AssassinHTPC

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Windows 7 & WMC Live TV

Table of Guides (with quicklinks):

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Adding TV Channel Logos to WMC

In a previous guide I showed you the steps required to watch Live TV on your HTPC. In this guide I will show you how to download channel icons for your TV Guide.

Software needed: My Channel Logos (free or $3.40)

This software used to be free but due to lack of donations the developer has decided to charge $3.40 for the auto-populate version. I feel this is money well spent and gladly paid the $3 to have this software do all the work for me. There is also a free version which requires more work on your part.

First let’s click on the “Download MCL Version 2 for $3.40” link and pay with paypal.

Click “return to My Channel Logos” and begin your download.

Click Next

Confirm by hitting next

Close to complete installation

The program will auto update

Here you can see your channels with and without logos. You can manually add logos here as well. Since we paid for the auto populate version let’s click “auto populate logos”

Now you can see all the logos that have populated your channels!

Now when you go back to the guide you can see the logos! Much better! You can manually add logos for any of the other if you want as well.

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Remove Channels from your EPG:

I like having only the channels I subscribe to show up, so go to WMC -> Settings -> TV -> Guide -> Edit Channels

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Recording Live TV in WMC

This guide will show you how to setup and record live TV in WMC. (special thanks for member Sammy2 for helping with this guide)

Open Media Center, scroll down to the TV menu and select recorded tv.

Select “add recording”.

Select “Search”.

Select “title”

A search widow will appear. At this point you can start typing with your remote keyboard, press OK on your MCE remote or double click in the search box. The first method allows for direct input with a keyboard, whereas the second and third methods will bring up the on screen keyboard. Let’s search for “nba” and select “2011 NBA Finals”

If you wish to record the series, select “record series”.

When you select to record the series it also tells you what other episodes will be recorded. Let’s click on the right arrow to change the settings.

Select “Record Settings”

Let’s change the default end time from 3 minutes after to 1 hour after so that I don’t miss the end of the game. This is especially helpful if a sports game goes into extra time or innings. When you are finished select “Save”

Another way to find what you want to record is to repeat the first three steps above and then select “Categories”, select “Sports” and then select “Basketball”. All listings for Basketball will appear. From here you can select what you want to record in the same manner as before.

An alternative and great way to find what you want to record is to use the guide provided by Media Center. This guide is usually good for up to 14 days of future programing data. This typically will require that you know beforehand the channel and time of the program you wish to record.

Scroll to find the program that you want to record and select it to setup the recording in the same manner as described above.

Now let’s look at our scheduled recordings. You also can view your recorded shows as well and sort by title, original air date and recorded date.

One final way to schedule a recording is to select “Search” directly from the TV section of WMC.

Let’s search for all media with with Steve Carell as an actor. Type “stev” in the search box and select “Steve Carell”

Here are our options. Let’s choose “TV Shows” and record “The Office” as a series.

If you want to record a show you are currently watching, either select the red “record” button with your mouse pointer by clicking it or you can press the red “record” button on your remote. This will take whatever has been saved in the live TV pause buffer (explained later) and add it to your recording, most likely allowing you to record a show that has already begun if you’ve been tuned to the channel that it is on when the show started.

Now that we’ve done some basic recording, let’s take a look at the recording settings. To access these select “Settings” from the Media Center main menu then select “TV”. Next select “Recorder”.

Now let’s take a look at the recorder storage. This is where WMC will store your recordings to the hard drive on your computer.

I want to change the location where the recordings are being stored from my OS drive (“C”) to my Storage drive (“I”). To do this I select the + to toggle through the available drives on my system. Then I select “Save” to instruct Media Center to record to this drive.

Finally under “Recorder Defaults” you can set WMC to record new shows or new and re-run shows. You can also set WMC to record only from a specific channel or from all channels that contain the programs that you have set to record. Additionally, you can tell WMC how many recordings of a specific show to save before the older recordings are deleted from the library (hard drive) to make room for the new ones.

There are many other settings that you can make here, but I have gone through the basic settings. I encourage you to play with the settings to set your system up for your wants and needs. So that’s the basics of recording live TV. Easy, wasn’t it?

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Starting WMC in Live TV Mode

For those of you who use WMC mainly in Live TV mode to watch TV and record shows I will show you how to start WMC in Live TV mode.

For those of you who launch WMC from a desktop shortcut locate your shortcut on the desktop and right click it to select “Properties”

 

Click on the “Shortcut” tab and locate the “target” area.

In the “Target” box locate %windir%\ehome\ehshell.exe. Leave a space after exe and type “/mcesuperbar://tv?live=true”

Now your “Target” box should look like the following (notice the space after .exe):

%windir%\ehome\ehshell.exe “/mcesuperbar://tv?live=true”

Click “OK” when you are done.

