View Full Version : Some direction/advice required

04-10-2003, 05:42 PM
Hi folks!

I have read most of the sticky posts, especially the how-tos, and honestly still feel a bit lost. So I figured I'd bite the bullet and ask for some help.

It is clear that you guys have worked out ways to get video off from the Tivo. I want to accomplish this as well, but by installing the least amount of software on my system. I especially want to avoid stuff that I'll need to re-install after a Tivo version change.

There are a bunch of packages for which I see constant posts (xTreme, TivoLator, mfs_stream, TyTools, etc.). I have some idea what these programs do, but this isn't clearly stated anywhere that I could find. Also, a bunch of them seem to have overlapping functionality, but I don't know how they compare to each other.

Can someone just explain the steps required (without just saying to install one of the programs above) to extract video? I see a lot of .zip files, so I assume a lot of client-side programs here are for Windows. Since my primary OS is Linux, what is the least intrusive way I can accomplish this task, and where can I find instructions for doing so? I'd much rather install just what I need rather than a one-size-fits-all solution.

Also, where do I find up-to-date copies of utilities? Everyone mentions using joe, but the one link to download it pointed to a version that's a couple of years old and didn't work for me. Similarly, I don't know what a recommended way is to get files off from the Tivo to another computer. Should I use nfs? Should I use something else?

Currently, my only desire is to extract video. I have a CD burner, so I was thinking I'd burn vcds, but I want the option to burn dvds as well (I have access to dvd burners at work). So I'd rather not just convert to vcds in one shot. I'd like to be able to store the raw output and then convert to whatever format I need at a later stage.

I have a Hughes DTivo running 3.1 with a TurboNet that I have hooked to my laptop with a crossover cable. The laptop has another nic that allows it to talk to the rest of the world. The only thing I've installed on the Tivo till now is the TurboNet stuff (nic_install) and the tivo-bin utilities (using ftp and telnet). There's still no editor, so I can't yet edit rc.sysinit, for example; this is probably the first thing I need. (I also ordered a serial cable to have another route into the box, although I can't find clear instructions anywhere how I can accomplish that in Linux as well.)

I hope I haven't offended anyone - it's clear you guys have accomplished a lot; I'm just trying to understand what you've accomplished and what I should use. Sorry if I'm being dense.


P.S. I should emphasize that, while Linux is my primary OS, I'm happy to use Windows if most of the development and testing done here is for (and thus more robust solutions are produced for) Windows.

04-10-2003, 06:34 PM
The first thing you need to do is get bash so you can communicate with your Tivo. There are several guides in the How Tos and some of the Tivo related sites that explain how to get bash on your Tivo. You should also be able to find numerous threads on the topic in the DirecTV Tivo Hacking forum.

You will need to install a TurboNet or AirNet adapter in your Tivo to provide for an ethernet connection between your Tivo and your PC. There really is no other sane method of extracting videos from your Tivo so plan on investing $70 or so to buy an adapter. Get the adapter, installation instructions, and driver software from the 9th Tee site. You might as well order a serial cable from 9th Tee while you're at it unless you want to make your own (see instructions in the How Tos sticky).

After you've got the ethernet adapter installed, connect to your Tivo via the serial connection using TeraTerm (see How Tos or the tivostuff site for links to download it). Follow the instructions to install and set up the software. Since you're already a Linux user this should be a snap for you. If you are using a router you can set up the Tivo as a DHCP client by default. Otherwise you'll have to set it up with a static IP address. Lots of posts on this topic in the DTivo hacking forum.

Next, decide on which method of extraction you'd like to use. Currently, there are four tools available for video extraction:

1) TyTools - by far one of the most popular and definitely the easiest tool to use. When used in conjunction with GOPEditor you can edit and mux the extracted ty files into a format that can be used with many off the shelf DVD authoring programs, most notable Ulead's DVD Woerkshop and DVD Movie Factory.

2) mfsstream via Tivoweb - this program uses your web browser as an interface with your Tivo and allows file transfer just like going through the internet. You can also browse through the Tivo using a web-like interface with your browser.

3) mfs_ftp - this allows you to extract files in several different formats using an FTP program like Smart FTP or others. If you download files in the tmf format you can transfer them directly to another Tivo for playback on the other machine. You will have to install the software on each Tivo connected to your home network or any Tivo you intend to swap files with.

4) Tyserver via TyStudio - this program works similar to Tytools and GOPEditor in that you can extract and edit ty files and either export them as elemental streams (i.e. separate audio and video components for use with DVD Maestro or SpruceUp DVD authoring programs) or mux them like Tytools.

Video extraction is generally done for the purpose of authoring recorded programs to DVD. Since the introduction of mfs_ftp, this has been expanded to enable transfer of recordings between Tivos.

This should get you to where you can extract videos. Burning them to DVDs is another story in itself and there are many options available to you that I won't go into now. Come back when you're ready and we'll take it from there.

04-10-2003, 08:00 PM
You have to disable scrambling on your unit. You're out of luck with shows that you've recorded scrambled.

has a linux client program, you might try that.

