able to use with the MythTV, meaning I wouldn't need the Hauppauge, and my total cost is reduced to $0, but sadly I've been unable to get the ATI all-in-wonder tuner to work in linux... not that I've tried too hard yet...

Okay, enough rambling. :)

(* Technically the "Recording" happens at the server, of course.)

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (1)

hansonc (127888) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104812)

but sadly I've been unable to get the ATI all-in-wonder tuner to work in linux... not that I've tried too hard yet...

Don't bother working too hard at it. Last I heard none of the all in wonder cards worked with MythTV and no one really seems to care since the hauppauge cards work so well.

Gotta record it all. (1)

eddy (18759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104924)

>record everything on every channel (well, in theory... I'd love to see the hardware for that!).

Something like this [grumpygamer.com] :

  • Machine 1: A Linux machine containing 3 HDTV cards and 750GB of storage.
  • Machine 2: A Linux machine containing 2 NTSC cards and 300GB of storage.
  • Machine 3: A FreeBSD machine with 2.5TB (usable) of RAID 5 storage, mostly for (legally obtained) DVD's.
  • Machine 4: A Linux machine with a high-end graphics card that connects to the DLP projector and talks to the 3 back end machines.

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17105044)

...not once you add in the extra storage space, pre-configured so you can just drop it into a Tivo.

Add that into the computation and Tivo doesn't have such a great advantage anymore.

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (1)

Bastian (66383) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104198)

When I got my TiVO, it was $200 for the box and $300 for a lifetime subscription, for a total of $500.

I didn't have a computer that was capable of running MythTV (and still don't), and when I priced the parts needed to build one, I was looking at over $1000 plus an appreciable amount of labor to build a machine that was as capable as a TiVO box.

It's been some years, so I really don't know if the math works out the same anymore, but at least in my case I really don't think it's a wonder at all that I chose the TiVO.

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104706)

It's been some years, so I really don't know if the math works out the same anymore, but at least in my case I really don't think it's a wonder at all that I chose the TiVO.

Since you can no longer buy lifetime subscriptions, no the math doesn't work out the same anymore.
http://www.tivo.com/2.0.plans.step.1.asp [tivo.com]

And further, the price for myth compatible hardware is way down since then.

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17104886)

Assuming you get the larger sized (180 hours, which I'm guessing is a 320 GB hard drive) TiVo box, it's $180, plus $300 for a 3 year subscription (you got lucky with them selling lifetime ones). A system that'd run you 400-600 bucks would be able to do anything the TiVo could.

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (2, Interesting)

the_crowbar (149535) | more than 7 years ago | (#17105028)

$500 for a TiVO w/ Lifetime subscription is not a bad price, but let me break down my MythTV box.

  • $119 nMedia Media Center Case I could have used an old beige box, but this case fits in perfectly with my other components
  • $88 Athlon64 3000+ CPU
  • $87 Asus A8N-VM CSM motherboard with Geforce 6150 onboard
  • $95 Seagate 400GB SATA 3.0 HD
  • $90 1GB DDR RAM Crucial ValueRAM
  • $10 Universal Remote
  • $5 Homemade Serial IR receiver
  • $40 2 WinTV software encoder cards from Ebay
Total: $534

I happen to have Charter HD cable with a Motorola DCT-6200 cable box. This cable box has a FireWire port that can be used to record shows in HD. Because my Asus MB has FireWire built-in my ~$530 Myth box has 1 x HD Tuner, 2 x SD Tuner. No fees (except my cable fee) and 3 tuners with a 400 GB HD for storage. If I wanted to I could rent a second HD cable box and have 2 HD tuners, but that is overkill for me.

For $530 dollars and a little bit of time I have a box that far exceeds the TiVO and records my HD content in DRM free MPEG2. Plus, if I ever need to I can reformat the HD and use it as a decent desktop PC.

Next paragraph added to avoid lameness filter.

