Monday, December 17, 2012

Tivo Copy Protection

Having seen an article on Tivo usage, the running out of disc space, I thought that I would do some research on the matter.

When I first looked at Tivo it was little more than a curiosity, now it is the major PVR system that is offered worldwide. My interest lay in the recording of TV from various sources and not necessarily the ability to program the periodic capture of content. In 2005 there were a number of forum threads on how you can copy files from a Tivo onto a computer. These posts can still be found. The main thrust was that it could be done but it involved "hacking" the Tivo and subsequently voiding the warranty. The bottom line was that if your primary goal was to record DRM free video then a Tivo was not the way to go.

As the Tivo is supported by the copyright owners it is not surprising that the majority of the video that can be downloaded to a Tivo is Copy Protected. This protection hinders the transfer of video to other devices such as an iPad, it also affects the ability of streaming to such portable devices.

When it comes to the capture of TV signals you have 3 options:
  1. Capture the TV from the broadcast, cable, satellite or off-air. Using a video recorder that is connected to a TV tuner card in a PC or a dedicated video recorder from which you can copy the recorded files. Remember that a lot of digital video recorders will have the same problems that the Tivo has, the inability to copy files from the internal hard drive.
  2. Download the TV programs directly from the Internet. This is done by accessing the RTMP feeds on the servers run by the TV companies. This is the method I use when accessing BBC programing that is available on BBC iPlayer. Other TV networks use similar IP based distribution methods for their Internet services. I use get_iplayer.exe to download BBC programming I also have a program that can access You Tube files directly from the Google server.
  3. Capture the video in real-time from a stream that is played on a computer using one of the many available `capture`programs. These programs generally yield low quality results that are not worth the time and effort involved. These programs are generally what you will see promoted on the Internet.
The TV content you see on torrent (P2P) websites has not been captured by a Tivo or using the 3rd method I describe above.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Copying video to your iPad

or iPhone, Android (or other OS) tablet.

Transferring media ripped from DVDs BDs and downloaded files from the Internet. Conversion of iPlayer downloads so that they do not have a time-limit and can be played without restriction on any portable device over and over again.

Bandwidth saving as a consequence of the avoidance of excessive streaming and the freedom from the forced exposure to unwanted advertising.

With the current popularity of tablets and smartphones more and more users want to be able to watch their favourite videos on their devices even when it is not possible to access the Internet. There is an ever increasing selection of video programming that is uploaded onto You Tube, however, this is often less than convenient and is laced with unwanted ads and often of poor quality and spit into small chunks.

All of the techniques that I use to download and transferred to my portable devices are described on my website

The programs I describe are all free and there is nothing you have to download that you have not done so before. The techniques that I describe are valid for both Windows and Mac computers.

Some searches seen:
  • ibbc download itunes
  • best video conversion setting for ipad avs
  • transfer programmes from iplayer to ipad
  • tranferring downloads from iplayer desktop to iphone    
  1. AVS4You is not a FREE software package and in my opinion is not the best conversion program for the Apple iPad or iPhone. I recommend Handbrake.
  2. I use get_iplayer.exe to download BBC programming. This is again FREE and you do not need to convert the file format to transfer to the iPad.
  3. You can use iTunes to transfer ANY video to the iPad. Some file formats will need conversion.
  4. You DO NOT need to convert files to transfer then to an Android Device or a Blackberry Playbook. 
  5. You can use Handbrake and DVD43.exe to convert DVDs to formats that will play on mobile devices.
  6. Whereas there is no such thing a DVD43 for 64 bit Windows, DVD43 can be made to run on a 64 bit computer.
  7. I understand that MakeMKS can be used to convert Blu-Ray discs to .mkv files. These mkv files can be converted to formats that will play on all devices. MakeMKS will defeat the AACS encryption used on BD and the profiles are updated regularly. 
  8. I recommend the VideoLan's VLC player be used for playing all media on a computer, Windows and Mac.
  9. I do not recommend that you use Apple's iTunes to archive your downloaded media. There are many reasons for this, detailed on my website, one of reasons is that the media does not get stored in iTunes itself. If you download to multiple devices and drives iTunes, and you, will get confused.
  10. You cannot transfer or convert BBC programming so that it will play another device, including a tablet, if you download using the iPlayer Desktop on your computer. Files so downloaded will only play on the machine that they were downloaded and will have a time-limit restriction. To transfer this programming to a portable device you need to use a program such as get_iplayer.exe.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Surface was not bad as I had expected

Having had a chance to actually play with one in the Microsoft store in Times Square, I was pleasantly surprised in how it worked for what it is. Whether it is "better" than its competitors that remains to be seen, it is a competent tablet, but is just that, a tablet. Windows 8 performs quite well on it, i still remain to be convinced that it belongs, in my case, on a computer.

