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cTiVo Announcement

Discussion in 'TiVo Home Media Features & TiVoToGo' started by mackworth, Apr 19, 2013.

  1. mackworth

    mackworth New Member

    Jul 31, 2006
    We're pleased to announce the beta availability of cTiVo, a powerful reincarnation of the iTiVo concept. There's a short article about it here on Mac Observer.

    You can download the code at cTiVo Download.

    Although there is a issue tracker on the code site, we wanted to use this thread for more informal discussion about any concerns, suggestions, etc.

    Hope you like it...

    To quote from the Readme:

    cTiVo is a free Mac application to copy shows from your TiVo Premiere, HD, Series3 or Series2 devices. Simple to set up and use, it will download shows to your Mac, and convert them to many popular formats / devices. It is inspired by the great work done on iTiVo, but written in Cocoa/Objective C for better performance / compatibility.

    cTiVo is an initial beta; give it a try and tell us what you think. In particular, let us know if you see any problems. We want cTiVo to be a great product for you: simple to use, but powerful in its configurability.
    Features similar to iTiVo include:
    • Formats include H.264, MPEG2, MPEG1, AVI, decrypt-only, audio-only.
    • Target devices include iPhone, iPad, iPod, AppleTV, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PSP, YouTube.
    • 'Subscriptions' to your regular shows: downloading them whenever new episodes are available.
    • Support for different encoders, including HandBrake, mencoder, ffmpeg.
    • Download queue for batch processing.
    • Optionally show non-downloadable copy-protected shows.
    • Automatically remove commercials from downloaded shows.
    • Download queue restored when restarting app.
    • Display filter in program list.
    • Automatic discovery of TiVos using Bonjour.
    • Folders optionally created for each series.
    • Automatic updates of the software.
    • Automatically perform an 'iTunes sync' to your device when the download is completed. With appropriate configuration, in the morning, you will find all your favorite shows from your TiVo loaded onto your iPhone or iPad.
    • Manual connect by IP address.
    • Detailed info on each show.
    • Growl or Apple notifications.
    • Scheduling of when the queue will be processed.
    • Built-in Elgato Turbo.264 support.
    • Generate metadata appropriate for use by tools such as pyTivoX.
    • Create subtitle files (.srt) from the closed caption info including removal of commercials.
    • Imports iTiVo preferences, including subscriptions and Media Access Key.
    Features in addition to iTiVo include:
    • Support for multiple TiVos (with same or different Media Access Keys), all displayed/active simultaneously.
    • Change download directories for each download.
    • Customizable columns; show exactly what you want to see.
    • Change conversion formats for each download or subscription.
    • Turn on/off iTunes / simultaneous download encoding for each download or subscription.
    • Simultaneous downloading from multiple TiVos.
    • Show only the encoding formats you actually use.
    • Options to prevent sleep or quitting until processing complete.
    • More parallel processing, including downloading next show while encoding current one.
    • Sorting download and subscription queues.
    • Completely customizable encoder options for multiple formats.
    • In scheduled use, avoids new operations when end-time reached.
    • Drag/drop and contextual menus for ease of use; submit, reschedule, delete all by dragging the shows.
    • User-definable ports for TiVos; allows advanced users to access TiVo shows remotely (requires network reconfiguration).
    • Spotlight tracking of shows already downloaded by cTiVo
    • Fully compatible with OS X Mountain Lion (10.8) and Lion (10.7).
    To install:

    Download the cTiVo application, and drag it to your Applications Folder

    cTiVo is free to use, and the source is available for anyone to browse and contribute to.
  2. JoeTaxpayer

    JoeTaxpayer New Member

    Dec 23, 2008
    Minimum OS is Lion, correct? (Not complaining, just verifying. Wording above is ambiguous)
  3. mackworth

    mackworth New Member

    Jul 31, 2006
    Yes, that's correct. We use quite a few UI features in Lion.
  4. tannebil

    tannebil New Member

    Mar 9, 2006
    Where does comskip.ini go? The wiki seems silent on the matter of comskip and I can't find any info about it elsewhere.

    I enabled it in the GUI but it only seems to be work when I pick MPEG as the output format. As I understand things, MPEG-4/H.264 support in Comskip is an experimental feature and the OS X implementation uses an old version. If that's the case, could cTivo do a two-step process where it creates an MPEG output file, runs comskip against it, and then transcodes the MPEG version into the final target format?

