TiVo transfers to Macintosh using Toast 9

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by hearncl, Mar 22, 2008.

  1. Mar 22, 2008 #1 of 133
    hearncl

    hearncl Member

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    TiVo's official way to transfer video to a Macintosh is to use Roxio Toast. The transferred video has a proprietary ".tivo" file extension. Once transferred, Toast can export the video in a variety of other formats. However, the video will only export at a low resolution, 480 x 360, regardless of the original resolution. Roxio states that this is the maximum size allowed by TiVo.

    With the previous version of Toast, version 8, it was possible to enable an "expert" mode (as described here) which allowed export at other resolutions. This doesn't seem to work with the new version of Toast, version 9.

    Does anyone know if there a way to enable an "expert" mode for exporting .tivo files in Toast 9?
     
  2. Mar 22, 2008 #2 of 133
    kas25

    kas25 Member

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    I just got Toast and noticed the same. So far it has worked flawlessly but I don't get the resolution constraints. As far as I know there isn't any other software (ie Visual Hub) that can convert the .tivo files to Mpeg 4.
     
  3. Mar 22, 2008 #3 of 133
    davezatz

    davezatz Funkadelic

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    TiVoDecode will "convert" .tivo -> MPEG-2. TiVoDecode Manager wraps a GUI around it and adds some useful functionality, but I don't believe it's actively being developed anymore.
     
  4. Mar 23, 2008 #4 of 133
    hearncl

    hearncl Member

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    The low resolution of TiVo video transferred and converted using Toast has been discussed before on this forum. In Toast 8, this could be avoided using the "expert" mode, but as far as I know, this doesn't work in Toast 9. As pointed out above, the TiVo Decoder applescript converts .tivo files into MPEG-2 movie files, which can be processed by Visual Hub and other programs. Although TiVoDecode Manager is apparently no longer supported, there is a new program called TiVo Butler which has similar functionality. Although still in early beta form, it looks very promising.
     
  5. Mar 24, 2008 #5 of 133
    ebaur

    ebaur New Member

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    TiVo Butler uses mencoder to convert from MPG to MP4, and there is an advanced setting in the prefs to be able to change the resolution, it should default to 640x480.

    If you look, there is a setting for "pp=lb,scale=640:480,harddup", which you can probably change to a higher resolution if you want. There is some truth to the TiVo not supporting higher resolution, however. This scaling may not look good since the source data is smaller. I haven't played with it much, I admit.

    (disclaimer: I'm the developer of TiVo Butler)
     
  6. Mar 24, 2008 #6 of 133
    mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    I think you people should complain to Roxio about these issues. If they took away useful functionality, that's bad.

    BTW, you can also download manually from the Tivo via https://tivoipaddress/nowplaying/ But you get not-usefully named files, and have to use tivodecode to then convert them.

    I haven't found a way to *edit* these recordings after downloading them and converting. If anybody knows that, please elaborate. (I just want to save the musical guest from a talk show, for example.. in the long run, to convert just the audio portion for an ipod song.)
     
  7. Mar 25, 2008 #7 of 133
    hearncl

    hearncl Member

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    The .tivo file downloaded using Toast is not resolution-limited. It's the conversion to other formats that is limited to a maximum of 480 x 360. According to Roxio, that's a TiVo requirement.

    TiVoDecode will convert .tivo files to MPEG-2 without reduction in resolution. As far as editing, on the Mac you can use MPEG Streamclip to edit the MPEG-2 files. (Apple's MPEG-2 plugin is also needed.) MPEG Streamclip can also export the edited file in a variety of formats.
     
  8. Mar 25, 2008 #8 of 133
    kas25

    kas25 Member

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    If you use TivoDecode to download, you can use Toast to convert and you will have the "custom" settings option.
     
  9. Mar 25, 2008 #9 of 133
    hearncl

    hearncl Member

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    How do you activate the "custom" settings option with Toast 9? Have you read the first post in this thread?
     
  10. Mar 25, 2008 #10 of 133
    kas25

    kas25 Member

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    When converting non-.tivo files, just hit the red button at the bottom right of the screen to start the convert. It will then bring up a screen to ask you to choose your settings (ie, high, fastest). One of the options will be "custom". Are you saying you don't see it there? If not, perhaps it has something to do with me selecting Apple TV as my default device for conversions?
     
  11. Mar 25, 2008 #11 of 133
    kas25

    kas25 Member

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    If you are asking how to bypass the Tivo file restriction, I don't know the answer. I am interested in the answer though.
     
  12. Mar 25, 2008 #12 of 133
    kzrivera

    kzrivera New Member

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    Has anyone asked Tivo why there is a file restriction of 480x360? Is it so the entertainment industry considers the low quality as non-competitive and allows exported "copies" without raising a fuss?