If instead you open WMC from the Start menu we will need to make this change there. Or if you have both a desktop shortcut and also launch from the Start menu then just do both.

Click “Start” and then find “Windows Media Center”. Right click on it and choose “Properties”

Now make the same change in the “Target” box as stated above

Now when you open WMC it should open in Live TV mode on your last viewed channel!

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Transcoding to a Smaller File Size and Removing Commercials Automatically from Recorded TV (Option 1)

We now have multiple guides on how to remove commercials and/or shrink/change the file size of your recordings. The next 2 guides are our newest versions of how we recommend that this should be performed. I will also keep a few older MCE Buddy guides as a reference for those of you who want to use an older version of MCE Buddy. For almost all users I recommend Option 1.

I have added an another guide/option for changing recordings and removing files here using MC-TVConverter as well.

This guide is to show you how to convert, shrink and remove ads from TV shows that you have recorded on your HTPC with a TV Tuner.

Windows Records TV programs in a .wtv file format.  The main issue with the .wtv format is its size which can quickly consume any hard drive.  A generally rule of thumb is that for every 10 minutes of a show, a .wtv file will be 1GB in size.  A 1 hour TV recording will be over 5 GB in size (that’s way too large, imo).

MCEBuddy converts and shrinks your files to a much more manageable size without losing much quality.  The recommended format that MCEBuddy converts to (H264 MKV) shrinks the file down to about 150MB for every 10 minutes of recording (about 10% of what a .wtv file requires!) which means more space for future recording on your HTPC.

It takes about 10-15 minutes to remove the commercials from a 1 hour recording.  Converting after commercials are removed will take another 55-60 minutes.  The entire process will take between 60-70 minutes for a typical 1 hour recording for a 4-core processor (longer for processors with less cores).

The good part of MCEBuddy is that they let you schedule a time to do this, so you can schedule it to convert and de-commercialize your recordings over the night or while you’re at work. The result are recorded programs that are commercial free, decreased drastically in size and automatically ready to go the next time you use your HTPC (assuming like me you set your schedule to do these tasks at night).

Before we start here are some assumptions and how my folders are setup.  WMC = Windows Media Center.  MCM = Media Center Master.  MB = Media Browser.  I have an i3-2100 on a Z68 mobo.  My C: drive is a SSD.  I have multiple mechanical hard drives in my HTPC that are pooled using FlexRAID (D:) and one 3TB drive that is not in the pool (F:).  MCEBuddy is installed at C:\Program Files\MCEBuddy.  WMC records my TV shows to F:\RecordedTV (this is set inside of WMC).  I created another folder D:\TV Shows (this where my completed conversions will go).  I also created a folder D:\Temp Conversions (more on this option later).

First let’s go to MCEBuddy’s website to download the newest release.  Make sure to select the correct version for your copy of Windows (32 or 64 bit).

After opening the downloaded file click next to install. Now tell the program where you want to install (the new version does not make the “Tyrell” folder).

Once the program is installed run it and the initial screen should look like this:

First, click on Settings.

Your Monitor Location will most likely default to your Windows Public folder.  We want to change that to where WMC saves your Recorded TV.  Click on Add under Monitor locations.  A new window will open.

Type whatever you want next to Monitor name.  Next, click to the right of Monitor path.  Another window will open.

Select the folder where your Recorded TV is saved (F:\Recorded TV).  Click OK.

Select Monitor subdirectories.   Add a * to Search pattern (don’t worry this won’t convert everything in your Recorded TV folder).  Click OK.

Delete the default Monitor location and just leave the one we just created.

Now setup the Conversion tasks.  Click Add under Conversion tasks.

Name the Task name something that will remind you what kind of conversion it is.  From the dropdown list under Profile you can see there are several options.  Remember, a 1 hour wtv is about 5.4 GB in size.  All profiles will cut out commercials if Comskip is selected and retain 5.1 sound.  WTV NoRecode will save to an approximately 49 minute wtv file that is 3.8 GB in size.  Total conversion time is approximately 15 minutes.  Both MKV High Quality and  MP4 High Quality will save to an approximately 49 minute mp4 file that is 756 MB in size.  Total conversion time is approximately 67 minutes.  DivX Avi High Quality will save to an approximately 49 minute avi file that is 746 MB in size.  Total conversion time is approximately 18 hours.  NoRecode Highest Quality will be the exact quality of the original but the file size is still HUGE!  DivX Avi High Quality will greatly reduce the file size, but it is running ffmpeg at such a high, 2 pass profile, to get a superior picture quality that is takes 18 hours, WAY too long!  MKV High Quality and MP4 High Quality run a 2 pass MEncoder or ffmpeg that is much quicker and still delivers a great picture and the file size is just right.  Experiment on what you like (the MCEBuddy wiki has a plethora of tweaks) but I am happy with MKV High Quality (it saves the audio in AC3 format, and H264 video in the MKV container).

