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Old 05-16-2009, 08:40 PM   #1
Killer-B
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Question Series 2 - Streaming Question(s)

Hey All -

Well, in reading the many (many!) other posts about this - I think we all share the same frustration when it comes to TiVo-to-Go that (well, at least for us Series 2 users) it is soooooo painfully slow to download shows (12GB for Indy today... like 15 hours ETA to D/L? No thanks!) - But that then got me to thinking, is there away I can connect my TiVo to my PC (or preferably Mac - but know that's even a bigger pipedream) - So I logged on here... and have been poking around - and see *allot* of solutions for Series 3 and TiVo HD... but none for Series 2 (or none that I could find?)

Point being - I wish to "stream" my saved programs to my PC in real time as if I were watching it on my desktop vs. my TV - is this even doable?

If so, I really could use a "TiVo for Dummies" version of how to "A, B, C" do this?

I know there's an Ethernet and USB port - but whenever I ask TiVo CS about this... they just say it's "not for customer use"... but have also heard (eons ago) that there was some reverse parallel cable (or something like that) that would allow one to "network" a TiVo directly to a PC via USB?...

I'm in the middle of building a PDVR and contemplating whether or not to keep my Series 2 - or just dump it, as the 1 year license is about up - I LOVE my TiVo and "directory" and suggestions etc... but converting .tivo files is a total pain in the tail.... unless I do it with "Toast" on my Mac - but again, downloading them takes FOREVER...

Am looking at VLC and others too... But would prefer to Stream video direct from my Series 2... Any suggestions for us Series II users?

Many thanks!

KB
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Old 05-17-2009, 01:47 AM   #2
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The only 'streaming' solution that you can use (without directly hacking the tivo by opening it up) involves downloading (viewing as it downloads) and discarding the shows. So if your tivo is slow in downloading, none of the solutions would work..

The easiest way to stream to your mac is Plex (http://elan.plexapp.com/) with the Tivo plugin/application.

However, is it the downloads that are slow or the conversion? 15 hours for a show sounds REALLY slow. If you are sure your connection is 'GOOD' then I'd guess your computer is just slow at converting it. Pick something simpler to convert to. (Also, there *are* alternatives to using Toast if you're not happy with it). If your connection is the problem, then the plex solution above will not work either.
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Last edited by Yoav : 05-17-2009 at 01:58 AM.
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Old 05-17-2009, 05:18 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Yoav View Post
The only 'streaming' solution that you can use (without directly hacking the tivo by opening it up) involves downloading (viewing as it downloads) and discarding the shows. So if your tivo is slow in downloading, none of the solutions would work..

The easiest way to stream to your mac is Plex with the Tivo plugin/application.

However, is it the downloads that are slow or the conversion? 15 hours for a show sounds REALLY slow. If you are sure your connection is 'GOOD' then I'd guess your computer is just slow at converting it. Pick something simpler to convert to. (Also, there *are* alternatives to using Toast if you're not happy with it). If your connection is the problem, then the plex solution above will not work either.
Thanks Yoav for the fast response... and suggestion(s)...

To clarify, it is from my TiVo Series 2 - to my desktop (or Mac) that takes quite awhile to transfer... I just downloaded a 3.5GB show and it took almost 4 hours... But, if that wasn't bad enough - I started "converting" it with TiVo to Go about 5 hours ago, and is only 60% done on my Dell

The reason I use TOAST (Mac) over TiVo's "to-go" conversion, is that on my Dell PC, it takes a good half day to convert a large file from .tivo to .H264 format... and about 30% less if I go with standard .MP4 (Quicktime) - but the quality is rubbish - I'm not watching these on an iPod or the likes... it's meant for full screen, and ideally would like less pixelating if at all possible.

So since this site is not "officially" TiVo.. can we talk hacks here? As I said before, I'm about ready to toss it if I have to go thru this process every time (download, convert, transfer, upload, etc) - and even then, I can't run Toast on my PC, so I have to save the show to a flash drive or upload it via network (which is fairly fast PC to MAC) but still is just "one more extra step"... Point being, I'm not against opening it up and hacking it if it gets me more use out of it...

As to the streaming part... that's really what I'm after - I'd like to stream to my own network or web - so - that's the key really... I'll look at the PLEX link you gave me and see if that can help me out and will let you know... Good to hear there's Mac solutions out there...

Thanks again for the advice -

Cheers,

KB
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Old 05-17-2009, 05:41 AM   #4
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PS: I am just now reading about your Plex plug-in ... and also saw your answer to another on their forum about not being able to stream... I understand better now why this is.. but also in reading your wiki/app page, I'm seeing better now how one may be able to do something with a "slight delay".. depending on D/L speeds etc...

Plex App is still downloading... but once that is finished and loaded, I'll give your plug-in a try.... worst case I have a new media app for my Mac

Also, I see you mention "hard wiring" a tivo to ones PC... will assume this is part of the hack fix?

Thanks again for all the help and pointing me in the right direction -

KB
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Old 05-17-2009, 11:56 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Killer-B View Post
PS: I am just now reading about your Plex plug-in ... and also saw your answer to another on their forum about not being able to stream... I understand better now why this is.. but also in reading your wiki/app page, I'm seeing better now how one may be able to do something with a "slight delay".. depending on D/L speeds etc...

