Originally Posted by DSperber
If you truly do know all of the proper techniques implied in your recipe, and have actually done this successfully with copy-protect content recorded on a Tivo, please do share the technique in explicit detail.
I used KMTTG, which will decrypt the .TiVo files. This does not work with copy-flagged channels (I believe they are copy once), i.e. HBO on Comcast, but it will work with all their cable and broadcast channels. Copy once channels like HBO should not be able to be firewire transferred either, unless there is a loophole in the system because everyone forgot that there even were IEEE 1394 ports on those older boxes.
(1) exactly what software/hardware/cabling/connection do you use and/or how exactly do you "transfer the files off directly" from a Tivo machine to a PC in bit-perfect digital form? What software running on the PC "accepts" this transfer, which presumably is at this point still copy-protected and encrypted (requiring cablecard to decrypt at time of playback)? What is the "extension" of the saved file on the PC... TS? TP? WTV? Something else?
TiVo Desktop via the network. They are encrypted as .TiVo files, KMTTG decrypts them. If they are copy flagged as copy once, i.e. HBO, they won't transfer in the first place. However, on Comcast, any normal cable channel, i.e. Discovery, History, ESPN, CNN, etc. that is flagged as copy freely will transfer and decrypt just fine. You'll end up with the same pile of blurry trash, bit for the bit the same as when Comcast over-compressed it in Denver, and send it out to your cable headend, through your cable system, onto your TiVo's hard drive, and then you pulled it over Ethernet.
(2) exactly what software or other technique/tool do you use to "take the DRM off" of the digital file copied from Tivo to your PC?
To the best of my knowledge there has been no successful workaround for the DRM copy-protection and encryption facilitated by cablecards (inserted into Tivo, DVRs, and Ceton TV tuner cards). But if I'm wrong, please elaborate what method you use to accomplish this.
No one has cracked CableCard itself, but TiVo's encryption is pretty easy, since it has to have the keys stored on the PC playing back the .TiVo files.
For the decades that DVHS tape recording and 5C copy-protection mechanisms have been in place (to allow copy-once offloading from Motorola-family DVRs to DVHS recorders via firewire), and for as long as CAPDVHS has existed to support transfers of copy-freely content from DVR to PC or from DVHS recorder to PC, it has been impossible to work with copy-protected and encrypted content other than via the one-time offload from DVR to DVHS recorder (which allows playback from the first-generation DVHS recording, but not making a second-generation copy of that first-generation recording to a second DVHS tape... which is exactly what copy-once means).
But if there is something new that has been developed to circumvent these copy-protections, please do share. Many of us would love to know all the details about this technique. Feel free to PM me if you want.
It sounds like you've found a loophole for HBO and other copy-once premiums to be offloaded where they "shouldn't", and no, TiVo cannot do that, but for cable channel content, i.e. copy freely content, it works fine. I'm not sure why anyone would want to archive HBO content, since it's all available through various On Demand and other mechanisms at much higher quality. Last I had heard, however, Firewire transfers were also blocked for HBO and other premium channels, but that was years ago, as I didn't realize anyone was even using it anymore. I used to archive some cable shows via TiVo Desktop, and I have about a terabyte of them hanging around on another machine, but I have since cut the cord, and I no longer archive much, except for an occasional PBS show that is really, really good, and that's all OTA, so it's effectively the same as copy-freely on TiVo Desktop, even though it came in without DRM. I've decrypted one or two as tests, but most stay in .TiVo format so that I could stream them back to a TiVo from my HTPC if I wanted to watch them.
Also, echoing the other posters here, while I totally get the desire to copy bit for bit, I don't think there's much point in that anymore versus another capturing method, or finding and buying the content from another source, as Comcast's quality is so bad, and most other MSOs are going downhill as well, that you're not getting a good quality copy anyway, even if it is bit for bit. If there truly is content that's not available on Blu-Ray or through Amazon or other means, it's probably not high production value, high quality stuff anyway, it's probably somewhat of an over-compressed mess, and you should be able to run through the analog hole with no noticeable loss in fidelity from the mess that you started with. For example, if there was something on a premium channel that wasn't available elsewhere, a TiVo Roamio Pro can output to component as long as Comcast doesn't convert everything to IPTV, in which case you're probably limited to SD capture and a significant loss in fidelity no matter what method you're using.