Apple TV and TiVo Working Together?

November 23, 2010

Yes, AppleTV and TiVo can be complementary to one another.  After my recent purchase of AppleTV, I realized I can use it as an extender for my TiVo.  Basically, you can record shows on your TiVo and watch them in another room with AppleTV.  It’s much better than having to buy a second TiVo and paying for the subscription.  Here’s how I did it.

What you’ll need:
One TiVo, as many AppleTVs as you want, a Mac, free iTivo software.

To set up iTivo to automatically download shows to your Mac, read TiVo Tools: iTivo: Download shows from your TiVo.

Once you do this, your Mac will automatically download selected shows from your TiVo and it will load them into your iTunes library.  Now, follow the instructions in Practical AppleTV Tips to connect to the iTunes library on your Mac.

Now when you browse TV Shows on your Apple TV (under Computers), you will see all of your TiVo loaded content!

iTiVo is freeware so it does have some quirks to it.  For one, your Mac hard drive can fill up very quickly if you subscribe to a lot of shows.  Shows need to be manually deleted from your Mac’s iTunes library.  There’s no way to delete them via Apple TV when you’re done watching.

Once shows are recorded on the TiVo, it can take a decent amount of time (hours) for the show to download to your Mac.

Figuring out the best format for iTivo to use was a bit of a challenge.  The “iPod/iPhone” super-res format is one that will work on your AppleTv as well as your iPod Touch keeping the file size in check.  However, its video quality on a 1080p HDTV is a little rough on the eyes.  Currently, I’m using “Quicktime 5 (H.265 5 MBps)” to get a quality looking picture.  However, sometimes there seems to be a slight problem with audio syncing.  I’ve tried a few other formats such as ffmpeg, but iTiVo fails attempting to download the show when using some of the other formats.  I’m interested to hear if other folks have had success with other formats.
Another alternative to using iTiVo is kmttg.  It may get around some of the issues I’ve cited above.  However, the installation and use of the program appear to be more complex.

So, enjoy your TiVo shows in other rooms.  It would be great if somehow TiVo would work with AirPlay and directly talk to the Apple TV.  With TiVo’s new iPad application they’ve announced there’s hope.

Tags: Apple TV, iTiVo, TiVo

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