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Old 09-07-2012, 08:50 AM   #1
davezatz
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TiVo Stream via VPN?

I'm kicking off this thread so we can have a dedicated discussion of ways to access the TiVo Stream outside the home. I assume it can be done, the question is how...
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:28 AM   #2
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Should be in the Stream Forum?
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Old 09-07-2012, 09:31 AM   #3
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Well, crap. I didn't know we had a Stream forum. Just asked the moderators to relocate us.
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Old 09-07-2012, 10:12 AM   #4
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I posted this in another thread, but it seems pertinent here as well.

For a VPN to work it would need to support mDNS and Bonjour.

This means that your VPN client IP address given out on your network would have to be on the same subnet as your Tivo. It also means that your VPN server would need to correctly handle multicast and arp requests from the VPN client. The VPN Client would have to appear like any other device on the local LAN.

The only non-commercial solution I have seen that may be able to do this is StrongSwan (using the dhcp and farp plugins). OpenVPN may have similar functionality, but as it doesn't work with iDevices (non-Jailbroken) I haven't looked.

This will never work with PPTP.
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Old 09-07-2012, 05:33 PM   #5
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So is the question if the Stream has to be on the same subnet as the TiVo or if the other device (i.e. iPad) has to be on the same subnet as the Stream? I would actually like to know the answer to both these questions.
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Old 09-07-2012, 10:37 PM   #6
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So is the question if the Stream has to be on the same subnet as the TiVo or if the other device (i.e. iPad) has to be on the same subnet as the Stream? I would actually like to know the answer to both these questions.
I would assume all three have to be on the same subnet for discovery. They probably all use Bonjour.
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Old 09-09-2012, 08:10 PM   #7
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I would think you're going to need a really, really good upload at home for this to work. Like, 5+mbits.
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Old 09-10-2012, 01:23 AM   #8
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The download options are either 610MB per hour or 1GB per hour. If the streaming bitrate is equivalent to Best that's only about 2.2Mbps, and if it's equivalent to Standard, which I think it is, then it would only be 1.4Mbps. I think a lot of people have upload speeds in those ranges. And if TiVo really wanted to allow internet streaming they could probably lower the resolution a bit, then lower the bitrate a bit and get a perfectly watchable (on an iPad) stream at <1Mbps.

I think the bigger issue might be copyright issues. I'm not sure if CCI flagged shows can be streamed outside the home. Slingbox gets away with it because they exploit the "analog hole". But TiVo is doing a direct digital to digital stream and I'm not sure if the rules allow for those streams to be sent out over the internet to a remote location.

Of course they could limit this feature to non-protected content, but I'm not sure if people would understand such a limitation or react well to it. Even now you see people complain about not being able to download protected shows that they can stream. It would muddy things even more if they could stream some, but not all, shows over the internet.

Personally I hope I'm wrong about the rules and TiVo can allow internet streaming in a future update, but I'm OK if they don't. The Stream works exactly as I expected and I'm happy with it.

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Old 09-10-2012, 02:29 PM   #9
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I am really hoping to get this working. I am running Astaro V8 on a machine and have it currently configured for PPTP for my iPad. I am going to try to get ipsec setup to see if that does what I need it to do. This is really the main reason I want a stream, If I can't get this working, I will likely return it.
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Old 09-10-2012, 02:33 PM   #10
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I read a bit about this yesterday and getting Bonjure to work over a VPN sounds like it's almost impossible. Seems like there are a few people who were able to fake it for iTunes streaming or Mac networking, but it sounded like a kludge that may not work well with the way the TiVo app works. But if you do get it working I'd love to hear about it. While I don't go on the road much it would be nice to have this ability anyway just in case. Even if it only worked for downloads and not streaming that would still be worth setting up.

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Old 09-10-2012, 04:50 PM   #11
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It should be possible using an OpenVPN Tap based VPN. This creates a Layer 2 VPN that simulates an ethernet connection between two sites. Its not the most efficient way to do a VPN and there can be other issues involved but it does create a single broadcast domain across two different sites.

I use this to bridge iTunes Home Sharing so that an Apple TV at one location can access movies stored in iTunes at another location.
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Old 09-10-2012, 11:30 PM   #12
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The download options are either 610MB per hour or 1GB per hour. If the streaming bitrate is equivalent to Best that's only about 2.2Mbps, and if it's equivalent to Standard, which I think it is, then it would only be 1.4Mbps. I think a lot of people have upload speeds in those ranges. And if TiVo really wanted to allow internet streaming they could probably lower the resolution a bit, then lower the bitrate a bit and get a perfectly watchable (on an iPad) stream at <1Mbps.

