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Old 02-06-2015, 05:05 PM   #1
b-ball-fanatic
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Really basic question about streaming to TiVos

I apologize in advance for asking a question that's undoubtedly been asked before. But two days of experimenting and reading about pyTiVo and SteamBaby, etc., have left me cross-eyed......

The gist: I want to be able to watch videos stored on my home network without having to download them to the TiVo box.

I currently have a Roamio Pro, a Premiere XL, and a couple older boxes just used for storage. I also have a server (Windows Server 2013) on my network with lots of available storage space. I really want to move some of the Tivo recordings to the server, then be able to access and watch them on the Tivos without having to transfer them back to the box.

I've had Tivo Desktop since before they started charging for it, so it's the unpaid version. Using that as the server, I can readily access the videos on my PC, but I have to transfer them to the Tivo before I can watch them. (All my efforts just on the desktop PC so far....waiting to find a workable streaming setup before putting it on the Windows Server.) This seems kind of pointless, since part of the objective is to clear space on the TiVo boxes.


Am I doing something wrong with TiVo Desktop, or does it always require content to be transferred back to the boxes for viewing? If it does, is there another (relatively easy) solution that allows watching network-stored video without download/transfer?

Any help greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-06-2015, 05:09 PM   #2
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Am I doing something wrong with TiVo Desktop, or does it always require content to be transferred back to the boxes for viewing? If it does, is there another (relatively easy) solution that allows watching network-stored video without download/transfer?
TiVo Desktop and pyTivo transfer recordings to your TiVo. streambaby sounds more like what you are wanting to do. Read the getting_started Wiki for installation instructions.
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Old 02-06-2015, 05:45 PM   #3
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I really don't understand your issue with transferring. Just delete it when you are done. Do you keep your boxes extremely full? I use pytivo with my whs, love it.
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Old 02-06-2015, 05:48 PM   #4
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Thanks so much for clarifying that. I was finding it frustratingly difficult to determine which of those programs could stream or not.

I'll go delve into Steambaby.
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Old 02-06-2015, 06:54 PM   #5
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I really don't understand your issue with transferring. Just delete it when you are done. Do you keep your boxes extremely full? I use pytivo with my whs, love it.
No, I don't keep them extremely full, and I do understand that I can simply delete after watching. But I see some good reasons for preferring to stream the content. One example: I record and keep all my teams' football games every season...that's typically 60+ hrs of HD programming every year. Over time, that not only eats up a lot of space, but literally dozens of listings are all clustered together in one huge "NFL Football" folder. TiVo's NPL doesn't show years, so it's cumbersome to go back to, say, a particular game in 2010. Scroll too fast and oops, you're looking at the wrong season.... Stored elsewhere, I could organize them better and clear up a lot of TiVo space.

Those football videos provide another, more pertinent reason. It's not at all unusual that we want to go back to watch a specific play or drive, or just some part of a game. Transferring a 3.5 hour recording takes awhile, so if that one play/drive/whatever is late in the game, we probably wouldn't bother. Which kinda defeats the purpose of keeping the videos to begin with. The same applies to many of our saved recordings.....we don't necessarily watch them beginning-to-end, but rather want to quickly pull up a scene. Transferring doesn't allow that kind of "instant" access.

I do have another option, at least in my home theater. My Oppo BD player can stream video from my network. But that's a more cumbersome way to do it (requires firing up the whole "system" whereas the TiVo is always on and ready to go), and it's only in that one room.

So, bottom line, I'm pursuing the streaming approach because I'd love to be able to quickly access & watch centrally-stored video on any of my TiVos, much like I can play anything from my centrally-stored music library anywhere in the house on my Sonos players. (Network music is actually a good analogy: Imagine if you had to load a complete CD onto a network music player just to listen to track 8.)
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Old 02-07-2015, 12:06 AM   #6
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I'm sorry, but I find it quite amusing that you used countless hours of recordings of NFL football as your extensive example, yet your forum handle is "b-ball-fanatic"!
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Old 02-07-2015, 03:14 AM   #7
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I'm sorry, but I find it quite amusing that you used countless hours of recordings of NFL football as your extensive example, yet your forum handle is "b-ball-fanatic"!
Haha...great observation!

