Is TiVo being over-cautious or is ReplayTV playing with fire?

Discussion in 'TiVo Home Media Features & TiVoToGo' started by TivoGeezer, Mar 29, 2005.

  1. TivoGeezer

    TivoGeezer Snow-ina-ear

    Dec 3, 2003
    Danbury, CT


    So I was over at a friend's house the other day and he has a couple ReplayTV units and we were talking about TiVo's new T2G feature, because I had just gotten two new series 2's and was about to have the capability. He showed me, which allows owners of ReplayTV units to post the shows they have recorded and allows others who would like a copy of one of them to make a request. Then, it is up to the holder of the show to ok the transfer of the show to the requester. There is of course a limit, since shows can only be sent 15 times and a receiver cannot then send it on to someone else. I am not sure how that restriction is enforced.

    Now the question I am asking is, is TiVo being overly cautious in totally encrypting their video for T2G and allowing only the original recorder to playback the content, or is ReplayTV asking for a lawsuit by allowing trading of the files to be possible? It appears they have exactly the same content in freely viewable format.

    Just curious as to the completely different philosophies.
  2. chain777

    chain777 Member

    Jan 23, 2004
    Aurora, IL
    A little from column A, and a little from column B.

    ReplayTV (Sonic|Blue at the time) was already sued into bankruptcy for IVS (internet video sharing) and CA (commercial advance) by Hollywood. They agreed to remove those features on later models, but it was too late for the company. The new owners of ReplayTV (DNNA) continue to sell the 'crippled' units. These features are still available via hacks, or on legacy machines (which sell at premium prices).

    The DRM is another story. Tivo has gone off the deep-end with this (IMO). There's nothing illegal about fair use, but Hollywood would like to see this change, and Tivo seems to be going along for the ride. It's too bad ReplayTV didn't have the resources to fight the fight back when they were owned by Sonic|Blue. The current owner has much deeper pockets, and has already licenced a technology called Show|Nav (Televentions site ) to replace/supplement commercial advance on current models. It does the same thing as CA, only you have to press a button to advance through a commercial.

    Hopefully the future models will incorporate some of the old feaures, but only time will tell. This company seems more willing to fight. Someone has to stand up to these bastards.
  3. cwoody222

    cwoody222 Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 1999
    Buffalo, NY
    I've been using Poopli for about a month now and it's AWESOME. I wish, wish, wish TiVo would do something even remotely close.

    As it stands now my iMac can't even read the DRM'ed files that TiVo is using.

    It pains me every day I use my OLD Replay and it makes me smile and then I just gaze longingly at my TiVo and my Mac and just think "someday, maybe, they'll be able to play together".
  4. AnteL0pe

    AnteL0pe the anti-haX0r

    Oct 1, 2004
    Depends on who you talk to. Ask Jon Johansen and Dan Glickman for their personal definitions of "fair use," youll get two very different answers.
  5. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

    Nov 27, 2002


    You mean one or both of them would say doing something under their definition of fair use is still illegal? ;)

    It seems to me TiVo is over cautious and came up with an irrational regime that doesn't really accomplish any sensible goal.

    The whole DRM/DMCA issue is triggered by TiVo by using DRM in the first place. Remember the content came to you as analog and the content provider therefore only has the usual rights subject to fair use/betamax decision, etc. that have been around "forever."

    Now TiVo does this DRM mumbo jumbo I think with the purpose just to make the whole internet sharing thing inconvenient enough that it is not done in mass. If internet sharing, and other copying, are limited and low profile enough, I think TiVo figured they would avoid being the defendent in a Betmax type case. The content providers would never win such a case, but TiVo would like to avoid even having to pay the lawyers to defend it.

    That's my analysis.
  6. AnteL0pe

    AnteL0pe the anti-haX0r

    Oct 1, 2004
    I'm guessing that Glickman would classify as "illegal just about everything that Johansen thinks is "fair use."

    I dont think it will be too long before users of most OSs in the world will have tools to quickly and easily strip these files of their DRM. They arent protected that well, and the process already exists, though its a bit clunky. Id wager that in less than 6 months there will be a "one button" tool for freeing the mpeg 2 files.
  7. stantonl

    stantonl New Member

    Jun 21, 2004
    Eagle River, Ak
    I wish that tivo would just allow me to convert the files into a format more usable to me or use other software to make my dvd projects that I want. I would prefer to have options and not be force to use sonic. I feel in the near future they will have it so that other programs will not be able to use the tivo files like they are now.
  8. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

    Nov 27, 2002
    Who are they and why should we be concerned about their opinions?

    Which is in part why I said "It seems to me TiVo is over cautious and came up with an irrational regime that doesn't really accomplish any sensible goal."

    So we agree.

