copy protection

Can I get my old programs off my DVR?

TiVo BOLT VOX

Episode 1514

Eric from Orange County, CA

Eric cut the cable and wants to know if he can get programs off his old TiVo. Leo says in the first generation TiVos, he would be able to. But copy protection has locked down and encrypted that data. TIVO to Go was an option, but it was a very poor solution. There is one way to do it still, and that's the analog hole. Eric can connect his TIVO using the analog component jacks (red, white and yellow), but it will be standard definition.

How can I save media files from my DVR?

DVR

Episode 1502

John from Anaheim, CA

John has fiddling with the RG45 jack on his DVR and discovered that he could play his programs through his Roku device from it. He could also copy them to his PC and play them through Kodi. Can he convert them from there? Leo says that TTS is a "muxed" file that he can play, and it's probably MPEG 2. Almost anything that can read video files, like HandBrake, could do it. VLC definitely could play it. The DTCP.IP files, though, will need a special player.

Why is my iMac getting so slow?

https://www.macsales.com/

Episode 1480

LeBaron from Mobile, AL

LeBaron has a 2010 iMac computer that is getting very slow, and Leo suspects that the culprit is a failing hard drive. The upgrade is non-trivial, but it can be done. Leo recommends going with a solid state drive to make it a heck of a lot faster. Then connect an external drive for the data. What Leo recommends is going to Otherworld Computing and look up the model. You can see what parts are needed, along with tools. Then decide whether to try to DIY or to have it done by a technician.

Can I get recorded TV programs off my TIVO?

TiVo BOLT VOX

Episode 1470

Michael from Kansas City, MO

Michael wants to know if he can get the programs off his TIVO. Leo says it was possible with the Series 1 TIVO. But now the data is encrypted, so it's almost impossible to decrypt it and copy it off. TiVo does have a feature called TIVO to Go, but the only way he could really do it is to exploit the analog hole. That will lower the quality a bit, but he can use the analog connections that would go to his TV and connect them to a recorder. Then he could play the content back and record it in real time. It can be complicated though, because of HDCP.

Why won't my Blu-ray player work?

Samsung Blu-ray player

Episode 1433

Jim from Pennsylvania

Jim had an internet outage and now his Samsung Blu-ray player won't play due to copy protection. Leo says that's because that Blu-ray player is connected to the internet for copy protection to make sure it's not playing a pirated DVD. There's a tech note about that on Linksys' site here. It first appeared seven years ago and it keeps rearing it's ugly head every time there's an outage.

Can I listen to an iBook audio book on another platform?

Apple iBooks

Episode 1423

David from Anaheim, CA

David wants to know if he can listen to an audio book with his iPhone as well as his Android phone. Leo says he should, unless Apple does something different to them when buying them off iTunes. But if the audio book is from Apple's iBook Store, it's copy protected with the ePub format. He would need to strip it in order to play it on another platform. There are programs and plugins that do that, but they tend to be fly by night. TunesKit has one called iBook Copy for Mac. It has a free trial.

Should I copy protect my eBook?

EBook

Episode 1407

Mike from Woodland Hills, CA

Mike has written an ebook and he wants to know if he should copy protect it. He's going to be giving it away for students to see if they like it. The LA Sparks want him to copy protect it. Leo says he's not a fan of DRM because it simply doesn't work. He needs to figure out a way for a limited amount of students to be able to access his book as part of a 'beta test.' Leo says he'll need to have an authentication server to verify it. Lock Lizard is one option that uses an open source DRM scheme.

What should I look for in a DVD player?

Samsung Blu-ray player

Episode 1403

Jason from Chino, CA

Jason is looking for a good DVD player, but he's worried that his DVD player will be locked to the wrong region. Leo says that region coding was designed to prevent movies from being copied and shared around the world before the movies were released. The trend now is that movies get released worldwide now, so region coding is going to be gradually going away. He'll just have to be sure he doesn't get a used DVD player from another region. He won't want a PAL player in the US, for instance. He'll want NTSC. Or, he should make sure to get a multi region DVD player.

How can I backup programs from my DVR?

DVR

Episode 1402

Chris from Burbank, CA

Chris has a DVR with a lot of programs on it. Can he back them up before he changes companies? Leo says no. The programming is heavily encrypted because of copy protection. The only real way he can do it is by exploiting the analog hole. If his DVR has an analog connection, he can put a VCR in between the DVR and the TV connection. But he'll be recording in real time and it won't be in HD.