TiVo comes to Canada

TiVo, the popular U.S. television-recording device, is finally arriving in Canada in early December.

The TiVo set-top device, which allows viewers to record shows and skip commercials, will be available across Canada — except in Quebec — through Best Buy, Future Shop, The Brick and London Drug stores for $199. Device owners also need to subscribe to the TiVo service, which has a monthly subscription price of $12.95, with discounts available on long-term contracts.

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TiVo 9.2 Release

TiVo 9.2 Release and initial reactions
Getting video off a TiVo onto my mac has been a long time coming. It was promised as long as three years ago and when the Series 3 TiVo was released last year, transfers were disabled by default — but all that changed today.Yesterday I signed up for a priority download spot for the 9.2 OS and today I got the update. It adds external storage, multi-room viewing, and (finally) TiVoToGo downloading.

(screenshots and my first transfer details after the jump)

I immediately tried it out with Toast 8 ($99 download) on my mac and downloaded the smallest file I could (a ~500Mb 30 minute cartoon). It transfered in about ten minutes and played ok in the special video player. After fumbling around in Toast, I eventually figured out how to initiate an export and conversion to an iPod/iPhone friendly format, but the program died. Roxio’s support forums are filled with similar tales. An unfortunate beginning but all was not lost.

Thankfully, the open source TiVoDecode Manager (free!) is still around and works just fine with the Series3 TiVo video format. I was able to connect and transfer the same video in about the same time, with the resulting file being a standard mpeg file.

It’s nice that the transfered video was completely stripped of DRM, since it meant I could move the video to any other device I wanted. Also, it exports at the native size, whereas TiVo’s official Roxio export limits video to a low quality maximum of 320×240. It’ll take another conversion using something like VisualHub to get it on my iPhone, but it’s nice to know there’s a free option available (that produces higher quality output, to boot).

Overall, I’m happy I can finally get shows off my Series 3 TiVo and I can’t wait to load up my laptop and iPhone with video the next time I take a long flight somewhere. The official Roxio route still seems to have some bumps but the free TiVoDecode Manager works just fine if you want to use the feature immediately. TiVoDecode also lets you save $99, which is an added plus (just burn DVDs on a mac using iDVD and the raw mpeg files).