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Options for viewing hulu.com on TiVo

Discussion in 'TiVo Home Media Features & TiVoToGo' started by timckelley, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. timckelley

    timckelley TCFer

    Oct 15, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Hello, I'm kind of considering (but not sure how seriously yet, though my wife is being open-minded about this) dumping Time Warner for my TV content, and instead relying on OTA + hulu + maybe netflix + maybe amazon, and maybe other online sources. But I'm thinking of OTA + hulu for the lion's share.

    In my house, we have:

    1 TiVo HD
    1 TiVo Premier
    2 single tuner S2's

    I also have a home network with pyTiVo running, and an NAS.

    From my reading, it looks like the Premier supports hulu plus, but it seems like I can get what I want using the free version of hulu.com, and I might prefer to avoid hulu plus. Also, if I understand correctly, there's no easy way to transfer hulu shows to a file and use pyTiVo to transfer to TiVo right? I'm assuming I just need to stream the shows from the internet whenever I want to sit down and watch the shows.

    If that's so, my only idea offhand how to do it is to put some computer in the same room as the TV (and by the way, the rooms that have TiVo HD and TiVo Premier both contain TVs with hdmi input... the others don't), and plug the monitor into the TV and just play the shows from a browser on the PC. But then I need a way to plug an HDMI screen into the computer, which offhand I'm not sure how to do. But does this sound like the usual strategy people use, or there a simpler way to accomplish what I seek?

    I guess I also need to put an antenna somewhere that faces the TV towers.
  2. ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay

    Apr 6, 2000
    SF Bay Area
    Most HDTVs has a computer input known as VGA, so you can plug in a computer without an extra monitor.
  3. timckelley

    timckelley TCFer

    Oct 15, 2002
    Austin, TX
    Thank you; I should have thought of that.

    The room with TiVo HD has an HD TV with a VGA input; so that solve that.

    The room with TiVo Premier has pretty large sized HD computer monitor with only VGA input - no other inputs. I currently have it rigged TiVo HDMI port -> HDMI A/B/C switch (to allow other devices access to the monitor) -> HD fury chip that convert HDMI to DVI -> DVI-to-VGA adapter -> HD monitor.

    I suppose at the last step I could insert a VGA A/B switch to allow a computer access to the monitor.

    It does turn out that my son's laptop (with Windows Vista) that he rarely uses sits on a desk in very close proximity to that monitor, so I maybe use that to drive hulu.com content. Or I guess it would be simpler to just use hulu plus with no additional hardware setup needed, but I'm not sure what you get from hulu plus other than the simpler hardware setup. For a monthly fee, that doesn't seem worth it in my book.

    I do have one other computer in the house we're not using, which is a dynavox device. (Looks like this:


    It's kind of old, but it has Windows XP installed on it, and I do have a wireless adapter on hand I could plug in it's USB port to give it access to our wifi, so it seems like I could use it to run hulu content in the other room. Well this is assuming it has a VGA output port. It's actually a combination CPU/touch screen monitor all in one. [going to check...] bad news; there is no monitor output port on the thing. I guess my options are to do one of the following:

    1) restrict hulu content to just one TV
    2) take another XP computer I have that I'm currently using to run pyTiVo, and maybe run pyTiVo on my computer instead, or maybe use the dynavox to run pyTiVo, or maybe learn how to get it to run directly on my NAS
    3) subscribe to hulu plus, so I don't need to hookup any computers
    4) buy another computer
  4. Soapm

    Soapm Active Member

    May 9, 2007
    So close,...
    If only Tivo worked with internet TV like Roku and was able to record like it does OTA or Cable.
  5. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    Actually this is possible with PlayOn and the PlayOn plugin for pyTivo. See my posts 31 - 33 in this thread of the PlayOn forums:

    PlayOn is a great portal to internet TV including Hulu and Hulu+ and you can pull or push anything PlayOn can get using the pyTivo plugin. It runs on a Windows PC on your home network. The most PlayOn costs is $5/month but they offer specials all the time. I'm currently on a $25 annual subscription. PlayOn is a polished easy to install and use program with very good support.

    Some factors to be aware of though:
    1. PlayOn requires a fairly beefy PC. I don't know whether it would run well on an old XP box -- but you get a 30 day return period if it doesn't.

    2. The pyTivo plugin transfers/streams to the TiVo with a fixed bit rate of about 4.2 Mbps, which is certainly nowhere near HD. If the internet source supports it the video quality compares to DVD (not Blu-ray).

    3. PlayOn streams from one internet source to one client (e.g., pyTivo) at real-time rates. It's as if you're watching it on your PC, but the video player window is being streamed out by PlayOn. (Thus for Series 3 TiVo's at least, it's good the PlayOn/pyTivo bit rate is "only" 4.2 Mbps since those TiVo's can't keep up with HD rates over the home network.)

    I've been using the PlayOn/pyTivo combo for almost a year now and it works great.

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