From TiVo to the iPod--the Easy Way

by Erica Sadun

In my recent iTunes Music Store post, I wrote that "I can record shows off my TiVo and transfer them onto my iPod". Reader Randal L. Schwartz responded, "Yeah sure, brag won't ya. That requires either a series 1 TiVo that has been hacked (I have a series 2), or a windows box (which I'll never own)."

Actually Randal, all it requires is a digital camcorder like the kind you use with iMovie or an Analog/Digital video bridge such as the Canopus ADVC or Miglia's Directors Cut. Many digital camcorders allow you to connect to an external video source and connect that video signal via Firewire to a computer. It's called digital pass-through. If you can hook up your video signal across an analog-digital converter, you can record your shows to an iPod-compatible format in real time using QuickTime Pro. You don't need an hacked TiVo and you don't need a Windows box.

I wrote up a quick how-to over at my engeek website.


2006-03-13 10:57:18
No offense to you because thanks for the write-up, but it still is way too many steps and very time consuming. Damn, just to watch a TV show or movie. May we all go outside and get some fresh air. So, will Apple make this easy? I don't think so for many reasons for one it would cut into iTunes revenue.
2006-03-13 11:07:41
Nice write-up, but if you are archiving from your Tivo, you still have to manually either play the recording or use the (forgot the actual name) "archive" options. both of which take your Tivo out of commission for the duration.
Randal L. Schwartz
2006-03-13 13:09:28
That doesn't fit my definition of "transfer". You have an analog-to-analog loss of signal, not to mention that it's a real-time transfer, meaning that I can't load my TiVo in anywhere near fast enough time. Might as well just watch the shows while I'm playing them.
Erica Sadun
2006-03-13 14:53:27
Good point but you've got to expect a bit of signal loss anyway when going from a regular TiVo recording onto a teeny little iPod. I'm not sure that digital ripping buys you that much here. Also, you can use this same approach/scripts to record from a live tuner without going through TiVo and the double-generation thing.
Randal L. Schwartz
2006-03-13 16:19:40
If I had the patience/time to hang around my "live tuner" to avoid the generational loss, I wouldn't need a TiVo, would I?

I think you're missing it. There's no easy "tivo to ipod" solution that doesn't involve real-time and re-recording, UNLESS you happen to be on windows or have a first generation TiVo that you've hacked. That was my original point, and you've done nothing to give me an alternative.