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· tivo_xml developer
1,817 Posts
For what it's worth, Weaknees has a strong reputation and is probably the route I would take in your situation. But I understand the desire for the separate server.
Points to consider and things to know:
The tivo must have 'transfers enabled' under 'manage my account' on tivo.com.

The unit must be a series 2 standalone (dvd player/recorder models included). Unmodified Series 1 & 3 machines and Directivo machines cannot do file transfers. I think you mean Humax, not humanix. I've heard other people make this mistake before. Anyway, assuming that's what it is, it should be compatible with TTG.

You mentioned that there was another TiVo in the house, I think? If there is, and it's a series 2 and both are under the same account, and are both networked, you can enable transfers between the two in addition to the between both and the pc.

I agree with wolflord's recommended specs for the computer.

The free version of TiVo Desktop is all you need for the stated purpose. In addition to serving video it can also stream mp3s and photos to the TiVo. However, there are other server software options that offer additional features and services to the TiVo unit. If you've already made the effort of adding the above spec'd pc to the network, dedicated to tivo video serving and not for normal home computer purposes, you can have it do a few more things for the tivo without adversely impacting performance. For instance, Galleon is a free software that does everthing the free version of TiVo Desktop does and much more. It completely replaces (or happily co-exists with) Tivo Desktop and also provides weather, email, shoutcast streams, podcasts, movie listings, and much more. A more complete description is available at the website.

Also available is pyTiVo, a transcoding server for TiVo. This one can serve up almost any kind video file you're likely to encounter on the internet. It is focused on reliable transcoding, and doesn't provide many other features than that, but again, it can happily co-exist with other TiVo software on the pc. Using this, you could hand him discs with home movies or things you've downloaded from the internet, and all he has to do is copy the file to the shared folder on the pc and they'd show up in a folder at the bottom of his now playing list.

VideoReDo isn't strictly necessary for the storing and transferring, but is the best tool available for editing tivo videos. If he has no interest in that, there's no point in purchasing a license for it. It does have a free trial, so if there's interest you can give it a test drive.

One thing you don't get with TiVo Desktop is subfolders. What that means is the Now Playing List on the TiVo will have one folder for each server and/or other TiVo on your network. So if you add the pc and other tivo that'd be two extra folders at the bottom of the NPL. Navigating into the folder of the second tivo, you would see more folders containing the contents of the remote TiVo's NPL. Navigating to the pc's folder, however, would simply list all of the files in the shared directory and any directories inside of it. With 500GBs, that could be a pretty long list. Galleon and pyTiVo both support subfolders, although unfortunately the latest TiVo Service update has a bug that makes them flaky. We're hopeful it will be fixed with the next service update.

I know it might seem like a lot to digest and do initially, but pretty much all of the solutions will chug along with minimal technical effort required once they're setup and working correctly, and for my household, were totally worth the effort. My wife uses the music function all the time, and with a single tuner and a dual tuner, we rarely have to worry about recording time conflicts.

Please feel free to ask follow up questions or for specific help with any of the software or hardware issues that might come up, there are a lot of people here (myself included) that really enjoy working with this stuff and are more than happy to share lessons already learned.
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