Tuesday, September 7, 2010

pyTivoX... FTW!!!

So we have a TiVo Premiere in the living room connected up to our TV. Since we have only the one DVR now, our TV in the bedroom would ostensibly be useless, so I moved the mac mini from the living room in there. We can use iTivo to watch shows on it.

But that means that we now have no way of watching dvds in the living room, since the mini was the only DVD drive out there.

Turns out, there's a good solution.

PyTiVoX is a program that acts as a server that does the opposite of TiVoToGo - a sort of TiVoComeFrom, as it were. It will take a directory full of video files and put up a server that looks just like a TiVo. If you ask a real TiVo to transfer a file, it will convert it to MPEG2/AC3 on the fly and transfer it over. Alternatively, if you have a TiVoHD or Premiere, you can stream the stuff instead of transferring it (it shows up in the Showcases menu rather than in Now Playing).

So you can rip a DVD with Handbrake, toss the resulting video file into a pyTivoX share directory and then watch it on the TiVo. It takes a little extra time for Handbrake to do its work, but even with that, it's a good solution.

The only pity is that it doesn't work for DRMed content you can't break, such as iTunes video purchases or amazon movies or the like. But as long as they keep either making DVDs or making the stuff available on Netflix watch now, I'll be happy.


Chris Waltham said...

Not sure if you're still checking the blog or not, but are you still using pytivox? I'm having trouble getting things to my Premiere and could use some help. Thanks!

Nick said...

I still check in here. Since I wrote that, I got a Synology NAS for the house and for a while I was running PyTivo on that. Unfortunately, that doesn't work anymore because the ffmpeg binary that comes with Synology's software can't make the correct format output for the TiVo.

Our solution at the moment is the DS Video iOS app and AirPlay to an Apple TV if we want it on the TV.