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TiVo Desktop Plus 2.6 Now Released

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the lets-you-watch-such-wonderful-things dept.

Media 79

Engadget's feed lets us know that Tivo has delivered Desktop Plus 2.6, as promised (just a week after they announced the YouTube deal). "Truth be told, there's not a whole lot here that you didn't already get a taste of in our hands-on at CES, but here's the skinny. As of today, TiVo users can grab hold of the latest version of Desktop (Windows only, we're afraid) and 'enjoy a broad range of web entertainment available directly from their TV.' More specifically, these customers 'can choose web videos downloaded on the home PC using web browsers, RSS video clients such as iTunes podcasts, or other video download software to automatically copy to their TiVo DVR's Now Playing List alongside recorded broadcast and cable TV shows.'"

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79 comments

Sssh! (-1, Offtopic)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782356)

But keep shtum about the built-in DRM, okay?

Re:Sssh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22782408)

Of course after all the only one's affected are geeks with too much time on their hands.

Re:Sssh! (3, Insightful)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782452)

Your comment is self-deprecating - by virtue of being a geek, any spare time you have is spent on doing geekish things. Therefore geeks never have "too much time on their hands".

Still, give us geeks a shout in a couple of years time when you want to keep all those downloaded DRM-protected MP3s and movies you bought for a period of longer than two days - we'll see if we can help you out then.

You are The Weakest Link. Goodbye.

Re:Sssh! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22782746)

Stewie: Ha ha ha! Oh gosh that's funny! That's really funny! Do you write your own material? Do you? Because that is so fresh. You are the weakest link goodbye. You know, I've, I've never heard anyone make that joke before. Hmm. You're the first. I've never heard anyone reference, reference that outside the program before. Because that's what she says on the show right? Isn't it? You are the weakest link goodbye. And, and yet you've taken that and used it out of context to insult me in this everyday situation. God what a clever, smart girl you must be, to come up with a joke like that all by yourself. That's so fresh too. Any, any Titanic jokes you want to throw at me too as long as we're hitting these phenomena at the height of their popularity. God you're so funny!

Re:Sssh! (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782798)

Using a borrowed piece of dialogue from a TV show to point out my own lack of originality.

Man, you're too clever for me.

Re:Sssh! (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782944)

Man, you're too clever for me.



If you were the one he was replying to, then he was clever enough to get you to stop posting as an AC. :)

Re:Sssh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22783588)

Except he didn't post as AC. You need to change your threshold so you're seeing ALL the comments to actually see what he was responding to.

Re:Sssh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22806452)

"... so you're seeing ALL the comments to actually see what he was responding to, !"

T,FTFY

Re:Sssh! (-1, Offtopic)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782612)

TiVo Tightens the DRM Vise [arstechnica.com].

Now please stop scratching your rectum & sniffing your fingers & go read the dictionary definition of "Offtopic", will you?

Re:Sssh! (1)

pandrijeczko (588093) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782834)

That goes for you dragging your knuckles on the floor over there also!

Nope, keep going - still a nice big pile of unburnt fuel in the "Ol' Karma Coalshed" yet!

DRM Stripping? (1, Insightful)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782396)

Well, once the DRM is stripped, this'll make for much faster TV ups on piratebay ...

Re:DRM Stripping? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 6 years ago | (#22783342)

Well, once the DRM is stripped, this'll make for much faster TV ups on piratebay ...


Already been done (link in another post, and that link has a nice link to another open-source project that automates the entire procedure).

Only thing is, you need to edit the file still - remove the commercial breaks and all that jazz, so TiVo-to-TPB isn't quite there yet unless one wants to upload stuff that still has all the commercials intact, plus all the stuff before the teasers and the potential to cut stuff off at the end.

I will admit, though, it's cool - I use it, and it's nice to actually have the closed-captioning embedded in the video. Now to find a closed-captioning aware editor...

Re:DRM Stripping? (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22790384)

Has this TiVo Desktop update added closed caption embedding, or was it always there?

I would read the article, but Slashdot rules dictate otherwise.

Anonymous Coward? Plugged in the butthole! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22782544)

thanks to the automatic -1 rating now for AC, tor users are forced to sign up for a slashdot account but their passwords are probably sniffed by exit nodes.

what does this mean?

rather than posting as AC with score 0, ACs posting with auto-score of -1 must sign up and while using tor maybe lose their account to an exit node sniffer or have their account used to post garbage by a rogue entity.

thanks slashdot for caring!

Not just Windows (4, Informative)

jumpinp (1144189) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782550)

Their site lists Mac OS X as well as a few portable devices. Apple iPod Creative Zen Nokia n80 Palm Treo PSP Toshibe gigabeat Vision:M

Re:Not just Windows (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22782712)

The version for Mac OS X is languising at 1.9.3. So yes, the software is available, if by "the software" you mean that old bunch of bits.

