Time Shifted Television

April 15th, 2010 | Tags: , , , ,

Since getting a WD TV Live back in December, I have spent way too much time converting media to be watchable on it. At least it seems like a long time. The prcoes shas been very different for each type of media, so I thought it would be a good idea to chronicle my workflow used to convert TiVo programming to MPEG-4 using almost all free software.

  1. Record the program with TiVo. It still on the lowest quality settings.

  2. Download the program off the TiVo using TiVo Butler.

  3. Trim off the beginning and ending commercials using MPEG Streamclip. (In the case of Max & Ruby, currently the bane of my existence, also trimming out the commercials in the middle of the show.)

  4. Delete the files downloaded from the TiVo.

  5. Change the extension from the files saved out of MPEG Streamclip from .mpeg to .mpg (using R-Name). (This step allows iSquint, in the next step, to get the file name correct. If the original file is .mpeg, it leaves an extra period at the end of the filename after conversion.)

  6. Drop the files on iSquint. Set the “Optimize for TV” and “H.264 Encoding” options, as well as change the video size to 640×480.

  7. Copy the files out to the network storage device and enjoy!

Most of the shows are very watchable and end up in the range of 175–190MB (after starting out at 313MB MPEG-2 files, 299MB after trimming). I don’t really care that the files get converted to MP4. I would be happy for them to remain in MPEG-2 if I could find a lossless way to reset the aspect ratio. (The TiVo uses an odd aspect ratio.)

The only software which has a charge is not even in this list. It’s the Apple MPEG-2 component which MPEG Streamclip requires to be able to operate on the files. (VLC can play back the MPEG-2 files with no problem, so I don’t see why MPEG Streamclip shouldn’t be able to do the same. Unfortunately, VLC won’t do all of the editing and saving….)

Any suggestions on shortening this work flow?

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