Tivo Tools: iTivo: Download shows from your TiVo

October 20, 2010

iTivo allows you to download shows from your TiVo directly onto your Mac.  It seamlessly imports the show into iTunes in the quality and format that you specify.  Once it’s in iTunes, you can then easily sync your iPhone or iPod touch to watch shows on the go. Alternatively, you can download your TiVo shows to a central location and then have other front-end boxes such as an AppleTV, PS3 or Boxee box connect and play the content.  iTiVo can also be set up to automatically download shows once they are recorded on TiVo. The best part is that iTiVo is free!

iTivo works with Series 2, Series 3 and Premier model TiVos as well as the latest version of OS X, Snow Leopard.   To get started with iTiVo, download it by clicking here.  Once downloaded, open the DMG file and drag the iTivo icon into the Applications folder. 

Now, simply open your applications folder and click on the iTiVo application.  When iTivo first starts, you need to provide it with your TiVo’s Media Access Key.  This key is like a password for your TiVo and limits who can download shows from it.  It can be obtained by logging into your TiVo account or by going to the Account Settings screen on your TiVo. (Tivo Central->Messages & Settings->Account & System Information -> Media Access Key).  You also need to have Tivo downloads enabled for your account.  Log into your TiVo account, click on “Change DVR preference”.  Enable both “Allow Transfers” and “Enable Video Downloads” and click on Save.  It can take a day for your TiVo to get this update.   For the rest of your settings, copy what’s in the screenshot below.  You can download the video files anywhere, but I prefer to keep them in the movies directory.

If you want to watch the shows on your computer or with any device with higher resolution than the iphone, chose a different format. “iPod/iPhone super-res” is a good compromise between file size and quality.  If you want the highest quality (i.e. you will be watching on a large HDTV), pick one of the Quicktime H.264 choices with a high bit rate.

Now you are ready to go!  The main iTivo screen will appear.  Click on the pull down and select your TiVo, it should appear automatically thanks to Bonjour!  Click on “Connect to Tivo” and in a couple of minutes you should see all of your shows.  You should then see a screen like this:

  • “Download Show” will download the selected show to your Mac.
  • “Subscribe” will download a show next time it’s recorded (Your Mac needs to be running for this to work).
  • “Info” will show you how much space is being used or info about the selected show
  • “Add Show to Queue” will create a list of shows to be downloaded.

It’s really that simple!  iTiVo also gives you the ability to archive shows and free up space on your TiVo. There are some more advanced features in the other Preference tabs that you can also explore.

Also, don’t despair if you don’t have a way to connect your TiVo to the network and enjoy the benefits of iTiVo. You can win a free TiVo wireless adapater from Tech of the Hub!

Coming soon: pyTiVo which turns your TiVo into a media extender solution.

Tags: Apple, IPhone, iPod, iTiVo, Mac mini, TiVo

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