Re:Not just Windows (1)

j-beda (85386) | more than 6 years ago | (#22783468)

The Mac OS X software from TiVo has limited functionality - it allows sharing of photos and music from your Mac to the TiVo, but not videos. However, the makers of VisualHub (http://www.techspansion.com/visualhub/) do provide a little hack (that enables the sharing of videos via the TiVo supplied Mac software) freely available when you download a trial of the VisualHub software. Combined with "TiVoDecode Manager" (http://tdm.sourceforge.net/), one can move video files to and from the TiVo relatively painlessly. If one does not want to pay for VisualHub (which is a great value in my opinion if only for the simplicity of transcoding and burning files to DVDs) I think that there are free methods for transcoding computer video files to the format that the TiVo needs them to be to play them, probably by using FFMpeg, but I stopped researching that when I poneyed up for VisualHub. Alternatively, I think that Roxio's Toast for Mac OS X is what TiVo recommends Mac OS X users purchase - which seems like a bit of overkill for my needs.

Re:Not just Windows (1)

GrubInCan (624096) | more than 6 years ago | (#22784036)

Hmm, were you not affected by the Fall update which apparently broke this completely?

There's a thread over at tivocomunity about Toast being broken by that update, and no apparent resolution 6 months later.

I tried TDM just recently, and although the files can be played happily by MPlayer, I have yet to find the right mechanism for re-encoding without audio sync problems. The scripts in TDM for converting to MPEG-4 did not seem to work.

Re:Not just Windows (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 6 years ago | (#22785102)

The only problem I've had with the TiVo Desktop included with Roxio Toast is that it won't let me transfer the recent Knight Rider TV movie in HD to my computer. Neither airing. After little more than a dozen megabytes it just stops.

Re:Not just Windows (1)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 6 years ago | (#22787962)

The only problem I've had with the TiVo Desktop included with Roxio Toast is that it won't let me transfer the recent Knight Rider TV movie in HD to my computer. Neither airing. After little more than a dozen megabytes it just stops.

That's just the computer protecting the network from the spread of that show. Think of it as the computer's major intestine, in a desperate attempt to save humanity, leaping straight up through its neck and throttling its brain. It's doing you a favor. Really.

Re:Not just Windows (1)

j-beda (85386) | more than 6 years ago | (#22785340)

"Hmm, were you not affected by the Fall update which apparently broke this completely?"

I just upgraded my TiVo's HD (via Instacake), so it is possible that I am using an older set of TiVo software until updates make their way to my system, but I do not seem to have been having any problems - I am NOT using Toast, and my Mac is still running 10.4.11.

"I tried TDM just recently, and although the files can be played happily by MPlayer, I have yet to find the right mechanism for re-encoding without audio sync problems. The scripts in TDM for converting to MPEG-4 did not seem to work."

The files that TDM downloads do seem to play nicely in VLC, but I have not any transcoding, just loading them back to the TiVo or watching them through VLC.

Re:Not just Windows (1)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 6 years ago | (#22785060)

If you hold down option as you click on the 'Tivo Desktop' icon in System Preferences, you will get a 'Videos' tab, which allows you to share from your Mac to your Tivo. This only works for the non-Direct TV Tivos, as it requires a Media Access Key (just the video part).

If you have a Direct TV Series two that's hacked, you've already got this functionality. TivoTool [tivotool.com] was an excellent way to get stuff to and from your Tivo, if you're a Mac user. Unfortunately, it was broken somewhat by 10.5, and hasn't been fixed to work without a bit a a workaround (deleting files on app startup.)

If you haven't hacked your DTivo yet, do it - it's not that hard, and the end result is pretty great - more record time, remote scheduling, season pass management, permanent 30-second skip, and it's wife-approved! (actually, wife-required now...)

Re:Not just Windows (1)

*weasel (174362) | more than 6 years ago | (#22784048)

The Tivo Desktop Plus software itself really only runs on Windows.
The OSX version is a few updates behind, missing a number of features and isn't getting this functionality any time soon.

The 'compatible with' mobile platforms are simply all those that can play h264.
TivoToGo will transcode tivo recordings (or web videos if you're running windows) to lower rez/bitrate h264 and leave the resulting files on your PC HDD.

Read the f**king website... (1)

mrbrown1602 (536940) | more than 6 years ago | (#22788260)

If you were to actually click on the "Mac OS X Users start here..." link, you would see that the latest version for OSX users is 1.9.3, which is several years old and has limited functionality. In fact, TiVoToGo is only supported when you purchase Roxio Toast.

Glacial interface (2, Informative)

ender- (42944) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782606)

Now I suggest they spend some development time fixing their on-board software so that the interface on my Tivo [Series 2] isn't so f*cking slow! New features are nice, but when they keep adding more stuff to the point where it takes 30+ seconds to bring up the Live TV guide, or takes me almost 2 minute to navigate to a particular show in 'Now Playing' and get it started, it's time to step back and think about whether those extra features are worth making the product unusable for its primary purpose.

