TiVoToGo on the Mac – Officially

Gizmodo just made a post which says that Roxio Toast version 8, for MacOS, includes support for TiVoToGo. You can transfer shows from the TiVo, convert them for iPod/PSP/etc, watch them, and burn them to DVD. They even have a link in the article: http://www.tivo.com/roxio But that link returns a 404. Maybe someone at TiVo jumped the gun and the page was up but has been pulled? There was a rumor of this yesterday too, but not enough to post other than Roxio was doing something ‘TiVo’ on Mac. Gizmodo is reporting that the first 5,000 buyers get a free remote.

EDIT: Well, a few minutes later Dave Zatz posted with a lot more details, including photos and some development info. Nice work Dave!

As was widely speculated, after the Alpha software was seen at CES2006, the problem TiVo had was keeping the content locked down with DRM. Like it or not, that’s a requirement for the business reality of even having TTG. So they turned to Sonic, who had developed the first commercial DVD software to support TTG on Windows, to help. And that got us to today, with Sonic building support for TTG right into Roxio Toast. That does explain, at least partially, the long delay. They literally started over from scratch.

The new software has four components: TiVo Transfer, Player, DVD burning, and Portable conversion.

TiVo Transfer was largely written by TiVo, and it bears a distinct resemblance to the Windows TiVo Desktop transfer screens.

Player, from Roxio, uses technology from ElGato.

The burning, built into Roxio Toast, allows you to burn DVD archives of the .tivo files, or burn video DVDs playable in a standard DVD player. And it creates TiVo-styled menu screens, which are customizable. It looks nice.

Conversion for portables converts to 320×240 resolution MPEG-4 or H.264, and it will automatically add iPod conversions to iTunes.

Toast retails for $100 and it will be available for order and download ‘today’ (I take it that means Monday). There are discounts/rebates for upgraders. And the first 5,000 people to buy directly from TiVo.com (from the aforementioned http://www.tivo.com/roxio) will get a free TiVo ‘Glo’ remote – the same remote used by the Series3, a $50 value. (It is very nice.)

It will be available for both PPC and Intel Macs running MacOS X 10.4. And you can create custom conversion profiles for other portable devices.

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  • ninaf

    CES rules. I love this time of the year. I need more money for my hobby.

  • megazone

    You could always come down to Vegas and join in the fun. ;-)

  • buran

    Great, so first I had a TiVo that could do TTG, but a computer that couldn’t.

    Now, I have a TiVo that can’t do it, and a computer that can.

    I think the word here is “clusterfuck”.

  • nevesis

    They have to have their DRM! And you have my luck. My bets are that there will be a workaround to the DRM faster than it took to make the DRM. You (consumer) cannot win.

  • megazone

    There is *already* a work around for the DRM. But that’s life. It doesn’t have to make sense, but TiVo would get gang tackled by lawyers if they didn’t have the DRM on there, even though it can be stripped.

  • megazone

    Oh, note it isn’t just TiVo. There are multiple work arounds to strip the DRM from iTunes music, DVDs, etc. But the content industry still insists on DRM to do business.

  • buran

    I know, but I don’t really care about some behind the scenes stuff I shouldn’t have to care about. I just want services. It is ridiculous that they’d rather fight and argue and spit into the wind when they know it’s not doing any good, and care so little about their paying customers that they’ll step on them before serving them.

    Like how I’m not getting the HD CSI I in part bought the box in the first place for. I shouldn’t have to deal with some behind the scenes junk. Customers are what keep the business in existence. I’m sure you know what I mean.

    What I want to know is, though … does it burn captions or subtitles?

  • emarosan

    So… let me get this correct. If I have a Windows machine, I can get playback on TTG for free (the cost of an MPG2 decoder is negligible, there are free ones and many computers come with one). If I have a Mac I need to pay $100 for a piece of software I don’t want that happens to have TTG functionality built in, and more that I don’t want.

    Gee… great *rolls eyes*

    TiVo, seriously. *shakes head*

    I’m glad tivodecode was released then. geez.

  • bluepoet

    You read my mind. *sigh*

  • chiefted

    Well I may have to upgrade to Toast 8 but its not a “have to” since Tivodecode was released (have you tried Dave Benesch’s Tivo decode manager? Great interface, easy to use and hey…no DRM).

  • emarosan

    Yeah, I have it, hence the last line. It still doesn’t change the fact that the official solution forces mac users to spend $100 for something that should be free.

  • buran

    I quit buying from the iTunes Music Store when the workaround I was using quit working and the programmers haven’t gotten off their butts and fixed it. Why bother? The only artist I buy music for now is Elton John and I’ve only put his last two CDs in my Powerbook once each — to rip, of course.

    As long as I can’t use it in my in-car MP3 player, Apple can shove it. I’ll buy other stuff from them that I can do what I want with, but not music downloads.

