Migrating from WMC (2 Viewers)

wjw

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Just to add a little to the very full replies you've already had - specifically about the guide issue. I am in the UK and, like you, don't mind paying a really quite small amount for good guide data. I use Schedules Direct with MC2XML as the download tool (there are others). This gives me full program data for 2 weeks ahead. You also need to look at a plugin called TVWishlist for much improved recording/scheduling capabilities (this is also referred to in the thread that Cybersimian referenced above). If you do go down this route you need to be aware there there is a small issue with the way that Series/Episode numbers are presented by Schedules Direct - this was covered some time ago in this thread.

I also use MP1 and have done for many years. I did look briefly at MP2 with the WMC-like skin and decided that MP1 with the standard Default WIde skin is more than adequate. I was a WMC user many years ago before I found MP1 (at that time MP2 did not exist) and rapidly decided that I preferred MP1 (and my wife actually agreed with me - and she doesn't like change!).
 

ajs

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    I used the WMC for a long time, then I used Kodi, but I found the MP1 and switched to it, now I use the MP1 and my family with pleasure. In MP1 I use a Titan skin. Skins like in the WMC, Kodi or MP2 are not convenient for me, but MP1 is just right. :):whistle::coffee:
     

    nhm

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    "You didn't read the Wiki article that I linked in my reply, did you? Since you cut your movies and series all you need to do is to rename your files as described in the Wiki to be recognized by MP(2). The system will then retrieve complete metadata and fanart from online sources."

    In response to HTPCSourcer's comment - actually I did read this but may not have fully understood the possibilities. At present I rarely need to do anything with the metadata which WMC stores within its .wtv files. The file names themselves also helpfully include the channel, transmission date and time in addition to the program name. When I edit them I add any episode number to the file name and save in my own folder structure to which WMC is given no access (except when I pick a file to open).
    For me personally there is no advantage in a feature which attempts to index my thousands of media files and add further information from the internet, so I would want to disable this behaviour wherever possible. However I do need to be able to see program descriptions when opening recordings, and ideally also running times (which VideoReDo helpfully updates when it edits). I suppose there is no easy way that the program description and running time can be stored in a .ts file and displayed as in WMC? Does MediaPortal need an .xml in order to correctly open a .ts file or will it open anyway if the associated file is not found?

    Thanks to JoeCrow for the helpful information about BluRay options which I will bear in mind, and to Lehmden about his Media-Buddy and alternative file types. As you will appreciate from reading this I am not at all a computer buff so I have never really looked into the possibilities of converting recordings to save space, except as it relates to options for saving edited movies from my 4K camcorder. I note you say that converting to an H265 stream within an .mkv can reduce file size by 80-90%, but presumably this requires a good deal of re-coding time, and how 'lossy' is the new format setting to achieve that? I think you are saying that the single .mkv then incorporates your metadata - did I understand you correctly?
     

    Lehmden

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    Does MediaPortal need an .xml in order to correctly open a .ts file or will it open anyway if the associated file is not found?
    It's not necessary to have this xml file to open a .ts file. The xml only is used inside the "recordings" folder/source to identify a video file as a TV recording and to read a few metadata from. Anywhere else a so called ".nfo" file can deliver all metadata to prevent online lookup during import (excerpt for MP1 series). In MP1 no .nfo support is implemented for series, only for movies... But under all circumstances the .ts is playable without the xml file...

    presumably this requires a good deal of re-coding time,
    Depends mostly on your hardware. I'm using a Pentium J5005 ( a very low power consuming "Atom- alike" CPU from 2018) and I approximately need about 15 minutes to transcode one hour of SDTV video and 30 minutes for one hour of 720p HDTV. 1080i HDTV needs a lot more power due to the needed de-interlacing while transoding so here I get about 45-50 minutes per hour 1080i HDTV... With more powerful hardware (e.g. a recent Core i5 or a proper Ryzen) you can decrease those times dramatically...