Click next to Destination and select the folder for your completed conversions to go (D:\TV Shows).  Select Comskip from the dropdown to remove commercials from your converted files.  (MCEBuddy also installs ShowAnalyzer on your HTPC, it will come up as an option also)  Click the expandable blue arrows to the far right of Advanced Settings.

Make sure Rename and sort by video information, Download series info and Enable custom file renaming are all checked.  The makers of MCEBuddy have built in help features, simply hovering your mouse over any option will explain that option and its variables. The picture to the right is what you’ll see if you hover over Enable custom file renaming, you can see there are plenty of different ways to name your output file.  I have MCEBuddy create a series folder in the D:\TV Show folder as well as a Season subfolder and place the episode in that subfolder using the naming convention ‘show name – sXXeYY – episode name.mkv’ (if MCEBuddy is unable to find series info from the internet it will still create the folder of the series name but no season folder and dump the file there).

In the File name match field enter all the shows you want MCEBuddy to convert.  For example Revenge* will return any file name that starts with the word “Revenge”.  *Mother* will return any file that has the word “Mother” anywhere in it.  ~*How* will exclude any file that has the word “How” in it.  Once you have compiled the list of shows you want converted.  Checking Multichannel audio will allow the output file to have 5.1 audio, leave it blank if you want stereo.  There is also an option Comskip INI that will let you have custom Comskip files for different conversion tasks.  If you leave this blank it will use the default comskip.ini in the comskip folder in the MCEBuddy2x folder.  Click OK.

Delete the default Conversion Task and just leave the one we just created.

This is what the Settings should look like now. (Except the ‘\\HTPC-i3\Data\TV Shows’ will be ‘D:\TV Shows’)  Click the blue arrows to the right of Advance Settings.

To prevent MCEBuddy from converting a file as soon as it is recorded, set Min age before conversion (hours) to a number higher than 0.  Check Delete Original File.  If you are scared to do so until you are positive all the conversions are running smoothly for a few days you can check Archive Original File instead and MCEBuddy will create a subfolder named “MCEBuddy Archive” inside the F:\RecordedTV folder and move the original wtv to this location.  These wtv files will still be visible in the “Recorded TV” tab in WMC.  If you want this archive to be somewhere else use Archive folder option at the bottom.  Under Advanced Settings check Start at and Stop at as well as what times you want to let MCEBuddy run its conversions, you can also select what days of the week you want to allow MCEBuddy to run.

Optional (especially for users who have their programs on a smaller SSD drive).  MCEBuddy needs three times the space of the original file to process a conversion.  Therefore, a 7GB wtv file needs 21GB of free space on the drive where the conversion is being done.  If your C: drive is a SSD this may not be feasible.  Temp folder allows you to select a different location for the conversion to happen (this is NOT the output folder D:\TV Shows we set earlier, just a place where all the temporary conversion files get saved until MCEBuddy finishes the conversion and deletes them).  Click OK.

Click Start and the main GUI screen will populate with all the files to be converted at the Start time you set.  It will sit idle until then.

That’s it for MCEBuddy!  Once you have selected “Delete Original”, “Commercial Skipping” and told MCEBuddy where to find the original .wtv files and where to send the completed de-commercialized tv files you are set to go.

 

Guide #35b: Download Artwork and Refresh Media Browser all Automatically

Now lets setup Media Center Master to download folder and backdrop art, and refresh Media Browser for your Media Center automatically.

Click Settings and Preferences under Application.

Setup the General tab as pictured below.  I have set auto-scan folder for every 1 hour and episodes every 2 hours.  I also have MCM setup to minimize to tray.

Setup the Renaming tab as pictured below.  Make sure Rename folders during fetch and Rename files too are both NOT selected.  MCEBuddy will be creating the folder and we don’t want MCM to change them.

Setup the T.V. tab as pictured below.  Click Save.

Click Set scan folders… under Application.

Use Add new… to add in all the folders you want MCM to monitor.  Then click Done.

Check Use auto-scan and Use episode-level auto-scan for T.V. shows.

MCM will now continuously monitor your TV Shows.  After MCEBuddy adds a new episode, MCM will download metadata and an episode thumbnail for that episode.  It will also retrieve Season and Show folder art and backdrops if it is a newly added show.  (Sidenote: You can see I have my movie files locked.  This is because I do NOT want MCM to continuously update their metadata.  I let MCM update my movies once to get all the metadata and artwork, then I lock it.  The reason being is that I do not like all the different genres that usually get assigned to movies.  So once the movie is locked I manually edit the xml file to the 1 or 2 genres I want that movie to show up in when I sort by genre in MB).