I actually DO record baseball games if I'm not around to watch, but I don't save them. Baseball games get "stale" a lot faster than football games.
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Old 02-12-2015, 04:39 PM   #8
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Hmm. Until you clarified it, I thought you were a basketball fanatic.
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Old 02-12-2015, 05:13 PM   #9
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Stored elsewhere, I could organize them better and clear up a lot of TiVo space.
Organization is without question more readily handled off-TiVo, but other than reducing clutter, there is really no reason to free up space on a TiVo. The TiVo handles that by itself extremely well without the user having to worry about it. My TiVos (all five of them) are 100% full virtually all the time.

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The same applies to many of our saved recordings.....we don't necessarily watch them beginning-to-end, but rather want to quickly pull up a scene. Transferring doesn't allow that kind of "instant" access.
True enough, and to my eye this is essentially really the only significant advantage of streaming over copying. For me, it's not a big deal, and the limitations of streaming on the platform have abrogated my interest in the feature. I can understand how others might find it more essential.

One possible work-around would be to increase your TiVo's storage to the point where keeping a modest number of programs in perpetuity causes you no grief. Admittedly, it's not the most wonderful method to that particular end as far as the goal itself is concerned, but doing so provides many, many other benefits. Certainly on the TiVos I own, 60 HD hours is not a very significant fraction of the total storage capability, or indeed of the amount of video stored on any one of them. If I had a compelling reason to want to have immediate trick-play access to 100 or so hours of my archived recordings, I would simply copy them all from the server and set them to KUID. I admit from a technical standpoint it is a little clumsy, but from the user standpoint, it's perfectly serviceable.

Last edited by lrhorer : 02-12-2015 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 02-12-2015, 05:23 PM   #10
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Stored elsewhere, I could organize them better and clear up a lot of TiVo space.
Organization is without question more readily handled off-TiVo, but other than reducing clutter, there is really no reason to free up space on a TiVo. The TiVo handles that by itself extremely well without the user having o worry about it.

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The same applies to many of our saved recordings.....we don't necessarily watch them beginning-to-end, but rather want to quickly pull up a scene. Transferring doesn't allow that kind of "instant" access.
True enough, and to my eye this is essentially really the only significant advantage of streaming over copying. For me, it's not a big deal, and the limitations of streaming on the platform have abrogated my interest in the feature. I can understand how others might find it more essential.

One possible work-around would be to increase your TiVo's storage to the point where keeping a modest number of programs in perpetuity causes you no grief. Admittedly, it's not the most wonderful method to that particular end as far as the goal itself is concerned, but doing so provides many, many other benefits. Certainly on the TiVos I own, 60 HD hours is not a very significant fraction of the total storage capability, or indeed of the amount of video stored on any one of them.

I do have another option, at least in my home theater. My Oppo BD player can stream video from my network. But that's a more cumbersome way to do it (requires firing up the whole "system" whereas the TiVo is always on and ready to go), and it's only in that one room.

So, bottom line, I'm pursuing the streaming approach because I'd love to be able to quickly access & watch centrally-stored video on any of my TiVos, much like I can play anything from my centrally-stored music library anywhere in the house on my Sonos players. (Network music is actually a good analogy: Imagine if you had to load a complete CD onto a network music player just to listen to track 8.)[/quote]
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Old 02-17-2015, 07:53 PM   #11
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So do the StreamBaby files show up in the search on the Tivo?
I'm switching from an extensive WMC/extender/WHS setup and am pretty intrigued by the global search functionality in TIVO, but am I right in guessing there are limitations? I'm basically looking to do the same as OP to archive recordings to a server and stream back to the Tivo interface (mix of Roamio and Minis). Will recordings transferred off the Tivo to the server still show up in the search or do I have to find them manually? Will the Mini be able to stream from the server? Sorry if this has been asked and answered elsewhere, but I'm very new to the platform.
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Old 02-17-2015, 09:35 PM   #12
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So do the StreamBaby files show up in the search on the Tivo?
No.

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Will recordings transferred off the Tivo to the server still show up in the search or do I have to find them manually?
Recordings on your server do not show up in a TiVo search.

