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Tivo to your Mac for free!

Thanks to the April, 2007 issue of Macworld, I learned of TivoDecode Manager, a free piece of software that enables you to transfer and watch programms from your Tivo on your Mac. TivoDecode Manager provides an interface to integrate several pieces of open-source software to decrypt, transfer and translate programs recorded on your Tivo into MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 files on your Mac. MPEG-4 files can be played with QuickTime or iTunes. The author, David Benesch, has created a simple interface and packaged all the pieces into a single download that unzips to a single folder that you copy to your Applications folder. You need a Mac running a current version (Tiger or higher) of OS X, a Tivo Series 2 and both of them connected on your local network. Grab your Media Access Key from the Tivo site under Manage My Account, start up the program, enter the Media Access Key and TivoDecode Manager will use Bonjour to find your Tivo box or boxes which can be selected with a pulldown. As soon as a Tivo box is selected, the Now Playing list appears in a pane and you can select one or more programs to transfer. Transfers are slow – Tivo transfers are slow and Tivo Series 2 boxes typically have USB 1.1 ports. The speed of your network between the Tivo and the Mac and the speed of your Mac will also affect how fast transfers occur. Other activity on your Mac will slow down transfers even further especially if you are doing anything that requires network bandwidth (any active connections to the Internet for web browsing, e-mail or other activity). I just started transferring a 3-hour segment of a bicycle race, so I won’t get to watch it until tomorrow. So stay tuned for part two of this post, on how did the process work and what did the program look like on my Mac.

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