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Old 11-19-2009, 02:30 PM   #1
Texas Dew
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Convert .TIVO to high quality AVI or other

I can't get a good quality conversion from .TIVO files.

I am brand new to TIVO. I have recorded some shows and I have transfer them across to my PC (they come across to my Desktop Plus software (I upgraded to Plus)) as .TIVO. I want to convert them to high quality AVI (like full HD). I have been unable to do this. Does Plus do this (if so I can't find out how) or what program will?

Boring Detail: I have a Windows Vista machine. When I use TIVO Desktop Plus I first move the files to my computer and they show up as .TIVO extensions. .TIVO seems to be my only options when moving to the PC. Once on the PC I use Plus to convert to AVI, but the quality is poor (the resulting AVI file is 320 x 240, 32 Pixel Depth and 29.97 Frames per second). I want something more along the line of 1080 not 320.

I also tried using two other programs (other than TiVo Desktop Plus). I use Avex Video Converter but it did not function at all (resulting file was all green pixels with no image). I also tried ConvertXt and again it did not function at all (also gave all green pixels with not image).

Any ideas to get a good quality? THANKS
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Old 11-19-2009, 05:54 PM   #2
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There are a few programs that will convert .tivo.

1. Tivo Decode, Only converts to .mpeg
2. VideoReDo, there are 2 versions, Plus, and TVSuite, both can convert to .mpg and a few other types but not .avi, they also can edit, ie: remove commercials, scenes. TVSuite adds on the ability to burn DVDs. However, they are not free, Plus: $50, TVSuite: $80. They do provide a free trial code.
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Old 11-19-2009, 09:28 PM   #3
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I will try this program ... THANKS. I am still not understanding this .TiVo extension .... and how its relaties to quality. When I bring the .TiVo over to my PC has it already taken the quality down to a level that can not be recovered (because it assumes I am bringing it over to play on a "protable" device like an IPOD (that does not require high quality). I ask this because I am afraid that any conversion program that works on the dot TiVo that resides on the PC can not make a high quality file (HD 1080) from a low quality file (.TiVo 320).

Does anyone know the specs of a .TiVo file?

Since I am recording on the new HD TiVo I assume the recording on the actual TiVo box is high quality (ie 1080) ... but have I lost that quality when I bring it over to the PC?
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Old 11-19-2009, 09:35 PM   #4
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Tivo will record the shows AS IS, so a channel using resolution 720p will be the same on the recording. Assuming you set the Tivo HD to 1080i, the Tivo will play back in 1080i even though it recorded in 720p.

I think Ipod has a much lower resolution capability than the PC.
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Old 11-19-2009, 10:45 PM   #5
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I really appreciate this help ... thanks. Again, since I am new I am still trying to understand..... so are you saying

1) If the quality of the TiVo Recording on the TiVo machine (I have it set to 1080) and I am receiving it at 1080 (it is a true HD channel) is 1080.
2) Then when I move it to the PC using TiVo DeskTop Plus ... the resulting .TiVo file on the PC is also a 1080 file?

Visually it does not appear that way to me. It appears to me that the quality of the TiVo Recording on the TiVo machine IS truely 1080 (very sharp etc). BUT it appears to me that the .TiVo that is moved to the PC is MUCH smaller and much less quality.

I use Adobe Premier Pro CS4 to edit my files. When I convert the file using the program you suggested VideoReDo ... to a MP4 ... the file size is 480 x 480 (which is better than what TiVo DeskTop Plus did on the same file at 320 x 240) .... but I would have expected 1440 x 1080.

It's back to the basic question ... it sounds like it is your opinion that any file moved from the TiVo recorder to the PC comes over at the exact same quality as recorded?
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Old 11-19-2009, 11:22 PM   #6
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The Tivo records the signal "as is" as it is delivered from the source.
If a show is broadcast in 720p then that's how Tivo records it.
If you have the Tivo output set at 1080i, then Tivo will "upconvert" that 720p recording to 1080i for your display.

As for the .tivo file, basically it's an mpeg video in a proprioritory container.
The file should transfer to the computer with the same resolution.
For example, here is the specs for the FOX show Glee as it sits on my computer (if you're using VideoReDo, you find this info by hitting Control+L when you have a video loaded.).

Quote:
File Name: F:\Glee\Glee - 02 ''Showmance''.tivo
File Size: 4810557856 ( 4.48 GB )
Program Duration: 00:43:24.11
File Type: TiVo
Encoding: MPEG2
Video stream Id: xE0
Encoding Dimensions: 1280 x 720
Display Size: 1280 x 720
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Frame Rate: 59.94 FPS
Bit Rate: 19.000 Mbps
VBV_Buffer: 976 KB
Profile: Main/High
Progressive: Progressive Only
Chroma: 4:2:0
Audio Format: 5.1
Audio Stream Id: AC3: 0 (x80)
Audio Bit Rate: 448 Kbps
Audio Sampling Rate: 48000 Hz
TS Mux Rate (bps): -1

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Last edited by steve614 : 11-19-2009 at 11:28 PM.
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Old 11-19-2009, 11:32 PM   #7
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The Tivo simply records the stream as it comes to it, it does no transcoding. So if you are tuned to and recording a 1080i program, it will record it as is (i.e. 1920x1080 at ~14-18 Mbps). Same goes for 720p (1280x720 at ~10-14 Mbps).