    how 'lossy' is the new format setting to achieve that?
    There is no visible difference at all, not even on a huge 4K TV... The new codecs are much more efficient than the old ones. Mpeg2 (the codec used for SDTV and DVD) is more than 30 years old so you can imagine how much development has taken place in meantime... Aside this DVB Streams ( = TV recordings) are extremely big, even compared with other files using the same codec. Lots of trash data and overload is included that eats up around 50% of the file size... DVB streams are not primarily meant for storing them on HDD so other things than saving space has priority here. A DVB tuner card generally only is "copying" the DVB- stream that comes over air, cable or sat directly to the recording folder in a computer readable format. Anything that make the usage more comfortable and efficient has to be done later. DVB is transmitted as .ts (ts means TransportStream) and normally all DVB- TV solutions are only copying those .ts directly to the disc. Only Microsoft wanted to add some encryption possibilities for DRM purposes to the .ts streams that's why they have created dvr-ms and wtv file format. Both are barely a .ts with added DRM ability (very bad from a user pov) and the ability to store a few extra data like program descriptions (good from a user pov). And no other tool than WMC ever used those formats. Relaying on wtv and dvr-ms is leading to a dead end in near future as there is no program outside that can create them. In some years you most likely won't be able to play your wtv files any longer due to dropped support even in Windows itself. With .ts or .mkv similar can not happen as both are open formats and not closed stuff owned by a single company.

    However I do need to be able to see program descriptions when opening recordings, and ideally also running times (which VideoReDo helpfully updates when it edits). I suppose there is no easy way that the program description and running time can be stored in a .ts file and displayed as in WMC?
    Running time is stored automatically in every video file, no matter if it is a .ts, an .avi or whatever. Without the (correct) running time you won't be able to navigate inside the video at all. Storing (and updating after editing) the running time is an elementary feature of every tool that is dealing with video files... If there is no running time then the video is faulty.

    Program description on the other side are extra data (aka metadata). Such data is not essential for playback, only an comfort feature of some player (mostly HTPC programs like WMC, MP, Kodi,...) A .ts file is not able to store any metadata inside, so running time: yes, description: no.... That's why the xml files are generated next to the .ts files during recording.

    I think you are saying that the single .mkv then incorporates your metadata - did I understand you correctly?
    MKV is the one of the very little and the only "open source" file format that can be tagged with metadata, exactly as you may know this from music files (mp3 or similar). For music it's very common to have proper ID3 tags so any player knows who's the artist and how the name of the song is and much more... MKV can hold similar info like description, title, year, IMDB (movies) or TVDB (Series) ID number, season and episodes numbers for series episodes and so on... You even can attach the fanart graphics (cover, backdrop, banner, logo, discart,...) to the MKV video file. And MP2 is able to read those tags and extract the attached graphics. MP1 and WMC on the other end are not able to use those tags. MP2 was the first HTPC program ever that was able to use mkv tags but in meantime Kodi (since V18) also can use tags. Some video player like VLC or MPC-HC are also able to read and use mkv tags...
    MKV is far the best format today as it is the most flexible one and has the most options of all formats. Aside this it's completely free and open to anyone. There only is a single drawback with mkv. You can not play it while it still is downloading or generating. You always need the whole file if you want to play an mkv. That's why MKV is not used for internet streams (Youtube, Netflix and so on) and also not for DVB. Because in both cases you need to be able to start playback while the file still is being downloaded or written.
     

    Lehmden

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    Here is a sample of a HDTV (720p) recording I've just prepared:
    Zwischenablage-1.jpg
    From bottom to top there are
    :
    the xml file created by MP

    the "raw" TV recording (4.4 Gbyte file size)

    the edited .ts file as VideoReDo created it (1.4 Gbyte file size)

    and the "finished" mkv file as it was created by Media-Buddy (0.3 GByte file size)

    This was a 720p recording where a much better and more modern codec (AVC) is used inside the .ts files than for SDTV. So the possible advantage in disc space is much lower here because AVC is much more efficient than Mpeg2. But HEVC that is used in the mkv file even is more efficient than AVC. Also I use a long pre and post recording time (10 and 30 minutes) the usage of disk space significantly is shrunken even compared to the edited .ts... As I have more than 600 series with about 40,000 episodes this advantage definitely is worth the time I spend on transcoding the files...
     

