TiVo Premier

I have been looking at various media boxes, that would allow me to stream media to my TV from both the internet and my own network. I have looked at the Roku, the XBox and even the Google TV and all had their pluses and minuses, then I realized that I already had a solution right in front of me, my TiVo Premier. With a little additional software, it does everything I want a media server to do. First the TiVo without any additional software allows you to do the following

  • Record shows both HD or SD from cable or off air
  • Play Netflix videos (requires a subscription)
  • Plays Amazon Video on Demand
  • Plays YouTube Video*
  • Plays Online Videocast
  • Use the Rhapsody Music Service (with subscription)
  • Listen to Pandora
  • Listen to Live365
  • Listen to Podcaster
  • View photos on Photobucket
  • View photos on Picasa
  • Watch Music Videos from Music Choice
  • Home Movies by One True Media

The first addition I would recommend is TiVo Desktop, which allows you to play music and view photos that are on your network. On Windows it also allows you to transfer shows to your computer for viewing. To do this on a Mac you need the Roxio Toast Titanium software. The second thing I would add is a piece of software found under Google Software code called PyTivoX. PyTivoX allows you to play videos that are on your network thru your TiVo. Once you download and install it go to preferences and click on Streambaby which is under the SB icon. Then click on the plus buttons and add any folders with videos you want to view on your TiVo. On the TiVo these videos can be found under “Showcases and extra” at the bottom of the list or under Now Playing on some TiVos

There are a couple of problems I have run into when using the Premier TiVo. The first is YouTube has never worked correctly. After logging in (which is a pain to do) you should be able to pull up your subscriptions and favorites. I can only pull up my subscriptions, my favorites never show up. I have tried several fixes, but none seem to work. I really don’t watch YouTube that often on my TV, so it not that big of a deal for me, but for some people this maybe a deal breaker. I also don’t understand why YouTube is listed twice once under Find TV, movies, & videos and then again under Showcases & extras. If you are on a Mac the number of online videocast are limited to what is available when you first go on TiVo. With a PC you can purchase Tivo Desktop Plus and your choices become almost limitless. There is a solution to this on the Mac, simply add the folder on your computer where you download your podcast to your PyTivoX list and you are set. The biggest negative of course is the price, a subscription for TiVo is 12.95 a month, plus what ever you pay for cable. The final negative is the UI is messy and its hard to find where stuff is at first. There is a rumor that Hulu Plus is coming to TiVo which I really hope happens. If Hulu does come to TiVo this is a sure sign that TiVo is trying to leave its dependency on cable behind. I know that TiVo is not the answer for everyone, but for me it works.