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Will the Mini be able to stream from the server?
No. If you want to watch one on a Mini, it will have to be transferred to your Roamio.

The OP seems to think the only choices are

a. keep them on the TiVo.

or

b. transfer them to the server and stream them to the TiVo.

Why not transfer them to the server then transfer one back when you want to watch it? Better yet, edit them and convert to h.264 to reduce the size on the server and what has to be transferred back.
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Old 02-18-2015, 06:15 AM   #13
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Ok,converting to shrink the files and reloading onto the roamio sounds reasonable. From what I've read so far I can automate the whole process with kttmg + pytivo, right? Also, do the files have to go back into a .tivo container or should I use .mp4 or .mkv for the converted files?

Thanks for the feedback, it's very helpful.
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Old 02-18-2015, 08:37 AM   #14
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Ok,converting to shrink the files and reloading onto the roamio sounds reasonable. From what I've read so far I can automate the whole process with kttmg + pytivo, right? Also, do the files have to go back into a .tivo container or should I use .mp4 or .mkv for the converted files?

Thanks for the feedback, it's very helpful.
.tivo container is not needed. Mp4 files will push or pull to a tivo natively.

Yes, you can automate the download, recode, store and push back sequence with kmttg and pytivo.
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Old 02-18-2015, 06:21 PM   #15
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Organization is without question more readily handled off-TiVo, but other than reducing clutter, there is really no reason to free up space on a TiVo. The TiVo handles that by itself extremely well without the user having to worry about it. My TiVos (all five of them) are 100% full virtually all the time.


True enough, and to my eye this is essentially really the only significant advantage of streaming over copying. For me, it's not a big deal, and the limitations of streaming on the platform have abrogated my interest in the feature. I can understand how others might find it more essential.

One possible work-around would be to increase your TiVo's storage to the point where keeping a modest number of programs in perpetuity causes you no grief. Admittedly, it's not the most wonderful method to that particular end as far as the goal itself is concerned, but doing so provides many, many other benefits. Certainly on the TiVos I own, 60 HD hours is not a very significant fraction of the total storage capability, or indeed of the amount of video stored on any one of them. If I had a compelling reason to want to have immediate trick-play access to 100 or so hours of my archived recordings, I would simply copy them all from the server and set them to KUID. I admit from a technical standpoint it is a little clumsy, but from the user standpoint, it's perfectly serviceable.
Hey, sorry I missed your response earlier....didn't realize I don't have a notification set.

What's KUID?

I can see how your suggestion/method would work for a lot of situations, so maybe all this is just a function of my peculiar storage habits. As I mentioned in a previous post, it's also become a real organization problem for some videos. Ex: In a single folder labeled "NFL Football," dozens of games have accumulated and the NPL only shows month/day.....you have to go into the detailed descriptions to confirm which season you're looking at.

Even if I knew how to pull the videos off the TiVo and edit their metadata to change their folder organization (upon transfer back to the TiVo), that would help a lot. I'm a little frustrated in that effort so far, but still working on it.
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Old 02-18-2015, 06:38 PM   #16
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Hey, sorry I missed your response earlier....didn't realize I don't have a notification set.

What's KUID?

I can see how your suggestion/method would work for a lot of situations, so maybe all this is just a function of my peculiar storage habits. As I mentioned in a previous post, it's also become a real organization problem for some videos. Ex: In a single folder labeled "NFL Football," dozens of games have accumulated and the NPL only shows month/day.....you have to go into the detailed descriptions to confirm which season you're looking at.

Even if I knew how to pull the videos off the TiVo and edit their metadata to change their folder organization (upon transfer back to the TiVo), that would help a lot. I'm a little frustrated in that effort so far, but still working on it.
I do not understand why you are averse to leaving them on your server where you can organize them any way you like and then transferring one back when you want to watch it.
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Old 02-18-2015, 06:54 PM   #17
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The OP seems to think the only choices are

a. keep them on the TiVo.

or

b. transfer them to the server and stream them to the TiVo.

