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Monday, February 18, 2008

Roxio Toast 8.0.3 mini review tips and tricks

Toast 8.0.3 'Review' and notes, really centering on the Tivo Transfer app and DVD burning for now.

I bought an OEM copy for $23.98 from deykon.com through their ebay store. I'd be really ticked if I'd paid $99 expecting the Tivo Transfer app to work 99% of the time.

On that note, restarting the TiVo helps the Transfer app see it for me. It's doing well for today.

Here's the trick I haven't seen mentioned much: to transfer programs to your Macbook, use the TiVo's built in web server.


(the S in https is important). Username is tivo and password is your MAK (media access key).

If you don't know how to find out your TiVo's network address, look on your TiVo under settings and I think network. It's probably 192.168.1.something. or 192.168.x.x

If you can't see your TiVo's built in web browser, you might have some sort of network setup issue. I can't help with that due to myriad variations.

Download the program you want to the directory you have shows set to come into with the Tivo Transfer application (Let's call it TTA).

These files with the .tivo extension will also work with the PC or whatever other program most likely so you could put them on a shared network drive for example.

Ok, so no automatic transfers etc but the Tivo's built in webserver appears reliable. At least more reliable than the TTA.

Now you can at least work with the shows to burn them to DVD, convert, etc.

Here's a little annoyance with the TTA:

When you delete a show, its GONE from the Tivo Recordings on the Tivo Transfer App. It doesn't go in the trash, it's deleted immediately.

On my network the tivo is bridged via a 54g wired to WiFi bridge to my cable modem router.

Like this: Tivo->ethernet port on bridge->wifi->cable modem router->wired or other wireless connections.

Transfers seem faster on my Macbook connected to the router via a wired connection. This makes sense because my Macbook isn't having to fight the Tivo for WiFi bandwidth. If you have a MIMO router this might not make a difference for you.

Turning off tivo desktop on the Mac seemingly gave a HUGE jump in transfer speed. 450KB / sec to 15-1600KB, 4 times as fast!

'Toast Video Player' works well, but it's made by Elgato. Says so on the remote. It's not Roxio so it works. Smooth playing and fast fast forwarding. Better than TiVo itself.

Fast encodes to DVD via toast 8.0.3. Core 2 Duo shows 180% CPU usage, so it's tuned for multi processors.

Enable other outputs trick for transcoding:

Paste the line below into a terminal window.

defaults write com.roxio.Toast "tivo export mode" -integer 1

Iinstead of exporting into 320x240 iPod format only, you can pick whatever codec and size you wanted. Super! DivX, DV, whatever!

To me, video encodes look better on burned dvd than toast video player (elgato).

When you're looking at Toast 8 and you have your media in the right pane, to select it for export, click in the text area. If you click the thumbnail, the 'Export' button at the bottom is greyed out. Kind stupid but if you click the thumbnail you can scrub around with the play head.

For DVD burning, I'd like to be able to select a 1x burn, but 'Best' or 6x is all I can select. Perhaps a limitation of the Sony drive but IIRC toast 5.2.3 had a 1x option. Seemed to burn ok, but my discs are 1x or 2x IIRC.

Speaking of faster burning:

I got the following off the roxio boards here.

By default, Toast will re-encode any TiVo shows when burned to DVD since the 480x480 native TiVo resolution does not comply with DVD standards.

I'd like to ask some of you to try disabling the option to re-encode. The potential benefit of this is that you'll be able to burn TiVo shows to a DVD-Video disc much faster.

Since the disc will not be 100% DVD compliant, we'd like to know your experience after burning a DVD-Video from TiVo files are using the steps below:

1) Launch Toast 8.
2) Go to Video --> DVD-Video.
3) Click the "More" button at the bottom of of the Options area.
4) Click the Encoding tab.
5) Select "Custom".
6) In the Re-encoding field, select "Never".
7) Click OK and add a TiVo recording to your project
8) Burn to DVD

Once the disc has been completed, try playing it back in your standalone DVD player.

My notes on that process:

(Might want to unlock that topic or at least not ask people to POST to it! Typical Roxio.)

This method works for me on

- a Macbook C2D running 10.4.11 with Apple's DVD player. Playing from a Sony DRX-800UL external Firewire drive or the Macbook internal drive.
- Xbox (1, don't have a Xbox 360 to try). Might have had a TINY bit of audio sync issue but I think it was me just being hypersensitive. Seemed pretty much the same on the Macbook.

Did not work on:
Emerson EWD 7003 (cheapie DVD player). Plays but jerky 2-3 times a sec. Might be my cheap DVD-R discs.

So if your DVD player is software, you got good odds.

528 x 480 is the size I pulled down from the TiVo according to Toast. (maybe there's an issue there Roxio!). Original Series 3 (not the cheaper HD) so I don't know where 480x480 is coming from. It burned VERY fast and it was not re-encoding.

That's all for now!



Rob said...

It appears that if you let the TiVo transfer app sit for a while it sees the TiVo. I had that happen tonight with no efforts on my part. We'll test that theory.

It was quite a while though.

Rob said...

Another trick:

On my network, the TiVo is bridged wirelessly to the router, and the router doesn't report the TiVo IP address in the DHCP clients list sometimes.

If you go into the settings on the TiVo and look for the IP it has there, THEN you can see it via typing the https://192.x.x.x or whatever it is into your web browser. Then login with 'tivo' and your Media Access Key as the password.

I think this might be related to the problem with the TiVo transfer app not seeing the TiVo for quite a while.

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