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Archive for January, 2008

Action: AdjustMetaData

Posted by onlydarksets on January 29, 2008


This Action will write certain meta data to the CutDvrmsFile Context. By default, it will create two new meta data fields (and default them to the following values):

  • WM/Toolname = DVRMSToolbox
  • WM/ToolVersion = <currentversion> (e.g.,

You can also do the following:

  • FixSlider – not sure why you would do this, but it sets the WM/WMRVEndTime and WM/MediaOriginalRunTime fields.
  • AddTooledToDescription – prepends the MetaMarker value to the WM/SubTitleDescription field. You can then check this value in a processing condition to see if the file has run through a particular Profile.
  • IncrementScheduleItem – not sure why you would do this, but it increments WM/WMRVScheduleItemID.

Using Toub’s DVR-MS meta data editor, you can see the following meta data fields and values have been added:


A few important notes:

  1. AdjustMetaData only writes to the CutDVRMSFile Context. So, if you want to edit the input file (for example), you need to first copy the InputFile Context to the CutDVRMSFile Context. You can set the CutDVRMSFile value by:
    1. Add a ChangeContextValue Action
    2. SourceContext = <Context for which you want to update the meta data>
    3. TargetContext = CutDVRMSFile
    4. FindRegex = (.*)
    5. ReplaceRegex = $1
  2. This should be the last Action in your Profile. Otherwise, if there is a failure, the file will be marked as successfully processed when, in fact, it was not. Also, due to #1, if you set it too early you could muck up another Action that legitimately needs to use the CutDVRMSFile Context (e.g., cutting commercials from DVR-MS).
  3. Regenerate MetaTags.bin. MetaTags.bin is a list of all meta data that can be evaluated by a Processing Condition. The “stock” MetaTags.bin does not include WM/Toolname. If you want to evaluate WM/Toolname, you need to first run a Profile that sets WM/Toolname on a DVR-MS file, and then run Generate MetaTags.bin from the Processing Condition dialog box (and select the DVR-MS file you just modified).

Posted in Actions, DVRMSToolbox | 2 Comments »

FiOS 15/15

Posted by onlydarksets on January 17, 2008

Just got a flier in the mail for the new FiOS service – 15MB download and 15MB upload.  What on earth could that be used for?

Posted in Verizon | Leave a Comment »

Fixing the Duration Bug

Posted by onlydarksets on January 15, 2008

NOTE: This post is in progress. If it doesn’t work, try this workaround instead.

What’s the Problem?

In certain scenarios, VMC will record a show and incorrectly set the duration to approximately 5-6 minutes.  VMC thinks the show is that long, so skipping through causes it to jump around erratically.  This does not affect Windows MCE 2005, and it does not happen with all cards.  It also does not happen with all capture cards, or to everyone with a particular capture card.

For more information, see this thread over at TGB.

What You Need

Step 1: Create a new Profile

  1. Add ChangeContextValue Action:
    1. SourceContext = InputFile
    2. TargetContext = OutputFile
    3. FindRegex = ^((.*\\)(.*)\.(.*))\z
    4. ReplaceRegex = E:\$3 (FIXED).$4
      (NOTE: use a path to a temporary location that is outside the Watched Folder but on the same drive)
  2. Add RunExternal Action:
    1. ProcessName = C:\Program Files\DVRMSToolbox\FixDVRMSDuration.exe
    2. ArgumentsContext = “%InputFile%” “%OutputFile%”
      (NOTE: you must include the quotes)
  3. Add FileOperation Action:
    1. ContextFile = InputFile
    2. DestinationPath = E:\BAD_DURATION_FILES\
      (NOTE: use a path to a temporary location that is outside the Watched Folder but on the same drive. You can also just delete the input files if you want.)
    3. WhatOperation = Move
      (NOTE: you could also just delete the input files by setting this to “Delete”)
  4. Add FileOperation Action:
    1. ContextFile = OutputFile
    2. DestinationPath = E:\Recorded TV\
      (NOTE: this should be your Recorded TV directory. Once the file is moved, it will be processed as a new file)

Step 2: Create a New Processing Condition

  1. Two criteria:
    1. Filename does not contain “(FIXED)”
    2. Duration < ~15 minutes

Posted in Windows Media Center | 2 Comments »

HowTo: ChangeContextValue regular expressions

Posted by onlydarksets on January 15, 2008

I came up with a regular expression that should allow full access to the path, filename, and extension when using the ChangeContextValue Action. I’m sure there is a more efficient way to do it, but this works just fine.