    nhm

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    Dear Lehmden - Well I was stunned into silence by all that info!! You certainly have an amazing collection at your disposal beside which my 1200 or so films and a similar volume of TV pales into insignificance... Having said that I'm not sure if I'm yet ready to set about re-coding my whole back catalogue which on your rough estimate would probably take at least 40 days running 24/7. Storage space is now cheap and I still have plenty. So what I would ideally like to be able to do is take the .xml and .ts files produced by MP2 and simply combine the metadata, video and audio streams into a single .mkv (or .mp4) container without resorting to any re-coding. Can your Media-Buddy be profiled to do that when pointed at an edited file, or is there another tool which might? A few issues I've noted in looking into this are that I would probably have to switch to VLC for playback of .mkv's since WMP seems to have some issues, and similarly Windows Explorer seemingly can't read and edit the metadata fields in them. I also have some uncertainty whether TVDB will have all the program descriptions for TV I might record, which is why it seems better if possible to use the data from the EPG already held in the .xml rather than ignore it??
     

    Lehmden

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    Hi.
    an your Media-Buddy be profiled to do that when pointed at an edited file
    Yes Media-Buddy can be configured to only mux videos to mkv not recode them. There are two ways to reach this. First you can use the "remux" module. But this only does the remuxing, not the renaming and adding fanart and metadata. Very similar to mkvtoolnix but internally ffmpeg is used for muxing that allows a wider bandwidth of input files than mkvtoolnix.... Renaming and grabbing fanart and metadata has to be done in a second step then with the "Metadata" module. Or you configure the wizard module to such a high transcoding border that in fact never a transcoding will happen. Then Media-Buddy does everything in a single step with a single mouse click for a whole bunch of videos...

    take the .xml and .ts files produced by MP2 and simply combine the metadata, video and audio streams into a single .mkv (or .mp4) container without resorting to any re-coding.
    There is no option to re-use those xml files in Media-Buddy or any other tool I'm aware of. But it's no bad idea so I have to talk with my programming partner @lightshock if there is a way to use those xml files as fallback if no online data is available or can be found...

    I would probably have to switch to VLC for playback of .mkv's
    No. this only is a matter of the installed codecs. WMP can play mkv easily if you've installed e.g. LAVF. But VLC can play anything, even damaged videos so it's worth to install nevertheless...

    I also have some uncertainty whether TVDB will have all the program descriptions for TV I might record, which is why it seems better if possible to use the data from the EPG already held in the .xml rather than ignore it??
    Media-Buddy has a very smart algorithm to identify movies and series on different online databases (there is more than TVDB out there...) But if there is nothing to find, it simply can't find anything... And if nothing works you always can add some metadata by hand in the correction module of Media-Buddy.
    Up to now there is no way to re- use MP's xml files, not in Media-Buddy nor anywhere else... Copy & paste is the only solution for now... But probably this may be build into Media-Buddy (no promises!)
     

    nhm

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    Dear Lehmden - Many thanks for your swift reply and guidance. So just to check I have understood correctly:- what I do at present, using WMC and VideoReDo is:

    1) WMC saves its .wtv files to the "Recorded TV" folder.
    2) I edit them with VRD and save the results, complete with metadata from the EPG into the appropriate section of my library on one of my data drives, from where they get backed up to an external drive.
    3) I delete the unedited files from within WMC (which helps it keep it's catalogue straight rather than just using Explorer)

    What I could do using MP2 and Media-Buddy would be:

    1) Have MP2 save it's .ts and .xml files from new recordings to a single folder.
    2) Edit the .ts files with VRD and save as .ts to a second folder.
    3) Delete the unedited .ts files and move the .xml's to the second folder.
    4) Run your Media-Buddy configured as you suggest on the second folder files to re-mux the .ts's to .mkv's (without transcoding if I so choose) and add the metadata. (Ideally if you developed the option that would be from the relevant .xml rather than from an internet search*). Presumably the .mkv's could be saved to a third folder.
    5) I would then need to check that the .mkv's were playable and had the program description field complete before moving them to my selected library folder.
    6) Delete the redundant .ts and .xml files from the second folder before editing any more new recordings.