I think the bigger issue might be copyright issues. I'm not sure if CCI flagged shows can be streamed outside the home. Slingbox gets away with it because they exploit the "analog hole". But TiVo is doing a direct digital to digital stream and I'm not sure if the rules allow for those streams to be sent out over the internet to a remote location.

Of course they could limit this feature to non-protected content, but I'm not sure if people would understand such a limitation or react well to it. Even now you see people complain about not being able to download protected shows that they can stream. It would muddy things even more if they could stream some, but not all, shows over the internet.

Personally I hope I'm wrong about the rules and TiVo can allow internet streaming in a future update, but I'm OK if they don't. The Stream works exactly as I expected and I'm happy with it.

Dan
Getting around the 'stream outside the home' restriction is precisely why you need to use a VPN, and that's precisely why the Stream doesn't let you stream outside the home by default. This is definitely a gray area discussion.

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I read a bit about this yesterday and getting Bonjure to work over a VPN sounds like it's almost impossible. Seems like there are a few people who were able to fake it for iTunes streaming or Mac networking, but it sounded like a kludge that may not work well with the way the TiVo app works. But if you do get it working I'd love to hear about it. While I don't go on the road much it would be nice to have this ability anyway just in case. Even if it only worked for downloads and not streaming that would still be worth setting up.

Dan
If you have a real VPN, it will work, since to the devices being connected, it's simply as if you're on the local network. If you're doing something like Hamachi or some other forwarding service, you may be in for some trouble.
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Old 09-11-2012, 03:29 AM   #13
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It should be possible using an OpenVPN Tap based VPN. This creates a Layer 2 VPN that simulates an ethernet connection between two sites. Its not the most efficient way to do a VPN and there can be other issues involved but it does create a single broadcast domain across two different sites.

I use this to bridge iTunes Home Sharing so that an Apple TV at one location can access movies stored in iTunes at another location.
Care to explain how exactly you did it? I've onlymever used a very basic Windows based VPN, but if I had instructions I could try it and see if it works with the stream.

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Old 09-11-2012, 09:07 AM   #14
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My setup used a Linux server at one site and an embedded pfsense router at the other site. OpenVPN also works on windows so in theory it could be done there but I don't know the details.

I followed the Ubuntu OpenVPN guide at:
https://help.ubuntu.com/12.04/serverguide/openvpn.html

and then followed the "Advanced bridged VPN configuration on server" near the end.

Some of the quirks become in making sure that internet bound traffic at both sites goes directly to the internet and not through the VPN, and making sure that DHCP traffic stays within each LAN even though by default it will want to go across the OpenVPN tap link. These are places where a routed VPN works better but that is not an option in this case.
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Old 09-11-2012, 11:10 AM   #15
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My setup used a Linux server at one site and an embedded pfsense router at the other site. OpenVPN also works on windows so in theory it could be done there but I don't know the details.

I followed the Ubuntu OpenVPN guide at:
https://help.ubuntu.com/12.04/serverguide/openvpn.html

and then followed the "Advanced bridged VPN configuration on server" near the end.

Some of the quirks become in making sure that internet bound traffic at both sites goes directly to the internet and not through the VPN, and making sure that DHCP traffic stays within each LAN even though by default it will want to go across the OpenVPN tap link. These are places where a routed VPN works better but that is not an option in this case.
This is the problem...

I have read a number of aproaches that require computer connections on both sides of the VPN Tunnel to allow Multicast Bonjour to communicate. The only practical use case for this is if you have two homes and just want to be able to connect the two physical environments - but that is a pretty major constraint.

The Ipad will allow you to directly connect to either an L2TP, PPTP or IPSec VPN. The question is how can you get Multicast Bonjour working from VPN Host to iPad?
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Old 09-11-2012, 03:54 PM   #16
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I posted this in another thread, but it seems pertinent here as well.

For a VPN to work it would need to support mDNS and Bonjour.

This means that your VPN client IP address given out on your network would have to be on the same subnet as your Tivo. It also means that your VPN server would need to correctly handle multicast and arp requests from the VPN client. The VPN Client would have to appear like any other device on the local LAN.

The only non-commercial solution I have seen that may be able to do this is StrongSwan (using the dhcp and farp plugins). OpenVPN may have similar functionality, but as it doesn't work with iDevices (non-Jailbroken) I haven't looked.

This will never work with PPTP.
I'm not sure that's 100% accurate. I have Tomato USB (Toastman's version) installed on my Linksys E3000 and one of the features is a VPN PPTP server. I can set it up so that VPN clients are on the same subnet as my LAN devices and there's also a "Broadcast Relay Mode" setting which I have set to 2-way.

That said, I've never gotten the TiVo app to work when using the VPN outside my home (it works in the home). Granted I've only ever tried it using 3G, so it's possible that the iPhone simply won't forward multicast traffic over 3G. I now have a WiFi at work, but unfortunately they block VPN connections so I can't test that.