When you set the Tivo to 1080i Fixed, that is what resolution is output on component and HDMI connections. It is not what it records at. If you are viewing an SD program (720x480), it will upscale to 1080i.

The same goes for Tivo Desktop. It just transfers the video down to your computer. It is whatever resolution, bitrate, etc that was recorded on your tivo. The only thing that happens between the Tivo and the PC is that the stream is decrypted and re-wrapped in the tivo container. That is just a MPEG2 stream with a few extra bits in the header to denote the MAK of your tivo. Programs like VideoRedo and tivodecoder can strip that header and give you a clean .mpg file.

All Tivo recordings (OTA [over the air] or cable) are MPEG2 video. If you want to transcode to some other format (XVID, x264, VC-1, etc), you will need to use another piece of software to do this. AVI is a container, not a video format. If you are trying to get the video over to an IPOD, I would suggest using Handbrake for your conversions. It is pretty user friendly and does a good job. Of course, there are a lot of options for x264 encoding (.mp4/.m4v containers - what Handbrake encodes to primarily) so video quality can vary.

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Old 11-20-2009, 08:05 AM   #8
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Smile

AWESOME !!!!!!!! Exactly the type of info I was looking for (I needed to see the specs). This helps tremendously ... THANKS

I incorrectly thought that moving the file from the TiVo recorder to the PC caused some sort of compression or downsizing. Since what I am getting on my PC is not the quality I expected ... I will check my various setting on the original recordings and find out what has gone askew there.

THANKS VERY MUCH ..... this forum is perfect for us new guys and your answers were spot on.... THANKS .....
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Old 11-20-2009, 09:19 AM   #9
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Be sure to check out the TiVo Home Media .... forum. That's where most discussion of encoding TTG files resides.

The three most popular programs, for which you will see dedicated threads -- easy to spot, are kmttg, streambaby and pyTiVo., although only kmttg addresses encoding to more compressed formats.

If you decide to use VideoReDo (highly recommended by many on this forum) I can also recommend (since I am the program author) TVAP (link in signature).

All mentioned programs are free except VideoReDo. You can free-trial VRD uncrippled if you download it and perform the free trial registration from within its menus.
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Old 11-20-2009, 09:22 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThAbtO View Post
....... Plus: $50, TVSuite: $80. They do provide a free trial code.
TVSuite is actually only $75 .
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Old 11-20-2009, 10:58 AM   #11
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The Plus formats are all 320x240 because they're meant for portable devices like iPods. If you use kmttg you can set up custom formats but in most cases it's not worth the effort to transcode if you want a high resolution output. Just use TivoDecode to strip the DRM wrapper and decrypt them into straight MPEG-2.
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Old 11-20-2009, 11:38 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by ggieseke View Post
The Plus formats are all 320x240 because they're meant for portable devices like iPods. If you use kmttg you can set up custom formats but in most cases it's not worth the effort to transcode if you want a high resolution output. Just use TivoDecode to strip the DRM wrapper and decrypt them into straight MPEG-2.
Agreed.

If sending back to your TiVo is your only purpose I can only think of two (probably minor) advantages to transcoding to more compressed formats:
1. High bit-rate HD mpeg2 videos will not transfer/stream to your TiVo at real time rates, while compressed versions will.
2. If you are archiving and care about hard drive space.

If sending back to your TiVo is your only purpose (and you don't care about real-time HD streaming or hard disk space), just leave the file in .TiVo format -- which implicitly maintains metadata. You also can edit the .TiVo file to a new .TiVo file without commercials using VideoReDo, if desired. -- metadata is preserved. You can send it to the TiVo either with Desktop Server or with PyTivo.
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Old 11-20-2009, 05:51 PM   #13
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One persons says that DeskTop Plus always gives you dot.TiVo as 320 x 420 regardless of the original recording .... while another seems to say that DeskTop Plus always gives you the same quality as the quality of the recording (ie. if you record at 1080, the DeskTop Plus will give you a dot.TiVo at 1080) am I misunderstanding?

I tried to reply previously but screwed it up somehow ... hope I don't post twice :-)
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:04 PM   #14
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The 320x240 refers to mpeg4 type output files created by Desktop Plus when it transcodes from .TiVo inputs. It was designed with the iPod in mind, which uses that small format. The .TiVo files transfered by Desktop (plus or not) to your PC have the same resolution they did on your TiVo.

