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TiVoToGo DRM cracked, and that's not necessarily a good thing

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Mac-using TiVo lovers rejoice - but proceed with caution. It seems the TiVoToGo DRM encryption has finally been cracked, effectively giving non-Windows users a way to enjoy TiVoToGo for a change. The TiVo File Decoder is a Portable C program that converts a .TiVo file from TiVoToGo to a normal MPEG file with the Media Access Key for the TiVo which generated the file. The decoder is an open source BSD license, and it's just a command-line solution right now, although a GUI wrapper can't be far behind.

As Dave Zatz points out, this development may have been inevitable, as all DRM just begs to be cracked, and TiVo hasn't helped matters by dragging their feet for so long when it came to making TTG accessible to anyone but Windows users. But by circumventing TiVo on this, it may only make things worse for us in the end. Dave rightly suggests that this "could dissuade potential content providers from partnering and/or dissuade CableLabs from supporting multi-room viewing and TiVoToGo features on the Series3, despite protected media (TiVoCast, Macrovision flagged stuff) not being available for TTG transfers."

There are already reports from Mac users who have successfully compiled gotten it working this morning. Anonymous says "I am successfully watching downloaded content on my Mac, without using any sort of Windows solution at all. Downloaded from the TiVo via the web interface (though I'll probably start using Galleon), decrypted it via tivodecode, and I'm able to watch it in VLC. QT doesn't like the files though. I was able to use iSquint to convert it to an MPEG4, and now my iPod is playing Robot Chicken :-)"

My initial reaction to this was "WOO HOO!!!", but now I'm not convinced that it's worth it. Let's face it, TiVo will probably change the DRM to defeat this crack and the more time they spend on that, the less time they will spend on bringing Multi-room viewing (MRV) and TTG to the HD Series 3 and TTG to Mac users in general.

For more details, you can follow developments on the TiVoToGo wiki. Although I'm conflicted, I'll still be keeping a close eye on things. Let's hope TiVo rises to the challenge by making it irrelevant and shows a little more love to non-Windows using TiVo lovers.

[via Zatz Not Funny]

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