New to TiVo with Roamio Plus

Discussion in 'TiVo Home Media Features & TiVoToGo' started by Nony_ID, Dec 25, 2018.

  1. Nony_ID

    Nony_ID New Member TCF Club

    Oct 22, 2018
    Happy holidays! About 2 months ago, I posted questions about transitioning from retail Moxis toTiVos & got lots of really helpful answers which gave me the confidence to make the leap. It took a couple of months to round up the $$$ to start the transition, but 2 all in Roamio Plus units were delivered Thursday :) It took a couple of days to get them up & running, but here we are! It's . . . a different experience from the Moxis, but I'm having a lot of fun, a few challenges, & some surprises playing with them.

    My most pressing issue right now is I'm looking for current recommendations of how to best incorporate the Roamios into a home media setup. I've done a fair amount of reading but a lot of it has been over my head/confusing because it sounds like some of the older solutions talked about are no longer available/suitable. I think I can do a better job of reading & learning if I can narrow my reading to what's currently working well & most reliably for others.

    For the moment, I'm putting aside the 2 issues of upgrading to larger hard drives (can do that later) & the uncertainty of how many/few shows will/won't be able to be offloaded from the TiVos to Windows 10 PC & NAS (because we've got Spectrum/formerly TWC, I'm prepared for most things to be locked down).

    Is it still necessary to downgrade the UI from Hydra if one wants to offload shows from the Roamio to a Windows PC and be able to stream them back again? And, if I downgrade the UI from Hydra, I can go back to Hydra in the future if desired, correct? I'm aware that downgrading will delete everything, so this is a good time to play!

    I think I read some posts where some folks are now successfully using Plex to stream shows offloaded from Roamios (and other videos) running Hydra back to the Roamios?

    (If it matters, the ability to stream non-TiVo videos to the Roamios is pretty high on the list of priorities for us as we have an extensive video collection. The Moxis have built-in DLNA support so we can stream recordings from our PCs to the Moxis & I'm wondering if Plex works to do that with the Roamios or if something else does the job? And does the UI matter for that?)

    I suppose the first question really is what are the current advantages/disadvantages of the various ways to move shows off the Roamios for Windows 10 PCs? This is another area where I've kind of read myself in circles - TiVo Desktop, kmttg, Archivo, pyTivo, pyTivo Desktop? I'm not really a tech person but can usually muddle my way through things if there are simple & clear instructions, if that factors into a recommendation. I don't mind playing around with things but would like to increase my odds of success by going with what's worked well for those with experience :)

    I'm grateful beyond words for this active & helpful forum! It reminds me of the old ReplayTV community days (we still have 2 running).

  2. xberk

    xberk Member

    Dec 3, 2011
    There are expert folks here .. I'm not one of them ... but I think you're facing an uphill battle to make TIVO a media server. You may figure out ways to move content to your PC and even back to the TIVO but organizing the content will not be easily managed. Apparently you can still download using TIVO DESKTOP to move content off your Roamio and onto your Windows PC.

    I'm not sure if Hydra will work with Tivo Desktop .. but from what I gather you cannot use pyTivo to move content from your PC to your Roamio .. but the old TE3 will still work. I have a Roamio myself and you can still "pull" to the TIVO but you cannot "push". Lots for you to learn.

    Search this forum for answers.
  3. Sparky1234

    Sparky1234 Well-Known Member

    May 8, 2006
    PYTIVO and MG3.
  4. HerronScott

    HerronScott Well-Known Member

    Jan 1, 2002
    Staunton, VA
    You'll want to look at pyTivo Desktop for downloading shows from your Roamios with either TE3 or TE4 (Hydra) assuming Spectrum does not have the channel copy protected. If you downgrade back to TE3 from TE4 then you can also use it to upload shows back to the Roamios as well.

