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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've done this exercise in the way-back past many times without much thought to it, but today it won't work.

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My cheat sheet notes are pretty simple (so happy I could find them!!!) I added the version numbers for clarification.
  1. TivoDesktop (V2.8) to pull the video off the tivo box (Premier Series4 20.7.....RC15...).
  2. VideoRedoPlus (V3.10.3.629) to cut (optional) and convert to MPG
  3. AnyVideoConverter to convert from MPG to mp4 (other formats available)
Could TIVO have changed their internal format? Is H.264/AVC the expected format for .Tivo?

My windows PC with all this software is old (W7) but stable and basically unchanged since the last time I did this. (albeit years ago!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks but I considered kmttg and some others long ago and they were a bit too complicated to work with. I need simple simple simple. I'm not sure what you mean by non-MPEG4 recordings.
 

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Normal recordings are in MPEG2 format, MPEG4 are compressed format and usually come from compressed cable channels.

.Tivo files does not show whether its MPEG2 or MPEG4 as they are encrypted using your Media Access Key, and that is the .tivo encryption layer. TivoDecode (or TivoLibre) removes that layer so it can be played on most players, even if its a different computer, even another Tivo that is on a different account.
 

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That is one OLD version of VideoReDo and (like the message says) doesn’t support any encoding more compressed than MPEG2.

EDIT: Well I guess it isn’t correct to say VRD Plus is “OLD” since it is still sold. But the MPEG2 limitation definitely applies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Normal recordings are in MPEG2 format, MPEG4 are compressed format and usually come from compressed cable channels.

.Tivo files does not show whether its MPEG2 or MPEG4 as they are encrypted using your Media Access Key, and that is the .tivo encryption layer. TivoDecode (or TivoLibre) removes that layer so it can be played on most players, even if its a different computer, even another Tivo that is on a different account.
Got it. But I don't understand how that relates to the H.264 error message?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
That is one OLD version of VideoReDo and (like the message says) doesn’t support any encoding more compressed than MPEG2.

EDIT: Well I guess it isn’t correct to say VRD Plus is “OLD” since it is still sold. But the MPEG2 limitation definitely applies.
Old but It's been working fine for years opening and converting all my .Tivo files to .mpg. It JUST stopped working. As a matter of fact, I tried using it to open several other .Tivo files that I have and it opened them fine. Some very recent .Tivo offloads and as well as real old ones.

Hmmm... that makes me curious if TivoDesktop didn't copy it properly. Or maybe it's that particular recording on the box is glitchy. I am going to try a few more things.

[edit] ... or if Tivo itself is storing the file differently than it used to?
 

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TiVo stores the recordings in whatever format they're broadcast in. For OTA that's usually MPEG-2, but most cable companies have switched to H.264 for better compression. If it's MPEG-2 and you're using TiVo Desktop to download, I recommend downloading in Program Stream format vs Transport Stream format (uncheck the "Use fastest method" box in Settings).

Note that TiVo Desktop support ended years ago. You still have to have it installed for VideoReDo to decrypt the files, but kmttg or Dan203's pyTivo Desktop work a lot better for the download step itself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
TiVo stores the recordings in whatever format they're broadcast in. For OTA that's usually MPEG-2, but most cable companies have switched to H.264 for better compression. If it's MPEG-2 and you're using TiVo Desktop to download, I recommend downloading in Program Stream format vs Transport Stream format (uncheck the "Use fastest method" box in Settings).
Ta-da! That explains it! Comcast must have changed. I have been doing some experiments and re-downloading old stuff on my box and VideoRedo works fine. The more recent recordings don't. I will go look for that setting. It's still transferring my last experimenting request so it's busy. And it's taking longer so I bet it's older format if older=slow.

That also probably explains why I got an offer from VideoRedo several months back for an upgrade discount. I wish they had explained why I would need it. I probably would have jumped on it. It was pretty good deal as I recall.

Note that TiVo Desktop support ended years ago. You still have to have it installed for VideoReDo to decrypt the files, but kmttg or Dan203's pyTivo Desktop work a lot better for the download step itself.
Tivo Desktop is fine. Super easy. No fancy build/install/setup stuff for me I need mainstream install methods. And even with those, I limit new installations on this old but stable W7 box. I'm very risk averse to de-stabilizing this machine. The wrong dll in the wrong place or some funky install script overwriting something my old beloved software depends on scares me.