    Also, could there be an option to just generate chapter stops for the commercials instead of cutting them? Since Comskip isn't 100% accurate, the cut files sometimes end up missing part of the program.

    That's the process I use on the Windows side using VideoRedo and some utility programs and it gives me good results. I'm trying to get out of Windows which is why I'm interested in cTivo. If you want some functionality ideas, you should take a look at VideoRedo AutoProcessor.
  5. tannebil

    tannebil New Member

    Mar 9, 2006
    It looks like Comskip only doesn't work with Handbrake transcodes. Is that correct?

    The Album field needs to include the season or the sort on some iOS devices and versions will look wonky, e.g. "The Americans, Season 1".

    The Season/Episode info is blank for many shows both in CTivo and on the Tivo (a Premiere). VideoRedo Autoprocessor gets the season/episode number from thetvdb.com when it's missing so that's another idea for an enhancement.

    Edit: I filed a problem report with Tivo about the missing Season/Episode info. I saw a bunch of posts about the problem at the end of January for a similar problem.
  6. dscottbuch1

    dscottbuch1 New Member

    Apr 28, 2013

    Regarding comskip. First, we are currently using comskip 0.92r which I did get to compile on OS X. That said, I haven't really explored the use of any newer features in the later versions of com skip. There is a comskip.ini included in the app bundle which is used by default but in the Format editor you can create a format which points cTiVo to use a comskip.ini of your choosing. In addition to other command line parameter you can specify your own comskip.ini file. This is done in the ComSkip Option entry in the format editor by entering --ini=<full path>/comskip.ini providing the full path to your ini file.
    Please note that in using the 0.92r version on OS X, a number of the filters are not working as I would expect (although I'm no expert). Specifically, to get reasonable results I had to basically turn off the uniformity filter by setting non_uniformity=0 and I also found I had to set max_volume=10000.

    Regarding the workflow you suggest, that is what is implemented in cTiVo. The .tivo file is downloaded and decrypted to a .mpg file, using tivodecode. That mpg is used for subsequent processing. if the encoder can accept a .edl file (output from comskip), and the user wants to, the mpg file is processed by comskip and the edl file sent to the encoder. HandbrakeCLI and ffmpeg do not accept edl files, mencoder and elgato do.

    One nice feature of cTiVo is that it will also edit the .srt (subtitle) files to account for the removal of commercials.

    We're looking at the possibility of including the .edl file information as chapter markers but don't have a solution for that in place yet.

    Hope off of that help.

    scott buchanan
  7. tannebil

    tannebil New Member

    Mar 9, 2006
    I used cTivo on the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory and, while not perfect, the cut file didn't lose any of the program which is a good start. That was without pointing to the comskip.ini file.

    If you are interested in pursuing chaptering, my current flow uses Drax to embed chapter stops into existing mp4 files. It's open source (Windows) but the heavy lifting is done by mp4v2 which is supported on multiple platforms including OS X so making an OS X version of Drax might be fairly easy for someone with the right skill-set.



    Converting the EDL file into a Drax compatible format is easy.

    I've been using VideoRedo Autoprocessor for a couple of years and the author has had to make a number of tweaks to metadata handling in order to get seasons and episodes to display properly on various iOS devices. I still see problems on occasion, e.g. I've got a couple of shows where all the metadata looks fine in iTunes and AtomicParsley but the episodes are displayed out of sequence on my iPhone/iPad. But only for a couple of shows. It's very odd. The problems encountered and fixed are documented in the VAP discussions on the VideoRedo forum:


    Another nice feature in VAP is that it embeds artwork for a show from an artwork library (just a set of jpg/png files named ShowName_thumbnail.jpg) when it updates the metadata on the encoded file.

    I've been using Handbrake rather than VideoRedo for a variety of reasons but the biggest one currently is that I want output files that have both AAC-LC and 5.1 audio tracks. The AAC track is needed when playing the file on an iOS device and the surround track is used when playing the file on Apple TV. It doesn't look like that's supported by any of your built-in formats. I realize I can do it with a custom HB encode but it might be a nice option for some of your built-ins.
  8. tannebil

    tannebil New Member

    Mar 9, 2006
    As an aside, I see the season/episode in the HD Menus, just not in the SD Menus and cTivo. Tivo phone support is puzzled by it so they are kicking it over to the technical team to take a look at it.

