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TiVoToGo Encryption - cracked? - TiVo Lovers
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TiVoToGo Encryption - cracked?
Well, it looks like someone cracked the DRM on TiVoToGo, making it possible to decrypt the files on non-Windows platforms. It is C code which reportedly runs on Linux, Solaris, and Windows. (I'm sure someone will port it to Mac if it doesn't run there already.) This is the Wiki reporting the development, and this is the project page on SourceForge. It is open source, BSD license. Right now it looks like a geek-level solution - you run it from the command line. But I'm sure someone will wrap it in a nice package to make it usable for the average user.

TiVo will probably not be happy about this, but I'm not surprised. There have been ways to strip the DRM on Windows for a while, such as DirectShow Dump, using holes in the DirectShow mechanism, and it was clear people were working on a real 'crack' for the system to remove the Windows requirements. Pretty much any widely used DRM system will have people dedicated to cracking it. There is more motivation because TiVo has failed to support any platform other than Windows, leaving Linux/UNIX and MacOS users out in the cold since TTG was released. The lack of an official solution is always going to increase motivation for users to find their own answers.

EDIT: Here's a guide to using this on a Mac and another one for automatically using it with Galleon on a Mac.

EDIT: This landed on Digg - albeit indirectly. The person who posted it link to the PVRWire story which originated from this post.

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31 comments or Leave a comment
emarosan From: emarosan Date: December 4th, 2006 12:43 am (UTC) (Permalink)
Yay!!! This means that within a week, we should have a nice GUI candy coated wrapping for Mac OSX. Finally!
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 4th, 2006 08:13 pm (UTC) (Permalink)


Great. Way to ruin it for those who use Tivo Desktop legitamately! Now Tivo will probably turn TivoToGo back off. Couldn't you have just used DirectShow dump with your Media Access Key???
auryn29a From: auryn29a Date: December 4th, 2006 12:48 am (UTC) (Permalink)

*does a little dance*
cassiusdrow From: cassiusdrow Date: December 4th, 2006 01:02 am (UTC) (Permalink)
Unless TiVo has already upped the encryption ante, this will probably delay the approval for MRV and TTG for the Series 3.
teelo From: teelo Date: December 4th, 2006 02:08 am (UTC) (Permalink)
That's exactly what I thought. :( Now it's just a question if this will be a delay or a "permanent delay" like USB support for the DirecTV units. :( Crap.
jerronimo From: jerronimo Date: December 4th, 2006 01:51 am (UTC) (Permalink)

I always forget about the https server on the tivo itself. I always hit the regular non-secure one instead. Is there a listing of other webpages that are on it? i know that it automatically goes to the 'now playing' page, but what other interfacey stuff is hidden on there?
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: December 4th, 2006 04:00 am (UTC) (Permalink)
Not really, there are XML pages - which is what TiVo Desktop loads - but the info is pretty much the same, just XML files. It would be nice if more pages - like the To Do list - were available.
stile99 From: stile99 Date: December 4th, 2006 03:51 am (UTC) (Permalink)
DVDs were cracked basically because people wanted to watch them on Linux boxes, and were told various things, which all boiled down to 'no'. The legal and moral issues have all been well-discussed elsewhere, no need to hash them again.

Now TiVo files have been cracked for a very similar reason. Other platforms came a-knockin', nobody answered.

I agree this is certainly not going to help the S3, but I must admit my only shock in relation to this news is it took this long.

As you note, any DRM system is a target. But any DRM system that says "only you may enter...you, you, and you can bugger off" is pretty much wearing steak underpants and dancing in front of a legion of starved pitbulls.

For what it is worth, I do believe TiVo when they say they were working on it. (Mac support). However, the barn door is wide open, the horse is long gone, and the point is now moot. My hope now is that TTG isn't pulled entirely.
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: December 4th, 2006 04:07 am (UTC) (Permalink)
Telling the Linux community "No X for you" is like daring them to crack it, really. We've seen it again and again and again with DRM, proprietary formats, etc. I think that's what really drove this - note that the original platform for this crack was Linux. TiVo pretty much said they wouldn't be supporting Linux, so there was always good motivation for that community to solve it themselves.

I remember asking them about Linux at CES when TTG was first announced, when it was still going to be a dongle system, and they didn't plan on supporting Linux back then.

And the only thing surprising to me as well is that it took so long. Though I suspect the extraction hacks possible on Windows for a long time now reduced the motivation for some.

I believe TiVo too - but they've been 'working on it' for a couple of years. I saw what I was told was working Alpha software at CES2006. I'll be going to CES2007 in a month, and it isn't out yet. By this point they could've written their own decryption and playback engine from scratch. After a few missed promised dates, at this point I'll believe it when it is available to download.
doc_quixote From: doc_quixote Date: December 4th, 2006 05:49 am (UTC) (Permalink)
This has been out in some form (that even my feeble Google-fu was able to find) 6 months ago, and TiVo's Google-fu is unlikely to be so non-existant to have missed it. If TiVo was going to push down a change to DRM (or disable T2G downloads, or restricting downloads to people known to be running "legit" software), they probably would have done so by now.

I do suspect, however, that if the cable-card-enabled S3 units don't already block downloads of anything that was transmitted encrypted, they will soon...
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: December 4th, 2006 06:59 am (UTC) (Permalink)
There have been ways to extract the video on Windows since pretty much the day TTG was released. But this is the first I've seen code that works without the TiVo DLL and runs on other platforms, and it was only posted to SourceForge for the first time a few days ago.
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 4th, 2006 06:04 am (UTC) (Permalink)


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 :-)
From: (Anonymous) Date: December 4th, 2006 06:40 am (UTC) (Permalink)

Re: Success!

I would love to hear how you went about using tibodecode on your MAC.
I am sure everyone on a mac wouldn't mind knowing ethier.

How easy is it?
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kyouteki From: kyouteki Date: December 6th, 2006 01:33 am (UTC) (Permalink)
Here's a Mac binary and a little automator workflow I whipped up to run it for me:

From: (Anonymous) Date: December 6th, 2006 03:03 am (UTC) (Permalink)

S1 S2 encryption has been hacked for years.

A Tivo is a Linux computer. ALL Tivos, including stand alone models, DirecTivos, Series 1s and Series 2s have been hacked pretty much since release. Top Two Hacks . . . turning off encryption and turning on usb ethernet adapters. Shows get recorded without encryption and copied to any PC on network. Hacking the encryption on the PC player side isnt even needed. Just a way to convert and/or play Tivo .ty files.
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: December 6th, 2006 06:44 am (UTC) (Permalink)

Re: S1 S2 encryption has been hacked for years.

TiVo Decode doesn't require any hacking by the end user, it works with a standard Series2. That's important, it opens it up to many people who are not comfortable hacking their TiVos, or just don't have any interest in doing so.

Also, to do the software hacks on the more recent models of TiVo requires doing a hardware prom mod. That puts the hacking out of reach for even more people.

Having working TTG code will allow 3rd parties to develop new applications that work for any TiVo S2 user.
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