    As far as the custom settings, it sounds as though if you use "Tivo Decode Manager" (TDM) to transfer the files from your box...
    - Yes, I know TDM is no longer supported...
    - it was developed to be used until Tivo came up with a way to support Macs
    - it will still run on Leopard, but not with queue (do one at a time) so I still find it useful!
    - The TDM resulting file is an MP4 (vs. Toast's .tivo)
    It sounds as though Toast will allow custom settings on a non-.tivo file so that MP4 file should be advance-editable.

    But a lot of the power of toast 9 for me was to see if I can skip these many steps. I still haven't bought it because of these very concerns.

    I know if you want a juicy version of the file, you need the res, but fur those just wanting mobile copies for a Touch, I want the smaller file size (so lower res works for me). It all depends on your end goal. Good luck!
     
  13. Mar 26, 2008 #13 of 133
    wilfried

    wilfried Member

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    What codec is needed to get audio on files decoded with tivodecode ?
     
  14. Mar 26, 2008 #14 of 133
    Dennis Wilkinson

    Dennis Wilkinson Active Member

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    Depends on what variety of TiVo you're transferring from. For Series 2 boxes, this will be MPEG 1, Layer 2 audio if I remember right. Series 3 boxes will have whatever format audio was embedded in the digital stream, usually AC3.
     
  15. Mar 26, 2008 #15 of 133
    hearncl

    hearncl Member

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    .tivo files decoded to MPEG-2 with tivodecode will open in QuickTime, but play with no audio. Other apps such as VLC Media Player and MPEG Streamclip (with Apple MPEG-2 plug-in) will play the file with audio.
     
  16. Mar 26, 2008 #16 of 133
    ebaur

    ebaur New Member

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    Has anyone tried using ffmpeg to convert videos? I'm trying to use that and I can get the video to convert, but not audio. (This is video from a Series 2 at this point.)
     
  17. Mar 27, 2008 #17 of 133
    collin

    collin Member

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    Perhaps an easier question is: Does the Windows version of Tivo Desktop also have these resolution limits? If it doesn't then they don't have a leg to stand on in terms of limiting the res of the Mac version. Anybody know?
     
  18. Mar 27, 2008 #18 of 133
    iamnotmad

    iamnotmad New Member

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    EDIT - I described a method below that worked for me on a few files but not for others, nor on a new file I just tried - looks like the best bet to get .Tivo Files to MPG is just to use TivoDecode or TivoDecodeManager (GUI for Tivo Decode).

    Hi all, you can use Toast 9 (or 8) Tivo transfer, then use VisualHub to extract the MPG (2) out of the .tivo file without re-encoding (see below). VisualHub will also re-encode directly from the .tivo to to just about anything if you want. It's a great app.

    Or you can use Tivo Decode manager (not kept up, but works) and it will xfer files from the Tivo directly to mpg (2) do do with whatever you want.

    **To extract mpeg from .tivo using visualhub:

    1) start VisualHub, drag your .tivo file in.
    2) click mpg at the top, click mpeg2 checkbox.
    3) click advanced and in the video section click the drop down list where it reads extra ffmpeg flags. Choose "Copy original video track (passthrough)". In the audio section do the same. "Copy original audio track (passthrough)".
    4) Close the advanced window and click start.

    It will estimate to take a long time, but it is wrong, depending on your computer and the size of the file it should only take a few minutes or less.

    I extracted 10+ GB episodes of PBS's "The War" and it only took a few minutes.

    You end up with a MPG file which is mpg2. Remember you cannot play mpg2 with Quicktime unless you have the extra for pay plug in from apple or you have another plug-in like Perian. VLC will play it too.

    Good luck, have fun.

    edit - just to be clear, I dont work for the visual hub guys or anything, this process worked for me on the only files I tried (PBS - The War) after pulling from my Tivo S3. I assume it would work for non-hd files and files pulled from Tivo HD's also. Obviously I make no guarantees! :)
     
  19. Mar 27, 2008 #19 of 133
    kas25

    kas25 Member

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    So this sounds like a good fix is Tivodecode doesn't transfer things properly. I can use Toast 9 to transfer the .tivo file and convert in VH which will allow a higher quality conversion? Thanks.
     
  20. Mar 27, 2008 #20 of 133
    iamnotmad

    iamnotmad New Member

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    You can convert (transcode) the .tivo file to just about anything you want in VH. Or you can follow those steps above to simply "extract" the mpeg2 file from it's .tivo container - it does not change the quality at all, or process the video in any way when you do passthrough.
     

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