Why not transfer them to the server then transfer one back when you want to watch it? Better yet, edit them and convert to h.264 to reduce the size on the server and what has to be transferred back.
No, I don't think that those are the only choices, nor did I say as much. The "transfer-on-demand" approach has already been discussed in previous responses, including my explanation why that isn't a good solution for the way I use many of my recordings.

The second option you mention is intriguing, but here's where my efforts there have hit roadblocks: (1) The TiVos neither accept or even "see" anything but mpg2, so I can certainly edit and/or transcode to make the videos smaller, but I can't get those versions back onto the DVR. (2) Altering the videos seems to muck up their metadata, at least from the TiVos' perspective. I end up with nothing more than the title, which is not viable for me.

If you have specific solutions to those issues, which I'm still hoping/looking to resolve, I'm happy to hear them.
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Old 02-18-2015, 06:56 PM   #18
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I do not understand why you are averse to leaving them on your server where you can organize them any way you like and then transferring one back when you want to watch it.
Really? I thought I explained that pretty well, but I guess we'll have to agree that we just have different ways of using our recordings.
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Old 02-18-2015, 07:18 PM   #19
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Thumbs up

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No, I don't think that those are the only choices, nor did I say as much. The "transfer-on-demand" approach has already been discussed in previous responses, including my explanation why that isn't a good solution for the way I use many of my recordings.

The second option you mention is intriguing, but here's where my efforts there have hit roadblocks: (1) The TiVos neither accept or even "see" anything but mpg2, so I can certainly edit and/or transcode to make the videos smaller, but I can't get those versions back onto the DVR. (2) Altering the videos seems to muck up their metadata, at least from the TiVos' perspective. I end up with nothing more than the title, which is not viable for me.

If you have specific solutions to those issues, which I'm still hoping/looking to resolve, I'm happy to hear them.
Transcode them to H.264 in either an mp4 or mkv container. H.264 is supported natively on both your Roamio and Premiere. Install and configure pyTivo and add "ts=on" to its Global Settings so that at most it will have to re-mux. pyTivo also does a much better job with metadata.

You might want to investigate kmttg to make the TiVo-PC transfer and transcode process easier.

Streambaby has been improved lately so maybe this is no longer true, but the times I used it FF wasn't very good.
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Old 02-18-2015, 07:47 PM   #20
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Transcode them to H.264 in either an mp4 or mkv container. H.264 is supported natively on both your Roamio and Premiere. Install and configure pyTivo and add "ts=on" to its Global Settings so that at most it will have to re-mux. pyTivo also does a much better job with metadata.

You might want to investigate kmttg to make the TiVo-PC transfer and transcode process easier.

Streambaby has been improved lately so maybe this is no longer true, but the times I used it FF wasn't very good.
Thanks for the tips. I do already use kmttg, but had so far been hoping to avoid pyTiVo if there was a "more elegant" solution. Not really averse to using it, but I've spent so many years with beta and user-sourced software (of all kinds, for all sorts of applications) that I was not enthused to go that route here. Kinda wanted something that doesn't require a few nights trodding through wikis, but if there's no such program out there, so be it.

Does getting the TiVos to see .mp4s and .mkvs require pyTiVo? So far, when I point my Roamio and Premiere units to a server folder, it only sees the mpg2 files....everything else is completely ignored. And finally, for clarity, you're saying pyTivo will transfer both .mp4 and .mkv files without transcoding? I guess I'm confused why the TiVo doesn't transfer these other formats (i.e., anything it natively supports) with any server....including its own TD application.

Thanks much for your insights. Everything's very helpful at this point!
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Old 02-18-2015, 09:41 PM   #21
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Thanks for the tips. I do already use kmttg, but had so far been hoping to avoid pyTiVo if there was a "more elegant" solution. Not really averse to using it, but I've spent so many years with beta and user-sourced software (of all kinds, for all sorts of applications) that I was not enthused to go that route here. Kinda wanted something that doesn't require a few nights trodding through wikis, but if there's no such program out there, so be it.

Does getting the TiVos to see .mp4s and .mkvs require pyTiVo? So far, when I point my Roamio and Premiere units to a server folder, it only sees the mpg2 files....everything else is completely ignored. And finally, for clarity, you're saying pyTivo will transfer both .mp4 and .mkv files without transcoding? I guess I'm confused why the TiVo doesn't transfer these other formats (i.e., anything it natively supports) with any server....including its own TD application.

