Sunday, December 14, 2008

Getting your cable TV Syndicted to You IPod (Legally!)

I use a Comcast DVR to record the TV shows I watch. What
I have always wanted to be able to do is have my DVR
record what I want to watch in h.264 format and then
syndicate it as a podcast to my IPod and Apple TV. Well I
just got my wish. A product called Snapstream (
let me take an old PC I was no longer using with an ATI
video capture card in it and convert it into a DVR.

Open source solutions like this that I have looked into in the past
that allow you to turn a PC into a DVR have been rather complex
to setup and maintain but SnapStream, a .NET based product,
has a drop dead simple setup and install and a 21 day free
eval to try out (Its is not very expensive to purchase either
at around $60). Anyway, the product exposes an very nice,
web based, TV guide that allows you to pick shows to record.
If the ITunes compatibility feature is turned on, any recordings
made will be converted to h.264/mp4 as soon as the recording is
complete. They are then automatically added to a podcast
named after the series they are part of. Any metadata the
program can get from its TVGuide is also integrated into the
podcast as well. You can then use the product's web based interface
to subscribe to either the "All shows podcast" or just the one named
after the series you are recording. I may now be able to get rid of
my rented DVR!