How to tranfer a TiVo recording and watch it on FreeBSD?

I broke my TiVo remote to my TiVo series II.

I wanted to watch a TiVo recording on my laptop…running FreeBSD. I had never done this, so I wasn’t sure if it was going to happen.

Gratefully, I succeeded. Here is what I had to do.

Step 1 – Find my media access key.

You can find this on your TiVo, but since I didn’t have a remote, I couldn’t look on my TiVo.  So I went to, logged in, and sure enough under My Account, there was a link to see my Media Access Key.

Step 2 – Download a video recording from your Tivo

  1. Connect to you Tivo using your favorite web browser using https.
    Note: I wasn’t sure of my Tivo’s IP Address so I had to connect to my Wireless router and look at its DHCP leases.
  2. Login using these credentials:
    User: tivo
    Password: [your media access key]Once in, you will see a list of recordings in a table and you can download them as you desire.
  3. Download your recording.  Your recordings are .tivo files.

Step 3 – Install tivodecode

When I tried to play the .TiVo file with mplayer, it failed. So I looked at how to convert it.

Turns out there is a port called tivodecode.  Install it as follows.

# cd /usr/ports/multimedia/tivodecode
# make install

Step 4 – Decode the .TiVo file

Run the following command to decode your .TiVo file.

tivodecode “Some Video.TiVo” -o “Some Video.mpg”

And now you can play decoded video in mplayer.

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