I think that the Apple iTunes Music Store is very cool and it’s nice to be able to buy episodes of TV shows, but they don’t have the shows I like to watch, like The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Sopranos and Sex in the City. I have a TiVO unit so I can record them, but how do I get the shows from my TiVO to my iPod? I’m using a Mac, if it matters.
This is a question I’ve puzzled over too because as much as I like what Apple’s doing, there’s no way in the world that they can have every possible movie, every show, every news broadcast, every documentary, sporting event, etc etc. So what the heck are we consumers supposed to do?!
Fortunately, Elgato Systems has a splendid solution for us Mac folk, one that makes copying video onto your iPod Video time consuming, but pretty easy.
It does involve an investment, however.
Since I really wanted to be able to capture high quality video from a variety of sources, including my DVD player (which plays PAL and NTSC DVDs from any region!), VHS tape recorder and Dish Network TiVO clone digital video recorder, I didn’t mind spending about $325 for the EyeTV 200 device. With a Firewire connection to the Mac, it’s fast, reliable and a plug-and-play video interface device.
If that’s too rich for your budget, Elgato also has its EyeTV EZ, built around a USB 2.0 connection. At $149 it’s a lot easier on your pocketbook, for sure.
Once you have one of these devices, then hook up your TiVO or other video device and ensure that its output plays properly in your EyeTV window:
Already that’s pretty darn cool, isn’t it?
The single most useful feature of the EyeTV software, however, is that you can record what you’re watching onto your Mac. It’s the red button on the “remote control” of the application:
You can figure it out from here: press “play” on your TiVO remote, then press “record” on the EyeTV remote and you’ll start recording your favorite show, movie, sporting event, whatever.
Now open up the EyeTV programs window and you’ll see an entry for the program you’re recording. It’ll look approximately like this:
(Notice that 56 seconds of video have already eaten up 30MB of disk space. This stuff is very diskspace greedy!)
Now, right-click (or Control-Click) on the program entry and you’ll be able to both specify the proper program name and indicate how long the program is: EyeTV can automatically stop recording when the program ends.
I’ve entered the movie name and adjusted the Duration slide to reflect that it’s only a two hour movie.
Rather than wait two hours for what I consider one of Streisand’s best movies to finish recording, I’ll switch to another movie I’ve already recorded, a movie that will never be released for the iPod: The Maltese Falcon.
To export this movie in a format ready for the Apple iPod is trivially simple: select the movie, then click on the little iPod icon on the toolbar:
It’ll start exporting (and take quite a while!) and when it’s done, you’ll have a movie you can copy right onto your iPod by simply dragging the new movie file into iTunes.
Of course, you have to find the output file, which can be quite a task the first time you use the program. Here’s a shortcut: it’s saved in your “Movies” folder in your home directory. In this case it created a file called “The Maltese Falcon 9/21/05 10_59 PM.m4v”.
How’s that for easy?
With the EyeTV system, you can easily copy and watch any and all of your favorite TV shows, movies from DVD, training videos on VHS, and anything else you can capture with your TiVO device.
Hope that helps you out. I’ll be writing a similar tutorial for Windows users that involves a similar program too, so stay tuned for that!