Manage Your Blockbuster Online or NetFlix Account With "Movie Rentals" on TiVo

Tired of late fees and inconvenient trips to your local brick and mortar movie rental store? Maybe you're one of those people who get that sudden urge to watch a great movie, but hate having to drive across town to get your fix. If so, then TiVo has a great solution for you: Movie Rentals.

Movie Rentals is an application that allows you to access your Blockbuster Online, Netflix, or Amazon Unbox account directly from a TiVo. A slick program, Movie Rentals is not only easy to use, it also alleviates the need for a web browser on a computer.

Here are the features for the various content providers, as listed on the Movie Rentals web site:

Amazon Unbox Features:

  • Rent or purchase and download videos on your registered TiVos from Amazon Unbox
  • Watch video previews on TiVo ToGo enabled receivers
  • View or modify video preview queue.
  • Browse for movies by genre/category.
  • Search for movies by keyword.
  • View movie details including box art and ratings.
  • Support for Series 3 16x9 aspect ratio with 720p display

NetFlix Features:

  • View or modify online movie queue.
  • Browse for movies by genre/category.
  • Search for movies by keyword.
  • View movie details including box art and ratings.
  • Support for Series 3 16x9 aspect ratio with 720p display

Blockbuster Online Features:

  • View or modify online movie queue.
  • View user recommendations
  • Rate movies from the details screen
  • Browse for movies by genre/category.
  • Search for movies by keyword.
  • View movie details including box art and ratings.
  • Support for Series 3 16x9 aspect ratio with 720p display

I use Blockbuster Online, so the following is geared toward Movie Rentals usage with that service.

Requirements

  • A standalone Series 2 or 3 TiVo with HME enabled or a DirecTV HR10-250 running software 6.3x and enabled for HME (instructions here)
  • A working network for your TiVo(s) and computer(s)
  • A computer to run the MovieRentals application on
  • Familiarity with your online rental service using a web browser

Installation and Usage

Download the application here.

Extract the Zip file to your hard disk using a utility such as Power Archiver.

Go to the Movie Rentals\conf\ directory and edit the appropriate ".properties" for the online rental you use ("blockbuster.properties," in this case); WordPad should work fine. Enter your correct e-mail address and password for your online rental service.

Navigate to Movie Rentals\bin and run the appropriate RunX.bat file for the online rental you use ("runBlockbuster.bat," in this case).

Go to Music, Photos, & More in your TiVo menu. Look for the name of the rental service you use; it should have a computer icon to the right of it:

Select the service; you may see "Please wait..." while it accesses the service. You should see a screen similar to this one:

Selecting options from the menu should be self-explanatory. With Blockbuster Online,  moving items up or down in the queue is a snap: first, highlight your chosen movie; next, click on the right arrow; then use the up/down keys to move the item around. Hit the left arrow when you've finished with the movie selection.

To stop Movie Rentals, close the command window.

You'll most likely want to install the application as a service. To do so, do the following:

  1. Navigate to Movie Rentals\bin and run the appropriate installX.bat file.
  2. Right-click My Computer and choose Manage.
  3. Open Services and Applications.
  4. Open Services.
  5. Look for the name of the online rental service you use. Mine is "Blockbuster Online TiVo Application."
  6. Click on "Start the service."

From this point on, Movie Rentals will run in the background, even after a reboot of your computer. Note that Movie Rentals can also be run as a plugin from within Galleon. For more information, check out the "Readme.txt" included with the Movie Rentals installation.

For more information, go to the Movie Rentals web site or post in the Movie Rentals support thread at TiVo Community.