One of these days I want to move these archaic things to slick new W10 laptop, but I just prefer PCs.

Thanks so much. Can't wait to try out that slow setting!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
...
I recommend downloading in Program Stream format vs Transport Stream format (uncheck the "Use fastest method" box in Settings).
oh-oh, I don't have Settings. Just Preferences and nothing here looks relevant.

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But I think I misinterpreted your recommendation. If indeed my recordings are now in H.264 format, I don't think changing the setting applies. It had a hopeful ring to it, but I think I jumped the gun.

fwiw, the Comcast change seemed to have happened sometime between March and May. Recorded in March can do Step1 and Step 2. Recorded in May cannot.
 

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Got it. But I don't understand how that relates to the H.264 error message?
H.264 encodings can’t be stored in MPEG2 file formats and MPEG2 is all that VRD Plus can support. H.264 encodings plus other encodings more advanced (i.e., more compressed) than MPEG2 are commonly stored in .mp4 (MPEG4) files although there are other file types that can contain them, such as Matroska (.mkv). .tivo files can contain either mpeg2 or h.264 encodings. Until a few years ago almost all cable channels were mpeg2 encodings. You will have to upgrade your VideoReDo if you want to handle the advanced formats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yes, I already did. It went well.

Another advantage of VDRTVSuite is that it will also convert to mp4. I used to use another tool for that step. However, when I did convert to mp4, my cpu (gpu?) went bonkers. seemed that something was really straining, so I aborted as I didn't like the sound of my 12yo PC sounding like a jet plane taking off. I used AnyVideoConverter for the final step to mp4. It was much much much faster (and less intense) than VDRTVsuite.

Unfortunately, after all this, still the resultant .mp4 or .flv was too big for email. It was 7 minutes of a TV show about 30mb. Gmail only supports up to 25mb.

Any ideas to make the file smaller?
 

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Yes, I already did. It went well.

Another advantage of VDRTVSuite is that it will also convert to mp4. I used to use another tool for that step. However, when I did convert to mp4, my cpu (gpu?) went bonkers. seemed that something was really straining, so I aborted as I didn't like the sound of my 12yo PC sounding like a jet plane taking off. I used AnyVideoConverter for the final step to mp4. It was much much much faster (and less intense) than VDRTVsuite.

Unfortunately, after all this, still the resultant .mp4 or .flv was too big for email. It was 7 minutes of a TV show about 30mb. Gmail only supports up to 25mb.

Any ideas to make the file smaller?
What size was the original .TiVo file? 30 MB seems very small for a 7 minute video. Just out of curiosity (if you don’t mind), load the .TiVo file into TVSuite and hit Ctrl-L to get the file specs then copy and paste/attach them to a post here.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
On disk 825MB. Here is VDR screenshot. (How convenient... they had a copy to clipboard feature!)

File: Name : W:\TIVO\Ask This Old House - ''All About Hydrangeas, Refinish Deck Railing'' (Recorded May 12, 2022, WGBHDT).TiVo
Size : 0.865 GB
Duration : 00:30:00.28
Mux type : TiVo TS
TS mux rate : 15.051 Mbps
Video: Encoding : H.264
VideoStreamID : xFC9
Frame rate : 59.94 fps
Frame rate flag : Constant
Encoding size : 1280 x 720
Aspect ratio : 16:9
Header bit rate : 20.000 Mbps
VBV buffer : 856 KBytes
Profile : High/3.2
Progressive : Progressive
Chroma : 4:2:0
Entropy mode : CABAC
Bit rate : 3.507 Mbps
Captioning : EIA 608/708
Audio Stream: 1 (Primary) Codec : AC3
Format : AC3 stream
Channels : 2.0
PID : xFCA
PES Stream Id : xBD
Bit rate : 192 Kbps
Sampling rate : 48000
Sample size : 16 bits
 

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I use KMTTG to encode to MPEG4. Using h.264_Med_rate profile, a 2GB video gets compress to about 350 MB... That is for the This Old House videos I collect.
KMTTG also does batch processes.
 