I'm a HUGE Tivo fan, but I've been seriously considering getting rid of the Tivo and using something else.

Re:Glacial interface (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22782782)

Just out of curiosity, short of building your on DVR or using a DVR provided by a cable or satellite provider, what "something else" would you use?

Re:Glacial interface (2)

ender- (42944) | more than 6 years ago | (#22783526)

Just out of curiosity, short of building your on DVR or using a DVR provided by a cable or satellite provider, what "something else" would you use?
Those were my main two considerations. I haven't yet seriously looked into any of the cable/dish DVRs, but I figure there's got to be one or two decent ones out there, even if most of them suck.

I've already got a Vista box with an HDTV tuner [over-the-air] which I can access via my Xbox360. At the moment we're only paying for basic cable anyway, so I'd only lose a couple channels. Otherwise I'd build out a nice MythTV box to plug directly into my TV.

Frankly though, the key is not 'what else would you use' but the fact that someone who has been a huge fan of Tivo is annoyed enough to begin thinking about looking at other options.

I don't WANT to use something other than a Tivo, but it's getting frustrating enough to possibly warrant the trouble of building and configuring a MythTv box. That's not a good sign for Tivo.

Re:Glacial interface (1)

NateTech (50881) | more than 6 years ago | (#22791824)

C|Net gave the Dish DVR an "Editor's Choice" award over the TiVo for HD content.

I'm about to find out, I guess. Going back to Dish now that I haven't been a "customer" for 6 months, so I can get their deals... since 7 1/2 years of loyal payments for service and one DishMover move weren't enough for them to even give a discount on buying a replacement SD receiver when the NEWEST one I owned, died.

The old one that's close to 8 years old, still works, still got updates, and had a UHF remote... which they took out of the later units.

But the HD-DVR receiver looks a hell of a lot better.

So... give up Dish for 6 months to get a deal on reinstalling the whole damn house? Hell yes.

Re:Glacial interface (1)

MiniMike (234881) | more than 6 years ago | (#22783134)

The lag on my Tivo is so annoying that I'm considering ditching it and building a MythTV (or something similar, haven't really looked into the alternatives lately). If that's too slow, at least I can upgrade something on it to make it faster.

ideas for speedup (1)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 6 years ago | (#22783882)



My series 1 Tivo is still chugging along, but sans the newer connectivity features. I have a network card hacked into it, but none of this transfer stuff works. Like with your Series 2, I'm wondering how to speed up the access to 'now playing' and other interface locations. Perhaps if the channel listing were pruned to just the channels I have and like.... Perhaps if I cut down the season pass list by editing out all the shows that are no longer on the air....

Seth

Re:ideas for speedup (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 6 years ago | (#22784616)

A buddy of mine has a Series 1 where he apparently installed this big drive cache (1GB of memory on some sort of special board) that allows his Tivo to keep the entire guide in memory instead of having to swap it in and out. Because of this, his menu is lightning fast and stuff like adding a season pass or reordering shows is way way (minutes) faster. He has the network card too because he dumped his landline awhile back and needed a way to get the guide updates. I don't know if he can still grab videos off of it though.

Re:Glacial interface (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 6 years ago | (#22784778)

I have 3 TiVos (series 2) and a new TiVo HD is in mail, but it's to the point where I'm embarrased by the time it takes to navigate the 'Now Playing' list. I used to demo TiVo for guests all the time, but I can't do that anymore. Since I have lifetime service, it's in my interest to use word of mouth to help sell units and keep TiVo in business, but I don't think anyone would buy a TiVo after seeing how long it takes to trudge though menus. I hope the HD unit is better.

It started with the most recent software update, and it's killing my favorite feature--multi-room viewing. My transfer speeds are real-time or better for all but the highest quality recordings, but it involves bringing up the listing for the remote unit, paging through the listings to the target show, opening the episode folder, opening up the show description, selecting the transfer option, confirming the transfer option, and waiting to return to the show description.

When each step took a couple seconds, that process was a breeze. Now that each step takes 30+ seconds, it's torture. If the software on the TiVo HD isn't any better, I'll box it up and ship it right back to TiVo and get the Comcast DVR.

Re:Glacial interface (1)

radish (98371) | more than 6 years ago | (#22785026)

I have a Series 3 and a TivoHD and have never seen anything like you describe, so I think you should be OK :)

Re:Glacial interface (1)

netringer (319831) | more than 6 years ago | (#22789054)

I'll bet your Series 2 TiVos have added hard drives, right?

The response time f Now Playing list is directly proportional to the number of shows it displays.

That said, I have a stock Series 3 TiVo (HD? The original one with the OLED display) and it occasionally stops listening to the remote commands when it's doing net access stuff like Podcaster. I always thought that Tivo thought that was the worse sin possible next to audio and video getting out of sync.

