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Thread: Tivo video server/client

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2002

    Tivo video server/client

    I started a thread over at avs about a local video server for series 1 tivos. In effect, turning the tivo's into clients.

    It involved PlayBack, playitsam and some manual playback methods.

    TheDoctor was even posting about a new version of PlayBack!

    Let's just say that I was asked not to go into any details on how to do some of these things, and that the discussion of the extraction of even raw tystreams was against the wishes of the managment.

    As the next logical step in the disscussion was how to do some of these things, it could not continue there.

    Thats why I'm here.

    Shall we continue here?

    I'm no expert, but I'll try this weekend to post some details and how to's. As some of the folks here are way beyond me, I ask you guys to keep an eye on this thread, correct me where I'm wrong and if you have any ideas or comments, Please join in!!!!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Lay it on me, I'm ready to see the light.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2002

    here we go!

    on second thought, the beginning of this might be better suited for a newbie forum. I hope this gets a little more in depth as we go along. mods? whadoyathink?

    I was hoping we could build a ui around some of the software out there, but that actually may already be in development somewhere around here....

    To start with, I'm going to assume that you have a standalone, a tivonet and a connection to another machine.(nfs, samba/ win, linux, etc..)

    You can play mpegs on the tivo (mpeg 1 or 2), if you can de-mux them into separate audio/video files. There are a few programs out there that can do this easily. Tmpeg and MPEG2VCR are two, for example. You can also use the raw m2a/m2v files that ExtractStream gives you.

    The hardware on the tivo is surprizingly robust. It has not failed to play any mpeg1 or 2 files I've thrown at it.

    I use to shutdown myworld completely as the first step in playing a file, but embeem says:

    "hmm.. you could shutdown myworld but there's no point.

    All you have to do is simply suspend the processes that provide output like the mpeg decoder and the user interface (TvMomMpegSink and ContextMgr respectively) then when you're done messing around with the mpeg device you can resume the previously suspended processes. If you did it right the live buffer and current recording would be unaffected, provided that you didn't put too much of a load on the system."

    This is actually very cool! Simply suspending TvMomMpegSink and ContextMgr to play an external file will allow us to do it without stopping the regular jobs the tivo is normally doing. This means that we can play a mpeg and still have the tivo doing it's regular recording jobs at the same time, I believe. long as we're not taxing the system too much....

    In order to have access to the audio hardware on the tivo, you have to use a file called "audioctl", brought to us by the good people at .(embeem)
    (while your there, check out "madplay". it's suppose to be a tivo mp3 player! it's just commandline, but wha do ya want for 'nuttin, eh??)

    "audioctl off" allows us to stop the tivo from using the audio hardware and lets us feed the audio file for playback. on this subject, embeem says:

    "I should also point out that audioctl completely disables audio video synchronization so there's a high probability of the audio and video being out of sync on anything longer than a few minutes."

    So far, I haven't had a problem with this, but most of my files are between 5 and 30min long. I have no idea what would happen if you did it with a hour and a half movie......

    I think he may have been hinting that there is another way to get audio playback to work without "audioctl off", but so far I can't figure out how and he's not telling. If anyone has any clues....

    Now, once you've run "./audioctl off" and have access to your a/v files, your ready to cat 'em to the approprate devices.

    (assuming you've mounted your share at /mnt)

    cat /mnt/Dreams.m2v > /dev/mpeg0v & cat /mnt/Dreams.mp2 > /dev/mpeg0a

    ...and watch your vid on your tivo!!!!

    I wish there was some way we could do this and still have access to the remote functions, but we gotta crawl before we can walk, eh?

    If you want to kill it before it's through, you can "ctl/c" to kill the audio and get the pid for the video by "ps ax" and kill it that way.

    When your done run:

    ./audioctl on

    and resume TvMomMpegSink and ContextMgr and umount your share.

    ...if all else fails reboot!

    I also want to give a big THANKS! to Vadim and the mods here. Some of the best work in tivoland has come from this board in the last few months.....

    If anyone has any better ways of doing this, or if I'm doing something the hard way, let me know!!!!
    Last edited by jmoak; 02-12-2002 at 09:02 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    One problem with resuming those paused processes I found during testing was that all of the buttons on the remote I had pressed during testing were played back when the context mgr was resumed.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    I never heard back from the alpha tested so this may have toasted his system. I have used it on several systems with no loss of data.

    It provides on screen control of MP3 playback, as well as shows from local storage or the server.

    It allows editing of shows on local storage for export to the server, as well as batch transfer.

    It allows a choice of software or hardware based buffering. (Hardware requires special hardware config.)

    It allows buck save to VCR.

