TiVo Desktop/Desktop Plus for PC: Installation and Use

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As of June 5, 2013, the free version of TiVo Desktop is discontinued. If you already have an existing copy of the free version of TiVo Desktop, it will still function normally - nothing has changed. New TiVo Desktop customers can purchase TiVo Desktop Plus to take advantage of the full set of Desktop features.

PRICE REDUCED: You can now purchase TiVo Desktop Plus for $15.99, down from $24.95!

(175) TiVo Desktop Plus for PC: Installation and uninstallation guide


System Requirements

Minimum System Requirements for TiVo Desktop Plus:

  • Windows XP, Vista, 7, or 8
  • 1 GHz P2 or equivalent processor
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 5 GB free disk space, plus an additional 1 to 3 GB for each hour of Standard Definition (SD) programming you transfer, depending on the quality of the recording.

Certain features of TiVo Desktop Plus may require more computing resources than the basic features. These include

  • Storage and playback of High Definition (HD) content
  • Converting TiVo recordings to a portable format
  • Viewing web content on your TiVo box

If you plan to use these features, we highly recommend the following:

  • 2.2 GHz P4 or equivalent processor
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 5 GB free disk space, plus an additional 5GB for each hour of HD programming you transfer.

TiVo Desktop Plus requires Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or later, Windows Vista, or Windows 7.

See the TiVo Desktop Plus Read Me file after installation for more information.

Installing TiVo Desktop Plus for PC

Use the instructions below to install TiVo Desktop Plus on your Windows PC.

WARNING: Do not attempt to install or uninstall TiVo Desktop Plus using the Windows Remote Desktop feature. The TiVo Desktop Plus installation and uninstallation programs do not support Remote Access functionality. To install TiVo Desktop Plus for Windows, you must have Administrator or Power User administrative rights on your computer.

  1. If you have a previous version of TiVo Desktop installed on your PC, uninstall the previous version (see Uninstalling Desktop Plus, below, and then use the TiVo Desktop Cleaner utility to remove portions of the program that may prevent you from installing the latest version of TiVo Desktop Plus.

    NOTE: TiVo Desktop Cleaner will not remove your Media Access Key or TiVo Desktop Plus key information.

  2. Purchase and download the latest version of TiVo Desktop Plus for PC.
  3. If you are running J. River Media Center or Moodlogic, shut down the software before installing TiVo Desktop. Right-click on their respective icons in the Windows taskbar and choose "Exit."
    If you have installed any third-party TiVo Desktop plug-ins, including third-party WMA plug-ins or our own example plug-ins from the TiVo Desktop Plug-in SDK, they must be uninstalled before installing TiVo Desktop 2.7 or higher.
  4. Verify that you are logged into Windows using an account with full administrator privileges, then double-click the TiVo Desktop installer icon.

    NOTE: If you receive a Windows security message, select Run. If you encounter a warning message indicating a previous version of TiVo Desktop needs to uninstalled, see Uninstalling TiVo Desktop, below.

  5. On the Welcome screen, click Next.
  6. Read the License Agreement, and if you agree, click to select I accept the license agreement and then click Next.

    NOTE: If you receive a message indicating that a Codec is Not Found, see What codecs are supported for playing TiVoToGo files on my PC?

  7. Read the Readme Information and click Next.
  8. Click Next if you want TiVo Desktop Plus to be installed in the default location. Otherwise, click Browse and select the directory where you would like the application to install.
  9. Enter your Media Access Key. Click Next to continue. You can find your Media Access Key in either of these two places:

    • From your TiVo DVR: From TiVo Central, go to Messages & Settings > Account & System Information > Media Access Key.
    • Online: Log into your My TiVo account, then click on the "Media Access Key" link on the right side of your screen.

  10. Choose which Installation Options you want by checking or unchecking the boxes next to each option. Click Next to continue.
  11. Read the Internet settings information and click Next to begin installation.
  12. Approve any changes to your network or firewall settings that you are asked to accept during or immediately after the installation process.
  13. Once installation is completed, click Finish.
  14. If you have a firewall installed on your computer, make sure you allow the following applications:

    • TiVoNotify.exe
    • TiVoServer.exe
    • TiVoTransfer.exe
    • curl.exe
    • Bonjour.exe or TiVoBeacon.exe


    Refer to your firewall software or hardware manufacturer for information on how to do this.

  15. Install a supported media player to play back the files that you transfer to your PC from your TiVo box. We recommend Microsoft Windows Media Player 11.

    NOTE: You may be able to play files transferred to your PC using TiVoToGo in other media players, but you may experience video quality problems and other playback issues.

  16. Enjoy using TiVo Desktop Plus!

    NOTE : If you experience issues after installing TiVo Desktop Plus, please see TiVo Desktop/Desktop Plus for PC - Troubleshooting.

Changing where your TiVo Desktop Plus programs are saved

You can change the location where recorded programs are saved at any time, without needing to reinstall TiVo Desktop Plus.

Changing your file location is easy! Just follow these instructions:

  1. File > Preferences
  2. Under File Locations > My TiVo Recordings, you'll see a line that by default reads C:\Users\[your user name]\Documents\My TiVo Recordings
  3. Click Change...
  4. Highlight the new folder where you want to save your TiVo recordings, and click OK.
  5. You'll be returned to the Preferences window. Click OK.
  6. And you're finished! All future recordings - including previously-scheduled Season Pass recordings - will be saved to this folder.

    NOTE: This change will ONLY affect future recordings. You must manually move past recordings to this location in order for them to appear on your TiVo DVR.