    BTW isn't the file opened (freed of DRM) through a standard Windows API, so all anyone that has already created a good (fast and simple) transcoder has to do is implement recognition of the API/.tivo and you've got that "one button tool."

    I see it this way. Simple window where you can drag/drop your .tivo or use file open dialog box to choose .tivo. Window pops up for password input. Select DVD quality (EP-HQ)/original tivo format from drop down list, select destination folder/filename, and click the GO button. DRM free TiVo format or DVD compliant format MPEG or VOB or ISO ends up on your HD in about 4-10X (fraction) realtime.
  9. peteypete

    peteypete New Member

    Feb 2, 2004
    I think Tivo is being conservative for many reasons.

    Tivo has to be this conservative because it is the leading brand and is shooting for the big time, wants to fit in with advertisers and network/cable operators, and content providers.

    Replay already got their wings cut with a previous lawsuit and consequently doesn't really register on the DVR map anymore. This gives them a little more lattitude in being sloppy about DRM.

    Poppli is a great idea, but not run by Replay itself. It's completely possible that someone creates a similar network with stripped .tivo files. It is not difficult to strip them, but this would shift the legal burden to the stripper.

    The coolest thing would be if you could see and search all tivos out there and download any recorded content. Of course this will NEVER happen but perhaps when the legal landscape is a little clearer, Tivo will let you do it with at most 10 tivos. The technology is all there already.
  10. AnteL0pe

    AnteL0pe the anti-haX0r

    Oct 1, 2004
    Glickman is the president of the MPAA, and Jon Johansen is the programmer/hacker who cracked the DVD encryption and recently cracked the iTunes Music Store encryption application method twice in a week.

    My point is that "fair use" will mean very different things to these people.
  11. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

    Nov 27, 2002
    I'm still sick over Valenti.

    Anyway, what these two think won't decide the law; fair use is already quite well settled, subject to aggressive repeated attacks of each new technology by the content providers.

    And last I remember DVD Jon won his legal battle, but I'm getting old and senile.
  12. AnteL0pe

    AnteL0pe the anti-haX0r

    Oct 1, 2004
    I hope "fair use" lives on, but the outlook doesnt look good. With laws like the DMCA flying in the face of established doctorine its only a matter of time before "fair use" is either redefined or eliminated

    He did, but the case had some interesting twists and turns, and it still didnt bring down the DMCA like it should have.
  13. HDTiVo

    HDTiVo Not so Senior Member

    Nov 27, 2002

    I agree with you, AnteL0pe. Do you dispute my prior thesis, quoted above, in this particular situation?
  14. AnteL0pe

    AnteL0pe the anti-haX0r

    Oct 1, 2004
    Of course I agree, but you will find that over the years "fair use" has been eroded. It will continue to disappear as legislation like the DMCA, backed by big business in the US, will eventually marginalize "fair use" and usability of content to the point where people will either revolt, or create a prosperous black market of ways around the restrictions.
  15. MighTiVo

    MighTiVo TiVotarian

    Oct 26, 2000
    Nashville, TN
    I have a ReplayTV and use Poopli all the time.
    I wish there was a way to convert video between Replay and TiVo compatible mpg files so TiVo users could simply participate in the existing Poopli site.
    A Poopli Galleon plug in would be the ultimate resource and perhaps TiVo users would outnumber Replay users on Poopli in no time.
  16. MasterOfPuppets

    MasterOfPuppets TCF Bookie

    Jul 12, 2005
    East Hell
    This may be getting off of what this thread was intended for...
    But, network your Tivo, use BitTorrent, and proceed with a smile...
  17. jkalnin

    jkalnin Baad Spellor

    Jan 8, 2003
    Warrington, PA
    /\ Someone gets it. You know how many times this has saved me from missing a show.
  18. ChristheC

    ChristheC New Member

    Feb 21, 2005
    Baltimore &...
    I have both too, but I have one of the "crippled" RTV Units (never bothered to hack it). However, I don't need to re-code the RTV Mpegs to stream them back to the TiVo.

    And I'll tell you another thing. The picture quality of my TiVo has never looked so good while watching a 'streamed' RTV mpeg. Of course my Series 2 SA TiVo can only record 480x480.

    My RTV mpegs (at medium quality) are 720x480 7.6 vbr.

    One thing I found puzzling.

    Testing identical recordings on each unit, the TiVo recordings are almost twice as large on my hard drive. I would have thought TiVo recording at 480x480 and approximately 5.6 kb vbr would be smaller.

    Just my 2 cents, I'm not trashing TiVo, I wouldn't give it up.

  19. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

    Apr 17, 2000
    TiVo doesn't use VBR it uses CBR, so that could explain the file size difference. They used to have a "Space Saver" option on the old Series 1 units that made it use VBR, but they never were able to port that feature over to the Series 2 hardware.


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