TiVo Desktop 2.1 player
We recently stumbled upon a beta copy of TiVo's new Desktop 2.1 software (which you use with TiVoToGo, among other things), and we figured it'd be a mighty fine idea to ask Engadget pal Dave Zatz, the guy behind, TiVo To Go Unleashed, to kick the tires for us. The most frustrating new "feature" is that they're making it more difficult to remove the DRM by converting .tivo video files to other formats (it was a fun few weeks, wasn't it?). Dave covers that, as well as TiVo's new software player, in his initial report:

First off, the software is a beta of 2.1 released mid-March. Most tweaks appear to be under the hood, such as moving closer to fully supporting sync and play back on Portable Media Center (PMC) devices, preparing for a wider release of HME (speculation on my part), and the phasing out of the TiVo Playback Password.

First the good news. TiVo is now bundling a software player to view TiVo-recorded shows on WindowsXP. It offers the familiar green status bar, Tivo functions such as replay, and TiVo sound effects. The software makes it pretty easy to see which codecs and filters are being used and to make changes if needed.

Second a little more good news. It seems they are phasing out the TiVo Playback Password as it is redundant and probably due to the bad news.

TiVo warning

The bad news is that apparently TiVo has created some sort of ?access control list? preventing certain applications, such as Dr. DivX and TMPGEnc, from accessing .tivo files. Sonic MyDVD still works fine for burning TiVoToGo files to DVD, so I believe that Tivo?s strategy might be to identify programs being used to manipulate video and then block them to prevent conversion and/or removal of the DRM. That said, there are still a few other software players had no trouble opening .tivo files and certain more obscure video transcoding applications (which we shouldn?t name) were ALSO able to open the files, so it?s hard to tell exactly what?s going on here. I?ll keep playing around with TiVo Desktop 2.1 to see what else I can figure out.

Gateway's 17-inch M680 laptop