Minimize MCM to the tray.  Do not Exit or hit the ‘X’ to close or else it will not run in the background.

Last step is to set up MB and when MB does its refresh.

Add your TV folder to MB in the MB Configurator.  Add an image if you want here also.  Close the MB Configurator.

Open your hidden tray icons on the bottom right of your desktop.  Right click on the MB Service icon and select Show Interface….

Under the Media Collection Refresh Schedule set the Interval to 1 day and Refresh Time to 14:00.  The reason I use 1400 is because I have MCEBuddy running from 2300 to 0800.  Then MCM is set to scan folders every 1 hour and episodes every 2 hours.  Thus, everything should be downloaded by 1400 and MB can refresh at this time and have everything ready from me when I get home from work!  Close the window (it will minimize back to the tray).

Congratulations!  Now instead of this:

You now have this:

 

Enjoy your TV shows with the eye-candy of Media Browser!

Wilky13

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Transcoding to a Smaller File Size and Removing Commercials Automatically from Recorded TV (Option 2)

We now have a few guides on how to remove commercials and/or shrink/change the file size of your recordings. The next 3 guides are here for reference for those of you using an older version of MCE Buddy. We recommend using Option 1 for most users.

This guide is to show you how to convert, shrink and remove ads from TV that you have recorded on your HTPC with a TV Tuner for your Media Center

Windows Records TV programs in a .wtv file format. The main issue with the .wtv format is its size which can quickly consume any hard drive. A generally rule of thumb is that for every 10 minutes of a show, a .wtv file will be 1GB in size. So 50 minutes of a TV recording will be roughly 5 GB in size (that’s way too large, imo).

MCEBuddy converts and shrinks your files to a much more manageable size without losing much quality. The recommended format that MCEBuddy converts to (H264 MP4) shrinks the file down to about 100MB for every 10 minutes of recording (about 10% of what a .wtv file requires!) which means more space for future recording on your HTPC.

It takes about 5 minutes to remove the commercials from 20 minutes or recording. Converting after commercials are removed (mandatory) will take another 25 minutes the entire process will take between 30-40 minutes for a typical 20 minute recording.

So this might not be an option to use if you want to watch something immediately after recording it.

However, the good part of MCEBuddy is that they let you schedule a time to do this, so you can schedule it to convert and de-commerciallize your recordings over the night or while you’re at work. The result are recorded programs that are commercial free, decreased drastically in size and automatically ready to go the next time you use your HTPC (assuming like me you set your schedule to do these tasks at night).

First let’s go to MCEBuddy’s website to download the newest stable release. Make sure to select the correct version for your copy of Windows (32 or 64 bit).

 

After opening the downloaded file click next to install

Now tell the program where you want to install

Once the program is installed run it and the initial screen should look like this:

Under the Video Conversion section: H264 MP4 is recommended but also is the most taxing format and requires the most work from your computer. If you don’t mind waiting for your files (such as scheduling these tasks at night) then this is a great option. The time will be shortened the faster the hardware you have. Alternatively you can use the XVID AVI format as it should speed up conversion and commercial removal times but is lower in quality.

Newer versions of MCEBuddy allow you to choose the MKV container over MP4. I prefer MKV because it allows you to use AC3 audio instead of AAC. The end result file size are about the same but the downside is the MKV rip may take longer to create than an equivalent MP4.

Make sure you select “Delete Original” which deletes the original larger file after the converting and removal of commercials and also “Commercial Skipping” which will remove the commercials before its converted.

Under Advanced Options: Set an Auto Run time – If you want to schedule a time for MCEBuddy to run automatically schedule a time like I did below. I have this set to run between 2 and 3 in the morning. Remember that this is when it starts. It might continue past 3am if the conversion takes longer.

Under Video Paths: Source: The location you have Media Center recording your TV shows to currently. Destination: Create a new Folder to send the new converted and de-commercialized recordings to.

Under Second Conversion: Do not select anything. Leave this blank.

That’s it! Once you have selected “Delete Original”, “Commercial Skipping” and told MCEBuddy where to find the original .wtv files and where to send the completed de-commercialized tv files you are set to go.

Press Start and it should be do its thing automatically!

Other Notes: Versions 1.0.9 and later (like 1.1 that we have installed here) will wake a system from hibernation for conversions and will stop a system from automatically sleeping while a conversion is occurring.
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Recorded TV: Transcode to a Smaller File Size, Remove Commercials, Download Artwork and Refresh Media Browser all Automatically (Option 3)

This guide is to show you how to convert, shrink and remove ads from TV shows that you have recorded on your HTPC with a TV Tuner, setup Media Center Master to download folder and backdrop art, and refresh Media Browser for your Media Center automatically.