Thanks much for your insights. Everything's very helpful at this point!
Are you using the free version of TiVo Desktop? Its format support is very limited. The pay version may support pushes of mp4 but w/o any metadata. I've never used it.

Yes, pyTivo can transfer an H.264 mp4 or mkv to the TiVo w/o transcoding. Plus it will send the metadata if present.

pyTivo isn't really all that difficult to install and configure and it is much better than even the pay version of Tivo Desktop. Obviously, you will have install Python but that's not difficult either. There's plenty of people around here to help you if you have any problems.
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Old 02-18-2015, 09:59 PM   #22
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Are you using the free version of TiVo Desktop? Its format support is very limited. The pay version may support pushes of mp4 but w/o any metadata. I've never used it.

Yes, pyTivo can transfer an H.264 mp4 or mkv to the TiVo w/o transcoding. Plus it will send the metadata if present.

pyTivo isn't really all that difficult to install and configure and it is much better than even the pay version of Tivo Desktop. Obviously, you will have install Python but that's not difficult either. There's plenty of people around here to help you if you have any problems.
Yeah, I'd been using the free version of TD as I've been experimenting with editing some videos (for length). I didn't realize that TD was the culprit re: the metadata issue....I thought it was the DVRs themselves. Great to know.

So ok, looks like I'll be delving into those pyTivo wikis for the next few days! Already screwed up, apparently. Remembering that it required Python, I dove right in and installed it. Only to then discover, on the pyTiVo wiki, that it requires an older version. Okay-dokey. And so it begins.....

The offers of help are encouraging. I'll let you all know if I hit any major roadblocks.
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Old 02-18-2015, 10:41 PM   #23
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What problems did you have with streambaby? It's pretty trivial to install especially with the installation Wiki. pyTivo is also a good option to have so worth installing too.
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Old 02-18-2015, 11:29 PM   #24
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It's not really an older version of Python. Python 2 and 3 kinda went their separate ways a while back. Both are still active development projects.
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Old 02-19-2015, 07:35 AM   #25
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TD Plus can handle MKV files if you install your own Haali Splitter, but it would probably still transcode.
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Old 02-19-2015, 04:25 PM   #26
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Personally, I'm less concerned about file formats (since I can always just convert to whatever is required) than I am about ensuring all the metadata is properly transferred and recognized.

For me, there are only a few reasons to take video off the TiVo and then put it back on. First, maybe you want to edit out unwanted parts. Second, you want to manipulate the metadata to force a better file\folder organization for a large library. Or third, you want to "shrink" the videos to save space....this is the only one where an alternate format preference really comes into play.

If I can't readily move long-term storage to my home server and just stream that content on demand (which is still what I really want to do ), I'd like to at least clean up the file organization on my TiVos. This is literally the only reason I'm bothering with pyTiVo, which....despite protestations to the contrary around here....is a royal PITA.
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Old 02-19-2015, 07:00 PM   #27
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Well, if the free community developed software is such a pain for you, may I suggest you don't bother with using it and stick with the paid software with lesser capabilities.
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Old 02-19-2015, 07:56 PM   #28
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Well, if the free community developed software is such a pain for you, may I suggest you don't bother with using it and stick with the paid software with lesser capabilities.
Sure, of course you can suggest that. And I'll suggest that it's possible, and in fact perfectly okay, to use a product/program/etc and still acknowledge its weaknesses. It's just software.
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Old 02-19-2015, 08:04 PM   #29
b-ball-fanatic
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On another note......

In case lrhorer isn't around to respond to my belated response to his response .....I'm still curious what KUID is. I googled it and didn't see anything that made sense in the context of this discussion.

Could someone explain/define KUID? Thanks.
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Old 02-19-2015, 08:13 PM   #30
lpwcomp
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Quote:
Originally Posted by b-ball-fanatic View Post
On another note......

In case lrhorer isn't around to respond to my belated response to his response .....I'm still curious what KUID is. I googled it and didn't see anything that made sense in the context of this discussion.

Could someone explain/define KUID? Thanks.
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