Tivoserver: Watch Videos That Reside on a PC

Have you ever wished you could watch videos (such as those "20-second clips") that reside on your PC, via your TiVo? With Tivoserver (and MRV), you can! The following instructions (for Windows XP) assume you have a Series 2 DirecTivo running 6.2 and hacked with the SuperPatch to disable encryption and enable MRV. One method of accomplishing this can be found here.

  1. Download the latest Tivoserver alpha here. Extract the .rar file using a utility such as Power Archiver.
  2. Download and extract Cygwin1.dll and place it into the same directory as the extracted Tivoserver file.
  3. Start Menu > Run > cmd

    Change to the directory where Tivoserver resides (a tutorial on using the Windows Command Prompt can be found here).

  4. (at the Command Prompt) tivoserver.exe

    Tivoserver will not actually run at this point. Instead, it creates a “C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Application Data\.Tivoserver” directory; you’ll need to be set to show hidden files in order to see it:

    Settings > Control Panel > Folder Options > View Tab > “Show hidden files and folders”

  5. Navigate to the .Tivoserver directory and locate the settings.cfg file. Edit the file to your liking using a Unix-compatible text editor, such as Win32Pad (not Windows Notepad!). Here are two variables of particular interest:


    If you like the name “Tivoserver,” leave it; otherwise, change it to whatever you wish.


    You’ll want to change this to reflect the directories to look in for video files (one per line). An example would be VIDEO_DIR=D:\videos\cartoons. Make sure the videos you want to view reside in the directories specified.

  6. Run tivoserver.exe again. Tivoserver should return information such as the following:

    dirs: C:\Documents and Settings\Montgomery\Application Data, C:\Documents and Settings\Montgomery\Application Data/.tivoserver, C:\Documents and Settings\Montgomery\Application Data/.tivoserver/cache
    Tivoserver 0.4.4-a4(cygwin)
    ** Loading Local Shows From 'D:\TiVo\video\other' **
    + Area42 – 10 Reasons You Play Too Much Return to Castle Wolfenstein.avi

    Seems that stream 0 comes from film source: 30000.00 (30000/1) -> 24.00 (24/1)
    Input #0, avi, from 'D:\TiVo\video\other/Area42 – 10 Reasons You Play Too Much Return to Castle Wolfenstein.avi':
    Duration: 00:08:37.5, start: 0.000000, bitrate: 604 kb/s
    Stream #0.0, 24.00 fps(r): Video: mpeg4, yuv420p, 320×240
    Stream #0.1: Audio: mp3, 44100 Hz, stereo, 96 kb/s
    newh= 240, Padding= 0, ar= 1.33333, br= 2692
    AVI2 stats: 320×240, dur=8:37, BR=2692, Pixel-AR=1.00
    nchunks: 1361, nparts: 2
    SUCCESS: ( 0 ) -> Area42 – 10 Reasons You Play Too Much Return to Castle Wolfenstein :

  7. Go to the Now Playing List of your TiVo(s). You should see a new DVR listed: "TivoServer" (or whatever name you specified in the settings.cfg file).

The following are screenshots of Tivoserver as seen in the Now Playing List of a TiVo:

As a matter of interest, I took the screenshots above using the Slingplayer software that comes with a Slingbox (an article on this can be found here).

Tivoserver can be stopped by either hitting CTRL-C or by closing the Command Prompt window.

Tivoserver supports several video file types, such as xvid, divx, mpeg, wmv, and Tivo's own file format, ty. It is also available for Linux and Mac OS X. Note that Tivoserver is alpha software and can't be expected to work in every situation. Further information can be found in threads at DealDatabase and TiVo Community Forums.