Playing .tivo files on OS X

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by Joe Siegler, Oct 18, 2015.

  1. Joe Siegler

    Joe Siegler Member

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    I'm about to switch to OS X and an iMac Retina machine next week. I've done a lot of reading about it, and I feel mostly (if not fully) prepared for the move.

    However, there's one thing I can't seem to figure out. How do I PLAY .TiVo files on OS X? I've done a lot of googling, and everything I find seems to be based around CONVERTING files on OS X to something else.

    I don't really want to do that, as I have like 8TB of archived .TiVo files on my current/soon to be old Windows machine. On that box, I installed TiVo Desktop so I can get the codec in there, and then disabled the software and services from running. I use the kmttg/pytivo combo for transfer stuff.

    But I don't *DO* anything with the archives except watch them, so for me converting them is a process I don't see the point in. Plus with that much in the archives, I don't want to convert all of that.

    Which brings me back to my original question. How do I merely PLAY a .TiVo file on OS X? I see I can find old versions of the TiVo Desktop for Mac around the web (CNet has some for download). Is it as simple as the Windows side, which is install the Desktop, disable it, and then you can play the .TiVo files with anything else?

    Danke.
     
  2. wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Well-Known Mumbler

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    TiVo Desktop for Mac is nothing like the Windows version, and I suspect the last version wouldn't even work on a modern Mac.

    The simplest thing would be to decrypt the .TiVo files. This isn't a full-on "conversion", just removing the senseless wrapper that keeps them from playing in a standard movie player. It might be possible to play .TiVo files by piping the output of tivodecode through VLC or something, but I don't know if anyone's done that.
     
  3. Joe Siegler

    Joe Siegler Member

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    That just makes it more complicated, IMO. The reason I don't want to do that is when I transfer them back to the TiVo to watch (which happens a lot), I then lose all the metadata. Yeah, I know I can have kmttg write out a metadata file. I did that for awhile, and tbh, the OCD in me was annoyed at all the extra files hanging around. I wanted to stay neat and clean and play the original .TiVo files.

    I find it hard to believe nobody at all has done this. There has to be a way, since it's really just a codec issue, as far as I understand it.
     
  4. sangs

    sangs Active Member

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    Your other option is Boot Camp (native to OS X) or something like Parallels. They allow you to run Windows on Macs. It's pretty seamless too. Take a look at those.
     
  5. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    You have to buy Roxio Toast. TiVo partnered with them for the player on Mac rather then developing their own. At one point they demoed a custom version of VLC with .tivo file support built in, but they abandoned it in favor of Toast. That was back in 2006-2007. They haven't paid much attention to TiVo Desktop on the PC since then either.
     
  6. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I know you know about the metadata file.. So just create metadata files, and you can then transfer back to the Tivo with pytivo, with no extra conversion on the way back -- or rather, the conversion is automagically happening (I guess).. and you get the metadata back on the Tivo too.. (or at least most of it -- I have whined about missing metadata every once in a while over the years, but various responses have made it clear it *wasn't* an issue only when using a Mac, and it's gotten better over the years anyway.. I haven't transferred BACK to a Tivo in a while, so maybe it's completely gone nowadays.. In the PAST, once in a while, episode # or some such would be missing after it was back on the Tivo..)

    Heck, if you want to write a program that plays .Tivo files natively, GREAT! I'd use it, if it also allowed me to edit recordings.

    But after you have decoded them into movie files, you can play virtually all(*) of them in regular Quicktime Player.

    (*) Maybe it's ACTUALLY ALL.. YEARS ago, you would need the pay mpeg-2 component addition, and some still wouldn't play properly.. e.g. would be missing audio maybe.. But on recent OSes, I don't think I've had a tivo downloaded file that hasn't played in quicktime player. I usually end up playing in VLC on my iPad to actually WATCH it.
     
  7. wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Well-Known Mumbler

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    Sadly no.
     