It's not bad enough to make me want to ditch it. I like MRV and TiVo2Go enough that I was tempted to but another one until TiVo raised the multi-account rates. They promised me I could add another with my Lifetime account for $6.95 a month. Now it's $9.95 and they're saying I don't qualify for that so it's $12.95. No way.

Re:Glacial interface (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 6 years ago | (#22789702)

I'll bet your Series 2 TiVos have added hard drives, right?

You'd lose that bet (sorta). My main unit has been bumped up to a single 500 GB drive. I knew doing that upgrade the bigger drive might lead to slower response, even before the Now Playing list exploded to fill the new space.

But my 2 other TiVos are 100% stock unmodified 80-hr Series 2, and even working between those two navigating shows for multi-room viewing is awful. Transfer of the shows are fine, speedy as ever. But going through the menus to start a transfer takes 10 times as long as it should.

This is new how? (1, Informative)

mitgib (1156957) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782702)

More specifically, these customers 'can choose web videos downloaded on the home PC using web browsers, RSS video clients such as iTunes podcasts, or other video download software to automatically copy to their TiVo DVR's Now Playing List alongside recorded broadcast and cable TV shows.

I've had most of these features with SageTV [sage.tv] for well over a year, infact I ditched Tivo for Sage over 4 years ago.

Re:This is new how? (1)

ksm2552 (958809) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782824)

NEW! You can now transfer all your downloaded Web Video from your PC to your TiVo DVR so you can watch them on your TV.

I agree somewhat. The features maybe new to Tivo Desktop, but you've been able to stream videos to the Tivo for quite awhile.

I'll stick with pyTivo (http://pytivo.armooo.net/ [armooo.net]), it works like a charm.

Count me as a happy pyTivo user! (1)

HycoWhit (833923) | more than 6 years ago | (#22783214)

Count me as a happy pyTivo user! Been very happy using pyTivo to handle all my PC to TV streaming. In the grand scheme, pyTivo isn't quite as nice as TVersity and an Xbox360 or PS3. But pyTivo maintains that friendly Tivo interface. Big shout out to the pyTivo developers if they read slashdot. :)

Re:Count me as a happy pyTivo user! (1)

ksm2552 (958809) | more than 6 years ago | (#22783788)

Hadn't heard of TVersity, but I think I may have try it out with my 360.

pyTivo is nice because the Tivo interface is easy to use for Parents/Grandparents/Kids/Wife/Cat. Well the cat can't use it yet, but give him some time.

Re:This is new how? (2, Insightful)

encoderer (1060616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782914)

What you don't have are dual tuners capable of decoding the HD 1080i most cable companies are offering today, unless you're willing to shell out about $500 for it.

What you don't get is a cableCARD slot that, while not perfect, is certainly a much better solution than an IR Blaster taped to your cable box.

What you don't get is one-click integration with Amazon Unboxed and Rhapsody. Simple Device-to-Device networking, brainless remote scheduling, a low profile settop box, a superior remote control, and a polished User Interface that's Jobs-ian in it's attention to detail.

I'm not saying Sage and the ilk are not fine solutions.

But to suggest that Sage is entirely at par w/ Tivo because of these specific feature sets is disingenuous.

Re:This is new how? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22783172)

Simple device to device networking?

Any file a PC PVR generates is "just a file". It doesn't get any simpler than that.

Step off the Tivo reservation and the whole thing becomes a bigger
headache than the most complex Linux based PVR installation.

While cable card is nice, it only gets you access to the single
terrestrial cable monopoly. You're still locked out of the sattelite
providers.

Then there's the whole problem of most content being SD anyways. So even if you
can tune into those spiffy new HD channels, a lot of them will just be showing
the same old SD stuff. Most content was never made in SD. A lot of the new stuff
can be had with nothing more than a set of rabbit ears.

The fact that a Tivo fanboy can whine about "cable card" being an
exclusive just points to the technological quagmire that HD TV has
become.

Oddly enough, a recent premature failure of an HDTV made us realize
that ultimately it's not about how many pixels are packed into the
picture but the quality of the content.

Good movies are no less satisfying on bad TVs, or small handheld
devices with "crappy resolution". Thus, convenience and portability
seem to be winning out over "technophile" sort of concerns.

Get back to me when I can browse a Tivo with no special software
and just play any file I like with Windows Media player, vlc,
iTunes or anything else that strikes my fancy.

Re:This is new how? (1)

encoderer (1060616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22784326)

1. Nice straw man. It's not about networking. It's about plug-and-play networking. About zero-setup. Contrast that with your DIY DVR.

2. I can backup and watch all my Tivo content on my PC and my Laptop. So no, I can't browse Tivo like any other Samba share, but I don't need to. Yes, Tivo has DRM. No, the Tivo DRM does not restrict me from doing what I want to do.

