Your TiVo is great at making all the television you watch “yours.” But it’s yours only insofar as it’s the programming you most wanted on your television—and nowhere else. Perhaps you’d like to archive all those shows taking up valuable hard drive space, and saving them to VCR tape just isn’t something you can bring yourself to do. What about that six-hour plane ride next week; what could possibly be better than a mix of your favorite sitcoms and soaps to keep you company? All of this requires somehow sucking that programming right out of your TiVo and working with the videos directly.
Thankfully, TiVo records everything to MPEG-2 format on its hard drive or drives. All that remains is to extract those videos, convert them to something more appropriate, and pass them to your basement PC’s DVD burner for archiving or laptop for taking on the road with you.
There are a couple of constraints on video extraction, the first of which may stop you in your tracks, while the latter two are just a matter of a little hackery, sufficient bandwidth, and storage space.
Unfortunately, while video is kept “in the clear” on Series 1 TiVo units and is eminently extractable, the newer Series 2s scramble the video, keeping only encrypted versions on the hard drive. This means that Series 2 users are out of luck when it comes to video extraction.
Don’t bother trying the hacks in this chapter if you don’t have a high-speed network ...