My general observation is that Windows 8 is "navigation overload". My usage of a computer mainly consists of just turning it on and checking my email or looking something up. I don't need to have icons or tiles over my start screen. In fact i do all that I can to make this screen as uncluttered as I can. I am reminded of the days of Windows 3.1, I was always bemused by those that had screens that were covered in icons of all the files and websites that the users had worked on and visited. My take was that I could not put all of these on my screen so I tended to have very few. I was, and still am, very annoyed when a program places an icon on my desktop on install.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Touch Screen Laptops

In my local Best Buy I was curious to see what, if any, touch-enabled Windows 8 machines they had for potential customers to try out. I had looked on-line and I thought that I had seen a couple of laptops and possibly an Asus Convertible tablet (although I did not see this on display) I knew that there were no Microsoft Surfaces to be seen other than what MS have in their stores (none located in this particular country), so I was pleased to see a Lenovo laptop with a touch screen. There was another laptop, I can't recall the make but it could have been a Samsung.

Both of these Windows 8 laptops had the same problems with Windows 8. This was the inability to bring up the "Home" screen or the "gadget" menu on the right of the screen using a finger on the display. As these were both laptops that had keyboards and pointing devices, track pads, the menu and navigation was possible by reverting to that method but THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE A TOUCH DEVICE! This leaves me to wonder how Windows 8 would perform on a purely touch device such as the Surface.

I am going to be in New York next week so I may get a chance to play around with a Surface. I am also curious to see how the sales staff approach my evaluation of the device. From what I have heard there is a large measure of "hard sell" and potential customers do not get much of a chance to actually use the Surface for themselves and had it "demonstrated" to them. I realize that to most new users of Windows 8 they will not be aware of how you are supposed to navigate the new GUI, but I do and it seems to be lacking. At least on the hardware that I have had a chance to try it on. Previously I had played around with Windows 8 on a non-touch device and that is somewhat missing the point and I can't say that I was at all impressed.

Another point was that all the Windows 8 machines that I have tried have not been connected to the Internet. This is presumably due to the, still, threat of infection that Windows presents if this was allowed (all Apple devices in Best Buy are connected to the Internet). I would like to see how I.E.10 performs, but I can't do this if the machine is not Internet enabled. My first impressions of IE10 is that it has a "clunky" interface as compared to IE9, but I can't really tell.

get_iplayer solutions for the Mac

I am increasingly dismayed by what I find when investigating searches such as:

"get_iplayer automator latest download"

I am doing this using the real get_iplayer! I would love to find a Mac solution, but this is just vapourware. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

How do you tell if DVD43 Plug-in is working

If you can copy DVDs using 1-ClickDVD then it is. If you cannot then you have fallen for the scam perpetuated by LGSoftwaresolutions.

This was prompted by a search: "how do i know if dvd43 plug-in is working"

Sunday, December 2, 2012


Someone else's name that  comes up when you "Goggle" yourself.

I have been long interested in this and have made various studies on how this works and how not to appear in a Google SERP. I didn't realize that there was a term for the wrong name coming up when you search for yourself.

I guess that most people want to find themselves, or at least have the situation where their name will be at the top of the list when somebody else looks for them. Hopefully the listing will reveal good things about you and reflect you in a good light.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

I see that Rogers have changed their small print

They are now charging $100 max for additional usage:

I forgot to capture the Deep Packet Injection screen that warns me that I am over my limit.

When I first came across this the maximum was only $25. I thought it was currently $50 but it has been increased again. I am not sure when this happened as I haven't had cause to go over by this much for a while. Still I have managed to get the "overage" to below $1.00 per G and it is only early in the billing cycle. There is now no reason for me to curb my usage as my bill is now fixed to the maximum.