  • megazone

    There are at least two workarounds for ITMS today, I use them – MyFairTunes6 and QTFairUse6.

  • buran

    Again … I’m a Mac user. Those are WINDOWS applications.

    Point me to a Mac working version of those and I’ll admit I’m wrong but I stand by what I said, that there’s no way for me to undo the mess.

    Yet again, Mac users shoved out into the snowbank outside while everyone else gets to sit by the fire.

  • unteins

    the problem TiVo had was keeping the content locked down with DRM

    Haha, yeah, I believe that. What a load of bull**** from Tivo. They don’t have DRM locked down on Windows so why was it a problem on the Mac? Answer, because they don’t care about Mac users and they didn’t want to invest the resources into making it work.

    This solution is worse than nothing at all, since it means Tivo will never fulfill their commitment to provide TTG functionality for the Mac.

  • megazone

    Like it or not, this *is* the official solution from TiVo. TiVo coded some of it, mostly they wrote the transfer tool and contributed other code. It was really a joint project with Sonic.

    The problem they had on the Mac was playback without openly decrypting the video. Yes, there are loopholes in Microsoft’s code on Windows which provide opportunities for extraction. That’s a flaw in DirectShow. Just because there are flaws in Windows doesn’t give TiVo license to openly flaunt DRM on Mac. Remember, they got the nod from the FCC to do TiVoToGo *only* by including the DRM. They simply cannot just drop it because it is inconvenient, period.

    The prototype code I saw at CES 2006 worked, but it basically decrypted the video, then passed the open video to VLC. But it meant the raw video was readily available. TiVo needed a playback system that could take the video without exposing it. So they would have to write their own. But not just that, but making it available to burn to DVD, conversion, etc. It was a bigger project than they could handle, and they already had a relationship with Sonic, so they approached them about working together.

    After playing with it, I wish something like this existing on Windows. It would be great for the majority of users. There are too many threads around the net from people having problems figuring on burning, etc.

    I understand the issue with the cost, but TiVo never said it would be free. On Windows it is only free in that you can supply your own MPEG-2 decoder. And to be legal, you have to pay for it. The free decoders aren’t really legal, MPEG-2 is not open. I would like to see them release something like the Transfer component and the Player for something like $25, like TiVo Desktop Plus. Make it the same download and just unlock those components, then people can turn on the rest by buying an license key upgrade.

    And you’re right, TiVo decided they couldn’t afford to invest resources to write it all in house. The return on investment wasn’t there, and resources are finite. It isn’t about ‘caring’, it is a cold, hard business reality. They only have so many resources (time, money, engineers, etc) to spend, and there are other projects that are far more important to the company’s future. That’s the same reason that the public HME toolkit has stagnated. HME itself has not, they’ve done a LOT of work on the toolkit to use it for TiVoCast, Guru Guides, and now the OCAP software, but they don’t have the resources to spare on polishing it for the public and them supporting a public release of it.

  • unteins

    You’re right about it being a cold, hard business reality and a business decision. You’re wrong that they don’t care about Mac users.

    Part of the business calculation was how many Mac users would be frustrated enough with the solution to drop the Tivo service and did they care to keep them as customers. It is obvious what they decided on that front,

    There isn’t any technical reason to have to decrypt the video and pass it around unencrypted on the Mac. Tivo might have had to charge for an MPEG-2 decoder as currently I am unaware of a legal, free decoder that works on the Mac (VLC and Mplayer work on Mac, but I imagine that they aren’t legal, as I doubt either open source project pays the license fees, I could be wrong though).

    I wouldn’t be complaining if they offered a $25 MPEG-2 componenet, I bought Apple’s MPEG-2 and it doesn’t play back Tivo’s MPEG-2 (so much for standards), but I shouldn’t have to pay for cd burning software that I don’t need, want or will use. That’s my problem, not that there is a charge, but that it is disproportionate to what other Tivo customers have to pay for the same functions.

    My problem is that I pay the same monthly fee as every other Tivo customer but I receive and inferior service from them because they don’t like the desktop computer I use. Why is that sort of attitude from a company acceptable to anyone who uses their product. If they were using a different criteria to give inferiror products, we’d all be up in arms, because the default assumption is that companies should treat all customers fairly.

  • megazone

    Well, I do agree that it would be good if they’d break out the transfer and player for a lower price, like $25. I think it could sell more copies of the full package too – make it one download with a license key that activates just those two for $25, then an upgrade key you can buy for the rest. Once it is on the machine, more people are likely to just upgrade it at some point. I plan to suggest this to TiVo when I go back to their booth. (I thought of it after I’d left the booth Monday.)

    Though, right now, you can get the full package for ~$50 after rebates and discounts, so it isn’t too bad.