Originally Posted by tspofford
I expect this is a FAQ but I can't find it.
You can find a lot more information in the Home Media
forum, which is the more appropriate place to discuss these issues. But even in that forum, there's no overarching FAQ. You must read a number of threads to gather the information you will need.
There are multiple ways to process .tivo files. E.g. there is a standalone program called tivodecode that can simply remove the encryption. One easy way to get tivodecode is to download kmttg, which is discussed extensively in the other forum. Kmttg includes and uses tivodecode, but also does a whole lot more. Once decrypted, you can use e.g. handbrake to transcode to H.264 format that's smaller and more conducive to storing on a laptop for watching on a plane. You can then double-click on the resulting file and iTunes will import it. Or you could just use VLC as a viewer. I personally use the kmttg -> tivodecode -> handbrake -> VLC workflow to get files to my Mac for viewing.
Or you can use videoredo, another program that's frequently discussed. It costs money, but will decrypt and also transcode.
Or you could just use tivodecode to decrypt, then use VLC to watch the MPEG-2 without transcoding.
Many many ways to solve your problem.