My Grand Plan-Tivo HD

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by listerone, Nov 27, 2011.

  1. listerone

    listerone New Member

    Feb 12, 2008
    Suburban Boston
    Briefly: Both the (original) HD *and* the 1TB "My Tivo Expander" HD on my TivoHD are full.I'd love to do one or more of the following things 1)replace the internal HD with something larger...2)store various recorded programs currently on my Tivo HDs onto a seperate HD with the hope of somehow saving them for viewing on my Tivo...3)transferring SD programs on my TivoHD onto a Pioneer Tivo I have for burning onto DVDs.I just downloaded Tivo Desktop (Basic) and it seems to recognize everything I have on the two HDs (at least the HD recordings,which is cool with me) but I haven't the foggiest idea how it works or its capabilities...and know little about Tivo other than the basics.

    Any comments/help...or links...provided will be much appreciated.
  2. lillevig

    lillevig Cold in East Iowa

    Dec 6, 2010
    Marion, Iowa
    There is a whole big thread under the Upgrade forum re: replacing hard drives. Here are some of the potential issues and suggestions. If you didn't have the external drive you could use JMFS to copy your whole drive, with programs, to a new 2TB internal drive. Unfortunately, the internal and external drive are now married together. I suggest that you look at either Tivo Desktop (the free download) or check out the thread for kmttg to transfer your recorded stuff to a PC and then later transfer them back to the new Tivo drive. It's easy to transfer but will take forever to do, and it is the only way I know to save them from married drives. Good luck.
  3. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

    Aug 31, 2003
    That's the preferred operational state for a TiVo. Why is this an issue for you? Have you set all the recordings to KUID, or something? If so, I recommend you stop that. It's far from an optimal way to manage the TiVo. Ordinarily, the TiVo can far more effectively manage itself than you are likely able, but KUID used to any excess destroys that capability.

    Not to a hard drive, no. To an external system - maybe. Who is your CATV provider? If your provider is one who sets the CCI byte indiscriminately (like Time Warner Cable), then at some point you are stuck unless you modify your TiVo. If that's the case, then modifying the TiVo is probably the only way you can meet your requirements in the long run.

    That's a bad idea. Using a dedicated platform for a purpose it was not intended presents all sorts of pitfalls. With the extremely low price and huge availability of DVD writers, trying to shoehorn a DVR / DVD burner combo into the equation is just not a good idea. It will be difficult to use, difficult to manage, and highly limited in features.

    I suggest you dump it. TDT is a perfectly horrid app. There are vastly better ones out there.

    There is no distinction between HD or SD recordings as far as the TiVo To Go protocol is concerned. (It's just an SHTML server.)

    There's not much to know about the TiVo in this respect. At this level it is just a black box. It does sound as if you need to learn something more about networking and computers in general, however. There's plenty of information on the web.

    If none of the programs on your TiVo are copy protected, then it is not at all difficult to set up a fairly large video server based on a suite of several freely available utilities and perhaps one or two commercial programs.

    For transferring from the TiVo to the server, there are several possibilities. The kmttg app is unquestionably the most powerful, although it consequently also takes the longest to set up. It has lots of options. Galleon has a number of great features, and is the only one currently available with which the user can select all the programs to transfer from the TiVos themselves, or from any external PC. pyTivo has a very rudimentary TTG transfer utility built in. It's not very sophisticated, and it is totally manual, but it is quite simple. One can also simply use any browser, such as Internet Explorer or FireFox, although I don't recommend it. Finally, if you absolutely must, there's TiVoDesktop.

    If you want to transfer the programs back to a TiVo device, then you will need something like pyTivo, streambaby, or once again if you must, TiVoDesktop. Streambaby has some significant limitations, but it does have the ability to implement trick-play on a video from the moment it starts transferring. pyTivo has a number of great features, possibly not the least of which is to transfer almost any video format to the TiVo. Note it will also allow you to transfer HD videos to your SD-only TiVo by transcoding the files first (I think). TDT will not do this. There is also a really terrific front end for pyTivo known as vidmgr. It allows 14 lines of text (vs. 8 for the NPL) on the TiVo, cover art, and a much easier to use, more flexible browsing system, as well as many other features. Vidmgr maintains a database of the videos so they can be filtered and sorted on screen in a vast number of different ways.

