I've been a registered user of Recorded TV HD for a year now and my HTPC is getting rather full with recordings and family complaints on commercials so I'm now investigating a commercial skip app. I see ShowAnalyzer and DVRMSToolbox seems like the compatible choice but after I read over the setup procedure I found myself saying "There's got to be an easier method that that". I stumbled upon MCEBuddy that since last I looked at it now supports the later Win7 recording format, can even shrink to mp4 files under one simple interface. So my question is will this muck up my Recorded TV HD library by switching/converting all my files to .mp4? I saw a setting where I can add .mp4 file types to monitor so I suspect it should work out fine. Does the commercial skip indicator in RTVHD work with how MCE Buddy handles it?
Ya know what would be real nice. To see Recorded TV HD have this ability built right in!!
ShowAnalyzer + DVRMSToolbox in itself will only identify and skip the commercials and will not save you any hard drive space.
MCE Buddy will actually cut the commercials out of the files and compress them as you mentioned.
If you are anything like me I do not appreciate it when I miss any part of a show that I'm watching. Since commercial detection isn't 100% accurate I would not use MCE Buddy because the video is actually chopped up and the original would probably be deleted if you are in it to save space.
In my opinion it would be much easier and less annoying to shell out the money for an additional/larger hard drive to store you content, but that is your call.
I have often thought about going with MCEBuddy and I do have RecordedTV HD registered and want to keep it working perfectly.
My hold up is the same as MJT Software mentioned. I wouldn't like to miss a bit of show and I know my wife wouldn't be happy either.
You can use MCEBuddy just for the compression to mp4 format. But just like missing part of the show I would also dislike any audio, video or audio/video sync issues to arise.
If I could get 100% guaranty of file compression without any audio/video or sync issues I would consider it. I'm not saying MCEBuddy has any issues as I haven't used it yet. My drive space hasn't forced my hand yet.
I'm just saying I've seen with other older compression tools (years ago) some issues arise. So far I'm sticking with *.wtv files as they are recorded.
Weird coincidence... I actually was running low on HD space and just downloaded MCEBuddy yesterday and did some testing on a 30 minute file using the "High Quality" and "Normal" MP4 profiles and here are my findings with and without using the Comskip feature.
1) File compression was about 90%
2) Audio quality was significantly degraded.
3) Picture quality was decent.
4) When using Comskip feature, the picture and audio was choppy.
5) Time to complete file conversion was 2x show duration for "Normal" mode and 4x show duration "High Quality"
Conclusion, I'm just going to buy another HD, or get the shows I want to archive for watching in the future on DVD and rip them which tends to equate to a 4:1 space savings ratio.
Sorry folks been pretty busy and not been back as I should have on this subject. Well I had pretty much given up on MCEBuddy and with a newegg sale on WD 2TB green drives for $89. I grabbed 2 of them, one for my desktop and one for the HTPC...things got 6TB now. I dedicated one drive for Recorded TV and shouldn't have issues for some time. I did experiment with using Handbrake to shrink/convert the .wtv files...nearly 50% compression ratio if done. I did run into some shows with the copy once flag that would not let me touch the file, I do everything on my desktop and move the converted file over....strange this copy once flag on regular broadcast channel.
Being stubborn as I am I've still been playing with MCEBuddy however, hate anything getting the better of me. Seems a pretty nasty learning curve to tweak the comskip.ini file that MCEBuddy uses. Finally got some decent results but became to annoyed with the lengthy process, and time consumption, it takes. I then had a thought after reading into the Commercial break viewer ability of Recorded TV HD. MCEBuddy can use comskip and create an edl file, without removing commercials from source. I believe an edl file is some sort of commercial frame indicator file? Is this the file that works with commercial break viewer? I might want to test drive this idea.
I also did not like the audio output I ended up with but discovered how it can be rectified. MCEBuddy by default outputs 2ch audio only. You have to use the multi channel check box...then it uses aac and I have a problem with that. I changed the profile to use Handbrake and set up ac3 passthrough...solved my problem. The video quality will get trashed in it's default form if you toss HD material at it. There's a slider box for the "max width" of video to output. It's at 720 by default so 1920 source gets reduced to SD quality...looked like crap so slide the box maxed out and it won't touch the source quality.
Anyone real good with this DVRMSToolbox setup? Seems a whole wealth of info out there and some is very old with suggestions of very discontinued software. One even mentions having to convert to the .wtv files to DVRMS files....really that's needed? Well I installed the latest DVRMSToolbox, DBAddin, and latest Showanalyzer. I tried to execute the DVRMSToolbxGUI on a specific wtv file to run a test. Got some catastrophic failure message, this was done with all defaults. I didn't see any profile that handles wtv files so I thought the need for this WTVWatcher program I read about might be needed. However I did find a WTV to DVRMS profile on the net that you can add in to DVRMSToolbox and tested that...same catastrophic failure message. I then saw a profile "scan for commercials". I figured what the heck maybe this would just create the files for commercial skipping and not touch the wtv file. Seems to have worked and a whole bunch of files now in the Recorded TV folder so I tested it inside WMC with the MS recorded TV player and the video did jump at commercial break. I was testing on my desktop pc and do not have Recorded TV HD on this machine so I'm about to move the files to my HTPC and test it inside Recorded TV HD. Is what I did the normal means people are setting this up? Just creating the commercial skip files? I think I may have abandoned using MCEBuddy and file size is not as big a concern for me now with 2TB dedicated for TV recordings.
Got to say it sure is a major headache setting this up with 3 different pieces of software needed. Be super cool to see Recorded TV HD develope there own add on that is a much more simplified install/setup process. I'd pay for it!
Came across this thread today, thought I'd let you know I was taking to the developers at MCEBuddy about this issue.
They've informed that today's BETA 2.3.13 update will contain a fresh set of profiles which are highly tuned for significantly improved quality (think HD) for High Quality profiles and Normal profiles which will be about 30% faster.