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Pure sweetness — if you own a series 2 TiVo, the below procedure allows you to use the “video to go” function to get shows on to your Video iPod. There are a few steps and 2 different programs you have to get the video converted through, but once mastered it is easily scriptable\batchable. Let the goodness begin. I am going to see if I can get the USC vs. Notre Dame game from this weekend on the iPod to watch . . .

How-To: Get TV shows off of your TiVo and onto your iPod (with video)

This week’s How-To comes to us courtesy of Dave Zatz, a long-time Engadget pal who we finally convinced to join the staff as a contributor. Dave is the master of all things TiVo, and for his first How-To he’s whipped up a guide to getting TV shows off of a Series 2 TiVo and on to a video-enabled iPod.

TiVo iPod

You may or may not agree that $1.99 is a fair price to download an episode of Lost, but you’ll certainly agree that Apple’s initial video library is quite sparse. Well, I’ve got good news for those of you with a networked Series 2 TiVo – all you need are TiVoToGo and a few software tools and  you’ll be watching Monster Garage on that shiny new iPod in no time.

As with all video conversions, there are many ways to skin this cat. Below you’ll find my preferred method, which I use because of its high rate of success, relative ease, and low cost (free). I’m operating under the assumption that you’ve already figured out how to use TiVo’s Desktop software to transfer shows to your PC and have had success in playing them back. Sorry Mac users, TiVo has forsaken you.

I. Strip TiVo Metadata

TiVo doesn’t want you trading shows on BitTorrent, so they’ve gunked up a typical MPEG2 file. Let the de-gunking begin…

  1. Launch DirectShow Dump (
  2. Click ‘Add Files’
  3. Browse to My Documents\My TiVo Recordings
  4. Highlight the .tivo file you’d like to work with
  5. Click ‘Open’
  6. Wait for conversion to complete
  7. Click ‘Close’

TiVo iPod

II. Convert MPEG2 to MPEG4

The video-capable iPod only supports MPEG4 and MOV files, so we’re in need of a conversion…

1. Launch VLC (
2. Click File > Open File
3. Browse to My Documents\My TiVo Recordings
4. Highlight converted .mpg show
5. Click ‘Open’
6. Check ‘Stream Output’
7. Click ‘Settings’
    a. Check File, type the file name and location such as C:\vidpod\show.mp4
    b. Check MP4 for Encapsulation Method
    c. Check Video Codec, choose mp4v in drop-down, choose Bitrate 1024, Scale 1*
    d. Check Audio Codec, choose mp4a in drop-down, choose Bitrate 128, Channels 2 channels

     * If your TiVo’s connected to a satellite receiver via S-Video and recording at “Best”: Scale .75; DVD-burning TiVos recording at “Best” or “Good”: Scale .5

8. Click ‘OK’

 TiVo iPod
TiVo iPod

TiVo iPod

III. Load Up iTunes and iPod

iTunes iPod

All that’s left is importing the video into iTunes and syncing up…

  1. Launch iTunes
  2. Click File > Add File to Library
  3. Browse to and highlight file
  4. Click Open
  5. Click Videos to see your show has arrived
  6. Sync and go!

Once you’ve mastered these basics, you may consider exploring more powerful and complex methods of manipulating video. For example you can script batches, further compress video file size, or choose specific output resolutions using PSP Video 9 ( With Apple diving into the portable video market, we’re also bound to see new software solutions springing up – some of them may even be useful.

Resolution Addendum for the Geeky

For those of you in the know, the new iPod is capable of handling MPEG4 video up to 480x480. That corresponds nicely to most TiVo devices which output 480x480 video at “Good” and “Best” quality. Resolution is slightly less using lower quality and/or RF Smoothing. Resolution is higher on DVD-burning TiVo units and those connected to satellite receivers via S-video. To compensate for those higher initial resolutions, VLC allows us to scale back the resolution as needed. For example, a DVD burning model’s 720x480 resolution must be brought down 50% to 360x240 for iPod playback. While a TiVo connected to a satellite receiver via S-video and recording at “Best” quality serves up 544x480, and should be dropped down 25% to be iPod compliant.

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Posted on Tuesday, October 18, 2005 6:15 PM | Back to top

Comments on this post: Get TV From Your TiVo to Your Video iPod

# re: Get TV From Your TiVo to Your Video iPod
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You rock, this is so Awesome.
Left by HayMoose on Oct 29, 2005 9:18 AM

# re: Get TV From Your TiVo to Your Video iPod
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I have went through all the steps and get stoopped at the itunes point. What am I doing wrong. The guy at circuit city said that TiVo files could be loaded onto the ipod with video. Please help.
Left by Michael Langevin on Nov 12, 2005 11:22 AM

# re: Get TV From Your TiVo to Your Video iPod
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So, is it also possible to watch movies on my ipod??
Left by ipod accessories on Jun 12, 2008 9:52 PM

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dude, was trying to use your rss on Google Chrome...but it just wouldn't work. is it your site or my browser?
Left by ipod accessories on Feb 04, 2010 2:42 AM

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