3. CableCARD doesn't work with a Dish. So you use an IR Blaster for that. With a DIY DVR, you use an IR Blaster whether you have a Dish OR Cable. So no, Tivo isn't perfect, but this is a far more elegant solution for Cable customers (vastly outnumbering dish customers) than using an IR Blaster.

4. Due to CableCARD, I can access my VOD services right thru my DVR, Including the HBO On Demand, Cinnemax On Demand, etc. Try THAT with an IR Blaster.

5. If you have issues with finding HD content on YOUR provider, you should take that up with your provider. I have 30 channels offering 1080i and another 10 offering 720p. And despite your claim, these stations are showing true HD content. Sure, a movie from the 40's, 50's, or even 60's won't look any better at 1080p than it will at 480p. But masters exist for movies and televison made in the last, oh, THIRTY YEARS that do contain enough source detail to produce flawless 1080p encodings. Seriously, do you think that the theaters way back in the stone ages of the 1970's were showing movies at 480i? Of COURSE they weren't.

6. I DARE YOU to spec-out a DIY DVR (PC Based) that gives you 2 HDTV tuners allowing the simultaneous recording of 2 1080i streams (1080i since no cable operator I've seen is offering 1080p yet), that has HDMI outputs as well as digital audio output, and a functional remote control. If you can build it all -- case, main board, disk, RAM, sound card w/ Optical-out, video card w/ HDMI-out, DUAL HD tuners, remote control, IR reciever, and IR Blaster for set-top-box control -- and you can do it for $900 (the cost of Tivo plus a lifetime subscription), then I'll concede the argument.

But i think you know as well as I do, just by looking at that shopping list, that doing so would be an awfully tall order.

Nice straw man.

The networking is not the feature. The plug-and-play networking is the feature. The zero-setup-required networking is the feature. And it's a feature you DON'T get with a DIY DVR. This also holds true with Tivo2Go, which is just as trivial to setup and allows me to backup and watch my Tivo content on my PC and Laptop. Evangalize your 'simple file' all you want, but there's nothing I can't do with a Tivo, and I can do it all without an ounce of headache or a single hoop.

And this notion that there's not a lot of HD content makes me assume that you just have a woefully bad cable company. I have 40 channels of HD programming available to me, and 30 of them are 1080i, the others are 720p. The failure of YOUR local provider says nothing of Tivo.

And you're right, CableCARD doesn't help you if you have a dish. But you can still use the IR blaster. IR blasters are clunky and an inelegant solution. With Tivo, you need an IR blaster if you have a dish. With a DIY, you need an IR if you have a dish OR cable. So what's your point here? That Tivo, while better than DIY in this regard, is not perfect? Of course not, but it's closer to perfect than the best DIY DVR out there.

And you said this: "Most content was never made in SD. "

I'm assuming you meant to say "HD" there, not "SD."

But even THAT doesn't make sense. You're right, there's a good chance that movies made before 1970 and TV made before 1980 will show no better at 1080p than it does at 480i. But that's an awful lot of content there. And I don't know what your definition of "MOST" is, but I'd say that MOST the content that MOST people actually want to watch does indeed have masters available that can produce full 1080p encodings.

Re:This is new how? (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22791128)

CableCARD doesn't work with a Dish. So you use an IR Blaster for that. With a DIY DVR, you use an IR Blaster whether you have a Dish OR Cable. So no, Tivo isn't perfect, but this is a far more elegant solution for Cable customers (vastly outnumbering dish customers) than using an IR Blaster.
Well last I heard the Series3 won't record from satellite at all. Meanwhile MythTV can record from a cable box with FireWire, and the FCC mandates that cable companies provide a FireWire box to anyone who requests one. Have a few FireWire ports on your DVR and you don't even need capture cards or IR blasters if you use cable.

Re:This is new how? (1)

encoderer (1060616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22794312)

So the firewire port supports 2-way comm? So I PC can send a command to the cable box to change a channel via the firewire port?

If that's the case, that's awesome, and I didn't realize that. You're still left with the problem of dual tuners -- you'd need 2 cable boxes to emulate the functionality you get from Tivo -- but nevertheless, it's a workable, elegant solution if you can indeed control the cable box via firewire.

If you can't, you'd still need an IR blaster.

Re:This is new how? (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 5 years ago | (#22798556)

Yes, FireWire will provide a P2P connection with your cable box and DVR so you can change channels according to the MythTV wiki [mythtv.org]. The setup however requires some tweaking with the CLI, and the model of your cable box and FireWire card seems to matter (the wiki favors the Motorola DCTxxxx boxes).

Re:This is new how? (1)

encoderer (1060616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22784364)

:: Oops. Ignore the previous post. I rewrote my post into bullet-point form and accidentally included the long-form at the bottom. ::

1. Nice straw man. It's not about networking. It's about plug-and-play networking. About zero-setup. Contrast that with your DIY DVR.

2. I can backup and watch all my Tivo content on my PC and my Laptop. So no, I can't browse Tivo like any other Samba share, but I don't need to. Yes, Tivo has DRM. No, the Tivo DRM does not restrict me from doing what I want to do.

