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Archive for the ‘Windows Media Center’ Category

Importing archived WMV videos into SageTV’s “My TV”

Posted by onlydarksets on January 12, 2009

I have a ton of archived TV shows recorded in Vista Media Center that I processed with DVRMSToolbox (i.e., removed commercials, converted to WMV, and copied over all of the metadata), but they didn’t fit in well in Sage’s “Videos” structure.  After converting a few shows using SageMC, I realized that you can have pretty much any video file type show up in “My TV”, so I spent some time figuring out how to migrate all of these shows using a VB script.

Turns out you can access most of Windows Media Player via WSH, so that made it pretty easy to grab all of the metadata once everything was loaded into WMP – you just have to know where to look.  The XML layout for the Sage Webserver is pretty well documented, although the source code to Andy’s excellent MigrateMCtoSage utility made it much easier to figure out the bare minimums.  The hardest part was actually finding the XML writer for WSH.

Note that this should also work for AVIs, which is the other main container format supported by WMP.  However, AVI tagging is pretty abysmal in WMP, mostly because it doesn’t write the tags back to the file.  I have found a couple of apps to do this, but nothing I would wholeheartedly recommend.

Backup you wiz.bin file before proceeding – you need to shut down the Sage service to do this properly.

  1. Download and unzip CreateVideoXML.vbs
    Optional: Open in a text editor and edit the output and temp files
  2. Import your videos into WMP and clean up the metadata
  3. Run CreateVideoXML.vbs
  4. Open Sage Webserver and import the resulting XML file (by default: C:\Playlist.xml)
    1. Check the Import TV files box
    2. Check the Overwrite Existing Show Information box
    3. Check the Overwrite Existing Sage TV File Information box
    4. Check the Use imported Airing data to determine startTime option (THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT)
    5. Uncheck everything else

After import, your videos will show up under “My TV”.

Posted in SageTV, Windows Media Center | 2 Comments »

Media Center and Vista need a divorce

Posted by onlydarksets on January 5, 2009

Long Zheng posted a link on his blog to a Microsoft-produced retrospective of the last decade of Media Center versions (also posted by Brent at GeekTonic, which reminded me to write on this).  It’s time for Microsoft to uncouple Media Center from the OS.

I jumped ship from Vista Media Center almost 6 months ago, and one of the biggest reasons was a  persistent bug with an identified cause resulted in many of my recordings having an incorrect duration, which made it difficult (although not impossible) to use the files.  To date, the problem has still not been resolved, because Media Center updates are tied to the OS release schedule, which does not permit quick release patches for non-critical bugs.  If they get it wrong, it’s a whole new cycle before they can send out another patch.

Microsoft already realizes that baking everything into the OS is not always the best idea, because it creates a bloated OS and reduces flexibility and limits the options for the individual apps (see here, here, and here).  Given the much richer experience I have had with SageTV since August, I think that applies to Media Center, as well.

Posted in Media Center PCs, Microsoft, Windows 7, Windows Media Center, Windows Vista | Leave a Comment »

Windows 7 media formats and transcoding

Posted by onlydarksets on November 15, 2008

Looks like Windows 7 will support DivX and XviD, in addition to H.264 and MP4.  It’s about time.

Posted in Media Center PCs, Windows 7, Windows Media Center | Leave a Comment »

Mediamote – VMC remote for iPhone

Posted by onlydarksets on September 19, 2008

Mediamote (iTunes link) is a remote control app that allows the iPhone to control VMC.

Not much to look at or in the description: “Mediamote is a remote control for Windows Media Center.”

Some more screenshots would be nice.  I’m curious how much data is pulled under the REC’D TV, Guide, Live TV, and DVD Menu buttons.

Posted in iPhone, Windows Media Center | Leave a Comment »

Quickly convert DVR-MS with Expression Encoder

Posted by onlydarksets on August 29, 2008

Way back when, I setup Expression Encoder to convert my DVR-MS files to WMV (for size and portability).  One thing I found was the command-line switch to make the conversion run at close to real-time, even for HD.  While I assume this will work with the new WTV format (and EE 2, for that matter), it’s not something I’m working on or maintaining anymore.

The switch is “/VideoComplexity 0”, and it reduces the computing time to process the video.  I never noticed a difference between setting it to 3 or dropping it to 0, but YMMV.

“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Expression\Encoder 1.0\Encoder.exe” /Source “e:\” /Target “E:\HD_TARGET.wmv” /VideoComplexity 0 /VideoProfile “HD Archive (CBR)” /Log On /Time

“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Expression\Encoder 1.0\Encoder.exe” /Source “e:\” /Target “E:\SD_TARGET.wmv” /VideoComplexity 0 /VideoProfile “SD Archive (CBR)” /Log On /Time

I setup two different profiles (SD and HD), and had each bring the resolution down to 720×480 for SD or 720×404 for HD.  Of course, this was all automated with commericials removed by DTb.

Posted in DVRMSToolbox, Windows Media Center | 4 Comments »

Testing Sage while running VMC

Posted by onlydarksets on July 30, 2008

Update: You have to disable the service, not stop it.  And, you have to also disable the “Windows Media Center Scheduler” service.

ehrec.exe ties up the tuners, so you can’t run an alternate media center while running VMC (or MCE).  Just stop disable the “Windows Media Center Receiver” service, and you should be good to go.

