TiVo Tools: pyTivo: Streaming content to your TiVo

October 24, 2010

We continue our series on ways to better leverage the power of your TiVo.  How do you turn your TiVo into a front end streaming media box?  Can you avoid buying a Boxee, Roku or AppleTV?  The answer is pyTiVo. 

With pyTiVo, you can serve up a variety of content from your Mac (there’s also PC and Linux versions).  It’s an upgrade from TiVo desktop since it handles a variety of video formats.  It also has the ability to make your iTunes collection available.  Most of your songs should play as Apple no longer puts DRM on the songs.  CDs you’ve ripped play no problem.  Unfortunately, there’s no cover art served up.  There’s also the ability to show photos but it appears to be broken in the current release.

To get started with pyTivo, download it here (link on the right side).  Installation is easy, open the download and drag the pyTiVo file into your applications folder.  Start pyTivo and then click on the “Perfs” Button.  Configure the screens as you see them below (there is no need to enter your tivo userid and password).

This auto-starts pyTivo when you start your Mac. Do not check it if you want to manually start the program.

Now you need to tell pyTiVo where the files are to serve up to your TiVo.  It’s easy.  Just click the “+” button in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.  It will bring up the file choser and you select the directory that contains your content.

To share your iTunes, chose the /users/yourname/Music/iTunes directory.  This will allow you to shuffle your entire music collection.  It will then prompt you for a name, chose something simple like “Music”.  For the type, change it to “Music”.

For your extensive video directory, browse to where you keep your video files.  Set the type to “Video”.  When you are finished adding shares, click the “Apply” button.

As previously stated, Photos appear to be broken in the Mac version.  It appears the imaging library for python is not found.  I separately downloaded it and tried to hack it but no luck.  It appears to be a documented problem so hopefully it will fixed in the next release  If anyone has a fix, please post it to the comments.

On your TiVo, there are two places to find your content.  At the bottom of the “Now Playing” list , you will see the name of your Mac represented by a computer icon.  If you select your Mac, you will see your list of shows.  Selecting the shows from this menu will download it to your TiVo.

If you would rather stream the show to your TiVo and not fill up its hard drive, go to the “TiVo Central” menu and select “Music, Photos & Showcases”.  From there, you will see an option for “pyTiVox – your-computer.home”.  From here you can select a show to stream.  The music share is also here.  If you don’t see these options, you will have to manually add the IP address of your Mac.  Chose “Manually add a server…”" to do this.  To figure out the IP address of your Mac, go the applications folder, then utilities and chose “Network Utilities”.

While it has it’s short comings, pyTiVo is a powerful app.  Happy Streaming!

Tags: iTunes, Mac, pytivo, streaming, TiVo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Connect to the Hub

Support the Hub