Windows Records TV programs in a .wtv file format. The main issue with the .wtv format is its size which can quickly consume any hard drive. A generally rule of thumb is that for every 10 minutes of a show, a .wtv file will be 1GB in size. A 1 hour TV recording will be over 5 GB in size (that’s way too large, imo).

MCEBuddy converts and shrinks your files to a much more manageable size without losing much quality. The recommended format that MCEBuddy converts to (H264 MP4) shrinks the file down to about 150MB for every 10 minutes of recording (about 10% of what a .wtv file requires!) which means more space for future recording on your HTPC.

It takes about 10-15 minutes to remove the commercials from a 1 hour recording. Converting after commercials are removed will take another 55-60 minutes. The entire process will take between 60-70 minutes for a typical 1 hour recording.

So this might not be an option to use if you want to watch something immediately after recording it.

However, the good part of MCEBuddy is that they let you schedule a time to do this, so you can schedule it to convert and de-commercialize your recordings over the night or while you’re at work. The result are recorded programs that are commercial free, decreased drastically in size and automatically ready to go the next time you use your HTPC (assuming like me you set your schedule to do these tasks at night).

Before we start here are some assumptions and how my folders are setup. WMC = Windows Media Center. MCM = Media Center Master. MB = Media Browser. I have an i3-2100 on a Z68 mobo. My C: drive is a SSD. I have multiple mechanical hard drives in my HTPC (D:, E:). MCEBuddy is installed at C:\Program Files\MCEBuddy. WMC records my TV shows to E:\RecordedTV (this is set inside of WMC). I created another folder E:\TV Shows (this where my completed conversions will go). I also created a folder D:\Temp Conversions (more on this option later).

First let’s go to MCEBuddy’s website to download the newest release. Make sure to select the correct version for your copy of Windows (32 or 64 bit).

After opening the downloaded file click next to install

Now tell the program where you want to install (the new version does not make the “Tyrell” folder).

Once the program is installed run it and the initial screen should look like this:

First, click on Settings.

Your Monitor Location will most likely default to your Windows Public folder. We want to change that to where WMC saves your Recorded TV. Click on Add under Monitor locations. A new window will open.

Type whatever you want next to Monitor name. Next, click to the right of Monitor path. Another window will open.

Select the folder where your Recorded TV is saved (E:\Recorded TV). Click OK.

Lets leave Search pattern empty for now. Click OK.

Delete the default Monitor location and just leave the one we just created.

Now setup the Conversion tasks. Click Add under Conversion tasks.

Name the Task name something that will remind you what kind of conversion it is. From the dropdown list under Profile you can see there are several options. Remember, a 1 hour wtv is about 5.4 GB in size. All profiles will cut out commercials if Comskip is selected and retain 5.1 sound. NoRecode Highest Quality will save to an approximately 49 minute avi file that is 3.8 GB in size. Total conversion time is approximately 15 minutes. MP4 High Quality will save to an approximately 49 minute mp4 file that is 756 MB in size. Total conversion time is approximately 67 minutes. DivX Avi High Quality will save to an approximately 49 minute avi file that is 746 MB in size. Total conversion time is approximately 18 hours. NoRecode Highest Quality will be the exact quality of the original but the file size is still HUGE! DivX Avi High Quality will greatly reduce the file size, but it is running ffmpeg at such a high, 2 pass profile, to get a superior picture quality that is takes 18 hours, WAY too long! MP4 High Quality runs a 2 pass MEncoder that is much quicker and still delivers a great picture and the file size is just right. Experiment on what you like (the MCEBuddy wiki has a plethora of tweaks) but I am happy with MP4 High Quality (it does save the audio in AAC format, versus AC3 with an avi, you will have to tweak your LAV or Shark007 setup to bitstream AAC audio).

Click next to Destination and select the folder for your completed conversions to go (E:\TV Shows). Select Comskip from the dropdown to remove commercials from your converted files. (If you have ShowAnalyzer installed on your HTPC, it will come up as an option also).

Make sure Get series details from the internet, Rename and sort by video information, and Use MC compatible naming are all checked. MCEBuddy will create a series folder in the E:\TV Show folder as well as a Season subfolder and place the episode in that subfolder using the naming convention ‘SXXEYY – episode name.mp4’ (if MCEBuddy is unable to find series info from the internet it will still create the folder of the series name but no season folder). Leave File name match empty for now. Click OK.

Delete the default Conversion Task and just leave the one we just created.

This is what the Settings should look like now. Click OK and close MCEBuddy.

Now we will make two tweaks that I have found made the conversions either quicker or better. Navigate to C:\Program Files\MCEBuddy\config.

