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TiVo Conversion

One of the things I love is TiVo. It is convenient, it works well, and I would not want to go without it. I use the Season Pass feature to record programs I love, and I often decide I would like to keep the program for future viewing. You can always set TiVo to keep a copy of a program indefinitely, but that will quickly fill up the hard drive with saved programs. So the next thing you might think of is taking the files off of TiVo, and moving them onto your multi-terabyte home storage system. This is do-able, but but there are a few snags. One of the biggest is that TiVo files are in a proprietary format that will not play in your media player. Fortunately, there is software available to solve this problem. In this series I will take you from start to finish, from the original recording on TiVo to the final video file on your capacious hard drive ready for your media player to play. And best of all, I will do this using Open Source software that runs on Linux.

Listen to the audio version of this on Hacker Public Radio!

Grabbing the Files

A TiVo device is actually a Linux computer, but not one you can easily connect to. The manufacturer made some changes to the code to keep it locked down, and did not publish any of those changes. This is actually legal under the license in force when they obtained the Linux software since they are …

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Screen capture of kmttg configure programs

Decoding the Files

OK, let’s assume you successfully downloaded some TiVo files from your TiVo box. Now what? In their native form they are mostly unusable since the TiVo file format is not open. That means you need to find a way to decode the files into something that is standard, like MPEG-2 (if you plan to burn …

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Editing the Files

So, if you have made it this far you should have downloaded files from your TiVo, and gotten them into a standard format that is playable on most computers and/or devices. You could stop at this point, and thereby save yourself some additional work. But you may only want to save part of what you …

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