Any TiVo owners? An add-on suggestion. RRS feed

  • Question

  • All modern TiVos -- both SD and HD -- have a built-in web server.  This server allows users to directly download SD and HD recordings to their computer.  The TiVo Series3 will serve recordings at 12-15Mbps.

    [The exception is DirecTV.  They disable that functionality on their TiVos.]

    I would like to see a WMS plug-in that would simplify remote access to all TiVos in a home.


    If you own a TiVo and haven't used this feature before, open https://<your_tivo_ip>/ in your web browser and use 'tivo' as the login and your Media Access Key as the password.  Screenshot.
    Currently, if you want to access the recordings on your TiVo remotely over the web, you have to setup some fancy port forwarding on your router.  For example:
    WAN_IP:60080 -> TIVO_LAN_IP:80
    WAN_IP:60443 -> TIVO_LAN_IP:443
    That allows you to login remotely @ https://<WAN IP>:60443/nowplaying/index.html.  It gets more complicated if you want to access multiple TiVos, because you've got to create separate port forwarding configurations for each TiVo.
    You can grab the XML output from each TiVo with this link:
    The author of TiVoPlayList reformatted the XML information into simple UI, with a few simple enhancements, such as the ability to determine available disk capacity when you enter your TiVo's drive size.

    Proposed Plugin
    Imagine a "TiVo Web" tab on the WHS Console.

    Clicking on that tab would display a list of TiVos or a drop down list where you select the TiVo you want.  When you select the TiVo, the recordings on that TiVO are displayed for remote download over the web.  You could display the the page from the TiVo's using a web control, or you could reformat the XML output from the TiVo.

    Clicking the "Download" button would allow the remote user to download the recording from that TiVo.  You would need to redirect to / from the appropriate ports.
    Just an idea. Smile
    Saturday, November 17, 2007 1:21 AM

All replies

  • I'll take one.  If you use TiVo Desktop on a PC and point it at \\Serve\videos your server gets constant file access file handle errors on desktop.ini, just one of the annoyances of TiVo desktop.  I think the program always has that file open with write access, even when the Desktop Server is paused. 


    Sunday, November 18, 2007 6:38 AM
  • You may want to start with the add in  you can find it at http://www.durfee.net/software/


    Tivo Publisher for Windows Home server will serve up your pictures and music.  It also translates video on your home server to the format needed for tivo.  It adds a tab as you mention, and shows all the tivos in your network


    I just tired it out this weekend

    Sunday, November 18, 2007 7:00 PM
  • It is OK, I've had it in for quite a while, but only goes one way, I'd like to go both ways, TiVo <--> WHS.  It also has a lot of trouble navigating folders, which is thought to be a TiVo problem.


    Since the code to fame ended a lot enthusiasm from developers has wained.


    Sunday, November 18, 2007 7:50 PM
  • I think that this can be done.  I've already written the C# code to query the tivo server, and fetch a list of all items in the 'now playing' list.  Here are some of the features I am considering.

    • Manual download of individual shows from tivo to whs, placing them in the WHS folder for WHS publisher to read.
    • Scheduled download where the user can specify a particular show so it gets downloaded to the WHS publisher folder automatically.
    • User configuration to specify tivo IP address, media access key, and how often the service should query tivo to look for new stuff.

    It would be ideal if WHS Publisher were enhhanced to do this scheduled download AND the "Server" side of things.  I have no idea if he is planning on doing this, but in the mean time, I think I just found my new hobby project. 


    Any additional feature suggestions?




    PS.  Oddly enough, what I (and the author or WHS Publisher) are building is already in Tivo To Go.  I will probably first try getting that running as a service first, before I go crazy on the code.

    Tuesday, November 20, 2007 8:49 PM
  • TiVo desktop does NOT play nice with WHS.  The last time I tried it it made WHS totally unresponsive.  YMMV but I'm sticking with stuff at least pretending to be ADD INS and not stand alone poorly mannered applications


    Tuesday, November 20, 2007 9:19 PM
  • I've had some correspondence with Mr. Durfee (the author of TiVo Publisher).  He is still working on it, but his focus is on the publishing side of things.  The next version will add configurable quality settings, support for HD pictures, and better support for HDTV TiVos.

    If you focus on the web / download side, I don't think you are going to duplicate any of his work.  I have no problem with a second TiVo tab on my WHS called "Tivo Web," "TiVo Download Manager," or something similar.

    I think you've covered the basics above.   One more feature to consider is automatic decoding of .Tivo files into .MPG.  The benefit of decoding into MPG is that the files are then compatible with Windows Media Center extenders like the Xbox360.  You just need the media access key to do this, and you're already getting that from the user.

    Example programs to decode .TiVo files into .MPG:

    Tivo Decode Manager for OSX - http://tdm.sourceforge.net/downloads.html
    Tivo Decoder GUI for Windows - http://www.gmonweb.com/portal/CodingFun/Downloads/tabid/54/grm2id/6/Default.aspx

    Both of these put a fancy front end on the tivodecode program.  The Tivo Decoder GUI installs a Win32 version of tivodecode.exe, but the C source code is also available below:


    The next step beyond decoding is automatic commercial removal.  That is probably beyond the scope of your project.

    Wednesday, November 21, 2007 7:06 AM
  • I just built a service like this and posted it to codeplex.  It has been running great on my home topology for several days now.  Just needs to be wrapped in a WHS add-in package!  It's open source... anyone up for that last mile?


    My system now uses this service, combined with the power of WHS media shares to fully automate TiVo -> wmv video.




    Project Description
    Automatically gathers media from home sources and backs them up to your home network. Can discover files on your TiVo, download and decrypt them, and transcode them into other formats in v1.0. MediaBackup runs as a background service and scales horizontally by simply installing on multiple machines on your home network (and configuring each appropriately). Uses persistant state (via XML serialization to file) to support both that, and service restarts and upgrades more or less gracefully.

    Written in C#, .NET 2.0, and tested on Windows Home Server and Windows Vista Ultimate.
    Wednesday, January 2, 2008 7:45 AM
  • Well I've been trying to get it to work for days now.  I have the EX495 and it won't see my TIVO.  Funny thing is my TIVO shows  Server-1 on the Now Playing page but doesn't show any files.  The WHS software will not connect to my TIVO.  Wish there was some way to reset everything.  The very first time I connected the EX495 and installed the TIVO add in it saw my TIVO but never again. 
    Friday, April 16, 2010 3:11 PM