Above I priced out a basic MythTV box. My actually Myth Box is a little better with a PVR-500 (hardware MPEG2 encoder card) and I have several remote controls for it. I currently use a ATI RF remote (~$30 @ NewEgg). I would not recommend it unless you already have one. It works fine, but the button response is slow (1 press/sec). I have (yet to be installed) a Windows Media Center remote. I have tested it and it seems to work quite well. I also have tried the remote that came with my cable box. It works well, but I was unable to prevent the signal from changing the cable box. I have tried several multi function remotes with different homebrew receivers. I was able to configure everyone of them with MythTV and LIRC. I also have a gyration wireless keyboard/mouse connected to the system.

More crap to bypass the lameness filter. thoiioe uiowjelkf auieohfla jsioayruhd aypiorhpqjhp iywphrqodhnq qyprhaondpohap qihd hqahd q doiahdoh kljsgf kljsgldf lkjgasldf lgsf lkagfd lkaghf agf jag jklgad iuotqwr bkjhs htaia hgskjdg aghsg lagsl lkagd lagsd algda lagld ad aldgla dlkasg dlagd aldga lslagls dlags dlgald aldglagdla dlkagld aldgla dagd lagd algdl adlagd agdlagd aldglagd adg aldg aldg

Thanks,
the_crowbar

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (1)

sekitan (962772) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104318)

yes, it's difficult to set up and get everything configured, but MythTV has changed the way I watch tv. no commercials. it's not that i fast forward through, or skip them. they are actually removed. the hardware can be a little spendy, but i built mine out of an old P3 with a new tuner card, total cost $150. If you're the tinkering type, MythTV is loads of fun to figure out. if you're not, then you'd better cancel your subscription to Make magazine before you think some of their projects might be fun.

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (1)

phekno (719662) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104438)

If you're concerned at the difficulty of setting up MythTV try KnoppMyth. It's a one CD distro designed to make installing MythTV trivial. It has its problems, but its getting better. As for costs, I don't think TiVo offers a lifetime subscription anymore so that's irrelevant. TiVo can be obtained for little or no cost albeit with an agreement to sign up for a monthly subscription. MythTVs guide is free (for the time being at least). As for computer hardware requirements, it doesn't take much. About the only specialized and somewhat expensive piece of equipment you need is a TV tuner card. HD ones made for Linux can be obtained http://www.pchdtv.com/ [pchdtv.com] here.

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (4, Interesting)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104458)

"Why TiVo when you can MythTV?"

Why post on-topic when you can blatantly go off-topic and get modded up for it? This is a nuts and bolts Tivo article. It's not about considering one DVR solution over another. No other solution is even on the table here. I'm not the biggest fan of Tivo but I'm getting a bit sick of these folks who feels some sort of duty to shove in a reference to MythTV every time Tivo is mentioned. I for one won't be amazed by links about MythTV but I can't read a single DVR article that doesn't have some wonky poster extolling the virtues of MythTV. We get it. We know. Stick to the topic.

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104794)

Sorry, sorry. You're right, I should stick to the topic. I did get modded up for it, though =_)

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (2, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17105126)

This is an article about the BS associated with proprietary solutions. The possibility of using an open solution and BYPASSING all of this BS is very much on point. I am a LONG time Tivo user that chose to build a MythTV system over this very problem.

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (1)

EarwigTC (579471) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104994)

Because you want to record encrypted HD cable. The inability to legitmately support CableCARD with open source (because you can't assure them that the media won't escape) is going to mean being stuck in the analog world for Myth and similar projects. Cable company DVRs, Windows MCE on special hardware, and the HD TiVo type devices will be the only choice. It's the first sizeable step to a future where every device between your eyeball and the studio must be 'blessed'.

Re:Why TiVo when you can MythTV? (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#17105222)

Maybe because MythTV is very slow and clunky, with a convoluted interface, requiring you to navigate sub-sub-sub menus to accomplish anything.

A handful of lines of shell script, MPlayer, and a filemanager beats MythTV hands down.

I have no idea if Freevo has the same problems... last time I checked the inital setup was rather tricky and poorly documented, and I wasn't all that determined.

On a slightly related topic... (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 7 years ago | (#17103948)

Are there any new solutions these days for recording tv that _DON'T_ require subscribing to a monthly service, like the vcr did? Like, say... recording programs to a large hard drive and then being able to either play from the HD or else transfer them to a computer and burn DVD's of the stuff for permanent storage.