The first tweak will help if you have more than one hard drive in your HTPC. This way you are reading from one drive while writing to another which is faster than trying to read and write to the same drive. Open with any word editor program the file called mcebuddy.conf. Edit the TempworkinPath= to TempworkingPath=D:\Temp Conversion. Save and close.

I found the default audio delay built into the MEncoder profile of 0.185 was not synced with the video, changing it to mencoder-audiodelay=skip kept the converted audio and video in sync. Save and close.

Reopen MCEBuddy. We will run a manual conversion and make sure our output file is to our liking. Click Start.

The program should idle. Click Add.

Select a file to convert. Click Open.

The file should convert.

Open the file with Graphstudio64, WMP or MB (there won’t be any artwork yet) and make sure the audio is in sync and the video is to your liking.

Now it is time to automate everything.

There are 2 methods. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Method 1: You can setup different tasks for different shows. For instance you can have one task with a group of shows that convert to MP4 High Quality and save to E:\TV Shows for use in MB. Then you can have another task that converts to M4V for later download to an iPad or iPhone and save to another location. You can also have overlap (ie. you can have the same series on both tasks). Downside is you cannot manually add a file for conversion from the MCEBuddy GUI, you have to go in and add it to the task.

Method 2: You can delineate what shows get located by MCEBuddy and then run all of them through your assigned task. You can manually add a file from the MCEBuddy GUI and it will convert. Downside is you can only have one task setup.

Click Stop then Settings.

Method 1:

Highlight your monitored location and click Change.

Place a * in Search pattern so all you recorded TV shows are available for conversion.

Highlight your conversion task and click Change.

In the File name match you can place the names of all the shows you want to have converted. For example Revenge* will return any file name that starts with the word “Revenge”. *Mother* will return any file that has the word “Mother” anywhere in it. ~*How* will exclude any file that has the work “How” in it. Once you have compiled the list of shows you want converted, click OK.

You can select how many days old the file is before it is selected for conversion. Check Delete Original File. If you are scared to do so until you are positive all the conversions are running smoothly for a few days you can check Archive Original File instead and MCEBuddy will create a folder named “MCEBuddy Archive” inside the E:\RecordedTV folder and move the original wtv to this location. These wtv files will still be visible in the “Recorded TV” tab in WMC. Under Advanced Settings check Start at and Stop at as well as what times you want to let MCEBuddy run its conversions. Click OK.

Click Start and the main GUI screen will populate with all the files to be converted at the Start time. It will sit idle until then.

Method 2:

In the Search pattern inside Monitor Location instead of putting * like in Method 1, this is where we will delineate all the shows we will want converted.

Leave File name match empty inside Conversion Task. Click OK

Click Start and the main GUI screen will populate with all the files to be converted at the Start time. It will sit idle until then. With this method you can also click Add to manually add files to be converted.

That’s it for MCEBuddy! Once you have selected “Delete Original”, “Commercial Skipping” and told MCEBuddy where to find the original .wtv files and where to send the completed de-commercialized tv files you are set to go.

Now lets setup MCM. Click Settings and Preferences.. under Application.

Setup the General tab as pictured below. I have set auto-scan folder for every 1 hour and episodes every 2 hours. I also have MCM setup to minimize to tray.

Setup the Renaming tab as pictured below. Make sure Rename folders during fetch and Rename files too are both NOT selected. MCEBuddy will be creating the folder and we don’t want MCM to change them.

Setup the T.V. tab as pictured below. Click Save.

Click Set scan folders… under Application.

Use Add new… to add in all the folders you want MCM to monitor. Then click Done.

Check Use auto-scan and Use episode-level auto-scan for T.V. shows.

MCM will now continuously monitor your TV Shows. After MCEBuddy adds a new episode, MCM will download metadata and an episode thumbnail for that episode. It will also retrieve Season and Show folder art and backdrops if it is a newly added show. (Sidenote: You can see I have my movie files locked. This is because I do NOT want MCM to continuously update their metadata. I let MCM update my movies once to get all the metadata and artwork, then I lock it. The reason being is that I do not like all the different genres that usually get assigned to movies. So once the movie is locked I manually edit the xml file to the 1 or 2 genres I want that movie to show up in when I sort by genre in MB).

Minimize MCM to the tray. Do not Exit or hit the ‘X’ to close or else it will not run in the background.

Last step is to set up MB and when MB does its refresh.

Add your TV folder to MB in the MB Configurator. Add an image if you want here also. Close the MB Configurator.

Open your hidden tray icons. Right click on the MB Service icon and select Show Interface….