  8. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    So can you give examples of WHAT metadata is missing when going back to a Mac?
    and are you also claiming that if you used .tivo files INSTEAD, you _wouldn't_ be missing the same metadata when going back to a Mac?
     
  9. wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Well-Known Mumbler

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    Who, me? No, I don't claim that, and it's not Mac-specific. (These days, pyTivo even generates a fake .TiVo header for non-.TiVo files, although it only works in program stream mode, for obscure reasons.) There's just a lot of brokenness in the TiVo's metadata handling, no matter how you transfer it (including TiVo-to-TiVo).

    At this point, I think the longest-lasting unfixed metadata bug is the genres, which stupidly show up as "Separator".
     
  10. Dan203

    Dan203 Super Moderator Staff Member TCF Club

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    FYI there is are a couple bits you have to flip in the header to make the TiVo work with TS. I can point you to the ones you need if you're interested.
     
  11. wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Well-Known Mumbler

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    Thanks, I'm aware of them. They're not the issue. IIRC, I think it came down to the TiVo not accepting .TiVo-headered transport streams in chunked encoding, only with a content-length.
     
  12. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    ok, interesting. I used to do way more tivo-to-tivo transferring (often using it when the transfer-from-pause-point in kmttg was nonfunctional, as a low tech way of saving just the end chunk of a program)... and many years ago, it used to lose LOTS of info.. then later (as of a couple of years ago for me), it seemed to transfer virtually everything I cared out when I did it between Tivos (for me, obviously title + episode name, then OAD and episode # are the things I care about).
     
  13. Joe Siegler

    Joe Siegler Member

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    OK, I ran a test on this. I grabbed a couple of .tivo files from the TiVo in the living room from the iMac. Once transferred, the decryption was super fast on this machine. It decrypted the most recent 1HR HD recording of Gotham in like 20 seconds.

    With that in mind, what I think I'm going to go with is when I want to watch something, I'll decrypt it and then nuke the decryption after I watch it. That way I can keep my .TiVo original files there for far easier retrieval back to the TiVo box itself. It also keeps my recording directories a hell of a lot neater, as i don't want to have all those metadata files hanging around.
     
  14. wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Well-Known Mumbler

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    Decrypted files actually transfer back to the TiVo a little faster, but, please yourself.
     
  15. Anotherpyr

    Anotherpyr Active Member

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    Isn't it worse than that? You need Toast 11 which isn't the current version. I know it still runs on Yosemite, don't know if it will install on it. And if you want to use it to convert to MP4 it runs awfully slow on Yosemite.
     
  16. solutionsetc

    solutionsetc Member

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    This hasn't been my experience with a Bolt... albeit the server I'm using is old and slow.
     
  17. wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Well-Known Mumbler

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    I wouldn't expect a really noticeable difference on a Bolt. But I'd be amazed if the encrypted files ever transferred faster.

    Anyway, the point is that "far easier retrieval back to the TiVo box itself" is simply untrue.
     
  18. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    Wait, do you mean they took out the Tivo features in later Toast versions?
     
  19. ADent

    ADent Active Member

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    I think Toast 14 still comes with a player - I just checked.

    I have Toast 9 and Toast 14 on my 10.9 Mavericks machine. I use the Toast Player to occasionally to check a file, but generally I unscramble with TiVoDecode then view with VLC.
     
  20. Craig Monsen

    Craig Monsen New Member

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    I have Toast 15, 17 & 18. V15 will convert and play .tivo files, unfortunately it is not 64 bit and won't work on 10.15. V17 & 18 do not recognize .tivo file format!
    Conversion choices: mp4, m4v (iPad, etc.) plus others
    Toast 15 app:contents:resources: Roxio Video Player.app v 1.0.3

    I use Waltr 2 (Softorino Inc) to transfer the mp4 and m4v files to my iPad. I also use a TiVo Stream to transfer files from the TiVos directly to my iPad.

    The m4v files are about 100MB smaller than the same mp4. The direct transfers, middle quality, are slightly bigger than m4v.
     

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