Announced by TiVo this week, the DVR company is planning on discontinuing the free version of TiVo Desktop for PC on June 5, 2013. For those unfamiliar with the software, TiVo Desktop for PC allows users to connect to their TiVo hardware over the home’s Wi-Fi network and transfer content between the two devices. Basically, users can transfer any video content currently stored on their TiVo and watch it on a laptop or PC. In addition, music and pictures on the PC can be viewed through the TiVo using the TiVo Central menu interface.
TiVo Desktop Plus adds compatibility with the Windows 8 interface and offers other features such as transferring video from the PC to the TiVo as well as converting TiVo recordings to formats that are compatible with mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Compatible video formats that can be transferred to a TiVo include Windows Media, Quicktime Movie, MPEG-4/H.264, MPEG-2, DivX and Xvid.
By phasing out the free version of TiVo Desktop for PC, this also adds another incentive for users to purchase a TiVo Stream set-top box. Rather than messing with video transfers, the TiVo Stream allows users to stream recorded content to a mobile device. In addition, users can watch live content as it’s being recorded and transfer video to mobile devices in order to watch it later.
One of the drawbacks to software like TiVo Desktop is that you have to initiate transfers that can take an extended amount of time to complete depending on the speed of your home’s network. TiVo video files can also take up a significant amount of space on a PC’s hard drive. For instance, a 30-minute episode of a show like Parks and Recreation is approximately 2GB in size when recorded in the highest quality format.