Under the Media Collection Refresh Schedule set the Interval to 1 day and Refresh Time to 14:00. The reason I use 1400 is because I have MCEBuddy running from 0001 to 1159. Then MCM is set to scan folders every 1 hour and episodes every 2 hours. Thus, everything should be downloaded by 1400 and MB can refresh at this time and have everything ready from me when I get home from work! Close the window (it will minimize back to the tray).

Congratulations! Now instead of this:

You now have this:

Enjoy your TV shows with the eye-candy of Media Browser! [Special thanks to Wilky13 for this guide]

BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS


MC-TVConverter for Recordings (Option 4)

This guide was researched and written by cburbs. MC-TVConverter is another option for converting recordings and also removing commercials automatically in WMC. It is an alternative to the MCEBuddy guides located above.

MC-TVConverter is a FREE (GPL) GUI (Graphical User Interface) for various commandline video converters. It’s mainly targeted to convert recordings from Microsoft Windows MediaCenter, which introduced the new WTV format in Windows7 and Vista with TV-Pack.

Key items that MC-TVConverter can do:
• Conversion from WTV, DVR-MS, MPG, TS, AVI, MP4, MKV and WMV.
• Conversion to TS, DEMUX, MPG, WMV, AVI, FLV, MKV and MP4.
• Synchronization with iTunes.
• Automatically remove commercials from MPEG2-streams.
• Advanced settings in profiles file and create own profiles.
• Watch folder: converts all supported files in a folder and its subfolders in the background (checks if file is in use and logs the converted file in a database to convert it only once).
• Rename files according to their metadata (in WTV files).

Download – (Download the most current version)

From the 1st page you can drag/drop files into the Converter or setup a Watch Folder by selecting the browse button and adding a folder. In my example I am using F:\RecordedTV. I am for now also just using the Transport stream option from the drop down box.

To look at the settings the TVConveter must be stopped. Then you can click on the gear icon in the upper right corner. For help click on the ? mark.

General – Here you enter a path for your output folder. You can also move/rename original file if you want. You can also setup commercial detection on MPEG2 files.

Here is a picture of what my Output folder looks like after items have been converted.

Watch Folder – Here you can select to watch subfolders as well if needed. There is also an option to add/remove filetypes you want to watch for in your folder. You can also include/exclude certain files for conversions in the “watched filenames”. The last thing you can set is a time frame to watch your folder say during off hours.

File Renaming – Here you can decide on how you want to rename your converted files.

AV-stream – Here you can choose your preferred Language, Save subtitles to file if needed, and decide on conversion settings. If you have trouble with the default go to settings (tab: AV-Stream) and check “use alternate method to convert files”. This will reencode the wtv with ffmpeg instead of stream copying it with remuxTool.

Conversion Method – Here you can choose a profile (ts/div/mpg/mkv/wmv/etc) you want to use for your conversion. You can also select “Add to context menu” which will add “Convert with MC-TVConverter” when you right click on a wtv file. Similar to the “Convert to .cvr-ms format” in windows 7.

iTunes/MP4 – Here you can add metadata/add files to iTunes library/synchronize to iTunes.

System – Here you set the path for your java, enable debugging, view history log, option to delete intermediate files.

The HistoryLog will show you all items that have been processed. So if for some reason you need to rerun a file again you can uncheck/remove it from the list so that you can reconvert that file.

You can also look at your config file at c:\users\username\AppData\Roaming\MC-TVConverter\config.ini.

C:\Program Files (x86)\MC-TVConverter\Profiles.ini is where the profile information is stored. To see more info in regards to this use the Help from within MC-TVConverter.

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Increasing Replay and Pause Buffer Duration in WMC

This guide will show you 2 different methods to increase the buffer time in WMC.

Method 1: This manager allows you to increase the increments of your buffer in 15 minute increments up to 2 hours.

Download the MCE Live TV Buffer Manager here.

Install and run the program and select your desired amount of time to be able to pause live tv.

Follow the prompt to restart your computer.

If that doesn’t work (see disclaimer at the end of this guide) contine to Method 2:

Method 2:

Go to the start menu and in the search box type “regedit” and press enter.

Next navigate through the hierarchy to get to

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Media Center\Service\Video\Tuners

Then add the following as DWORD entries by right-clicking the right hand pane and selecting New –> DWORD: 32bit value

Copy and paste each of the following below making 3 seperate files

BackingStoreEachFileDurationSeconds

BackingStoreMaxExistingBackingFiles

BackingStoreMaxNumBackingFiles

Now the default values for these entries is 300 seconds and 8 files. That means it will only buffer 300 seconds 8 times for a total of 40 minutes. We want to increase this.

To increase the buffer length you can increase the length of each file or simply increase the number of files to be created or both.

Using many small files can save hard drive space while using fewer large files may increase performance, though likely only marginally.