Re:On a slightly related topic... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17104160)

...recording programs to a large hard drive and then being able to either play from the HD or else transfer them to a computer and burn DVD's of the stuff for permanent storage. There are standalone DVD burners (Panasonic, Sony, etc.) that have hard drives. You record to either DVD or the hard drive, and you can playback from the HD or record the data to DVD.

Re:On a slightly related topic... (2, Informative)

Cramer (69040) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104218)

Yes. Almost all video capture cards come with programs to do this -- every card I've had/seen from ASUS and ATI does. There won't be any program guide or fancy remote control, but it'll record whatever you program it to. Just like a VCR.

The appeal of the Tivo is it's simplicity and ease of use. Yes, I can build my own, but it will cost far more than the cost of the tivo and monthly (or lifetime) service. Plus a home grown solution will tend to require never ending tweaks to keep it running.

Re:On a slightly related topic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17104998)

I've had MythTV up and running for a bit over a year, now. No tweaking. I've changed DVD composing wizards (I now use DVDStyler). And I use Avidemux2 for editing the videos I want to archive (which is all most all of them). And I have a lot more disk space (~300G) than commercial DVRs did last year. The same machine is used for capture, editing, and DVD burning, that has to be factored into the cost comparisons.

Re:On a slightly related topic... (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 7 years ago | (#17105072)

*Far* more? Really? I can build a capable Myth system for $500. How much does your Tivo plus a monthly subscription (I don't believe lifetimes are available anymore) for, say, 3 years run you?

Re:On a slightly related topic... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17104600)

Windows Media Center (XP, or Vista) can do this without a monthly fee. The files are recorded in dvr-ms format (I may have the acronym backwards, but you get the idea). This format can be played in Windows Media Player on a portable computer (or, for that matter, in Media Center on a laptop with MCE - which many have for free these days).

Re:On a slightly related topic... (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104996)

while TiVos don't allow you to burn to DVD (AFAIK), they don't also force you to get the guide subscription. The thing is, if you don't have the guide info, you have to specify all of your recordings by time and channel (just like your old VCR!), also the thumbs up/down functionality and everything that goes with it won't work. You also won't get the ability to record shows based on metadata (like the actors, director, substrings in the title, etc...). Honestly, once you get the full fledged TiVo functionality you won't want to go back, even if it does cost you $10 a month (I forget what the monthly fee is these days, my TiVo has a lifetime subscription).

Big frakin' deal. (1)

Sebastopol (189276) | more than 7 years ago | (#17103996)

--begin opinion--

I don't understand why someone would go through the effort of downloading movies from their TiVo to watch on a PC.

- Basic TiVo quality isn't so hot
- The TV shows that I record in high-quality usually exist on purchasable DVD's anyway
- Who ever watch movies more than once or twice? Thanks to Netflix, there is a never ending list of good movies that I've never seen

I don't see all the fuss. TiVo is fine, the DRM is fine. TiVo records disposable media, and media worth hanging onto is worth purchasing for better transfer quality.

Can I get some anecdotal evidence about who actually needs so proliferate their TiVo data?

The only case I can see is if your kid is on the local news and you want a permanent record. Even then, you can usually contact the news station for that.

--end opinion--

Re:Big frakin' deal. (1)

mrsbrisby (60242) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104358)

I don't understand why someone would go through the effort of downloading movies from their TiVo to watch on a PC. ... The only case I can see is if your kid is on the local news and you want a permanent record. Even then, you can usually contact the news station for that.
So see? You made a liar of yourself: You _CAN_ understand why someone would download from their tivo to watch on their TV.

I like putting cartoons on DVD so my kid can watch something on long car rides. Before today, this meant using wine and directshow nonsense. Today its just become a little better.

Other people have other reasons. Just because you have no family or friends, and no imagination to boot doesn't mean everyone is as sad as you.

Re:Big frakin' deal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17104386)

I've downloaded recorded TiVo content to my laptop for business trips.

Re:Big frakin' deal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17104746)

How else am I supposed to prove to my friends that I was on COPS?

