Interesting article about how the new Battlestar Galactica came about: "Ron Moore's Deep Space Journey".

(Bug Me Not. The bookmarklet there works well in Safari: drag it to your toolbar.)


DirecTivo -> Mac -> DVD

Dear Lazyweb,

What's the best way to get video from Tivo into iMovie and iDVD?

I found TivoTool, which (after I found a working binary of "vserver" to install on the Tivo) is a GUI app that shows you a list of the programs on Tivo and lets you download them in a few different formats, including MPEG2 and MPEG4 (but not DV).

So far, the only thing I've found that works reliably is:

  • Use TivoTool to download MPEG-4 files;
  • Use ffmpegX to convert from 480x480 MPEG-4 to 720x480 DV;
  • Import that into iMovie in a "DV"-mode project.

Needless to say, this takes fucking forever, and (I think?) decodes and re-encodes the video three times along the way.

Once, iMovie (5.0.2) was able to load an MPEG-4 file directly, but it padded the image instead of stretching it, so I had a tall-and-thin 4:3 image with black bars on the left and right. But then I tried it again, and it wasn't able to import MPEG-4 at all. No idea what was different the second time.

QuickTime can play all of these files, but iMovie can't import them, which is just weird. Isn't this all the same library?

Also: I think my Tivo's USB port is running in USB-1 mode. Slow. I found this, which seems to be the USB-2 drivers, but I have no idea how to install/test them without risking putting the tivo into a non-bootable state (I don't have a serial console, so breaking the network would be Bad). Have any of you done this? I've got a Philips DirecTivo 7000/17 with kernel 2.4.18. The USB-to-Ethernet dongle I'm using is a Linksys USB200M.

Update: I wonder if I'd be better off just going through the "analog hole": pressing Play on Tivo and letting iMovie import the DV from that (I have a Dazzle Hollywood DV Bridge which converts analog audio/video to Firewire DV). Is one analog-mode decode/encode step notably worse than three digital-mode decode/recodes? It sure would be faster...

Update 2: A friend who works at Tivo says: "I have every l33t tool available, and I still use the analog hole. The minor difference in video quality just isn't worth the huge amount of additional effort." So, yeah, that's what I'm going to do from now on. Screw it.

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