To edit the length of each file double click on the BackingStoreEachFileDurationSeconds and change the base option to Decimal. This will allow you to input a regular value instead of a hexadecimal code. Enter in 900 here so it pauses for 15 minutes instead of 5.

Next increase how many 15minute files it keeps in the buffer. I have set this to 8 giving us 2 hours of pause time.

To do this double click on BackingStoreMaxExistingBackingFiles which assigns the maximum number of files that can be created for the show currently being viewed (or how many 15 minute pauses it will buffer)

BackingStoreMaxNumBackingFiles refers to the maximum number of files allowed to be created total before a cleanup is performed. This I have set to 16.

The length of your buffer will be equal to the number of seconds (backingstoreeachfiledurationseconds) times the number of files able to be created (BackingStoreMaxExistingBackingFiles)

Or 900 * 8 for example.

*Disclaimer Keep in mind, that you might also have to check your Recorder or DVR setting as well! And also keep in mind, that sometimes, your DVR setting might still read 40 minute buffer, but in reality it will let you pause for 2 hours. So before you fret, test it first!

Next, restart your machine for the changes to take effect. That’s it, you should now have a longer buffer length in Windows 7 Media Center. I haven’t had time to test this on extenders but would hazard a guess that it would in fact work as the buffer resides on the main Media Center.

BACK TO TABLE OF CONTENTS


Using the Ceton Companion App

This guide will show you how to properly install and use the Ceton Companion App. This great program allows you to view and control your HTPC’s guide on your tablet or smart phone. This allows you to surf your TV guide, select programs to watch on your HDTV, manage recordings, etc all from your tablet or smart phone. Please note that you do NOT have to have a Ceton brand tuner to use this program.

To get started go to Ceton’s website here and select “Get the App”. Now first select “Download” under Step 1 to download the program to your HTPC that you want to control

Now follow the instructions to install this program on your HTPC

At this point you can launch the Ceton Companion Config utility if you like. I kept the settings at default.  Next grab your tablet or smartphone and download the appropriate app

For this guide I used my Android tablet. Here is the app located at the Google Play store. The $5 is a small price to pay for this outstanding app, in my opinion

Purchase and download the app. I always select to allow automatic updating

After the app has downloaded and installed select to open it

You will be greeted by the welcome screen. Select “Next”

Now select to locate your HTPC. Your 2 choices are “Wi-Fi Scan” or “Manual”. I selected Wi-Fi Scan at first but it did not find my HTPC. So then I chose to enter it manually

To find the internal IP address of your HTPC click “Start” and then type in “cmd” and then run the cmd prompt. Then type in “ipconfig” (without the quotes) to view your network data

Look for you IP address. Mine here is 192.168.1.xxx. Write this number down or have it handy to enter into the app.

Now go back to the app and type in that address to match what you found using ipconfig. I left the internal ports at default. When finished click “Add”

Your HTPC will now be listed. Add additional HTPCs if applicable. Click “Next” when finished

Now open WMC and leave it at the mainscreen or whatever you use as the default mainscreen. Next click “Start Ceton Companion”

Select the HTPC that you want to use

Now you can view your app’s mainscreen. Here you can view the TV Guide, specific channels, view your recorded media, manage subscriptions and more. Let’s first click on “Guide”

This brings up the TV guide of you HTPC. Here you can view what’s on currently and you also can use the calendar and search icons in the upper right corner to view what is on in the future. Let’s click on “College Football” on channel 36.1

This now shows you a synopsis of your selection. From this screen you also can choose to record this single episode/event (the single red record button) or future episodes/events (the 3 red record button icon). For now let’s choose the TV icon

This now starts playback on your HTPC of the program you selected using the app

If you open the remote on the app you can stop or start recording, pause, change channels, etc. Let’s select to record by hitting the red record button to record a brief test file. Your HDTV’s screen should now indicate briefly that it is recording. After a few seconds select the record button again to stop recording. Now let’s go back to the main menu on the app and select “Recorded TV”

Now you can see your recorded test file

Select the file that you just recorded to view the details including date, time, length, etc. Tap the “play arrow” at the top to play, garbage can to delete, etc

Now let’s go back to the guide and select a TV show. Here I selected “Big Bang Theory”. Here the app will tell you the name of the episode, synopsis and even a picture. Select record, record series, or watch

Here is another example of watching the local news. Again, go back to the guide and locate what you want to watch. Select the program and then choose to play by selected the TV icon

And your program will again start on your HDTV

That’s the basics of this great app! Enjoy!

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©Copyright 2011 by assassin @ assassinHTPCblog. All rights reserved. This guide and its contents are copyrighted by assassin @ assassinHTPCblog.

This may be used for personal use by the purchaser only; users are forbidden to reproduce, republish, redistribute or resell and material from this guide without the permission of assassin @ assassinHTPCblog.

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