For those of you with TiVos, a great new feature called TiVoToGo was unveiled last week. As Wired News reports, TiVoToGo enables you to transfer programs you’ve recorded on your TiVo to a computer or laptop connected to the TiVo over a home network, allowing you to view programs on the computer and eventually burn them to DVD (the rollout of this feature hasn’t happened yet). The software upgrade that allows you to make use of TiVoToGo will eventually be pushed to all TiVo users, but you can place yourself on a priority list to expedite the process. I did that and received the software update in about three days, although the TiVo page said that even priority users may have to wait a week or two.
Besides the software upgrade, you need to download the latest version of TiVo Desktop software, obtain a Media Access Key, and choose a password for playback. Yes, unfortunately there is some DRM associated with this, but did you really think it would be that easy?
The transfer from TiVo to computer is relatively slow over a wireless network, unfortunately, since as far as I know TiVo doesn’t support 802.11g yet. If I remember correctly, it took 15-20 minutes to transfer a 30-minute program recorded at the lowest quality (378MB if I remember right), so you will have to be patient.
Once I transferred the show via TiVo Desktop on my computer, I was able to view it with Windows Media Player after entering my password (annoying, but necessary). So far, I haven’t had much luck with my usual player, JetAudio, although Media Player Classic is a much less obtrusive (and open source!) alternative that works.
I tried to see whether Nero could author a DVD with the video, but no luck yet, although it sort of played the video. Right now, it appears that TiVo is partnering with Sonic MyDVD in allowing you to record DVDs with TiVoToGo, although as I mentioned, it’s not available yet. You can sign up to be notified once that feature is ready, though. I’m anxiously awaiting this feature and hope that it will be implemented in a way that actually allows you some flexibility in how you record programs. If no editing options are available, then I’ll be pretty pissed off, although I’m confident that someone will figure that out if it’s not enabled out of the box… 😉
Anyway, as you can probably tell, I’m a big fan of TiVo, and I think TiVoToGo makes it that much cooler. The DRM scheme (Media Access Key, password, etc.) is annoying but is probably a necessary evil for TiVo to be able to do this without the MPAA throwing a fit. I know that alternatives like ReplayTV or a home-built PVR don’t have those issues, but there are cons with them as well. I just hope that TiVo doesn’t take DRM and possible DVD authoring restrictions too far, because at some point the user experience will suffer to a point where it’s no longer worth it…