commonquestions


TiVoPlayList

Will TiVoPlayList work with any computer?
TiVoPlayList is a Microsoft Windows program that will run on Windows 98/ME/2000 and Windows XP Home/Pro.

Does TiVoPlayList work with all models of TiVo machines?
No. TiVoPlayList requires a machine with a valid subscription (monthly or lifetime) that has software version 7.1 or newer and Home Media Option (HMO) enabled. Series 1 machines, DirecTV machines and DVD machines with only TiVo Basic will not work.

Does TiVoPlayList work with the newest Series 3 TiVo machines?
Yes, in November 2007 TiVo enabled the Home Media Option (HMO) for Series 3 machines.

Is it possible to run TiVoPlayList as a service and put it in the system tray?
No, TiVoPlayList uses the Microsoft ‘wininet.dll’ which cannot be run as a service.

How do I connect my TiVo to an ethernet network?
All Series 2 and newer machines have USB ports. Both wireless and wired USB to ethernet adapters are available. Check for compatibility at ‘www.tivo.com/adapters‘ before purchasing. The Dual Tuner TCD649 models, the Series 3 TCD648 models, and the TiVo HD TCD652 models also have a built in ethernet port which can be used directly with no USB adapter necessary.

How do I know the IP Address of my TiVo machine?
From TiVo Central go to ‘Messages & Setup’ then ‘Settings’ and then ‘Phone & Network’. The TiVo IP Address should be listed there if configured properly.

How do I know the Media Access Key (MAK) of my TiVo machine?
From TiVo Central go to ‘Messages & Setup’ then ‘Account & System Information’ and then ‘Media Access Key’. The TiVo MAK should be listed there if the Home Media Option is enabled properly. You can also check the settings online at ‘www.tivo.com‘ under ‘Manage My Account’.

I have entered the IP Address of my TiVo but still get a ‘Load Error: Check IP Address and Login Information’ message. Why?
Double check the IP Address and try pinging your TiVo from your PC. If you can ping it then it could be a MAK or a firewall issue. Double check your MAK under the ‘Advanced’ settings (if you have parental controls enabled on your TiVo, enter 14-digits as 10-digit MAK + 4-digit parental lock code). If your MAK is OK then it could be a software firewall on your PC or a hardware firewall on your router. TiVoPlayList must have access to both port 443 and port 80 at the given IP Address. Either grant access to these ports or at least make sure they are not blocked.

I had TiVoPlayList configured and working but now I get a ‘Load Error: Check IP Address and Login Information’ message. Why?
If DHCP is enabled on your TiVo then it is very possible that your IP Address has changed. Double check the machines IP Address.

Instead of entering an IP Address, can I enter a hostname if I have a valid address registered with a DNS server?
Yes, you can enter a hostname instead of an IP Address. Keep in mind that the Domain Name System must translate the hostname to the IP Address of your TiVo and not your PC.

Why does TiVoPlayList not determine the correct hard disk size of my machine?
Although one area where TiVoPlayList shines is calculating and graphing how much free disk space is available for recordings, it does not know how much total disk space your machine has. This information must be entered by the user. See the ‘Hint’ below.

How do I know what hard disk size to enter into TiVoPlayList for my machine?
As a general rule of thumb, I would enter the actual hard disk size minus about 15-18% for system overhead. If you have a stock TiVo machine and don’t know the actual hard disk size, enter 29GB for a 40-hour Series 2 machine, 58GB for an 80-hour Series 2, 102GB for a 140-hour Series 2 machine, 136GB for a 180-hour Series 2 Dual Tuner, 135GB for a TiVo HD, 212GB for a Series 3, 915GB for a TiVo HD XL, or 916GB for a TiVo HD with a 1TB Western Digital DVR Expander. If you are going to err, it is most important to underestimate your disk size, never overestimate or you may find yourself unexpectedly losing recordings.

** Hint: My recommendation is to initially enter 0Gb for the machines hard disk size. Whenever the PlayList is loaded by TiVoPlayList it will always update the stored size if it finds more capacity. If you allow your TiVo to fill up and recordings start being deleted to make space for new ones then accessing TiVoPlayList should zero in on the disk capacity.

Do I have to save my Media Access Key (MAK) information into TiVoPlayList?
No. You can leave the MAK entry area blank when you save your TiVo information. If doing so you should get a login window whenever accessing your machine. The username is ‘tivo’ (all lower case) and the password is your MAK.

Why are some of my recordings listed as ‘Blocked’ which prevents my downloading them to a PC?
Recordings can be marked by TiVo as copyrighted which disables transfers from the machine. Sometimes recordings erroneously get marked as such, Unfortunately, nothing can be done about this.

I see a recording in my PlayList but TiVoPlayList does not have a ‘Save’ button to allow me to download it to a PC. Why?
Recordings cannot be transferred while they are still being recorded or transferred from another device.

I have downloaded a .tivo file to my PC but cannot play it with Media Player or do anything with it. Why?
The .tivo files transferred from TiVo machines are encrypted with your MAK. You must download TiVo Desktop from ‘www.tivo.com‘, install it on your PC and configure it with your MAK. Some sort of software DVD player may also be required (or at least compatible .mpg codecs). Windows Media Player should play the .tivo files directly if everything needed is installed.

Why is downloading a recording from my TiVo to a PC so slow?
There are many possible bottlenecks in transferring recordings. The first and foremost is that a TiVo machine must transcode the internally saved recordings to .mpg format as it transfers. This processing makes the whole transfer way slower than just a simple file transfer and also means that the actual network speed is not nearly being used. The quality of the recording affects the transcoding time because of different compression rates, so even though ‘best’ quality recordings are bigger files, they have less compression and seemingly gain back some throughput when comparing total transfer time to total recording duration.

The model TiVo machine affects this process and also affects the actual data transfer going out on the media due to whichever chipset is built into the machine. For example the TCD140 models are USB 1.1 only, the TCD240 models are USB 2.0 and have a fairly fast processor, the TCD540 models are also USB 2.0 and are slower than a TCD240 because their chipset integration is doing more stuff at once, the Dual Tuner, Series 3,and TiVo HD models are currently the fastest having the newest chipset with both USB 2.0 and actual ethernet on-board.

The ethernet media is obviously another factor in transferring files. If using a USB to ethernet adapter, clearly USB 2.0 is faster than USB 1.1. Also when comparing wired ethernet to wireless ethernet, generally wired will always be faster than wireless, wireless 802.11g will be faster than 802.11b, and no encryption may be faster then WEP or WPA encryption. And finally, when talking about wired ethernet the media comes into play with 10Mbps being slower than 100Mbps which is slower than Gigabit ethernet.

All in all, the best transfer speed you will get is about 50% real-time (a 1 hour show taking 30 minutes to transfer), near real-time transfers are more the norm (a 1 hour show taking 1 hour to transfer), and slower than real-time are not unheard of (a 1 hour show taking maybe even 2 hours or longer to transfer).

Can I access my TiVo remotely over the internet?
Yes. Full details to follow.

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