TiVoCast is one of my most favorite capabilities that TiVo has to offer. That being said, one of the biggest limitations of TiVoCast is that you can only download and watch the shows that TiVo currently has to offer. As of today, there are twenty-nine shows that are available via the TiVoCast service. Twenty-nine shows may seem like a large number of video podcasts however, if you’re a geek like me, you probably subscribe to a number of shows which TiVoCast doesn’t provide access to. To get around this limitation of TiVoCast, I’ve come up with a simple solution which utilizes TiVo Desktop Plus and iTunes.
Here’s what you are going to need to mirror my setup:
- A networked Windows box running TiVo Desktop with the TiVo Desktop Plus upgrade ($24.95). If you want to save a couple of bucks, you probably could use TiVo.Net or pyTiVo instead of TiVo Destkop plus. I’ve decided to use TiVo Desktop Plus because I already own a license for this software.
- iTunes, so that you can subscribe to video podcasts.
- A Series 2, Series 3 or TiVo HD connected to your home network.
Once your subscription(s) are established, the next thing you need to do is identify where on your machine iTunes stores your video podcasts. By default, iTunes will download video podcasts into the Podcasts folder under your iTunes music folder. For my setup, iTunes is configured to download video podcasts into the following directory: C:\Shared\MP3s\Podcasts\.
Next, you need to create a shortcut for each of the folders which contain the video podcasts that you want to watch on your TiVo. Once you’ve created these shortcuts, you need to copy or move them to the directory where TiVo Desktop is configured to store your TiVo Recordings. If you’re not sure of this location, you can find out by accessing TiVo Desktop’s preferences (File –> Preferences –> File Locations). In my case, I have TiVo Desktop configured to store my TiVo recordings on one of my external USB drives: F:\My TiVo Recordings\.
Now that I’ve placed these shortcuts in my TiVo Recordings folder, TiVo Desktop Plus will allow me to watch my video podcasts on my TiVo DVR. Essentially, TiVo Desktop plus will transcode my video podcasts into a format that my TiVo can then playback. According to TiVo’s website, TiVo desktop plus has the ability to transcode the following video formats:
Supported video formats include:
Note: Files with digital rights management (DRM) or other copy protection are not supported.
– Windows Media Video (.wmv)
– QuickTime Movie (.mov)
– MPEG-4/H.264 (.mp4,.m4v,.mp4v)
– MPEG-2 (.mpg,.mpeg,.mpe,.mp2,.mp2v,.mpv2)
– DivX and Xvid (.avi, .divx)
Now that the shortcuts are in place, your DVR should be able to transfer and display your video podcasts. As you can see from this screenshot, my TiVo now has access to LabRats (Episode 103: Whatware?).
Here’s a couple of screenshots of what a video podcast looks like using the solution I’ve outlined in this post. Kind of cool hunh?