The Deliverator – Wannabee

So open minded, my thoughts fell out…

Tivo to Go (GO ALREADY *#&$%*!!!)

Posted by Deliverator on July 12th, 2005

I bought my original Tivo for a rather large wad of $ back when they were first introduced, and unlike many of the early units that quickly burned out modems, my Philips unit has been a real workhorse. Still, it was getting rather long in the tooth compared to some of the newer Tivo units. My cousin David was sent me his newer Humax Series 2 Tivo for a modest fee and I have been playing around with it for the last few days. All in all, I really like the unit. It is far more responsive to button presses than my Philips unit, is physically somewhat smaller and has an improved version of the “peanut” remote found on my original unit.

Most important to me, this new unit features two USB ports, to which can be hooked up a variety of wired and wireless network adapters. Tivo has had a feature for some time now called “Tivo to Go” which allows you to transfer shows from one Tivo to another over the network, or to a computer. The files do include DRM, which makes them difficult to much with (other than view), but through the use of some DirectShow filter-graph trickery, you can get around this minor annoyance.

After scrounging through my collection of wired/wireless adapters, I found one that worked, a Linksys USB200M wired USB ethernet adapter. I didn’t want to have to run an ethernet cable to the Tivo, so I plugged the USB ethernet adapter into my WET11 wireless bridge and set it to associate with an old Orinoco RG1000 AP (that is running firmware that makes it into a transparent bridge) which is in turn hooked into the back of the router to which my main media box is connected. After a little fooling with the Tivo, I got it an IP address and set it up to get all its program guide updates via the network. No more 50 foot phone cord, yay! I installed the Tivo Desktop application on my media box and set it up with the Tivo’s “Media Key” and it was able to see the Tivo on the network. I tried to get it to transfer a show over to the computer, but the application kept puking after transferring over anywhere from 1 to 40 MB of a show. I consulted the Tivo Community and found out that there are two likely causes of this weird behavior. One is due to DHCP and the other has to do with an unknown conflict with the onboard NIC controller found in the Nforce chipset that my media box uses. I moved the interface over to a dedicated PCI NIC and set the Tivo up with a static address and I have now transfered over 400 MB of data without a hitch. Transfer rates look to be about 50% greater than realtime for max quality video, but what can you expect from a USB 1.1 NIC hooked into a 802.11b bridge hooked into a long defunct Orinoco AP running alternate firmware? :)

I am going to try the de-DRM trick tomorrow and see if it still works the way I believe.