To access the services in Vista:

  1. Open Windows Explorer
  2. Right click on “Computer”
  3. Select “Manage”
  4. Select “Services and Applications”, and the “Services” from the tree

Posted in SageTV, Windows Media Center | 1 Comment »

MP4 tagging

Posted by onlydarksets on July 6, 2008

I currently have babgvant’s excellent DVRMSToolbox setup to automatically find commercials, strip them out, use Expression Encoder to convert to WMV, and then tag the files appropriately (Title, Subtitle, Type, etc.).  I have a profile setup for HD and for SD sources, and everything works pretty much perfectly.

Anticipating the iPhone, though, I need to find a way to do all of this with MP4 instead of WMV.  I have a command-line for VLC, so I’m good there (DTb will convert to MPEG2, so lack of DVR-MS support is not an issue).  However, DTb does not support tagging MP4 files.

AtomicParsley appears to fit the bill.  I’ll still have to cobble something together, though.

Posted in iPhone, Windows Media Center | 4 Comments »

Getting metadata from WMV files

Posted by onlydarksets on May 10, 2008

Update: Here is a better description of the solution.

Andy posted some code a while back to get metadata from a DVR-MS file, and I needed something similar for WMV.  Luckily, it seems to work on any file with metadata.  It won’t grab it all (e.g., season and episode), but it gets a lot of it.  Here’s the adapted code:

sub GetFileProperties(inFilePath)
    dim title, subtitle, folderName, fileName, createDate
    dim objShell, objFolder
    Dim fso, item, f

    Set fso = CreateObject(“Scripting.FileSystemObject”)
    Set objShell = CreateObject(“Shell.Application”)

    folderName = fso.GetParentFolderName(inFilePath)
    fileName = fso.GetFileName(inFilePath)

    Set objFolder = objShell.Namespace(folderName) 
    set item = objFolder.ParseName(fileName)
    Wscript.Echo objFolder.GetDetailsOf(item, 10)

    Wscript.Echo “(1) Filesize: ” & objFolder.GetDetailsOf(item, 1)
    Wscript.Echo “(2) File type: ” & objFolder.GetDetailsOf(item, 2)
    Wscript.Echo “(3) Created Date: ” & objFolder.GetDetailsOf(item, 3)
    Wscript.Echo “(4) Modified Date: ” & objFolder.GetDetailsOf(item, 4)
    Wscript.Echo “(5) Accessed Date: ” & objFolder.GetDetailsOf(item, 5)
    Wscript.Echo “(6) Attrib?: ” & objFolder.GetDetailsOf(item, 6)
    Wscript.Echo “(7) ?: ” & objFolder.GetDetailsOf(item, 7)
    Wscript.Echo “(8) User: ” & objFolder.GetDetailsOf(item, 8)
    Wscript.Echo “(10) **Series Name: ” & objFolder.GetDetailsOf(item, 10)
    Wscript.Echo “(21) **Show Length: ” & objFolder.GetDetailsOf(item, 21)
    Wscript.Echo “(22) **Bitrate: ” & objFolder.GetDetailsOf(item, 22)
    Wscript.Echo “(23) ?: ” & objFolder.GetDetailsOf(item, 23)
    Wscript.Echo “(26) **Resolution: ” & objFolder.GetDetailsOf(item, 26)
    Wscript.Echo “(27) **Horizontal Res: ” & objFolder.GetDetailsOf(item, 27)
    Wscript.Echo “(28) **Vertical Res: ” & objFolder.GetDetailsOf(item, 28)
    Wscript.Echo “(29) **Episode Name: ” & objFolder.GetDetailsOf(item, 29)
    Wscript.Echo “(30) **Episode Description: ” & objFolder.GetDetailsOf(item, 30)
    Wscript.Echo “(32) **Audio bits: ” & objFolder.GetDetailsOf(item, 32)
    Wscript.Echo “(33) **Audio kHz: ” & objFolder.GetDetailsOf(item, 33)
    Wscript.Echo “(34) **Audio channels: ” & objFolder.GetDetailsOf(item, 34)

    set f = nothing
    set item = nothing

    set objFolder = nothing
    set objShell = nothing
    set fso = nothing
end sub

dim args
set args = wscript.arguments

GetFileProperties args(0)

set args = nothing

Posted in Windows Media Center | Leave a Comment »

Setting up HDHomeRun for QAM in Vista Media

Posted by onlydarksets on March 16, 2008

The HDHomeRun is a network-based dual-ATSC tuner device.  While the fact that you can keep the tuners outside the PC box is intriguing, the real power of the HDHR is that it was the first ATSC tuner to create a BDA-wrapper to allow you to record unencrypted-QAM in Vista Media Center (it also works with Windows Media Center 2005).

The instructions are a bit lacking, so I’ve done a detailed step-by-step.  Part one is setting up the tuners with the HDHR Setup application.  Part two is setting up Vista Media Center.  Check out part one after the break.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Windows Media Center | 5 Comments »

Running the VMC Guided Setup with an HDHomeRun

Posted by onlydarksets on March 16, 2008

This is the second step in setting up an HDHR with Vista Media Center (step one is here).  The HDHR instructions are kind of lacking, so hopefully this will help someone else out.  The screencaps are pretty self-explanatory, so there are only a few captions where necessary.  It is screencap-intensive, so it’s after the break.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Windows Media Center | 1 Comment »