Uninstalling TiVo Desktop Plus

To uninstall TiVo Desktop for Windows, perform the following steps:

  1. Exit all other programs on your PC.
  2. From Start, select Settings, and then click Control Panel.

    NOTE: The location of the Control Panel may vary based on the version of Windows.

  3. From the Control Panel, click Add/Remove Programs.

    If you are using a Microsoft Windows Vista PC, click the Programs category within the Control Panel window, then Programs and Features.

  4. Within the Add/Remove Programs window, scroll to TiVo Desktop. Click Change/Remove. The Installation Maintenance screen appears.

    If you are using a Microsoft Windows Vista PC, scroll to and select the TiVo Desktop entry within the Programs and Features window. Click the Uninstall/Change button.

    NOTE: If you are uninstalling TiVo Desktop Plus from a Microsoft Windows Vista PC and you see a message indicating that processes are running, click Ignore to continue the uninstall.

  5. Choose your removal option and click Next:

    • Select Remove if you wish to only remove the TiVo Desktop Plus software while leaving your transferred recordings, MAK information, and TiVo Plus Key data intact.
    • Select Remove All if you wish to remove the TiVo Desktop program and ALL associated files (including transferred recordings, MAK information, and TiVo Plus Key data).

If the above uninstallation process does not meet your needs, please follow the instructions under Installation and Setup Troubleshooting at TiVo Desktop/Desktop Plus for PC: Troubleshooting.

If you wish to reinstall TiVo Desktop, you will need to contact TiVo Technical Support for a link to re-download TiVo Desktop without incurring additional cost.

Using TiVo Desktop Plus

TiVo Desktop Plus software works with your PC and network-connected TiVo DVR to allow you to:

  • Publish your personal music library to your TiVo DVR for playback through your TV and home entertainment system
  • Publish your personal photo library to your TiVo DVR for viewing photos and slideshows on your TV
  • Transfer videos between your TiVo DVR and PC (MPEG-2, .vob, and .tivo files only)
  • Convert shows for playback on the following devices: Apple iPod, Apple iPad, Apple iPhone, Apple iPod Touch, BlackBerry Bold, BlackBerry Curve, BlackBerry Pearl, BlackBerry Storm, BlackBerry Tour, Nokia N80, Palm Pre, Palm Treo 650, Sony Playstation Portable (PSP), Zune, Zune HD, H.264 compatible devices, MPEG-4 compatible devices.
  • Transfer videos to your TiVo DVR for viewing on your TV. (QuickTime Movie, Windows Media Video, MPEG-4, DivX, Xvid, MPEG-2, .tivo)
  • Set up automatic transfers from your PC to your TiVo DVR of videos placed in published video folders on your PC or downloaded from RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds.
  • Choose from a larger selection of TiVo Video Downloads through your TiVo DVR.

Music and photos

How to unpublish music and photos using TiVo Desktop

To unpublish music and photos using TiVo Desktop for Windows, perform the following steps:

  1. From the system tray at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, double-click the TiVo icon. (You can also click the TiVo Desktop icon on your desktop).
  2. Click the Share Music, Photos, & Video icon on the left side of the window.
  3. Click the Music tab.
  4. Click to select the music files that you want to unpublish, and then click the Remove button.
  5. Click the Photos tab.
  6. Click to select the photo files that you want to unpublish, and then click the Remove button.

How do I transfer web videos to my TiVo DVR?

  1. Move or save video files to the My TiVo Recordings folder within the My Documents folder on your PC. If you already have video files in different folders, create shortcuts to the these folders and place them in the My TiVo Recordings folder.
  2. Select your computer from the DVR's Now Playing List.
  3. Highlight a video in the list and press SELECT. Choose Watch on this TV to start the transfer.
  4. When the transfer starts, you have the option of watching the video immediately or continuing to browse for additional videos to transfer.

Transfer video and burn DVDs

NOTE:The DVR does not improve the video quality of downloaded content. Web Video content appears on the DVR with the same quality as the original downloaded content.

How to set up a web season pass or one-time web video download from PC to TiVo DVR

With TiVo Desktop Plus, you can set up Web Season Passes and single web video downloads from your TiVo DVR. Web Season Passes and one-time web video downloads require TiVo Desktop Plus version 2.6.1 or higher. To download the latest version of TiVo Desktop, click here.

NOTE: To set up web video transfers, your PC must be linked to your MMA account.

To set up a Web Season Pass or single web download:

  1. Select Download TV, Movies, & Web Videos from the Find Programs & Downloads menu.
  2. Choose Browse Other Videos from the column on the left side of the window.
  3. Select a category that interests you. Within each category, programs marked with the TiVo Desktop Plus icon indicate that the programs can be downloaded to the DVR with TiVo Desktop Plus. You can choose individual episode downloads or get a Season Pass for the current and future episodes.
  4. Videos that are protected with Digital Rights Management (DRM) can not be transferred.

How do I publish my converted files onto my Portable Media Device?

For instructions on how to publish converted files to a Portable Media Device, see Which portable devices work with TiVo Desktop?

Can I convert the recordings that I transferred to my computer before I upgraded to TiVo Desktop with the Plus Key?

Yes, with TiVo Desktop 2.5 or later, you can convert and transfer a video from your TiVo Desktop Now Playing List to your portable device. Open the Now Playing List in TiVo Desktop, Right-click on the title of the video you wish to convert, and select Convert for... from the drop down menu.

Can I convert my files to multiple formats at one time?

No. You can only convert files to one format at a time.

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