Plex App is still downloading... but once that is finished and loaded, I'll give your plug-in a try.... worst case I have a new media app for my Mac

Also, I see you mention "hard wiring" a tivo to ones PC... will assume this is part of the hack fix?

Thanks again for all the help and pointing me in the right direction -

KB
Hard wiring is not a hack. I just mean not using wireless (i.e. using a wired conneciton. (wireless often introduces very large delays).

Ok, so quick version: In order to get a movie to your computer, the following steps take place. Each of them can cause slowness, and depending on which is the 'biggest culprit', you will need to do a different fix.

1) The internal data that is the show is converted to a .tivo file in the tivo.
2) The .tivo file is downloaded from the tivo to your computer over the network.
3) The .tivo file is converted to an mp4 or similar on your computer

Step 1 is usually the limiting factor for most people. Tivo simply takes a while to do this conversion. The only workaround involves installing a different streamer on the tivo, and a fetcher on your computer. I've never done this, but start by looking up 'tivotool' (http://code.google.com/p/tivotool/), and hacking your tivo thusly: http://homepage.mac.com/steventamm/tivo.html. I really strongly recommend AGAINST doing this unless you have no other options left. It's not clear it will work. It *will* void your warantee, and it's an unsupported hack that may get messed up with future software updates... You can help speed up step 1 by making sure your tivo is not recording other things, and tune it to an unused channel.

Step 2 is all about your network connection. Wired is better than wireless.. Make sure it's a good connection. Check your pings to make sure you don't have packet loss or large lag. This is probably where your problem is, but I can't be sure.

Step 3 is about the speed of your computer. You can verify the problem by choosing 'decrypt' as the format in iTiVo (http://itivo.googlecode.com/). decrypt is very fast and uses very little computer power. So if you have a fast download using decrypt, then you know your computer is slowing things down. If you still have a slow download with decrypt, then there is an issue in step 2 or step 1. If you find that your computer isn't powerful enough, you can always pick an easier encoding (like divx) to make it go faster...
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Last edited by Yoav : 05-17-2009 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 05-17-2009, 02:07 PM   #6
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On my network (bridged wireless), it takes about 20 minutes to normally download a 1 hour show (about .75GB), which works out to be about 2.25GB an hour. So, if it is taking 4 hours for a 3.5GB show, something is really amiss here.

Things to consider -- What else is the TiVo doing (that will slow down the transfer)?

Is the TiVo recording a program?

Is the TiVo showing Live TV? (Live TV is actually worse than recording a program processing-wise, because the TiVo is also reading and decoding the buffer for playback.)

For a DT TiVo, what is the other tunder doing?be sure to also set the second tuner to a different unused channel.

Also:
Is the TiVo connected wirelessly or through a wireless adapter? (I'm not sure if using a wireless adapter (or the TiVo wireless adapter) slows down the processing within the TiVo or not.) If you are connected wirelessly, how is your network router set up? (You should be using at least 802.11g!) If you have your router set up in a "compatible" mode (to support b and g), this will slow down the transfer (and communication between every other g device on the network). If possible, set your router to be "g only".

Plus, what else is going on with the network?
Are other transfers going on within your network (like streaming audio/video or downloads on other computers)?
Are you within range of interference sources? Examples are:
neighbors using the same wireless channel as you;
wireless devices in the house in the same frequency range (like wireless phones, baby monitors, ...).

When I want to speed up a transfer, I do the following:
If I am not recording a program, I set the TiVo to an unused channel (so there is essentially nothing to record in the live TV buffer). For a DT TiVo, I also set the second tuner to a different unused channel.

For an MRV transfer, I do the same on both TiVos.

My setup? I use Belkin routers to set up my home network without needing to use wireless adapters on my different devices. One router is configured as a central access point, and the other routers are distributed throughout my house and bridged to the access point. That way, my TiVo (and other devices) think they are directly connected to a wired network, and don't know that they are actually conected wirelessly. (I also have a g-only wireless network set up for notebooks and other devices that work better not being wired down.) My wireless phones are 5.4GHz (to be out of the 2.4GHz range of 802.11b/g). It works great for me!
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Last edited by juanian : 05-17-2009 at 02:28 PM.
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Old 05-17-2009, 09:06 PM   #7
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Thanks guys -

Just getting this and you both have given me allot to research and think about...

Just FYI Juan - I'm using the TiVo branded USB adapter... think it cost me $69 back in the day as TiVo said (back when I bought it) other USB adapters would not work...

I have 2 wireless routers - An older LinkSys and my TiVo is hanging off a new NetGear box -

RE: B/G and interference etc.... I'm running "g" only (I believe, need to double check) and have no 2.4ghz phones or the likes (I went thru that with my old ADSL modem before changing to Cable) -

I only have my TiVo and Mac connected via WiFi - and when I use my Mac - it is a tad bit faster... but still lags... Point being though - I think you raised THE issue - I have no clue what the TiVo DC 2 is doing while it's downloading? But have read here that the "bottleneck" is indeed the .tivo encoding ... and slows things... That said though, I've never tried the "blank channels" option.... so - will give that a try (it records 2 at all times - so not really sure how I'll pull that off) - but know of 1 "dead" channel... will look for another.

