Thursday, February 09, 2006

Managing HD Media Center Files

Originally uploaded by gadget.
My HDTV Media Center 2005 box has a half-terabyte inside and is bursting at its capacity seams. I want to rip my movies to its media drive, but hours of 24, CSI (Miami or New York with the helecopter shots) and the other beautiful HDTV programs like the Victora's Secret show take up just too much space on my drive. For example, the Grammys, Superbowl and pre-game show were each 30GB as stored in high definition!

Enter DVRMSToolBox - despite both an ugly name and user interface, this program is my new love. I have taken the 4.3GB that it takes for each HDTV 24 episode and shrink them down to 2.6GB all while maintaining the MPEG2 resolution and Dolby Digital sound, but removing the commercials and fluff.

All automatically. No kidding. It works by looking for the station "bug" in the corner of the screen, or black frames before commercials in the programming and removing what doesn't have the bug. So far it's not wiping out video that it shouldn't, thanks to the commercial cutting engine of the Dragon Global ShowAnalyzer, and not requiring any editing time on my part. I love that, and have set it up to monitor a directory of media converting files with certain keywords of files that I want to archive. Not all shows will get converted, just the ones I want to hang onto.

A two hour HDTV show takes under an hour and a half to convert and remove the commercials on my Hyper Threading P4 running at 3GHz with a gigabyte of dual channel RAM. All while taking around 60% of my CPU cycles. I can even watch HDTV or work on the computer normally during the conversion! This type of multi-tasking while converting video is unheard of normally.

Currently, the video converted to MPEG2 format does not contain the META guide data and description, but you can remove commercials and retain this by keeping the file in the DVR-MS format if you wish. I chose to go the MPEG2 route so that I can share the data on devices like Media Center Extenders, Roku's or portable devices. This is a program that you must have if you are recording and archiving high or low definition programs with XP Media Center Edition.

Now I just can't make myself cut the commercials out of the Superbowl, but you can cut the commercials into their own video and destroy the program as an option. Based upon the quality of the the 2006 Superbowl XL, I think that is the path to take.

DVRMSToolbox @

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