TiVo ToGo

As Engadget and Gizmodo noted yesterday, TiVo has finally gotten their act together and released TiVo ToGo, an upgrade to their existing TiVo Desktop which allows users to download recorded programs from their TiVo to their PC. The process isn’t completely seamless, though, as I found out last night.

First, I had to download and install the newest version of the TiVo Desktop software. Pretty painless and the new version seems much more user-friendly. The older version barely had a GUI.

Second, I had to generate a TiVo ToGo key and a Playback password. Both of these items are tied to the TiVo DRM which limits what I can do with the files once they’re on my PC. Not terribly hard to create those strings but an extreme pain in the ass if I wanted to download the files to a PVP or send them to a friend who may or may not have TiVo.

Third, I had to put my name on a priority upgrade list. In order for TiVo ToGo to work you have to be running the most recent version of the software. TiVo estimates the rollout for all of their users to be about two weeks, so getting on the list early ensures that I’ll be able to test things out sooner.

Fourth, I need to upgrade my DVD playback codec to handle the resulting files, which should be DVD-compatible MPEG-2. I haven’t taken this step yet since I don’t have any recordings to download and my TiVo hasn’t received the necessary updates. I want to try one out before I download a potentially unnecessary codecs.

Last, the Sonic MyDVD sofware needed to burn the files isn’t available yet. I signed up for notification on that front as well. I’ll keep everyone posted, but my excitement has waned a bit since yesterday. Sure, TiVo ToGo launched yesterday, but I’m sure there are plenty of other hungry early adopters salivating for the real deal to finally arrive.

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