3. CableCARD doesn't work with a Dish. So you use an IR Blaster for that. With a DIY DVR, you use an IR Blaster whether you have a Dish OR Cable. So no, Tivo isn't perfect, but this is a far more elegant solution for Cable customers (vastly outnumbering dish customers) than using an IR Blaster.

4. Due to CableCARD, I can access my VOD services right thru my DVR, Including the HBO On Demand, Cinnemax On Demand, etc. Try THAT with an IR Blaster.

5. If you have issues with finding HD content on YOUR provider, you should take that up with your provider. I have 30 channels offering 1080i and another 10 offering 720p. And despite your claim, these stations are showing true HD content. Sure, a movie from the 40's, 50's, or even 60's won't look any better at 1080p than it will at 480p. But masters exist for movies and televison made in the last, oh, THIRTY YEARS that do contain enough source detail to produce flawless 1080p encodings. Seriously, do you think that the theaters way back in the stone ages of the 1970's were showing movies at 480i? Of COURSE they weren't.

6. I DARE YOU to spec-out a DIY DVR (PC Based) that gives you 2 HDTV tuners allowing the simultaneous recording of 2 1080i streams (1080i since no cable operator I've seen is offering 1080p yet), that has HDMI outputs as well as digital audio output, and a functional remote control. If you can build it all -- case, main board, disk, RAM, sound card w/ Optical-out, video card w/ HDMI-out, DUAL HD tuners, remote control, IR reciever, and IR Blaster for set-top-box control -- and you can do it for $900 (the cost of Tivo plus a lifetime subscription), then I'll concede the argument.

But i think you know as well as I do, just by looking at that shopping list, that doing so would be an awfully tall order.

Re:This is new how? (1)

Phantom Gremlin (161961) | more than 6 years ago | (#22790722)

and you can do it for $900 (the cost of Tivo plus a lifetime subscription)

Just for the record, a TiVo HD is under $300, lifetime under $400. Together under $700. There are occasional discounts, I've seen the package sold with a wireless adapter thrown in for about $650. You were probably thinking S3 when you said $900.

I do agree with your overall argument. For most people TiVo makes much more sense than a DIY DVR.

Re:This is new how? (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22791190)

What you don't get is one-click integration with Amazon Unboxed and Rhapsody. Simple Device-to-Device networking, brainless remote scheduling, a low profile settop box, a superior remote control, and a polished User Interface that's Jobs-ian in it's attention to detail.
Amazon Unbox? Rhapsody? Who actually uses those? Granted targeting a STB for Unbox is a much smarter idea than renting onto your PC, there's already an easier service in place that allows you to rent the movie as long as you want and lets you play it outside of your home. I believe it's called Netflix.

As for Rhapsody: very few people these days listen to their music on a proper stereo or even cheap TV speakers. Nowadays most just listen to music from their computers or their digital audio players. The only market I can think of that would make any use of Rhapsody on an STB is the audiophile market, and they sure as hel won't be using Rhapsody until they provide lossless streaming.

I will however concede that the rest of that quote has merit.

Re:This is new how? (1)

encoderer (1060616) | about 6 years ago | (#22806024)

I would never have used UnBoxed if it wasn't part of Tivo, I'll give you that. And sure, a big reason is that I'm already a Netflix subscriber.

But I can sit at work, buy a movie from UnBoxed, and have it on my Tivo by the time I get home at night. And they have new releases. (And for what it's worth, Tivo2Go lets me watch the UnBoxed movies on my laptop.)

And Rhapsody offers a similar proposition: The reason most music listening is now done on a PC or iPod is that it's so much easier. The content is virtually unlimited. Still, I've had an RCA-to-minijack cable plugged into the Phono input on my Amp for years so I can plug my iPod into my home stereo when I'm at home.

Rhapsody over Tivo S3 is compelling to me because the source quality of the music is the same as I get from music I buy on iTunes, but the Tivo has a digital-audio-out jack that gives far better audio performance than the RCA-to-minijack solution. And I can change songs using my remote. ....Sure, nobody would buy Tivo for these things. But they ARE value-added services. ESPECIALLY for those people already using Rhapsody or Unboxed.

You Hyper-Sensitive Types (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22782734)

Dear Hyper-Sensitive Elitist Minority Group of TiVO users in the left corner!

Allow me to introduce you to the Hyper-Sensitive Elitist Minority Group of Mac users in the right corner.

Now talk amongst yourselves & prop up each others' personality disorders.

See ya later!

Available to other programs ? (1)

crumley (12964) | more than 6 years ago | (#22782888)

has anyone seen any info on if and when TiVo will allow outside user programs access to these features. I am hoping that it won't take too long till Galleon [galleon.tv] can do this sort of thing.

