The Complete Guide to iPod, iPhone and Apple TV Video Conversion (Windows)
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Recorded TV Content
Another type of content that many iPod and Apple TV users will want to convert is content recorded from broadcast television sources, such as over-the-air, cable, and satellite programming.
This content can come from a digital video recording software installed directly onto a PC, or from an external DVR such as a Tivo, and there are solutions that allow for the handling of either.
|MyTv To Go http://www.roxio.com Windows, $30|
MyTv To Go provides a basic video conversion solution for both Windows Media Centre and TiVo users, allowing for transfer of TV shows recorded on a Windows Media Centre Edition PC or from a TiVo Series 2 device with TiVoToGo support.
The conversion options are relatively limited, providing basic iPod-ready 640x480 formats. The actual configuration and management screens are designed to be viewed and managed directly from a Windows Media Centre Edition system, and therefore look quite large and unusual when being used on a non-media-centre PC:
To convert shows for the iPod from a Media Centre PC, simply select the shows you want to convert, and hit the “Copy TV Shows” button.
The converted files will either be saved to the computer’s hard drive, or transferred directly to the iPod after conversion if it is connected to the computer.
|Hauppauge Wing http://www.hauppauge.com Windows, $25|
For users of the Hauppauge WinTV series of video capture and TV tuner cards, Hauppauge also offers a small $25 tool to provide direct recording of TV content from a WinTV card to an Apple-ready file format. Like MyTvToGo, the presets are limited to iPod-ready formats only (640x480 1500kbps H.264), but some customization options are also available:
Advanced features include the ability to schedule recordings using the TitanTV guide service which will be recorded directly into an iPod-compatible format.
Wing can also convert existing MPEG-2 files that have been previously recorded using the WinTV software (or any other MPEG-2 compatible application).
|AutoPilot http://www.tvharmony.com Windows, Free (beta version)|
Another product that may be more specifically appropriate for TiVoToGo users is AutoPilot. Although still technically in beta, current versions appear relatively stable, and this provides a free solution for downloading and converting TiVoToGo content into various formats. Like the other solutions above, the presets include only an iPod-specific (640x480 1500kbps H.264) format, but some customization is available.
When AutoPilot is first run, it will take the user through a setup wizard to specify common options. Conversions can be scheduled to occur during specific times of the day, manually, or at any time:
AutoPilot can be configured to be accessed directly from the TiVo itself:
Or from the Internet:
A variety of output formats are supported:
Lastly, AutoPilot can also automatically discover your TiVo device if it’s located on the same network segment, or you can provide the IP address manually:
In addition to downloading content from a TiVoToGo compatible device, AutoPilot can also be used as a manual video conversion tool, queuing up video clips manually for immediate or scheduled conversion:
One interesting advanced feature also offered by AutoPilot is “ComSkip” which allows the video conversion to attempt to detect and remove commercials from converted videos. To enable this, simply select “Use ComSkip” from the destination selection dialog box:
This option can be further customized by clicking the “ComSkip Options” button, which will allow configuration of what types of transitions ComSkip looks for when detecting commercials:
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