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Summary:

TiVoToGo, the software that allowed TiVo owners to watch saved shows on approved digital devices, has had their DRM shorts pulled down on the playground. Of course, the current crack is an uncompiled, command-line C program that isn’t exactly what anyone would call user-friendly. But as […]

TiVoToGo, the software that allowed TiVo owners to watch saved shows on approved digital devices, has had their DRM shorts pulled down on the playground. Of course, the current crack is an uncompiled, command-line C program that isn’t exactly what anyone would call user-friendly. But as a proof-of-concept, it works on two levels: First, it means that Mac and Linux users can now enjoy TiVoToGo; and second, it reminds everyone that no DRM, ever, is completely secure.

In the former case, this shows that once again a hacker has actually solved a problem for customers of TiVo’s products. And naturally, the code for the crack can now be integrated into a simple GUI program, an open source media server like Galleon, and popular video players like VLC to make TiVoToGo a user-friendly, cross-platform service. It can also conceivably be used to turn TiVo’s service into a means by which saved shows can be instantly shared over P2P networks.

It’s the latter case is where folks are a bit more circumspect. On the one hand, being able to record a show and share it or watch it somewhere else is as old as the videocassette. On the other, TiVo’s promises to content partners that they will be able to control when, where and how often people can record and watch their programming now ring hollow. In what the Public Knowledge policy blog is calling a case of ‘digital Stockholm Syndrome,’ this has “Those who have been abused by DRM…essentially asking for the restrictions to be put back in place.”

  1. Liz, you said it:

    (i) any usable DRM system is crackable as you note.
    (ii) any cracking that solves a user’s problem will be done.

    And yet every new media wannabe persuades itself that This Time DRM Will Work!

    Same approach, same result.

    The obvious trick is to build value chain models where its just not worth the hassle to crack the DRM.

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  2. […] TiVo and Sonic Solutions have teamed up to offer TiVoTogo functionality through the new release of Roxio Toast — which you can purchase and download today. This means Mac users can now transfer and burn shows from their TiVo box onto iPods and DVDs. Some Mac users may already be enjoying TiVoToGo thanks to a hacker who cracked the DRM TiVo imposed, though the process isn’t exactly foolproof. Topic: Software Tags: tivo sonic tivotogo […]

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  3. […] TiVo and Sonic Solutions have teamed up to offer TiVoTogo functionality through the new release of Roxio Toast — which you can purchase and download today. This means Mac users can now transfer and burn shows from their TiVo box onto iPods and DVDs. Some Mac users may already be enjoying TiVoToGo thanks to a hacker who cracked the DRM TiVo imposed, though the process isn’t exactly foolproof. […]

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