    This is somewhat more complex than my current process (with more potential for mistakes by me!) but would be do-able, especially if you went ahead with the "grab from .xml" option.

    *I observe you were thinking this would be coded only as a 'last resort' function, but why not code it as a selectable alternative so that no internet connection is needed when chosen??
    P.S. I see you are based in Germany so compliments on your English if you are not a native speaker!
     

    Lehmden

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    Hi.
    Delete the redundant .ts and .xml files from the second folder before editing any more new recordings.
    For this there is an option inside Media-Buddy to do it with one single mouse click.. Useful especially for series as you need to add series episodes to sub- folders, one folder for one series... If you have files in 20 sub- folders it's very nasty to delete them in explorer...

    I would then need to check that the .mkv's were playable and had the program description field complete before moving them to my selected library folder.
    Yes, it's better to check the remuxed files also in 99,99999% they are playing fine. At least I'll do it especially for the smallest files of a set of similar sized files. If something went wrong the files most likely are significant smaller as they should so checking the smallest files will show if all went well with a very high chance... The control if the metadata is correct is included into Media-Buddy. You can manually change anything that is not as you may like it directly inside Media-Buddy completely to your wishes. Most often the metadata is ok but especially if you prefer non English descriptions it every now and then is necessary to enter those localized description by hand. TVDB did not have everything completely translated. Especially recent series are often locked before they could be translated at all. Then I need to edit the descriptions (or even titles) myself. This all can be done in Media-Buddy...

    why not code it as a selectable alternative
    Because the metadata inside the xml file is only very poor and missing a lot of important metadata. Especially the ID numbers from TVDB and IMDB are not included. But those ID are the most important metadata of all because nearly every program (even WMC) uses them to proper identify the movie/series episode.. Using the XML really is a BTN solution only...

    This is somewhat more complex than my current process
    Yes, it is, but you gain many advantages if you prepare your videos in an universal way. The way you did it before only is working in WMC. And now you need to pay the price for using such a proprietor solution and need to do all the work again. It's very wise to do it now in a way that is working everywhere and not again in a way that works only with a single program...


    you are based in Germany
    Yes, I'm a German and my English lessons in school were more than 40 years ago. But I'm often writing in forum so I'm trained a bit. Speaking is a complete different task to me. And if I speak English I'll do it with a German and an American accent at the same time as my English teacher in school was an ex- member of the U.S. Army originally from Texas. Some years ago I was in London for a visit and the folks were wondering about the "Kraut" speaking with a strange but somehow very American accent. It was very funny and we're laughing a lot...
     

    nhm

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    "Because the metadata inside the xml file is only very poor and missing a lot of important metadata. Especially the ID numbers from TVDB and IMDB are not included. But those ID are the most important metadata of all because nearly every program (even WMC) uses them to proper identify the movie/series episode.. Using the XML really is a BTN solution only..."

    Hi Lehmden! Not really important but I'm intrigued by your above statement. Where does WMC acquire the ID numbers from and where are they then stored? I can't see them as metadata so are they somewhere in the EPG file but not recorded? Regarding series/episode numbers I have seen from the web that these seem to be causing lots of problems for people but I have to say in my simplistic system I haven't experienced any so far. EPG123 (which I understand uses Schedules Direct data) obtains this information and appends it to the program description (does SD2 do the same?). When I edit my files I just add a series and episode reference if relevant (e.g. 1.12) after the title and I don't rely on the EPG data for this at all, though I've never noticed it being wrong. What does throw the system occasionally is that either SD (or maybe it's the broadcaster) adds 'New...' to the front of a series I've flagged for recording, so it doesn't then show up. Also the genre identification is occasionally bizarre!
     

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