/ technology

TiVo Desktop

So after nine months of commercial-free, when-I-want-it, categorized, optimized, and organized television viewing—thanks to TiVo—I now have a new way to be a dork in my own home. TiVo Desktop, free software available for Macs and PCs, allows you to share pictures and music that reside on your computer with your television set.

Once called the “Home Media Option”, and offered as a pay service, the folks at TiVo must have decided to cut their losses and offer the service for free. All you need, assuming you own a Series 2 TiVo, is a USB LAN adapter and you can connect your main computer to your TiVo and share images and music with the TiVo, watching & listening to media on your TV and through your stereo system. And today, while picking out some broadband sharing hardware for my co-worker pal, I noticed that CompUSA was running quite the deal on a Netgear USB wireless LAN adapter. After rebates, the damned thing was less than ten bucks (and yeah, I actually send the damned rebate things in).

I bought one lickety-split, and after Emma was fed tonight, I installed it. Took five minutes. Took ten minutes to realize that the OS X firewall was not allowing my TiVo to talk to my laptop. Once those ports were opened, I could load images from my iPhoto library, and playlists from my iTunes database, on my TV. You even get TiVo-like titles and play controls for the songs.

So, from my chair, I can use my TiVo remote to call up songs and photos from my Powerbook, and listen to/watch them on my TV. I see no reason to leave the house now.

Seriously, it’s a cool thing, and worth the nine bucks for the adapter. I certainly wouldn’t pay a monthly fee for it, but it is cool, and will come in handy for doing a slideshow of the Cozumel trip I take this February, when you all come over to the house to see it.