    The playback element runs on 1.3, 2.0 and 2.5.1 StandAlone units. The batch extraction program can used with DTV 2.0.

    It requires the PC and PVR have access to common storage. (I used samba for testing.)

    There should be full support for Philips remotes, partial for Sony remotes. (Each version of the remotes seem to change the values for 1 or 2 keys, and there is a limit to the number of remotes I am going to buy!)


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    THe manuals

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    If you get an error about mswinsck.ocx then you should be able to register the missing ocx with the attached.
    command line is:

    regsvr32 mswinsck.ocx

    you will have to reboot your windows machine before using. Only install this if you get an error message.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2002

    Tivonet then the world...

    Waiting to get a TivoNet, (soon!) for at least one of the DirecTivo's and then I'll be giving this a try.

    You said playback won't work on DTivo's, once I get set up is there anything I can do to help debug issues for you?


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    I probably won't let get around to trying to add playback to the Dtivo will the 0.4 series. Audio playback is possible by piping the audio data to madplay, but CPU utilization is to high and sync keeps dropping out. I will probably go back to splitting the streams on the server and pipe the data in from there.

    For the 0.3 series I am working on allowing background recording.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Now, I'm not sure if I did all of this correctly, but when I run the PBC.EXE, set the IP address and directory, then hit the Philips PVR button it blanks my video, then shows the Philips animation, but then it just stops with the blank animation thing running.
    ps shows ./vplay, cat, .osdtxt and a bunch of /bin/bash -login.
    I have a lot of shows on the TiVo so I left the Last 6 option selected.
    If I hit the compass comtrol a few times, the PC gives me a Run-time error '380': Invalid property value.

    My /mnt/playback and c:\playback\ directories are identical.

    This is on a Phillips TiVo running 2.5.1 upgraded from 14 hrs to 82 hours.

    Any idea what's going wrong?

    Last edited by el jefe; 02-18-2002 at 09:43 PM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    I will have to try to recreate. How long did you let if run, before trying to force a response? Also, have you tried letting PBE extract a few shows, and was it successful?

    I will have to do some more testing on heavly loaded systems. I will also try to add some type on on screen indicator that the system is still pulling data, as it can take minutes to build the display for PVR storage. You might look on your network card and see if the lights are flashing.

    I will try to post an update by the weekend.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    I let it run for probably at least 15-20 minutes before doing anything. I haven't tried extracting anything to use the server option until now, but it doesn't really seem to be working either. It listed a bunch of numbers (around 85) in the top window, then one line saying Program= some number, but the bottom window is blank (stream description), and it doesn't seem to be doing anything at all.
    I did notice that the /mnt/playback directory on the TiVo does have the same files listed as the Windows computer, but it some of the files are listed with what looks like the DOS filenames (ie. mfs_ex~2), but if I do ls mfs_export it shows with the complete name, so I'm not sure it's really a problem.
    I guess I can leave this PBE running for a while to see if anything happens.


    Ok, I let PBE run for over an hours and it didn't seem to do anything else. Then I started PBC and let it run all night, and I still have a blank screen with just the menu backbround.
    Last edited by el jefe; 02-20-2002 at 11:46 AM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Sound like you gave it plenty of time.
    Please make a log of 'ls -al' and then
    try the following from the Bash prompt: (The values will change for your system.) It sound like it may not be finding the schema.txt entry to decode the field names. The samba client for the PVR does not seem to support all options and filename mangeling or permissions may be messing things up.

    bash-2.02# ./mfs_ls /Recording/NowShowing
    dir: fsid=2883 count=32
    fsid type name
    269890 tyDb A:88262:17201:269890
    243418 tyDb A:88262:76600:243418

    bash-2.02# ./mfs_dumpobj 269890
    Showing 269890/11 {
    RecordingPart 269890/12 {
    bash-2.02# ./mfs_dumpobj 242151
    ApgProgram 242151/11 {
    Category=11403640 11403648 11272297 11272316
    Program 242151/10 PRIMARY {
    Actor=Shatner|William Nimoy|Leonard Kelley|DeForest Doohan|James Nichols
    |Nichelle Takei|George Koenig|Walter Barrett|Majel
    Last edited by TheDoctor; 02-20-2002 at 06:31 PM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Attached is 0.3.1 beta.

    1) Contains fix for chunks with more than 255 records.
    2) Allows for playback sources to be changed without restarting program.
    3) Should allow background recording by native software.
    4) Provides a mouse based ..remote..
    5) Allows the program to monitor the native software for a ..launch sequence.. from the remote.
    6). Provides a little debug info for NativePVR showlist.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Doc's update...

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