    Easier to use pyTivo

    I've never used it since my upload requirements are pretty light so TiVo Desktop/pyTiVo have worked for us but if I were you I would give Plex a try and see if it meets your needs to work with your home media setup.

  5. Nony_ID

    Nony_ID New Member TCF Club

    Oct 22, 2018
    Ugh -- even when I think I have a tiny grasp on things, I'm wrong. Lots to learn is an understatement & I think I've read myself into information overload.

    So, our Roamios are running Mira rather than Hydra -- does that makes a difference as to what I use to download shows from the Roamios?

    Based on xberk's comment, I went ahead & gave the TiVo Desktop a try, but it didn't go well. I was thrilled to actually see the TiVos & what was recorded on them on a computer since TiVo Online isn't currently working for me. I was disappointed at the extent of Spectrum's copy protection (I did a bunch of test records on a variety of channels) but not surprised because of the info I read here pre-purchase. Oh, well - nothing I can do about that unless/until we move to a non-Spectrum market. And, I was very pleasantly surprised at the download speed - I'm used to using DVArchive to download from (ancient SD) ReplayTVs & that's slooowww.

    But the resulting download was worthless: on Windows Media Player, I had sound but no video; and with VLC, it was a pixelated mess with no sound. From what I've read, it sounds like the problem might be missing codecs (whatever those are)? If that's the case, would I have the same issue with pyTivo Desktop or the other tools?

    Can anyone point me to a discussion of the advantages/disadvantages of transferring TiVo recordings from & back to the TiVos vs streaming?

    The reason I ask is streaming is what we've been doing pre-TiVo for the last 15 years or so. Initially, we did it through the old SD ReplayTVs, but for the last 9 years or so, it's been through the Moxis. As I mentioned, we have a rather extensive video collection that "lives" on computer & NAS media servers on our network that we stream fairly regularly. And it just works.

    I don't mind changing how we do things - I knew there would be growing pains with the transition to TiVo. The issue I'm running into is I feel like I don't know enough to figure out how to best move forward, and most of the terminology & tech principles are way over my head.

    I absolutely welcome input/suggestions on this: at this point, my thinking is that perhaps the most pressing issue is determining whether Plex (or something else?) will work to stream our existing video collection to the TiVos - I read at least one thread where Plex & the TiVo Plex app seemed to work. If so, then all is well because it sounds like there are tools that can be used on downloaded *.tivo files to turn them into "normal" MPEG files that should work for streaming back, yes? OTOH, if I can't get Plex (or something else) to work for streaming to the TiVos, then I need to roll them back to TE3 ASAP so that we don't lose the ability to transfer downloaded TiVo shows back to the Roamios for later viewing. Does that sound correct?

    [For right now, we retain the ability to stream non-TiVo video throughout the house: the Moxis aren't dead yet, and we have (only) one SmartTV that natively "sees" our media servers. My hope, though, is to get the Moxis out of service before they actually die, hence starting the process of transitioning to TiVo now. I don't think I fully appreciated, though, that TiVos don't have native DLNA support or whatever it's called that lets TiVo access the content on our DLNA media servers.]

  6. kpeters59

    kpeters59 Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2007
    TiVo Desktop is old and abandoned by TiVo.

    Use KMTTG. It's WAY better and will decrypt the .tivo files on the fly.

    Plex works pretty OK until you get used to TiVo. But, you can't copy back to TE4, so you'll mostly be stuck with Plex.

    Or, get a different device to play back local files. I use Kodi on a Raspberry PI, but there's about 100 different devices that can run Kodi. I think Roku's can play local files in the more recent versions.

  7. ggieseke

    ggieseke Well-Known Member

    May 30, 2008
    First, you need to find out if your recordings use H.264 or MPEG-2 video. If they're H.264 you have to download them in TS (transport stream) format instead of PS (program stream) format, or you only get the audio stream without video at all. You can tell by the tiny file size. Then you have to decrypt the .TiVo files. KMTTG is the probably best tool for both steps, and you can choose between 3 different methods of decryption. If you still have TiVo Desktop installed, the DirectShow Dump method is the best IMO. Otherwise tivolibre is usually your best bet because the original tivodecode method doesn't handle TS streams properly.