    If you want to transfer the videos to DVD, then they will need to be decoded. TiVoDeskTop Plus can do this, IIRC, but its a waste of money. Tivodecode is a utility specificaly designed to decode .TiVo files to .mpg. A better solution, generally speaking, is VideoRedo. It's a commercial program, but well worth the money, if you ask me. There's a 15 day free trial available for download. VRD can edit the .TiVo files directly, can transcode or recode them to .mpg, .mp4, or a number of other formats, and can author and burn the videos. It is essential for removing commercials and getting rid of padding. It also provides for menu creation and burning multiple videos on a single DVD. (One caveat: because of licensing restrictions, TDT needs to be loaded in order for VRD to edit .TiVo files. It is also unfortunately a Windows - only program.)

    The video server hardware can be a relatively puny system, or it can be a monster, depending on your needs. Simple transcoding requires very little in the way of CPU horsepower, and for most purposes even an old, single core CPU is fine for serving the video via pyTivo. Even video editing can be handled fairly acceptably on an old, slow CPU. If you are going to be doing any amount of recoding, however, a slow CPU is probably not acceptable. I recode all new videos from .mpg to h.264 in a .mp4 container, for example, so they are significantly smaller and transfer much, much faster.

    The main thing you are going to want on the server is a really big file system. I suggest a RAID array. A 3T hard drive is fairly large, but sooner or later it will fill up. A RAID array is expansible. It also can be fault tolerant. I currently run a RAID6 array consisting of eight 3T spindles on my primary server, for a total of 18T of available storage. Any two of the drives can fail without taking the array offline. The array is formatted with the XFS file system, which is a good choice for video. The OS is Debian "Squeeze" Linux. I'm running kmttg (with tivodecode to decode the source videos to .mpg), pyTiVo, and vidmgr. I'm running Galleon for music and weather. (Plus a whole slew of other, non-TiVo related servers.) The files are all backed-up to a backup server every morning at 04:00 using rsync.
  4. ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay TCF Club

    Apr 6, 2000
    SF Bay Area
    You would be better off using the programs such as kmttg and PyTivo and transfer your recordings to your PC.

    PyTivo will let you transfer recordings in .tivo and .mpg files (plus a few more types) to and from the Tivo.
    kmttg will allow you to transfer from the Tivo, it will allow you to transfer them in batches, although the Tivo will only transfer them one at a time, kmttg will do them one after another. You can setup the batch of programs to transfer and then go to bed, when you get up, most or all of those recordings would be transferred (provided you have enough storage space.)

    If you want to remove commercials, use VideoReDo Plus. There is also VideoReDo TVSuite and the only significant feature is the ability to burn DVDs on single and dual layer discs.
  5. listerone

    listerone New Member

    Feb 12, 2008
    Suburban Boston
    Thanks a lot for all the help,guys.My last question is this...I've seen the references to kttmg and PyTivo and how they're vastly superior to Tivo Desktop.However,my research on them strongly suggests that they're way too complicated for my limited computer knowledge.That,plus the fact that my quick experiment with Tivo Desktop indicates that it's probably simple enough even for *me* makes me hope that I can use *it* to copy and store HD videos onto my PC and then transfer them back to my Tivo (once I've installed a larger HD into the unit) and maintain the HD quality of the shows during the transfers.Am I correct in thinking that that's possible? I have no need to alter the files in any way (e.g.,deleting commercials) and time isn't a factor for me...maintaining the quality of the files is.

  6. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    If Desktop is working for you and you have the disk space and time (more than a day, I would guess) to transfer 1+ TB, there is no need to use pyTivo or kmttg. People have said the transfers will go faster if you put both tuners on channels you don't receive, so the HD isn't busy recording their 30-minute buffers.

    There are two possible reasons you might want to wait a while before doing an internal disk upgrade:
    1. HDD prices are very high right now, probably until spring of next year.
    2. By then 3 TB upgrades may be possible -- sounds like you might want this.
  7. listerone

    listerone New Member

    Feb 12, 2008
    Suburban Boston
    Thanks much,dlfl for your input.I have two qick questions for ya,however

    1)Will the transfer process (both ways) maintain the original picture quality of the programs (or at least come close)?