RE: Converting - Since I first asked about this - I downloaded Plex as well as iTivo - Plex is GREAT (much like Boxee) but not the solution I was looking for - and still can't get the tivo plugin to "fire"... but will work on that another time.. But as to iTivo.. I found that on Google and downloaded and installed it... very similar to TiVo to Go... but got the spinning beachball... so have not got it to run yet (I have a new MBPro 15" 09 version) - so - I dunno what to say about that - but Toast has been pretty good about converting things down in a matter of minutes vs hours on my Dell using TiVo's product.

Oh, as to the "Wired" bit... is that the reverse parallel cable I need to get to do that? (Can't recall the exact name) - but think that is how i would hardwire it to my network?

Lastly - and kinda off topic - can anyone recommend a C card for Video Capture that will allow me to stream? There are so many brands I haven't a clue where to begin... I was looking at Hauppauge and others... but am unsure what is what... I don't need HD or anything fancy... If my TiVo didnt encode to this silly .tivo format - it would be ideal... Will search for the "tivo tool"... as I've heard about that before -

Cheers for the help!! Great stuff and lots to ponder -

KB

Last edited by Killer-B : 05-18-2009 at 12:53 AM.
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Old 05-17-2009, 09:18 PM   #8
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Skipping the quoting

iTiVo and Plex *shouldn't* just be sitting there. The fact that they are might indicate an issue with your home's network. Make sure you set the MAK correctly....

to use wired you need to get a USB->ethernet instead of a USB->wireless adapter. I do not have the full list of which ones are supported. However, it may end up not being worth your time. I'm pretty sure tivo S2's with wireless can do real-time downloads of data.

As to your other question:
All video capture cards will 'allow streaming' (since video capture cards have nothing to do with that). What you need is software that allows for it. The Hauppage card is generally liked (although I havent used it) and I believe has the extra advantage of also working with MythTV (http://www.mythtv.org/) -- which is something you may want to look at if you want tivo but are unhappy with tivo).

If you would rather do this on your mac, you may want to look at the eyeTV : http://www.elgato.com/

Good luck with whatever way you end up choosing. I'd be happy to help you debug iTiVo/Plex issues if you like... but to start with, I'd need to see the logs from <user>/Library/Logs/iTiVo.log
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Old 05-18-2009, 12:34 AM   #9
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Hi Yoav - It's late here - and been a looooong weekend - so can't get into everything right now.. but know you are the creator of iTivo and the Plex Plugin... Which are 2 separate issues and too much to get into tonight.... but I haven't gone thru all the setups within Plex to find the tivo plugin (or BBC iPlayer etc) - none are showing... so probably it's pilot error as it said they loaded and updated properly - I dunno... just too late to sort it -

As for MythTV and others - I mentioned in my 1st post that I was looking at building my own PDVR... Been researching allot - and trying to decide on Windows vs. Linux and the best way to stream out... ala VLC etc... I just don't have much experience with the card side of things (hence the question about them)... but saw on Tekzilla an episode with Myth and they sang their praises... Ideally, offloading everything from the CPU's to the cards... so - I'll keep researching.

I've seen some Elgato sites (eyeTV) as well as others... On2 etc.. I want to get my own stream going but not have to rely on a justin or ustream...

The "cable" for the tivo to PC is unique... for series 2 at least.. I know it's USB - but is "reversed" or twisted or parallel or something... I just can't recall the term as it's been over 2 years now since I spoke with TiVo.... I still need to look at tivotool again too...

Just too late - and too tired.. will let you know what I find out this week - and when I get around to trying iTivo again - will post/send the logs if the error comes back (It wouldn't even run... so never got to the MAK part LOL)...

Bed time for me -

Cheers,

KB
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Old 05-18-2009, 01:08 AM   #10
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PS:

In looking more at the low end Hauppauge stuff... and MythTV - I have some older P4 boxes that are PCI only - and could load up with several Hauppauge WinTV PVR-150 NTSC TV Tuner Cards - Since I'm not doing HD (now) and these seem to be cable and Sat ready... You think I should pick up a couple off eBay for cheap and try that? Or best to go "top shelf" from the get-go?

Thanks -

B
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Old 05-18-2009, 01:18 AM   #11
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PS:

In looking more at the low end Hauppauge stuff... and MythTV - I have some older P4 boxes that are PCI only - and could load up with several Hauppauge WinTV PVR-150 NTSC TV Tuner Cards - Since I'm not doing HD (now) and these seem to be cable and Sat ready... You think I should pick up a couple off eBay for cheap and try that? Or best to go "top shelf" from the get-go?

Thanks -

B
Honestly I think you're asking on the wrong forum. I haven't used the cards and can't give you useful advice. You may want to go on one of the mythtv forums and see what people think...
Just a heads up about 'older computers'. if you're gonna build your own HTPC, I'd suspect you don't want it to have a loud fan and loud HD's.....
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