    A couple of possibilities come to mind:

    1. The fields are stored redundantly and the the ones used by the SD Menus and cTivo are not getting populated.

    2. The fields are stored in something other than clear text and the API/algorithm used to decode them for SD Menus/cTivo is broken for some edge cases.
  9. wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Ziphead

    Aug 2, 2003
    In the HDUI, these and other items are derived from the programId. The SDUI uses the actual episodeNumber metadata field. This is only one of many puzzling differences between the SDUI and HDUI, in areas where you'd think they'd be using a common back-end, but they aren't. But, it's normal, and I wouldn't expect it to change.
  10. kcossabo

    kcossabo Member

    Dec 8, 2007
    Thank you, the comskip issue is with HB, picked another and I could select it. With Respect To the Season, KMTTG seems to pick them up but not this one :confused:
  11. Stevesreed

    Stevesreed New Member

    Jun 24, 2002
    CTivo shows a lot of promise. Is much "slicker" feeling than kmttg, and it has a nice "Don't Sleep" option. (kmttg kept pausing even if just the display went to sleep.)

    I seem to have a problem with about 1/2 the encodings not quite finishing. They run for a long time, and the file size is about right, but the queue says the failed and the files are not playable.

    It also deletes the decoded files, so there's no easy way to re-encode then. I have to start from downloading them again.

    Any ideas?
  12. mackworth

    mackworth New Member

    Jul 31, 2006
    @Stevesreed, thanks for the nice thoughts, and sorry to hear about the download problem. To figure out what the issue is, can you send us a detailed log? To do that, turn verbose tracking on in cTivo Preferences, run a few shows until a couple fail, then go to Console>Utilities, filter on cTivo (upper right), Select All, and copy/paste into a file to post on this site. (you can then turn tracking off. You can post the file here, or I can send you my email.
  13. mackworth

    mackworth New Member

    Jul 31, 2006
    @tannebil, great suggestion! We think we'll be able to add commercial chaptering and embedding subtitles in the next version. On the artwork, where would the thumbnails come from?
  14. kcossabo

    kcossabo Member

    Dec 8, 2007

    what settings did you use on the HandBreak Encoder to achieve this?
  15. shaown

    shaown New Member

    Jun 30, 2002
    Looks great so FAR - certainly the painfully slow performance I encountered with iTivo is GONE.
    I agree with the enhancement request - we need more present encoding format/settings for new devices. I.e iPad normal, retina, MBA, etc.
  16. JoeTaxpayer

    JoeTaxpayer New Member

    Dec 23, 2008
    Ok. I'm a very late adopter, with SL still on my main Mac. But I was curious about cTiVo and loaded it on a ML system I also use.

    So far, it looks great. A lot of choices for encoding, almost too many. I need to find a 'cheat sheet' to give me a few best choices.

    One small comment/request. When downloading, there's a progress bar but no countdown timer. There are times I'd like to know when a file transfer will be complete, even if it's a moving target. (i.e. I know the traffic on my network will impact transfer.)

    And last, this avoids whatever the iTiVo issue is with multiple TiVos not transferring. Great job.
  17. javabird

    javabird Active Member

    Oct 12, 2006
    I agree with that. And I'd also like to know the file size.
  18. mackworth

    mackworth New Member

    Jul 31, 2006
    We'll think about the countdown timer. The filesize is available, just right-click on the title bar of the three different tables to see all the "hidden" columns, just turn on "Size".

    Similarly, if there are too many formats, just go into "Edit Formats" and click on "Hide in User Interface" for the ones you don't want to use.
  19. gonzotek

    gonzotek tivo_xml developer

    Sep 24, 2004
    I posted this in the kmttg thread, but since you guys are using Google Code for downloads too, you might want to know about this:

    Heads up for Google Code users! Google is disabling hosted file downloads from Google Code projects:

    More detail at the links above.
  20. mackworth

    mackworth New Member

    Jul 31, 2006
    Yes, we're sorry about that. Apparently, the overwhelming number of cTivo beta downloads has exceeded Google's ability to handle that kind of traffic.

    We're reviewing our options...

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