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@hershey4
OK, that video is 1280x720, which is the minimum format defined as HD, and it has an encoding bit rate of 3.5 Mbps, which is about the minimum to achieve reasonable quality at that format using H.264 encoding. At that bitrate 30 minutes required 865 MB. Thus a 7 minute clip with the same quality would require 202 MB, way in excess of 25 or 30 MB.

I don’t know what you did to get a 30 MB version of 7 minutes but it has to involve a huge reduction of quality and/or resolution much less than 1280x720.

Output format and quality for TVS6 is determined by the Output Profile selected and whether you’re doing just a QSF or a re-encoding. It gets kind of complicated. Huge processing load occurs when you force a re-encoding, e.g., from .mpg2 to H.264 (.mp4), or to a different resolution, or just force a different bit rate. If the output is the same resolution, bit-rate and encoding type as the input (e.g., just remuxing an H.264 videro from .TiVo to .mp4 container) the speed can be very fast.

I also have an old PC and a few years ago I noticed a lot of CPU fan noise when doing high re-encoding CPU loads (i.e., near 100%). I removed the heat sink from the CPU, blew the dust off the fins, and re-mounted using fresh heat sink compound. That fixed that. (With hindsight, perhaps just blowing the dust out would have sufficed.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
@hershey4
... I don’t know what you did to get a 30 MB version of 7 minutes but it has to involve a huge reduction of quality and/or
resolution much less than 1280x720.
Sorry I was misleading. I had tried both .mp4 and .flv looking for the smallest knowing it was only going to a phone. The .flv was 30mb. I think the mp4 was around 45. still both much more than you would expect.

I think I first converted to mpg and then to mp4/flv because that's the sequence I had always done in the past.

Thanks for the explanation about fast/slow remux and processing pain/speed. I've been thinking about that dust!!! :)

This is stats for the .mpg that was input to the .flv

File: Name : W:\TIVO\mpgs\ATOHHydrangeas051222.mpg
Size : 0.922 GB
Duration : 00:07:11.50
Mux type : PS - MPEG2
Video: Encoding : MPEG2
VideoStreamID : xE0
Frame rate : 59.94 fps
Encoding size : 1280 x 720
Aspect ratio : 16:9
Header bit rate : 19.200 Mbps
VBV buffer : 1194 KBytes
Profile : High @1440
Progressive : Progressive Only
Chroma : 4:2:0
Bit rate : 16.251 Mbps
Captioning : EIA 608/708
Field order : Progressive
Audio Stream: 1 (Primary) Codec : AC3
Channels : 2.0
Sub stream id : x80
Bit rate : 192 Kbps
Sampling rate : 48000
Sample size : 16 bits



Another interesting tidbit is that as I downloaded more Tivo files around that time frame to see when the change occurred, it is not just about WHEN. It is also WHAT. Sometimes MPEG2 were created and sometimes H.264. I guess it's a channel thing. Maybe some are broadcast at 1080p? It is not showing me that spec with the INFO button on Tivo on these shows. Typically, I see 720p when it shows the resolution. Some of the channels have HD in their name, but that doesn't always give me H.264 encoding from what I can see. I've over experimented and now it's all muddled!

I guess the bottom line is I need to keep VideoRedoTVSuite6 to move forward. And clean out the dust!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ah, I just took a close look at profile options after your "force recode" comment. I see where I went wrong with MP4. I selected Android 720p without paying any attention to the highlighted stuff.

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If I select the other MP4,the convert takes a couple of seconds and file is 191MB... More along the lines you expected. Goodness knows what AnyVideoConverter did with it to get it to 45MB. But now I don't have to clean the dust.

Still slightly confusing is why "Force Recode" would be necessary to go from H.264 to H.264

I would still like to know how to compress even further to make a clip email-able. Are there other lower-quality file formats reasonable for phone viewing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I use Windows 7, Tivo Desktop for downloading, and Windows Movie Maker-2012 for editing. Old stuff, but it works every time!
Even recently with different encodings coming through on broadcast (ymmv)? I didn't know there was other mainstream software that could open a Tivo file. Did you have to configure your MAK?

Interesting seeing others using old software/hardware. I don't feel so ancient!
 
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