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What to do until TiVo Desktop works on Vista

The only thing worse than not owning a TiVo digital video recorder is owning a TiVo unit but not being able to use it the way you want. TiVo fans were disappointed to discover recently that the TiVo Desktop software which allows users to transfer recorded shows to a computer via a wireless network doesn't work with Windows Vista. Although the company claims they are releasing a Vista-compatible version "very soon," for hardcore TiVo users it's not soon enough. Fortunately there are a couple of things you can try that might make the wait a little easier.

  • If you're willing to spend a few dollars, consider picking up a Slingbox television tuner. This slick device attaches to your tv so you can access it from any computer with a wireless connection. Slingbox is already Vista-compatible, connects easily to a TiVo DVR or cable/TiVo combo, and has a wonderful community of people willing to help you out with set-up if you need it. You can pick up a first generation Slingbox for around $60, or a refurbished one for even less. You'll still find plenty of uses for the Slingbox even after the Vista-compatible version of Desktop is released so if you have the money to spare, this is your best bet.
  • If you have an old Mac computer laying around, or can borrow one for a few weeks, TiVo Decode Manager for the Mac is a free tool that functions just like TiVo Desktop but is, of course, for the Mac. It's easy to set up, intuitive, and very user friendly.
  • Some Vista users have reported good luck getting TiVo Desktop to run on their machines by simply installing an older version of the software. Although the earlier releases of Desktop are not available on TiVo's Web site, they are still available at other sites. If you decide to try this, be sure to back up any important files and create a system restore point on your PC before installing the software.
  • Galleon is an open source software tool that organizes the media files on your computer so you can view, access, or use them on your TiVo. It has a lot of really neat features, including one that lets you move recorded shows from your DVR to you computer.
  • If you don't mind tweaking things at the command line, The Spider's Parlor offers detailed instructions on another option you can try. Check the comments of a similar article at PVRBlog to find additional sources for downloading the recommended Windows utility.

If you prefer to wait until TiVo releases a Vista-supported version of its Desktop software, you can still commiserate with other people in the same boat by visiting the TiVo Community forums.

~ Thanks Erik!

Tags: diylife, galleon, hardware, slingbox, tivo, vista