    2) If I were to wire both the Tivo and the recipient PC to the router,rather than use wireless,would that make the transfer process faster and/or smoother? (see,I told ya I was a PC illiterate!)
  8. jrtroo

    jrtroo Chill- its just TV

    Feb 4, 2008
    I use pyTiVo. While it is a great tool, unless you intend to perform transfers more often in the future, I would just stick with Desktop as a one-time solution.

    File transfers are a bit-for-bit (or byte for byte) copy, so it will not have any losses, as you may have seen in old VCR type copies.
  9. steve614

    steve614 what ru lookin at?

    May 1, 2006
    Dallas, TX
    1) Yes.

    2) Wired will be faster and smoother.

    Wireless is slower and may not go as smoothly due to outside influences to your wireless signal. Wireless signal strength could also be an issue if your Tivo and router are far apart.
  10. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    Okay, first you need to say hard drive if you mean hard drive and TiVo HD or S3 HD if you mean a TCD652160.

    At this point I'm not sure if you a have a TCD652160 with an added external drive and another TCD652160 as well, or just one TCD652160.

    When using Tivo Desktop, it needs to use an NTFS formatted partition to put the "My TiVo Recordings" folder on, as FAT32 partitions have a 4GB file size limit that slices a few minutes off of the end of a 2 hour show recorded at best quality from analog cable. Any file created from a High Definition recording is going to be even bigger and hit that limit sooner.

    How new is your computer, do you know what size the hard drive in it is, and which version of Windows are you running?
  11. listerone

    listerone New Member

    Feb 12, 2008
    Suburban Boston
    Sorry.I have the "TivoHD"...the basic version,I think...not the S3.Hooked up to it is a 1TB Western Digital "My Tivo Expander".

    Yup,everything's NTFS on my end.But since my last post I've completed an experiment in which I transferred a 60 minute show,recorded in high def,from the Tivo to my PC and then back to the Tivo.It was successful (which shocked me!) and the picture quality seems to have been maintained.However,it seems that the file size of the file that's been returned to the Tivo is smaller than it was before the start of the experiment(about 4GB vs about 5GB).I'm gonna try another one just to confirm.I'm puzzled by this...but perhaps I shouldn't be.

    I have two PCs which might be runs W7 (64bit),has a 350GB hard drive and has the ability to accept external hard drives via an e-stata hookup.The other runs XP Professional,has two 500GB hard drives and also can connect to external hard drives via an e-sata connection.The several external hard drives I have include a 1TB and two 500GB drives.I'm hoping that the transfer (and storage?) process can involve my external hard drives and/or the second hard drive in my XP machine.Both PCs feature fairly powerful (but not "top-of-the-line") Intel processors...can't recall the exact details of either.I think one is a "quad core" (XP) and the other a "dual core" (W7).
  12. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    For doing the actual work of copying your TiVo drive to a bigger drive to go into the TiVo, avoid using a GigaByte brand motherboard if you can, and if both of those are GigaByte brand boards, let us know so we can work out how to keep it from putting a Host Protected Area on any of the drives you hook up to it.

    As far as running TiVo Desktop the brand doesn't matter.

    TiVo Desktop has options that let you specify where to put the "My Tivo Recordings" folder, and the cache folder that it uses, so you can install it and let the program put itself on the C drive, and then put the MTR folder and the cache folder on another partition, or a partition on another drive, and I think it can be an external. Not certain if it can be a USB attached external, but an eSATA attached should work, although I'd advise keeping the MTR folder itself on a partition on an internal drive so that the drive letter assigned to that partition has no chance of changing.

    You can create folders inside of the MTR folder so that you can put all episodes of Burn Notice inside a Burn Notice folder and all episodes of Covert Affairs inside a Covert Affairs folder. (or whatever shows you watch, those are just examples, you could even be playful and foolish and put the Burn Notice episodes inside the Covert Affairs folder and vise versa)

    When you go into the Now Playing list on the TiVo and go to where it has the computer listed, the Burn Notice folder will show up on the TiVo as being in the folder with the name of the computer. As far as the TiVo is concerned, the MTR folder isn't named "My TiVo Recordings", it's named whatever the computer is named, so if you name the computer on which you installed TiVo Desktop "XP Machine", then in the NPL, at the bottom below the recently deleted folder will be a folder named XP Machine.