For those that live in a bad cable system... (3, Informative)

Hangtime (19526) | more than 6 years ago | (#22783100)

Living in NYC, I am beholden to TimeWarner as my only cable provider. Of course, TimeWarner unlike nearly all other cable systems in the country sets the broadcast flag for EVERY channel other then OTA (CBS, NBC, FOX, ABC). When questioned about this they just pretty much laugh and say its a part of the contract. Of course, I would love to see said contract because I highly doubt every cable channel is asking TimeWarner to set the broadcast flag, ESPECIALLY when I friends on other large cable systems that do not have this problem. This means is that TivoDesktop is useless to me and I cannot download shows to my laptop to watch on the plane unless they are from the major networks.

*Yes, I am a geek and could go find workarounds. No, I don't want too because I have more important things to worry about and things to do with my time then be denied TV on the go which is probably a good thing.

Re:For those that live in a bad cable system... (1)

1_brown_mouse (160511) | more than 6 years ago | (#22783634)

Well then, if you are lucky, they might kiss you first before they screw you.

You can spend the money to set up a simple MythTV box and HDTV card that ignores the broadcast flag. http://pchdtv.com/ [pchdtv.com]

Pay the man or be the man.

Re:For those that live in a bad cable system... (2, Informative)

aesiamun (862627) | more than 6 years ago | (#22784308)

The problem is that even if it ignores the broadcast flag, you aren't going to get HD signals from a cable box (ignoring broadcast flags remember? No on standard CBS,ABC, etc) over coaxial cable nor svideo.

So you're still only getting standard def television for everything that you can't pick up OTA.

What we need are cost effective input cards that can take HD signals over either HDMI/DVI or Component and still ignore the broadcast flag...key word being cost effective :)

Re:For those that live in a bad cable system... (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 6 years ago | (#22784880)

I'm not sure that you fully understand just how TiVo interacts with digital cable in these modern times, at least in the US.

Here [tivo.com] is some information on the topic. Another article [nytimes.com] goes on about actual, real-live abuse of the Broadcast Flag on TiVo.

(And if it were an old TiVo with analog NTSC inputs, the Broadcast Flag wouldn't be a factor, anyway.)

Re:For those that live in a bad cable system... (1)

Eric Sharkey (1717) | more than 6 years ago | (#22785208)

What we need are cost effective input cards that can take HD signals over either HDMI/DVI or Component and still ignore the broadcast flag...key word being cost effective :)

The Hauppauge HD PVR [snapstream.com] is coming soon.

Re:For those that live in a bad cable system... (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22787612)

Is it going to come with cablecard support? Because, if it doesn't, what the Hell good is it? Almost all HD programming comes over cable or satellite (except a few local OTA stations).

Re:For those that live in a bad cable system... (1)

Eric Sharkey (1717) | more than 6 years ago | (#22789846)

Is it going to come with cablecard support?

No, it's not necessary.

Because, if it doesn't, what the Hell good is it?

It uses the analog hole. The set-top-box provided by the cable company converts digital cable to analog component output suitable for display on (what the box thinks is) a TV. The HD PVR re-digitizes the analog signal, resulting in a DRM free digital copy of anything viewable on a TV, which includes premium channels/PPV and such.

Re:For those that live in a bad cable system... (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22791938)

Use your cable box's FireWire output. If your box doesn't have one, go to Time Warner and demand one with FireWire. If they refuse, file an FCC complaint.

Re:For those that live in a bad cable system... (1)

aesiamun (862627) | about 6 years ago | (#22839074)

And that cable box doesn't necessarily have to comply with their switched digital video streams which means ALL new HD channels are unavailable to you, the same way they are done with cable cards.

I can't get the newer ones release in the area with my TivoHD.

Re:For those that live in a bad cable system... (1)

Triv (181010) | more than 6 years ago | (#22785606)

Living in NYC, I am beholden to TimeWarner as my only cable provider.


I live in Brooklyn and I, personally, am beholden to CableVision.

It's a big city. Careful with your overarching statements.

I'd like to see the release notes on this one.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22783760)

1) Did they fix the massive memeory leaks?

2) Did they fix the File truncation issues?

Really, I could care less about getting files from Youtube, that's what I've got a computer for.

Tivo: PLEASE fix the bugs!

"Added" value (3, Insightful)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 6 years ago | (#22783944)

I've been a Tivo customer for maybe five years now; and for the first few years I loved them. But for the past couple of years, their main focus seems to be adding new types of advertising to their products - pop-up ads when you're fast-forwarding through a commercial (a primary reason for owning a DVR), new ads on the menu screens, etc. What they purport to give their customers are ill-conceived new ways to play computer games that don't really work well with the Tivo remote, view video (e.g. YouTube, RocketBoom and other videocasts) that works better from a computer than a television, and such. At the same time the usability of their software seems to be going downhill, such as with the significant degradation of the Multi-Room Viewing function on Series 2 boxes.