04-10-2003, 08:04 PM
I'm sorry if I didn't make it clear - I've already cleared some of the hurdles you've mentioned. I have the TurboNet installed, with telnet and ftp access, and have used it to install the tivo-bin utilities (which give me ls and other stuff). The TurboNet is assigned a static IP that I talk to over a crossover cable from my laptop. I probably need to put Joe or vi on it next, since I haven't added an editor to the box yet.

The information you provided is very useful. I still have some questions that I hope you (or someone) can answer:

1. What is the extraction process (I keep hearing about ty and tmf files, vsplitting and muxing, and don't know what these are)? Are ty files the raw data for recorded programs? How are they different from tmf files? Are these proprietary video formats (like mpeg-1/2/4)?

2. What is muxing (and vsplitting)? It sounds like the process of changing the format of the extracted files to DVD, VCD, or other formats, but I'm not sure.

Thanks so much for listing all the different extraction options - this is extremely helpful.

3. Can I please ask you to elaborate a bit on the comparisons? You break them down in some ways (e.g., TyTools is the easiest); could you perhaps list some other factors as well? The three I'm specifically interested in are:
* How easy are they to install? How invasive is the process - do they need a lot of supporting utilities (e.g., mfs_stream via TivoWeb obviously requires TivoWeb)?
* Are there performance differences (mainly in terms of processor utilization on the Tivo, but also in terms of extraction speed)?
* Can I use them with a Linux client (specifically TyTools and TyServer)?

4. Can standalone DVD players play DVDs recorded in DVD burners? Is this something that's dependent upon the brand of the player? I know mine plays VCDs, but I don't know if it would play DVD-Rs or DVD-RWs.

04-10-2003, 08:28 PM
1. A ty file is the raw combined video and audio streams extracted from a Tivo. The tmf format is sort of like a zip file that contains the ty file broken down into 512 MB chunks called FSIDs and also includes a txt file with the show title and description and other pertinent data. A ty file is exclusive to a Tivo but it loosely adheres to the mpeg2 standard.

2. Splitting is the process of taking the ty file and dividing it into the audio and video elemental streams for processing. Muxing is performed to combine the streams back together to a more compliant format for creating DVDs and compatible mpeg files that can be played on a PC using standard codecs like PowerDVD.

3. I'm not going into all the details of each extraction tool (I've got to leave something for you to do) but suffice it to say that each one requires that files be transferred to the Tivo and then permissions need to be set for some, if not all, of the transferred files. Each utility also requires a companion utility that is executed on the PC to perform the extraction. You usually have to telnet to the Tivo first and manually initiate the extraction utility on the Tivo. Then you open up the extraction program on the PC and make the connection to the Tivo via ethernet. It may sound complex but it's really quite simple. A Now Showing list displays all recordings on the Tivo for extraction. Simply select the desired show to be extracted and initiate the transfer. Extraction speed will be pretty consistent between programs since it's really dependent on the adapter you're using and which drivers you have installed. I believe there are Linux versions but you will generally find them as being Windows compatible since the vast majority of members here use Windows.

4. Most current model set top DVD players will play back ty DVDs without a problem. The main compatibility issue is more with being able to play back recordable discs (DVD-R/-RW or +R/+RW formats) than it is with the ty DVD format (i.e. 480x480 vs. DVD-standard 720x480 resolution, although standalone Tivos can be configured to record at 720x480; DTivos record only at 480x480). Some older Pioneer players can play back recordable disc formats but don't like them in 480x480 and will display the image with a vertical black bar covering the right 1/3 of the screen.

04-10-2003, 08:57 PM
It's all becoming clear! Thanks so much, caption_video!

One last question... newbie mentioned that I'd have to turn off scrambling before I can extract videos, and that previously recorded scrambled videos cannot be extracted.

Do the programs you mentioned (TyTools, etc.) take care of the unscrambling, or is that a separate process that they assume as a prerequisite? If the latter, what process/tools do you recommend for dealing with turning off scrambling?

04-10-2003, 09:23 PM
If you have Kraven's update 2.5.1, 2.5.2 or 3.1 Xtreme you should have the noscramble.o module already installed. If you do not, search for it and install.

04-15-2003, 01:47 AM
Yay! captain_video, newbie, with your help, I have gotten past the first hurdle: I have extracted video from my Tivo, and stored it as m2a and m2v files.

(I used Alpha Wolf's kernel patch to stop the scrambling of recordings on my DTivo, and TyStudio to extract. I did not transcode the audio.)

captain_video, you asked me to come by once I had extracted video so that we could talk about how to mux it.

I'd like to be able to use my Linux laptop to create CDs. My DVD player apparently can play XVCD format as well (http://www.xvcd.com/xvcd.htm), so I'd like to be able to burn both in VCD and XVCD format.

Um, how do I do this?

I'd appreciate any help...

04-15-2003, 08:20 AM
Unfortunately, I can't help you with a Linux conversion. There are others here that have that expertise but alas, not me. I've also never burned a VCD or SVCD (never even heard of an XVCD until you mentioned it) but there are discussions along those lines scattered throughout the forum. Most of us here are Windoze users but I think some of the utilities have been compiled for Linux.

04-16-2003, 04:21 AM
For someone else's experiences extracting from TiVo under Linux, read here (http://www.chiappa.net/~chris/tivo_linux_extract.html).