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TiVoNoGo

Originally published at BunkBlog. You can comment here or there.

Everyone who said that they didn’t need to worry about TiVo’s closed architecture, because it did everything they needed, including that nifty TiVoToGo that let you make DVDs on your computer from your TiVo box? Yeah, you got punked.

The new and improved TiVo Series3 boxes, the ones that finally allow you to record HD (something you could do with MythTV for years), have deleted the already-very-limited ability to do what you want with the recording you make on your machine that you pay for. Cheers.

There is no legal reason to do this, by the way. The fair use doctrine and case law (Betamax decision) are on the side of people who want to make personal copies of free over-the-air broadcasts. Aren’t you glad that TiVo is more interested in not offending Hollywood than they are in providing features their customers want?

Comments

( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
ernunnos
Oct. 3rd, 2006 11:11 pm (UTC)
Last I checked you couldn't record HD with MythTV or any other homebrew device. There weren't any consumer video cards that could encode full HD resolutions. Even the Series 3 Tivo and DirecTivo didn't encode: they just took the already-encoded broadcast and saved it on disk. Of course, homebrew devices don't have this luxury, because they don't pass cablecard certification and don't have access to that stream. Just the video output from the cable box. Which means you have to re-encode if you want to save it.
andysocial
Oct. 4th, 2006 12:28 am (UTC)
The PCHDTV card works in MythTV, and says it supports all 18 ATSC standards and unencrypted QAM (64 or 256). I'm not sure if that's "full HD" since I can't see what those standards are, but I'm kind of assuming so. I see a lot of people in a quick search that have 1080i encoding and viewing in MythTV. Also, MythTV supports the DVB standards for digital television overseas (which aren't as proscribed as US standards).

The CableCard cartel is a racket. Force manufacturers to cede control of their products to the entertainment industry. What a bunch of spineless wankers.
ernunnos
Oct. 4th, 2006 12:44 am (UTC)
Dammit, you almost had me ready to rush out and build a MythTV box, but then I noticed that it only has S-video and antenna inputs. No other video inputs from a cable box. So it doesn't actually encode HD either. It just receives and stores unencrypted broadcasts. It only re-encodes 480i video.
andysocial
Oct. 4th, 2006 12:56 am (UTC)
Um, if you say so. Since I don't have a high-def set, I've never looked into it too far. But, where on their site do you find that info? I can't seem to find technical details on there, or maybe I'm just dense tonight.

Yes, unencrypted is the big deal right now - recording encrypted programming is still not gonna happen.
ernunnos
Oct. 4th, 2006 01:46 am (UTC)
It lists the formats it can receive, including "unencrypted QAM". Ideally, one of these would take advantage of the "analog hole". Take the analog video-out from your cable box, and re-encode it in something like MPEG4 for storage. That's exactly how existing Tivos work, just with lower resolution images on an S-video input. Unfortunately, encoding higher resolution stuff seems to take a lot more horsepower.
andysocial
Oct. 4th, 2006 01:51 am (UTC)
So does "unencrypted QAM" mean 480i? Does nobody transmit 1080i or 720p over ATSC unencrypted? Either you have a MUCH better understanding of this than I do (quite likely) or you're making assumptions that I am not following.
ernunnos
Oct. 4th, 2006 01:57 am (UTC)
Over-the-air stuff is unencrypted, including in higher resolutions, and this card would help with that. But from a quick Google earlier it looks like my local cable company (Cox) broadcasts very little over their cables that's not encrypted. They could, but they won't. Which means needing to use their hardware to unencrypt and taking it from there.
andysocial
Oct. 4th, 2006 02:01 am (UTC)
Well, according to law, your cable company cannot encrypt any channel that is broadcast over the air, so at least your local stations would be unencrypted. Yeah, that's not much. :-)
zonereyrie
Oct. 4th, 2006 06:10 am (UTC)
It is a temporary restriction while CableLabs and TiVo work together to approve the TTG data protection system for use with CableCARD. TiVo expects to work through the process with CableLabs and add TTG in a software update.

MythTV can only do unencrypted HD - OTA ATSC or what few clear QAM channels your cable company might carry. If you want more HD channels then you have to deal with CableCARD, and it is unlikely MythTV will ever be allowed to support it.

The characterization of what TiVo is 'interested' in is bogus. The market has soundly rejected OTA-only HD recorders. There have been a few on the market, most have been dropped due to poor sales. Most people want to be able to record more than just OTA - which means either satellite or cable. Satellite systems are already closed systems. To do it for cable you either need to use a cable DVR - another closed system - or a CableCARD, which is what TiVo has done. It is also what Microsoft is doing with Vista. TiVo made an ATSC reference design several years ago and offered it to the consumer electronics industry to license - no one bit. TiVo didn't create the business environment, but they have to operate in it. If you don't like it, then you can use MythTV and accept the inability to record some content in HD.
andysocial
Oct. 4th, 2006 10:35 am (UTC)
The fact that TiVo and others have to get permission from CableLabs (and by extension the entertainment industry) is a sign of a remarkable decline in the ability of American manufacturers to innovate. Every new entertainment electronics system needs to be capable of being crippled by Hollywood, ensuring that no matter what other countries might have available, we'll be stuck with hardware that is only as capable as VCRs from the 80s. And if they could, they'd get rid of that capability too. Remember, the entertainment industry filed suits to prevent DVRs from existing at all a number of years ago.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )