Desktop 2.3 Hack: Transcode To Higher Resolutions


By default, the new TiVo Desktop software transcodes recordings to 320×240 for portable devices. According to TiVo VP Jim Denney this decision was made to limit potential piracy. However, there may be times when you’d prefer something a bit larger. For example the PSP (480×272), various PMCs (up to 640×480), various PDAs (up to 640×480), and (hopefully) future video-capable iPods all support higher resolutions. Additionally, if you’re interested in manipulating these files on a Mac with iMovie/iDVD why cripple your content? (For best results, do not transcode to a higher resolution than your source material.)

Step 1. Open up C:Program FilesTiVoDesktopSupportencodeprofiles.xml in Notepad and study the various tivotrans:Profile name entries (in quotes) to determine which method you’ll be using for your device. You can confirm your selection in the My TiVo Recordings for Portables subfolder. Within the relevant profile, edit the hrez and vrez variables to the desired dimensions. Before going down this path, it would be prudent to make a backup copy of encodeprofiles.xml.

Step 2. Use TiVo Desktop as you normally would and/or… To transcode immediately open a command window to C:Program FilesTiVoDesktop, type this, and hit enter: TiVoConverter.exe /profile=”xxxxxx” “C:yyyyyyzzzzzz.tivo” Substitute xxxxxx with what you researched above, yyyyyy with the TiVo Recordings directory path, and yyyyyy.tivo with the show you want to transcode.

Step 3. There is no Step 3.


17 thoughts on “Desktop 2.3 Hack: Transcode To Higher Resolutions”

  1. I’m having some trouble with this. I’ve modified the “avi” profile, increasing resolution and vbitrateK and audiobitrateK to 1000 and 128, respectively.

    With a 1.3GB, half-hour tivo recording at “Best” quality, it stops after approximately 5 minutes. Resulting file size is around 39MB. Any ideas?

  2. I should have mentioned, here’s a sample of the console output:

    got dimensions: 480 x 480
    got duration: 30:56
    got framerate: 29.97
    ## got duration

  3. Looks like AVI and Archos AVI profiles do not work with the default settings from the command line. I tried changing some variables here and there also with no luck, but I wasn’t comprehensive in testing. Perhaps this is why neither is listed as an option within the TiVo Desktop. Wonder if the codecs don’t support it, preprocessing is needed, or maybe something is just broken.

  4. Yeah, something’s definitely wrong/unsupported with some of the profiles in that XML file. “mpeg4 plain” simply quits.

    The “MPEG-4” profile seemed to work OK, getting a 512×384 .mp4 file with AAC audio that was decent quality and was just 20% of the size of the original .tivo file.

    I was hoping there would be some way to convert directly to DivX or XviD.

  5. Dave,
    In addition to TradePub, you should have a paypal donate button. I’d rather give money directly to you to support your awesomeness.


  6. Scott: Thanks for your support! Actually I did try a PayPal donate button on my TiVoToGo page at various times, including the last month… I didn’t receive any contributions. I am thinking of adding an ‘About’ page which includes ways folks can help support the site if they choose to.

  7. What about changing the audio encoding? I have a treo 650 and there is a great free video player called TCPMP but it doesn’t support AAC.

  8. Is anyone else having a problem loading .tivo files after installing desktop 2.3? I have narrowed it down to the newer version of “Videos.dll”. Since if I overwrite this dll with the 2.2 version of the dll all videos load as they should. Problem is I cant load desktop 2.3 using the old Videos.dll . Thanks.

  9. William: I haven’t tried changing the audio encoding, though it’s worth looking at! FYI there is supposedly aa AAC audio plugin for TCPMP you may want to check out.

    saboola: I haven’t experienced those problems.

  10. I tried this and encoded at 420×272 (psp), copied the file over to my psp, and my psp is unable to play the file… any idea? The file plays fine on my pc, and has the appropriate resolution.



  11. Matt: Have you tried the regular conversion (to 320×240) and does it work? The PSP is very touchy about file naming conventions. I ebay-ed mine, so I can’t do any direct testing at the moment.

  12. Oh yeah, the 320×240 works fine… and the file shows up in the list (at 480×272) but when it starts to play it, it kicks it out.

    Wasn’t there some sort of restriction on the resolution of video files played off of a memory stick?


  13. I’m confused. The picture is much bigger post conversion (about 4x bigger) but the file size is the exact same…how can that be?

  14. My converted Tivo videos look fine on my 5g ipod screen, but look pixilated when I try to watch them on a TV – via the ipod a/v output. I tried changing the mpeg4 resolution to 640 x 480. Any ideas?

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