If you really want .avi files at high resolution you have two choices:
1. Learn more about transcoding and video formats, and ways to convert .TiVo to .mpeg formats. Then use the mostly free programs, some of which have been mentioned here. For example, you could convert to (full resolution) .mpg (mpeg2 format) using TiVoDecode then transcode to your .avi with HandBrake. But there are numerous other choices. kmttg should do it also, although I'm not sure what .avi output formats it supports, if any. Note that .avi actually just specifies a "container" format which can support several types of "video" formats inside it. Two common ones are xvid and plain vanilla mpeg4. The audio format is another variable.
(or)
2. Find a "shrink-wrap" program that will input a .TiVo file and generate to the .avi file. Most commercial programs of that type won't input the .TiVo file directly because they have to pay licensing fees to TiVo for that. One exception I know of is Roxio's Easy Media Creator programs, of which the current version is EMC10, I believe. I don't use it but I think it will work -- recommended only if you have some horsepower in your computer -- it's very demanding of resources.
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Last edited by dlfl : 11-20-2009 at 06:32 PM.
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Old 01-07-2014, 02:08 PM   #15
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More help from another 'newbi'....

I am very happy I found this thread. It explains quite a lot. (1) now I know that the transfer to my PC is "as is" from the source file... so if 1080 it is 1080... and (2) if I let TiVo Desktop Plus do the conversion for a portable, whether I pick MPEG4 or H.264 the resultant file will NOT be 1080, but rather a much more degraded file for portables... am I correct thus far?

Now... for the extra hard part that I need help on... especially since I am an old fart and want things to be simpler in general... what product (that is extremely easy to use) can I use to take the 1080 file on my PC (from TiVo) and convert it to some format (you tell me which one works best) for my Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 edition. I would really like to take my favorite TV shows with me on the road (in the air) while on my trip... and I would really like it to be better quality that I am getting with TiVo Desktop Plus conversion....

I am hopeful that one of you will provide me with a very simple remedy (I dont mind paying for a SW Pkg that does this... I just want to make sure that it is easy for me to use and does the trick)

MANY thanks folks!
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Old 01-07-2014, 04:18 PM   #16
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Give VideoReDo TVSuite v4 a try. When saving use the iPad profile. That should be compatible with your Galaxy. If it doesn't work good let me know and I can help you design a better profile that will work with the device.
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Old 01-08-2014, 03:43 PM   #17
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Thx

Hey Dan203... many thanks... I will give it a try the next time I am going to move a bunch of shows to my Galaxy Note 10.1 Hopefully it will be much better quality than just the TiVo Convert... and I hope it is easy enough for me to understand and perform the operation....
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Old 06-15-2014, 01:45 PM   #18
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Which Format to choose?

I have TiVo Desktop and a VideoReDo TVSuite (lastest version) which works well for editing out commercials in TiVo files. I want to convert these to play on my Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 tablet and have a relatively small file size (3GB?) to save space. What format should I use in VideoReDo to do the conversion? What I have used so far gives an incompatible version that will only play audio.

I used to be able to use Roxio 2012, but lately it has stopped working to do the conversion. It also creates Blu-Ray disks with movies that do not have the sound synchronized after VideoReDo removes the commercials.
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Old 06-15-2014, 04:12 PM   #19
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Try the iPad Output Profile.
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Old 09-27-2014, 06:30 PM   #20
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Try the iPad Output Profile.


Did I hear you say that you are the author of the videoredo software? I too faced the same difficulty in converting the .tivo files.

I don't mind supporting those who make quality programs, but those seem rather expensive. Would there happen to be a coupon code for those who might not be able to afford $75 or $95 ?

Much thanks in advance,

EJ
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Old 09-27-2014, 07:44 PM   #21
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If VideoReDo seems too pricey, take a look at Adobe Premiere and Final Cut.

After you do that, VideoReDo won't look so expensive!
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Old 09-27-2014, 07:52 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by elitejustice View Post
Did I hear you say that you are the author of the videoredo software? I too faced the same difficulty in converting the .tivo files.

I don't mind supporting those who make quality programs, but those seem rather expensive. Would there happen to be a coupon code for those who might not be able to afford $75 or $95 ?

Much thanks in advance,

EJ
No I'm the author of VAP (link in signature), a free third-party program that automates using VideoReDo. Dan203 (see earlier posts) is a programmer for VideoReDo. VRD easily justifies its price based on both its functionality and the excellent support provided by VRD staff on their forum. You can try it free and completely uncrippled for 15 days.

Depending on exactly what you need to do, it sometimes is possible to piece together a set of free programs that will work. But a lot of people end up deciding it's worth paying for VRD.
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Old 09-28-2014, 01:06 AM   #23
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To expand on my early comment, I own VideoReDo and I use it frequently. It does a really good job converting many formats, including raw TiVo, and it has a very effective interface for editing video files. I think if you cough up the cash you'll be happy you did.
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