FindRegex: ^((.*\\)(.*)\.(.*))\z


  • $1 = E:\Recorded TV\subdir\another one\Dirty Sexy
  • $2 = E:\Recorded TV\subdir\another one\
  • $3 = Dirty Sexy Money_WJLA-DT_10_10_2007_22_00_01
  • $4 = dvr-ms

So, if you want to change the extension, the ReplaceRegex value would be:


If you want to change the path, the ReplaceRegex would be:

C:\New Path\$3.$4

I don’t suggest using this to change the filename (use the AdvancedFileRename Action instead). However, if you insist, the ReplaceRegex would be:

$2$3 (FIXED).$4

Posted in DVRMSToolbox, HowTo | Leave a Comment »

Free push mail with Windows Live

Posted by onlydarksets on January 14, 2008

The nomenclature is confusing as all, but the features from MS are getting better and better.

Posted in Windows Mobile | Leave a Comment »

Best resolution for playback on Zune and VMC?

Posted by onlydarksets on January 12, 2008

My video source is NTSC via DVR-MS.  I am converting using DVRMSToolbox, natch, (which uses DVR2WMV), and a custom PRX (found here).

Has anyone found a single set of video conversion settings that will allow proper aspect ratios on both the Zune and through Vista Media Center (or an extender)?

DVR-MS SD shows are natively 720×480.  If I maintain the aspect ratio when converting to WMV, the file plays fine on the Zune, but it is letterboxed.  If I lower the resolution to 640×480 during conversion, it looks perfect on the Zune, but the AR is obviously wrong when I play it on VMC or an extender.

I am looking for a conversion setting that will allow the video to display with the proper aspect ratio, regardless of where it is played.  Alternatively, is there an option on the Zune to “stretch” the video to fit the screen during playback?

Posted in DVRMSToolbox, Zune 2 | Leave a Comment »

Video on the Zune – DVRMSToolbox

Posted by onlydarksets on January 9, 2008

Maybe it’s because I’m already running DTb, but this was easy as pie. I installed it on my laptop, opened up DTbGUI, set the input and output files, and then selected the “Cut out commercials, convert to WMV” profile. It took about 10 minutes, and spit out a 1700Kbps WMV3 file of a 30 minute show with the commercials removed.

That said, the 21 minute video (at 720×480) was a 280MB file, which is far too large for SD.

I lowered the video bitrate to 800Kbps (by using a text editor to modify the PRX file in the C:\Program Files\DVRMSToolbox\prx directory), and the resulting WMV file was about 165MB. To change the bitrate, make a copy of cbrNTSC.prx and open the new file (I called mine cbrZune). You need to update the “Video Stream” <streamconfig> tag, and the <videoinfoheader> tags with the new bitrates:

<streamconfig majortype=”{73646976-0000-0010-8000-00AA00389B71}”
streamname=”Video Stream”

<videoinfoheader dwbitrate=”900000″

The resolution was 720×480, but it should be 640×480 to get the right aspect ratio. So, I modified the <rctarget> and <bitmapinfoheader> tags to reflect the correct aspect ratio.

I also tried to lower the audio from 160Kbps to 96Kbps, and it reduced the size to 155MB, but the audio was completely hosed (skipping in and out). I’ll have to look into that, but it’s 10MB, so I’m not horribly worried about it.

If you are interested, you can download the PRX here.

So, that’s great – I’m not even going to bother looking at the other solutions, because DTb works great for SD, it’s already installed, and I’m familiar with it. If it breaks down in the future, then I’ll consider it, but, knowing the developer behind it, I have faith it will keep chugging along (at least, until he defects to Apple ;)).

However, this solution doesn’t work for HD (ATSC) sources. More on that later.

Posted in DVRMSToolbox, Zune 2 | 1 Comment »

Transcoding DVR-MS files for the Zune

Posted by onlydarksets on January 9, 2008

Most of the blog and forum postings out there for converting video for the Zune are for manual conversions. I haven’t found a whole lot of discussion on automatically converting from WMC DVR-MS files to a Zune-compliant format, and I have found next to nothing on converting HD DVR-MS.

First, for manual conversion, there are a few options out there that will create Zune-compliant WMV files (see this clearinghouse list):

However, the Zune now supports MP4 and h.264. That opens up the options to any software that supports DVR-MS as an input and either of those codecs as an output. A partial list:

Since I’m looking at solutions that can be automated, it will probably come down to DVRMSToolbox, ZuneTVWatcher, Encode360 (which has a command line), and ffmpeg.

Posted in Zune 2 | Leave a Comment »

Bye-bye Vista…

Posted by onlydarksets on January 8, 2008

I got tired of waiting (and waiting…and waiting…and waiting) for Vista to respond to simple commands like “delete this file” on the desktop at home, so I downgraded it to XP today.

It’s nice to see stuff just “work” again.

Posted in Windows XP | Leave a Comment »


Posted by onlydarksets on January 8, 2008

Just signed up for a ZunePass for our Zunes.  Turns out you can install it on up to 3 computers and sync it to up to 3 Zunes – pretty sweet for $15/month!

See section 14.2:

Posted in Zune 2 | 2 Comments »