questionscan i transfer tivo files to my pc's hard drive?

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I will answer only for the TiVo. I don't know (or care for that matter) about other boxen.

The answer is a resounding yes, and as for 'how', pick your method. There is a program called TiVo Desktop. You can log in to your TiVo via a web page and download the file. There's a better program called pyTiVo with more features than TiVo Desktop. The format is .tivo, VLC can play it and it is very easily converted to regular mpg.

http://www.tivo.com/mytivo/howto/record-once-watch-anywhere/howto_transfer_shows_pc.html

http://www.zatznotfunny.com/tivotogo-faq/

http://pytivo.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/PyTivo

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There are programs that can strip out commercials automatically also then resave the file but for the life of me I can't remember the name, a quick googling will get that for you.

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@stile99:
Thank you very much for that detailed answer! Sorry I can give you only +1, that deserves more than one point.

I'm still curious about the other brands of recorder, since something else might pop up on sale before the next TiVo clearance.

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Can I do this with DirectTV's DVR?

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@caffeine_dude: No.
Crowbite: A Tivo would work nice but as long as your destination is a PC anyway why don't you just purchase a tuner card for your PC and use WMC? I use a Tivo but have read a tuner card and WMC is quite a bit cheaper but does require some setup.

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Thank you all for your answers!

To respond to a few of you, who suggested using a tuner card (or USB tuner) with my PC to do the recording... There are a few reasons why I'm exploring a separate "box" to do the recording.

• First, a TiVo (etc.) would be smaller than a PC and thus more convenient.
• Second, a TiVo (etc.) would hopefully have lower current consumption.
• Third, the ultimate destination is to put the files on my laptop so I can watch them while I'm travelling, so I would need to transfer them from the "recording" PC to the "playback" PC. Since that transfer step would be necessary anyway, why not just transfer them from a TiVo (etc.) which has the first two advantages.

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Does anyone know of a cable card like tuner for Satellite? Or a way to satellite work with WMC ? I have the new ceton echo 6 tuner card but my local cable provider is going to crap ....