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TiVo Desktop Plus 2.6 Now Released 79

Posted by Zonk
from the lets-you-watch-such-wonderful-things dept.
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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TiVo Desktop Plus 2.6 Now Released

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  • Well, once the DRM is stripped, this'll make for much faster TV ups on piratebay ...
    • Re:DRM Stripping? (Score:5, Informative)

      by mrsbrisby (60242) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @09:51AM (#22782602) Homepage
      Done [sourceforge.net].
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      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

      • by CSMatt (1175471)
        Has this TiVo Desktop update added closed caption embedding, or was it always there?

        I would read the article, but Slashdot rules dictate otherwise.
  • Not just Windows (Score:4, Informative)

    by jumpinp (1144189) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @09:46AM (#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
    • by j-beda (85386)
      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 painles
      • by GrubInCan (624096)
        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.
        • by HTH NE1 (675604)
          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.
          • by Chelloveck (14643)

            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.

        • by j-beda (85386)
          "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 syn

      • 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 bee
    • by *weasel (174362)
      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.
    • 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 (Score:2, Informative)

    by ender- (42944)
    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 HU
    • by MiniMike (234881)
      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.


    • 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
      • by jandrese (485)
        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
    • by mcmonkey (96054)

      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

      • by radish (98371)
        I have a Series 3 and a TivoHD and have never seen anything like you describe, so I think you should be OK :)
      • by netringer (319831)
        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
        • by mcmonkey (96054)
          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 me

  • This is new how? (Score:1, Informative)

    by mitgib (1156957)

    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.

    • by ksm2552 (958809)
      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! 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. :)
        • by ksm2552 (958809)
          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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by encoderer (1060616)
      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 poli
      • by jedidiah (1196)
        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 lo
        • 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. S
          • by CSMatt (1175471)

            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.

            • 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.
              • by CSMatt (1175471)
                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).
        • :: 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. Ca
          • 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.
      • by CSMatt (1175471)

        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

        • 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 virtuall
  • 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.
  • by Hangtime (19526) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @10:43AM (#22783100) Homepage
    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.

    • 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: (Score:3, Informative)

        by aesiamun (862627)
        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 :)
        • by adolf (21054)
          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.)
        • 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.

          • by elrous0 (869638) *
            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).
            • 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.

        • by CSMatt (1175471)
          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.
          • by aesiamun (862627)
            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.
    • by Triv (181010)

      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.

  • "Added" value (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @11:51AM (#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.

    • 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!
    • by tbuskey (135499)

      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
  • by netsavior (627338) on Tuesday March 18, 2008 @11:52AM (#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.
    • 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?
      • by netsavior (627338)
        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.
        • Anyway you could post a screen shot of the settings you used to make tivo compatible divx movies? There are a lot of options.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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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