All of this is their right, since they're providing a service - I can always vote with my feet, right? Well, as with many customers inertia has kept me with them... so far. I keep hoping they'll recall their old mindset of putting their customers first. But I think, at this point, a focussed newcomer could pretty easily kill off Tivo. Lord knows I'll jump ship if, say, Apple turns the Apple TV into a PVR, or if I finally get off my butt and roll my own.

Re:"Added" value (1)

dr_turgeon (469852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22784622)

I'm right there with you on this. Tivo (which I do like a lot) has just been squeaking by in terms of innovation. They drag their feet on anything beyond the Windows platform. And by golly, if Apple were able to do PVR, without pissing-off the "content providers", bing!

Re:"Added" value (1)

tbuskey (135499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22785082)

At the same time the usability of their software seems to be going downhill, such as with the significant degradation of the Multi-Room Viewing function on Series 2 boxes.

I make significant use of Multiroom viewing and can attest to the downgrade.

  • Sub folders stopped working
  • Transfers from Galleon & pyTivo have become les reliable
  • My tivos lockup periodically (I need to unplug power)
  • Tivo Desktop loses sight of the tivo

Re:"Added" value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22785094)

Oh please! The new ads are hardly noticeable. I'd say you're being a wee bit over dramatic.

And TiVo is still 10000000% better than any of the competition. It's not because other companies aren't focused. The plain truth is that it's much harder than it appears to make a good DVR. Sure you can "roll your own", but I assure you it's going to suck. And it will probably be more expensive to build and operate. And be much bigger. And be much louder. And require constant maintenance. And not allow recording of encrypted content through cablecards. And most likely not even allow recording two 1080 shows at once.

Re:"Added" value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22792664)

I pay a site that will strip out all the ads and let me download whatever show I tell them. I'd pay the turdcasters for the same thing if they'd get their shit together but to hell with them.

No ads no where no way.

Nice thing about the site is as a paid member I don't get ads from them either.

confused because I've been using this for 8 months (3, Interesting)

netsavior (627338) | more than 6 years ago | (#22783966)

Tivo Desktop 2.6 is the version it displays when I start it up. It dumps to "Treo" files (downscale mpeg4), it dumps to ipod and a few other formats. It allows real time download from my computer to my tivo using the tivo remote for DIVX, mpeg4 and a few other formats.

I downloaded it ($20 fee for "plus" version) like 8 months ago and have been using it to watch drm free legitimate backups of my DVDs on my TV ever since.

Re:confused because I've been using this for 8 mon (1)

apachetoolbox (456499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22788302)

I got tivo plus a while back but all my mp4 video's (created with a mac) don't work. I was wondering what did you use to rip and encode your dvd's?

Re:confused because I've been using this for 8 mon (1)

netsavior (627338) | more than 6 years ago | (#22788430)

I use SUPER [erightsoft.com] to do all my transcoding, to be honest I started encoding in DIVX because it is almost as good as XVID and the Tivo Plus app supports it out of the box. It is not very well documented, but TIVO Plus requires that you install quicktime in order to transcode Mpeg4 files.

Re:confused because I've been using this for 8 mon (1)

apachetoolbox (456499) | more than 6 years ago | (#22788614)

Anyway you could post a screen shot of the settings you used to make tivo compatible divx movies? There are a lot of options.

RSS + pytvshows + rtorrent + mp4ize + XBMC (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22785084)

These products have seriously revolutionized how I watch TV, even more so than when I had Tivo.

If I want to watch something at the gym, I just grab the mp4ize'd version, toss it into iTunes. If I want to watch it at home I fire up XBMC and ccxserver serves it up to XBMC.

Everything is run on my server and my iPod videos are mounted as shares, iTunes has on problem with music on a shared drive either.

Only problem is I *have* to time shift by a day, but it doesn't bother me.

Very Timely article today (1)

tacokill (531275) | more than 6 years ago | (#22788962)

I just bought my 2nd Tivo HD. Love them. With Cablecards in both ($2/mo/card), I get everything the cable co's box gets except Pay Per View, which I couldn't care less about.

I took great pleasure in returning my crappy Motorola DVR that the cable company (Cox) tries to pawn off as a "functional" DVR. It is and will be the last cable company supplied box that ever enters my house if I have a say.

OT question for the group though: Why don't 2007/2008 televisions have cablecard slots like my TivoHD? You can't hardly find them built into the TV's anymore. Kitchen TV's? Bedroom TV's? Hello? There are some places where a cable box is undesirable. Am I the only one who wants to watch HBO in my bedroom without a cable box below the TV? Without a cable card slot in the TV, you have no choice. You have to have a box to watch those channels on any TV.

Windows only... (1)

cybersquid (24605) | about 6 years ago | (#22830152)

TiVo users can grab hold of the latest version of Desktop (Windows only, we're afraid) and

... and I'm done. Linux or Mac or release the specs so we can do it ourselves, please.
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