Want TiVoToGo on your Mac?
Nearly two years after being released, TiVo, Inc may have failed to deliver but the hacker community has heeded our call. As of 12/05/06 the solution requires a little elbow grease and some command line action, but the difficulty level is reasonable until a polished app arrives in the near future — perhaps integrated into Galleon.
So what makes this hack special?
TiVoToGo was originally released as a service accessed through the TiVo Desktop software — PC only. Files transfered from a Series2 TiVo unit are saved to the computer in a .tivo format. This .tivo file is actually an encrypted MPEG-2. While we quickly figured out how to remove TiVo’s
gunk protection on Windows to free the MPEG, Mac and Linux users have been left out. Over the last year or so a dedicated group of hackers has been reverse engineering TiVo’s decryption mechanism which has now born fruit in the form of TiVo Decode. Utilizing your personal Media Access Key (MAK), TiVo Decode quickly removes TiVo’s protection as it converts the .tivo file to a .mpeg on multiple OSes without requiring any TiVo software.
What do I need to get started?
You’ll obviously need to download TiVo Decode. As of this writing, version 0.1.3 is out and now handles audio from DVD-burning TiVo units. Once you download the package, you can use StuffIt, or equivalent, to decompress the files. The software doesn’t come compiled, so you’ll need Xcode to assist. Xcode can be located on your OS X install discs and/or in an install directory on your Mac (search for it). Once you’ve located the install package, go ahead and get it on your system. Using a Terminal window, you’ll want to find the TiVo Decode directory and type: make. All done? Good!
Lastly, you’ll want to find out your MAK (which you probably shouldn’t share). Go to tivo.com/manage, sign in, and verify Transfers ALLOWED is set for the relevant TiVo units (Series2 stand alone boxes onlt). If they’re not, click on the DVR Preferences text link on the left column and enable them. Back on the Overview screen, click the Media Access Key link on the upper right side to retrieve your MAK.
How do I download my TiVo shows?
On your home LAN, using the web browser of your choice surf on over to httpS://[tivo-IP-here]. (You can find your TiVo’s IP via the Settings menu or via your home router software.) Safari users shouldn’t need to look up their TiVo’s (possibly-changing) IP address: In preferences, enable Bonjour under bookmarks, then select the TiVo from Bonjour in bookmarks, and finally change the URL address from http to httpS. With either method, to sign on, use tivo for your username and the password is your personal MAK. Browse around and download the shows you’re interested in working with. Alternately, you can install and configure Galleon to choose and/or schedule various show downloads.
How do I remove TiVo’s gunk?
Fire up a terminal window, we’re going to build a command line string. First we have to call TiVo Decode if it’s not in your path. In my case:
Next we need to specify our MAK which is the decryption key:
Then we need to tell the app to output (-o) the file and give it a path and name:
Lastly, we must point to the path and source TiVo file:
So my final command looks like this:
tivodecode-0.1.2/objects.dir/tivodecode -m ########## -o distraction.mpg distraction.tivo
In just a minute or two, you’ll have a free and clear MPEG-2 to play with. Enjoy!
How do I watch shows on my Mac and iPod?
If you plan to watch your TiVo-ed shows on your Mac, you’ll need an appropriate player. Despite Quicktime offering an MPEG-2 plugin (for a fee), it does not handle this particular flavor of MPEG. Both VLC and MPlayer are excellent free video playing applications which will handle the converted TiVo files.
Check out a few convert-for-iPod automation scripts here.
How do I get shows onto DVD?
There are two ways to move your de-gunked shows onto DVD. The first method is something you’d use for simple archiving purposes, for later reuse on a computer. Just burn to CD or DVD the way you would handle any other sort of data using OS X built-in functionality. But what you really want to know is how to burn your content onto DVD for playback in a set-top box. As with QuickTime, iDVD and iMovie are not capable of handling this particular sort of MPEG-2, so you’ll need to use another tool to author your DVD or you’ll need to convert the video to something more Mac friendly. Roxio’s Titanium Toast is fully capable of creating set-top box supported DVDs from the extracted MPEG-2 files. In conjunction with Apple’s Disk Utility, the free ffmpegX can be used to convert and create your DVD.
Linux users: If you’re a Linux user, you can pretty much follow these guidelines (swapping out *nix-specific software) to enjoy your TiVo shows away from your TiVo.
Remember… Skateboarding is not a crime, but sharing video could be.