    You can also create a folder (let's call it folder X) on a partition that's not the same partition that the MTR folder is on, let Desktop copy shows from the TiVo to the MTR folder, then use Windows Explorer (the file manager, not the browser) to move those shows to folder X, then put a shortcut to folder X in the MTR folder, and when you go into the Now Playing list on the TiVo and go to where it has the computer listed, folder X will show up inside the folder with the name of the computer and the shows in folder X back on the computer will show up on the TiVo as being in folder X, and if you create sub-folders in folder X, like the Burn Notice/Covert Affairs examples I gave earlier, then when you go into the NPL and go down to the XP Machine folder and open it, and find folder X inside and open it, you'll find Burn Notice and Covert Affairs folders and inside those you'll find the shows you put in them.

    When you put that shortcut in the MTR folder, TiVo Desktop basically sees it as

    driveletter:\folder X

    so if you can get Windows to permanently assign a drive letter to the computer's eSATA port, you could probably have more than one external with a folder X on it and swap them around, say fill one drive up with shows starting with numbers and the letters a-m, and another with shows starting with n-z, although you'll probably want to create a "movies" sub-folder inside folder X, or maybe a "movies a-m" and another one "movies n-z".

    And if you install TiVo Desktop on both computers and put a shortcut to

    driveletter:\folder X

    in the MTR folders on each computer, you could swap the externals from one machine to the other if you had a need to.

    If I were in your place I'd probably take the XP machine, move everything off of the second 500GB drive to somewhere else, make it one big NT partition, and put the MTR and TiVo Desktop cache folders on it.

    That'll leave your Win7 machine, which I assume is newer and faster, to act as your computer and the XP machine to act as your TiVo's computer.

    Also, you can use the XP machine to do your drive upgrading since you won't need to be copying shows off of the TiVo while you've got it powered down and the hard drive removed.

    Although feel free to use the XP machine as "your" computer and the Win7 as the TiVo's if that works better.

    You can move individual shows in and out of the MTR folder if need be.

    Once you get everything copied off and can dispense with the external expansion drive as far as the TiVo itself is concerned, then you could get a 2TB drive and, using the instructions found here

    use rev 104 of jmfs to give yourself the maximum possible size internal drive for that S3 HD and re-purpose the WD external as additional storage on whichever computer winds up being the TiVo's computer.

    You have a lot of reading ahead of you, not just that thread but I suggest everything at as well about both the MFS Live cd v1.4 and the WinMFS program.

    You should install WinMFS to whichever computer is going to be doing your TiVo drive upgrading and you should burn yourself a copy of the MFS Live cd.
    Even if you didn't have a TiVo you should have a copy of that cd for the other stuff on it.
  13. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

    Aug 31, 2003
    The TCD652160 is a TiVo HD. The first unit in this class was the original S3 (TCD648). The next unit to be released was the TiVo HD with a smaller drive (160G vs. 250G for the S3) and a plain peanut remote rather than the Glo-remote that came with the S3. Shortly after the THD was rolled out, TiVo also started selling the TiVo HD XL, with a 1T internal drive and the same Glo-remote that came with the S3.

    No processing of any sort is done on the video content during transfer. The container is reformatted a bit, but that is all. The stream data is unchanged.

    'Not really. Depending on where you are looking, one may be measured in GiB while the other is measured in GB. The change in container coding can result in a few KB difference in size, but no amount of any great significance.

    It can, but I don't really recommend it. It's not the worst idea on Earth, but a dedicated subsystem is a better solution. As I said, a RAID array is the best solution. A small (empty) eSATA RAID array chassis can be had for as little as $99.

    That's far more than plenty if all you are going to be doing is at most simple editing and transcoding. It's marginal if you are going to be recoding, but using something like VideoRedo's batch processor, it may not matter to you if processing a batch of videos takes several weeks. One of my batches of 180 videos recoding from .mpg to h.264 in a .mp4 container did that very thing. I started the batch one evening, and about three weeks later, it was done. That was on a 2.3 Ghz AMD Athlon 64 x 2, which is quite slow by today's standards.

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