    Now that you have them downloaded and decrypted you may still need a video codec to play them in Media Player if they use MPEG-2. There are some free codec packages like the Combined Community Codec Pack or K-Lite. VLC should work either way.

    Since you're on Spectrum you probably can't download anything but the local broadcast channels. Comcast doesn't recode them from MPEG-2 to H.264 in my area, so that gives you more options in terms of TS vs PS and decryption methods.
    kpeters59 likes this.
  8. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2005
    In addition to the above comments, you might give freeware pyTivo Desktop a try--developed by a moderator here, it installs and works well, and is well-behaved. On TE3, allows transfers both ways; with TE4 (aka Hydra/Mira--both names/variants of TE4), only TiVo box -> PC transfers.

    pyTivo Desktop

    Easier to use pyTivo (discussion thread here)
    kpeters59 likes this.
  9. Nony_ID

    Nony_ID New Member TCF Club

    Oct 22, 2018
    Many thanks for the help. I am just feeling really dense, particularly about the codec issue. I edit (& therefore play) MPEG files on my computer regularly. I mean, I knew I lost the ability to play commercial DVDs with the upgrade to Windows 10 & the loss of WMC, and I was fine with that since we don't watch DVDs on the computers. Since I can still/edit MPEG files, I guess I mistakenly thought TiVo Desktop would decrypt so they could be played on a computer?
    Yeah, KMTTG looks very interesting, but I don't understand much of the instructions :) In reading through the forums, it sounds like some people have trouble configuring it or getting it to do what they need it to do, so I've psyched myself out about it. OTOH, there seems to be a lot of help available here so when (not if) I run into a snag, someone might be able to help. So I think I need to cowgirl up.

    LOL -- get different devices to play back local files? I'm desperately trying to simplify things, not add more devices! My dh is extraordinarily change-aversive - we've had the TiVos working for a week & he's not as much as touched a remote other than to switch to the Moxi so I could watch a show from the NAS. Until I get this video sharing throughout the house working with TiVo, I don't dare pull the plug.

    So how do I figure out if the recordings use H.254 or MPEG-2 video? All I see in the TiVo Desktop is duration & size. A 60 minute show lists the size as approx. 1080 MB, and a 90 minute show lists the size as approx. 5650 MB.

    Thanks for the TS vs PS explanation -- I had no clue what they stood for. I don't see anywhere in TiVo Desktop to make the TS or PS specification -- is that done in KMTTG?

    Back to codecs, which remain a mystery to me :) Either I couldn't find it, or the Community Codec Pack seems to have done away & is only available for download from sites I don't know if are reputable? I did find K-Lite but don't know which pack to choose -- any suggestions?

    That seems to be true here, which is a disappointment but not unexpected. There are still plenty of things we'll want to move off the TiVos to keep in our library, assuming I can get Plex to work for this.
  10. ggieseke

    ggieseke Well-Known Member

    May 30, 2008
    K-Lite is a good alternative to CCCP, which is still out there if you google "cccp codec". My advice (with either package) would be to get it from a fairly reputable source like CNET and watch the installation process like a hawk. Even when you manage to avoid all the attempts to install crap that you don't need they still try to install codecs for every possible scenario. All you need is MPEG-2 on Windows 10, so take the advanced options whenever possible and only install what you need.

    In TiVo Desktop, TS vs PS is the first tab under File -> Preferences. If you check the box to "Use the fastest method available" for File Transfer Speed you get TS files. If you uncheck it you get PS. In kmttg it's a checkbox under File -> Configure -> Program Options.

    As far as H.264 or MPEG-2 goes, MediaInfo is probably the best way to figure out what format the recordings are in once you decrypt them.

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