But seriously, I actually was on tv ... i recorded the program with my tivo, decrypted the streams, edited out the commercials, and then sent it to my friends/family. Of course, I had to do it all the old fashioned way by remuxing the streams coming out of the directshow filter, but the end result was still pretty fantastic.

Re:Big frakin' deal. (1)

JabberWokky (19442) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104896)

I collect Rocky Horror and related items. Meat Loaf just released Bat out of Hell 3, and did the circuit of the Today Show, Jimmy Kimmel, etc. I've been recording them at Best quality (+2 minutes on both sides), and then burning them off to DVD. Even with a good DVD burner, you lose quite a bit of quality after the double (or triple, if it's an analog channel) decode/encode cycle. Many of the Lifetime movies that Barry Bostwick stars in are simply unavailable on any media.

Basically, if you have a reason, this is quite nice. Even if you don't, quickly copying them to your harddrive and playing them on your laptop is faster, easier and cheaper than burning a DVD-R in realtime and then playing it on your laptop. I literally was supposed to open up my TiVo this past weekend to toss ssh and the ty streamer software on the hard drive. This is much much easier.

Okay, I just finished downloading a copy of a show. Let's test it...

It works fine. I now have a nice interlaced, non-gamma corrected mpeg file (i.e., simply unencrypted, exactly what I wanted). Fantastic and quite fast.

By the way, a quick nod to TarZxf (aka Neal), who gave me the TiVo as a going away present. Best damn gift I've gotten.

--
Evan

Re:Big frakin' deal. (1)

h4ck7h3p14n37 (926070) | more than 7 years ago | (#17105014)

I must admit I would never waste my money on something like Tivo, so I'm hoping I don't make too big a fool of myself.

I don't understand why someone would go through the effort of downloading movies from their TiVo to watch on a PC.
  • Basic TiVo quality isn't so hot

Isn't the quality as good as an analog television broadcast?

  • The TV shows that I record in high-quality usually exist on purchasable DVD's anyway

Why pay for the shows on DVD when you can record them for free? Also, be aware that the DVD releases of television shows aren't necessarily the same thing. For example, you simply cannot buy copies of the same Beavis and Butthead episodes you watched on MTV in the 90's due to licensing restriction on the music videos. Likewise, some studios have taken to censoring content when releasing to DVD; for releases of Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry have been censored to remove potentially offensive material.

  • Who ever watch movies more than once or twice? Thanks to Netflix, there is a never ending list of good movies that I've never seen

Is that a joke? I suppose I can assume you're not a collector. As the owner of well over 200 DVDs, I can assure you there is plenty to watch more than once. For example: The Simpsons, Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, the original Star Wars trilogy, LOTR, The Big Lebowski, Hackers, New Jack City, Office Space, etc.

I pretty much don't watch television anymore, but I can imagine that people who own a Tivo would like to get as much use out of it as possible. I find it more than a little sad that Tivo owners are actually fighting with the manufacturer in order to use the features in the thing and that the manufacturer has sided with the content producers instead of its customers.

Who said anything about watching on a PC? (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#17105196)


I don't understand why someone would go through the effort of downloading movies from their TiVo to watch on a PC.

I'd imagine most people wouldn't use the functionality for this. It's a LOT more usefull for burning the movies to a DVD and watching it on your DVD player connected to your TV though. I'm sure there's a LOT of people that'd like to keep a few seasons of a TV show on DVD that they recorded.

You could also burn something to DVD and give it to your friend or family to watch. Ever had someone ask you to tape something for them, but been unable to do so since you only have a DVR and not a VCR?

Security 101 (1)

HAL9000_mirror (1029222) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104054)

Its only a matter of time before mechanisms involving Security by obscurity is compromised.
"So in war, the way is to avoid what is strong and to strike at what is weak."
--Sun Tzu, in The Art of War.

InterTiVoNet (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104098)

So can a MythTV install now send shows recorded by TiVo to other MythTV or TiVo players across the Internet? Do you even need MythTV to do this?

F***in' A! (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17104648)

Now who will write a MythTV plugin, so I can use Inter-room transfers (or whatever TiVo calls them) between TiVo and Myth? It has already worked the other way, right (at least if you use MPEG2 encoding)?
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