(This guide assumes you a) have your TiVo networked via ethernet or wifi and you’ve assigned the TiVo a fixed IP number, b) are running at least Mac OS X 10.4, and c) have Apple’s XCode development tools installed on your machine; if you do not have XCode installed, download it from here.)
- Find out your TiVo’s Media Access Key. This is found by going to “TiVo Central”, then “Messages & Settings”, then “Account & System Information”, then “Media Access Key”. It’ll be the ten-digit number at the bottom of the screen. It’s unique to your TiVo — write it down, you’ll need it in steps 2 and 5.
- Download and configure the Dashboard Widget “Now Playing“. This will be what you use to get the .TiVo files off your TiVo. You’ll have to put the fixed IP address of the TiVo and the Media Access Key of the TiVo into the widget. After that, you can use the widget to browse the contents of your TiVo, and by clicking on the name of a TV show, you’ll be able to download the TiVo file to your computer. Pick a file to download and download it. It’ll take a while, .TiVo files are encrypted MPEG-2 files and thus honkingly huge.
- Download the “tivodecode” program from SourceForge; specifically, download the .tar archive for UNIX. Double-click the .tar file to open it and expand a “tivodecode” folder to your desktop. (It’ll likely have some version numbers after it, too; at time of writing this how-to, the folder is specifically named “tivodecode-0.1.2”.)
- Use the terminal to navigate to inside the new “tivodecode” folder created on your desktop:
…and the Mac OS X compiler called gcc (added to your system via the XCode install!) will compile the new “tivodecode” binary and put it inside a newly created “objects.dir” folder*. So then type:
…and while you’re there, type:
sudo cp tivodecode /usr/bin
…to copy the tivodecode binary to your /usr/bin directory.
- And now here’s where the magic happens: let’s say my TiVo’s Media Access Key was “1234567890” and I wanted to decrypt the file “Metalocalypse.TiVo” on my desktop. The command to do that would now be (all in one line):
tivodecode -v -m 1234567890 -o ~/Desktop/output.mpeg ~/Desktop/Metalocalypse.TiVo
…and after the tivodecode program runs through your .TiVo file, you should have an unencrypted MPEG-2 file sitting on your desktop called “output.mpeg”.
- Use VLC to view the MPEG-2 file; use iSquint to convert it to MPEG-4 for your iPod.
…hopefully some enterprising soul will devise a clever Mac OS X app that combines all these odd and disparate steps into an E-Z, one-click process; but until then, this is a fairly decent way to do it.
ALSO: let me point out that with a slight hack to the plist of your Mac TiVo Desktop file, you can play those mpeg files back via your network onto your TiVo, thus enabling you to create a vast archive of television that takes up all the space on your Mac and not your TiVo.
UPDATE: Nik Friedman TeBockhorst has come up with a great little dropscript that takes care of steps 3, 4, and 5. Many people point out that you can use Safari’s Bonjour function to download the .tivo files; I still think “Now Playing” (and a TiVo set to IP 10.0.1.202) is easier, but it’s your call, brother.