My guess is that the limitation is with iOS's VPN implementation rather than PPTP though.

On a side note, there are other VPN clients beyond the ones built into iOS. Juniper and Cisco VPN clients are in the App store.
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:59 PM   #17
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Wide Area Bonjour

In order to get this to work you need to setup Wide Area Bonjour. Regular LAN based Bonjour is delivered over ip multicast which isn't typically transported over VPN connections.

With Wide Area Bonjour you setup a DNS server to advertise the Bonjour services. I see the following Tivo services being advertised via Bonjour on my network:

_tivo-device._tcp.
_tivo-mindrpc._tcp.
_tivo-remote._tcp.
_tivo-videos.tcp.
_tivo-videostream._tcp.
_tivo-xcode._tcp.

You would need to add mDNS entries for the above records. Then have the VPN client use this DNS server for name resolution. The client should then be able to connect to the services remotely.

Looks like dyn-dns is offering an experimental bonjour-dns service:
http://dyn.com/support/bonjour-and-dns-discovery/

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Old 09-13-2012, 08:30 AM   #18
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Does anyone have more than "theory" or "what should work" on this issue? I have tried a number of different VPN approaches and I am coming up short thus far.
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Old 09-13-2012, 05:19 PM   #19
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back when the IPad app first came out i tried alot of things but could never get it to work remotely.

the issue was Bonjour so i hope someone knows ways around it
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Old 09-13-2012, 05:35 PM   #20
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I read and searched a lot and I never found anyone who successfully got Bonjure working over VPN on an iPad. There seems to be someway to get it to work with PCs using OpenVPN, but it's not compatible with iPad. Maybe you could use a PC as some sort of gateway, but that seems really inconvenient.

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Old 09-13-2012, 11:28 PM   #21
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Does anyone have more than "theory" or "what should work" on this issue? I have tried a number of different VPN approaches and I am coming up short thus far.
I don't think anyone outside of Tivo actually has a Stream until the last day or so, so I doubt it. You need to wait until people have a chance to play with them. Then we may see some real answers.
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Old 09-13-2012, 11:31 PM   #22
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I don't think anyone outside of Tivo actually has a Stream yet, I doubt it. You need to wait until people have a chance to play with them. Then we may see some real answers.
Huh? A ton of people have the Stream, including a number of posters in this thread. It's available in Best Buy.
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Old 09-13-2012, 11:37 PM   #23
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Huh? A ton of people have the Stream, including a number of posters in this thread. It's available in Best Buy.
Yeah oops. Still it takes a while for people to try different scenarios and able to report back. This is a corner case for most people, I think. So not many will be looking into it.
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Old 09-14-2012, 02:50 PM   #24
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I got my Tivo Stream yesterday. The first thing I tried was I fired up my VPN server and my cell phone's hot spot. Connected my iPad to my phone, VPN'd home, and started watching a video off my Tivo. It was glorious.

I have a Windows 2003 server and I just enabled it's built in VPN server, made sure it passed out IP's in the same range as my Tivo and it worked just fine. (I did need to port forward the VPN ports over my router/firewall for that to work.)
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Old 09-15-2012, 12:23 PM   #25
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It works!

I got it working too. I followed these instructions to setup PPTP on a Windows 7 computer I have on my home network:

http://www.groovypost.com/howto/micr...ome-windows-7/

Then I just used my iPad's PPTP VPN to connect to it over LTE. Tivo app worked flawlessly. Really cool!

Obviously with data being as expensive as it is it's not really practical to use over LTE, but it should work well whenever I'm at a wifi hotspot.

Edit: Also, something odd was that I found I couldn't connect to the VPN over my public IP when I was connected to my home network's wifi. I was trying to test the VPN to see if the ports were forwarded correctly and couldn't connect. It's probably something odd about the way my router treats its own public IP address. So don't fall into the same trap, go ahead and just test it using LTE/3g/another wifi hotspot.

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Old 09-15-2012, 02:26 PM   #26
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Cool I'm going to try this. I don't really travel much but it'll be nice to have he option.

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Old 09-15-2012, 04:44 PM   #27
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I got it working too. I followed these instructions to setup PPTP on a Windows 7 computer I have on my home network:

http://www.groovypost.com/howto/micr...ome-windows-7/

Then I just used my iPad's PPTP VPN to connect to it over LTE. Tivo app worked flawlessly. Really cool!

Obviously with data being as expensive as it is it's not really practical to use over LTE, but it should work well whenever I'm at a wifi hotspot.

Edit: Also, something odd was that I found I couldn't connect to the VPN over my public IP when I was connected to my home network's wifi. I was trying to test the VPN to see if the ports were forwarded correctly and couldn't connect. It's probably something odd about the way my router treats its own public IP address. So don't fall into the same trap, go ahead and just test it using LTE/3g/another wifi hotspot.
Thanks, I'll need try this out when the stream works on Android. Since I'm on the 150/65 FiOS tier, and I'm on unlimited data on Verizon with my LTE phone, I should be able to stream as much as a want.
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Old 09-15-2012, 07:08 PM   #28
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I got it working too. I followed these instructions to setup PPTP on a Windows 7 computer I have on my home network:

http://www.groovypost.com/howto/micr...ome-windows-7/

Then I just used my iPad's PPTP VPN to connect to it over LTE. Tivo app worked flawlessly. Really cool!

Obviously with data being as expensive as it is it's not really practical to use over LTE, but it should work well whenever I'm at a wifi hotspot.

Edit: Also, something odd was that I found I couldn't connect to the VPN over my public IP when I was connected to my home network's wifi. I was trying to test the VPN to see if the ports were forwarded correctly and couldn't connect. It's probably something odd about the way my router treats its own public IP address. So don't fall into the same trap, go ahead and just test it using LTE/3g/another wifi hotspot.
Thanks for the PPTP suggestion, as I think this will put me over the top in terms of picking up a Stream unit. One question, though...When I bring up the Tivo iOS app while connected via 3G/LTE it detects that I'm not on WiFi and tells me I am in "away mode", with limited capability. Are Stream functions included in "away mode"? Not that I will ever do much over 3G/LTE, but more of a curiosity.

Update: Hmm...not sure this is going to work. When my iPad is connected to my wireless network I can VPN and "see" my Tivo Premiere just fine. But in order to get around the 3G/LTE "away mode" issue above I try connecting via WiFi using my Android phone as a portable hotspot and unfortunately it cannot locate my Tivo on the "local network". Does the mean I'll have the same issue locating the Stream over a VPN connection?

Last edited by Bob Lee : 09-15-2012 at 07:53 PM. Reason: more info
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Old 09-15-2012, 09:36 PM   #29
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Hmm I may have declared victory too soon

When I tested it I switched to the VPN/LTE while the tivo app was open and already connected to my Tivo. I think this made it not check to see if it was on the home network. However, when I retested this by killing the tivo app and then trying to use it over LTE/VPN, I got the same problem you had.

Hopefully if you're on wifi/VPN it will work? I can probably test this tomorrow when I'm out. It's not like I really need this to work over LTE anyway. I does work if I use my home network's Wifi, with VPN, so that is a good sign.

Also when I tested again I think the port forwarding still isn't right. I had to use DMZ to get my iPad to connect to the VPN. It must use more than 1723? Before in my testing I thought I had turned this off and it still worked.

Edit: figured out the port forwarding. If you have a Verizon Fios router you have to go to Firewall Settings->Port Forwarding. Then use the "Create Port Forwarding Rule". In the application drop down choose "show all services". Then scroll down to PPTP after that refreshes. I was using the custom port forwarding and specifying 1723, but apparently this doesn't forward GRE, while the above method will.
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Old 09-15-2012, 09:38 PM   #30
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PPTP works perfectly for me.

I have a mac based network, and PPTP is not easily configured on OSX unless you have Lion or Mountain Lion server, so I downloaded EasyVPN... a GUI that enabled PPTP and allows simple administration of VPN accounts.

I ran EasyVPN on my MacBook, used the DMZ feature of my router to forward enable PPTP packets to pass through to my MacBook and then set up a PPTP VPN connection on my iPhone.

I turned off WiFi on my phone, turned on the VPN (connecting via AT&T "4G") and fired up the Tivo app... it reconnected to my Tivo with no problem and I was able to stream the Phillies game. It was jerky because of bandwidth issues, but I'm sure I could download a show if I wanted to.

I next went to my iPad (first generation WiFi only), created the same VPN connection, turned off the VPN on my iPhone, enabled Personal Hotspot and connected to it from my iPad and then turned on VPN.

When I launched The Tivo app on my iPad, it again reconnected to my Tivo and I was able to stream the game there as well. No problems whatsoever.

Obviously, this is not practical from a bandwidth standpoint over cellular data as the AT&T 3G+ isn't fast enough to stream (though I suppose it could side load - I'll have to try that out). I'm on the shared data plan for our two iPhones and my wife's iPad 3 AT&T LTE... though we don't have LTE service here yet.

The real application of this is twofold for me:

1. When somewhere with good enough bandwidth and solid WiFi signal, I should be able to stream video even away from home.

2. Regardless of where I am, I can have realtime remote control ability in order to allow remote scheduling of programs without having to wait for the website/tivo interaction... much nicer process overall.

Thanks for trying out PPTP and blazing the trail.

Ted
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