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Thread: How to copy recordings to PC

  1. #1

    How to copy recordings to PC

    Modded my friend's Tivo (series 3). All working fine, thanks to Darren and others and the support on this forum. But I suspect the HDD is acting up (occasional sticks on "Welcome" screen). I have a spare I can put in but he wants his recordings copied off if possible.

    Tried TiVo Desktop and PyTivo on Win 10 PC, but we don't have a MAk. Can see the Tivo in TiVo Desktop but when "Pick recordings to transfer" gets an error "when try to retrieve data" (both transfer protocols).

    Installed Mfs_Ftp ( - much searching to find it): error "child process exited abnormally while executing"

    Searched for hours but cannot find a solution.

    So not sure what to do. Any help would be appreciated.

    I'm reasonably good on PCs or Unix, so comfortable with either options.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Melbourne, Victoria
    I suggest pull out the HDD from the tivo and plug it into a Windows PC and run WinMFS (or maybe dvrBARS) to copy from that HDD to a new HDD.
    There is a little information about it in step 2 and step 4 of

    That will leave you with two HDDs, either of which you can plug back into the TiVo, the other HDD can be a backup.
    I'm assuming you don't actually need to access the recordings on the PC.
    Last edited by DavidKeegel; 23-02-2018 at 05:32 PM. Reason: clarify

  3. #3
    Thanks David,

    Yes he does. As I say "but he wants his recordings copied off if possible"

    The rest is exactly as you say, thanks. I have used WinMFS a number of times, but unfortunately have not been able to find a way to copy the recordings.


  4. #4
    Is it possible with the OzTiVo mod these days to get recordings from TiVo to your PC still?

  5. #5
    Yes, if the TiVo has a Media Access Key (MAK). Here's a link to a how-to:

    I don't have any TiVos now but I assume the linked method will still work.

  6. #6
    I have a modded TiVo with a MAK. Bought it second hand in 2017 prior to having it modded, so i have no experience with TiVo Desktop software. I've recently been experimenting with trying to transfer files from the TiVo to a Windows PC (version 10 Pro) and although I have successfully transferred a file from the TiVo to the PC I cannot get the file to play.

    I've used two methods of transfer - logging into the TiVo "Now Playing" list via a web browser or using pytivo (version 1.6.24). When using the web browser method, I selected the "Download MPEG-TS" option in accordance with the advice given in the post

    In both cases the downloaded file (a one hour program) is the same size but is smaller than the listed size in the TiVo list (1.39GB on TiVo but 959MB on the PC after transfer) Given that both transfer methods produced the same file size, I didn't think the file size was the problem.

    I've tried opening the transferred .tivo file on the PC with VLC media player (version 3.0.16 Vetinari) but not had any success. Nothing is displayed if I view the .tivo file transferred via web browser but if I view the .tivo file transferred with pytivo the screen displays what seems to be mainly a grey patterned screen with random bits of coloured pixels and no sound. Also tried the conversion function in VLC with the same result.

    I've searched online for more information about how to play the transferred file but I couldn't find anything to suggest what I had done was incorrect.

    Any suggestions of what I need to do would be appreciated.


    Further to above post, I've tried to observe a bit more about the transfers. 710MB file on TiVo transferred as 595MB on PC. I noticed that pytivo Desktop was displaying the % of transfer but stopped at around 80% and reported there was no other file to download. Again, both pytivo or web browser resulted in same size of downloaded file. Should the file size on the PC match the shown size on the TiVo?
    Last edited by RLSA; 20-01-2022 at 05:23 PM.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by RLSA View Post
    ... Any suggestions ...
    Quick web searching suggests that VLC does not play TiVo files (could be incorrect of course).

    I used paid-for software VideoReDo TVSuite which supports TiVo files I still use it to edit FetchTV FTA recordings. There is a Free Trial option that may be worth a go.

    BTW downloading files via Chrome may loop endlessly unless manually paused just a few seconds before a loop is complete. Then refresh the Windows - File Explorer - Downloads folder (press F5) until the expected file size is shown. Then copy (not move) the file to another folder and rename the copy to whatever.tivo. Then Cancel the download - it will delete the Downloads file.

    I don't know if other browsers have that problem. [EDIT: Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome browsers do have that looping problem when downloading FetchTV recordings. Cannot remember if this happened when downloading from TiVo - too long ago. Perhaps not because the transfer is controlled via the TiVo login. Somewhat ironically I use VLC to determine the URL of a FetchTV recording to paste into a browser to download. Unlike TiVo it does not have MAK-like encoding.]
    Last edited by boritz; 21-01-2022 at 03:45 PM.

  8. #8
    Thanks for replying Boritz

    I had downloaded the files by using each of pytivo, Chrome and Firefox. In each case there was a discrepancy between the file sizes on TiVo and the PC but each method resulted in exactly the same reduction of file size after transfer to the PC. Surely pytivo should have delivered the correct result?

    Can anyone please confirm that this change in file size should not occur? Is there something I'm doing wrong?


  9. #9
    Since your download file sizes are the same via TiVo login and pytivo they are likely OK. I cannot remember how the onboard TiVo and downloaded PC file sizes compared.

    You need to find a Windows app to play the PC files to confirm they are OK. As stated my preferred app was/is VideoReDo TVSuite. There may be file-conversion tools available to convert .tivo format files to a format suitable for other apps - such as Windows Media Player.

    I found old downloads of the 2009 Tutorial Videos that came pre-installed on Oz Series 3 TiVo. If your TiVo still has those files here are the approx downloaded sizes for comparison:

    1. Standard Features - 66MB
    2. The Guide - 74MB
    3. Finding and Recording - 183MB
    4. Deleting and Organising - 94MB
    5. Advanced Features - 117MB

    Sorry I don't have any other tips - no longer own TiVos but visit this forum because my octogenarian dad is still hanging on to one (so simple to use).

  10. #10
    Thanks again Boritz

    I'm still trying to get info about the differing file size between what's shown on the TiVo versus downloaded file on the PC. To experiment further, I manually recorded 5 minutes of TV which was 430MB as shown by pytivo and the Now Playing list in a browser. However the download on pytivo stopped at 83,203KB and similarly a Chrome transfer had the same 83,203KB file size. In the pytivo "Download Queue" dialog box, the progress bar for this file transfer only gets as far as 18% before it disappears and shows the message "No shows in download queue".

    The log for pytivo shows "INFO: pyTivo.togo:[22/Jan/2022 14:20:17] Done getting "<filename>.tivo" from DVR-xxxx, 85199412 bytes, 18.44 Mb/s" with nothing in the log to indicate any abnormal stop or error in the download.

    Before even attempting to investigate how to do the decoding of the .tivo file, I wanted to ensure that I had successfully downloaded it. Can anyone confirm that this reduction in file size is normal? if so, why does the pytivo download progress bar not complete to 100%?

    I've even tried using the slowest speed in the pytivo settings which seemed to have no effect on the actual download.

    Boritz - are the 2009 Tutorial Videos that you described available on the internet? I recently had another TiVo modded by Darren to give to a nonagenerian couple and figured the Tutorials would be more useful than the 100+ page PDF of the Viewer's Guide.
    Last edited by RLSA; 22-01-2022 at 03:24 PM.

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