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Windows 7: .wtv and .dvr-ms files (Media Center TV Recordings)

26 Oct 2011   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit OS
.wtv and .dvr-ms files (Media Center TV Recordings)

I will try to make this as brief as possible but it may be a little hard considering all I need to question here. Therefore, apologies in advance for the long winded post!

My question/s are as follows:

I have only just done my first recording of a digital television broadcast using
Windows Media Center. I have then spent around 6 hours looking for a solution
on how to trim the recording and convert to different formats and came up with
some solutions but then other problems pop up.

So- to get to the point, here is what I have done:
  • Converted the .wtv file to .dvr-ms
  • I then imported both of these file formats (seperately of course) into Windows Live Movie Maker for trimming unwanted footage from the start and end of the program
  • Resaved the edit using all of the following options 1) HD 1080p 2) HD 720p 3) Standard Definition and I'm pretty sure 4) Widescreen 480p
This effectively resaves the file as .wmv
I was wondering why it is that when I then try to play any of these resaved files in Media Player, Media Center or VLC Media Player that I get a thick black border all the way around the recording? I have also tried converting the .wmv to .avi using Format Factory with the end result being the same.

Please understand that I am a complete noob when it comes to playing around with video so I guess that half of it has been experimental, but I would like to know how to get a full screen playback from a trimmed and converted file if not with what I have used then with some other free software solutions. Again, this is going to sound so nooby it'll get a laugh, but I have Adobe Master Collection CS5.5 which I am sure would be capable of everything I require, however I have only just acquired this software and have no idea how it all works (Adobe users most welcome to respond!) .

If someone could explain this to me in the simplest of terms and help me achieve a trimmed and converted file which can then be viewed full screen and if possible burnt to DVD for playback in a standard player, then that would be awesome. If any more info is required I will be happy to supply it upon request.

PS: 1) I know that Windows Live Movie Maker has the burn to DVD option which I haven't tried, but this would still not resolve the file conversion black border issue when saved on the hard drive as .wmv files.
2) I would prefer if somehow I could get the VIDEO_TS/AUDIO_TS folder output which I understand is storage for .VOB, .BUP etc. If this is possible and someone knows a how to, again -EXCELLENT!

Thanks in advance and again, sorry for the long winded post.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Oct 2011   #2
3D Jed

Windows 7 pro x64 SP1

Have never used WLMM - I use 3rd party apps instead.

Handbrake (freeware) will automatically trim the black borders from the wmv and convert to mp4. You can adjust size/bitrate.

My pref is to edit adverts etc from WMC recordings with VideoRedo (not freeware) - accepts wtv and dvr-ms, then save as mpeg2.

The mpeg2 can be converted to DVD format with Nero Vision (not freeware) then burned to DVD with Nero Express, or compressed with Handbrake. Make sure you buy DVD-R disks.

VideoRedo have a free trial and I'm sure forum members here can advise you on free alternatives to Nero.

Plenty of video help, info + links to freeware here - Forum, Guides, Tools and hardware lists

BTW Adobe MC CS5 has Premiere Pro which is excellent for editing video, but is very strict on the quality being 100%. Any slight defects and the movie will not load.

Edit - are the black borders there when you play the wtv in WMC ie before WLMM ?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Oct 2011   #3

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)

As has been mentioned, the product "VideoReDo TV Suite v4" is THE BEST non-free (modestly priced) product you should investigate. Go download the free trial, and you won't mind paying the $95 it costs you when you're done, if you're serious about it. It only cost me $47 to upgrade from the previous version of the product I'd previously purchased.

It reads WTV directly, so you won't have to convert or copy to DVR-MS first.

It is a frame-accurate editor and can export the edited underlying original MPEG-2 OTA/ATSC content out into MPG, TS, DVR-MS, WTV, M2TS or MKV wrappers (i.e. with no re-compression of audio or video). Or, you can save in other formats (including H.264).

Try it. You'll like it.

NOTE: as with all video products, VRD only can read/edit copy-freely WTV content (e.g. OTS ATSC recordings of local networks) and WTV recordings from cable systems where the recordings are not marked copy-once "protected". You also would not be able to convert these copy-once WTV recordings to DVR-MS under any circumstances anyway. You would not even be able to play copy-once content (e.g. using VLC) with 3rd-party players or editors, as only Windows Media Center can play such copy-once content (assuming it was also the recording mechanism that produced those copy-once WTV files). Copy-once content is 100% "locked down" and only accessible to WMC.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

01 Nov 2011   #4
3D Jed

Windows 7 pro x64 SP1

re orig poster's question about Adobe Master Collection training : some links to free video tuts -

Photoshop User TV is a weekly program with news, tutorials and interviews about Photoshop + Lightroom

Layers TV covers all Adobe apps (now ended but prev episodes online)

Adobe TV has tutorials on all their stuff

Nick Campbell the 'greyscale gorilla' runs a site about Cinema 4D, but has a section on Adobe After Effects (often used with C4D)

After Effects | greyscalegorilla/blog
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Nov 2011   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit OS

Just posting back to thank you to both for the responses.
I am very confused when it comes to all these different video formats
and bit rates etc etc....

I hope I haven't put you both out too much by asking this question in the
first place, it does seem that you know what your talking about though so
after doing it a few times it probably comes off the top of your head so to speak.

Jed: In response to the question of does the original file play in Media Center without the black borders- this is an affirmative for both the .wtv and .dvr-ms file types. By the way only the dvr-ms will load into WLMovie Maker (which is why I converted it in the first place), I then convert this and the ouput is .wmv which when played back in either VLC, Media Player or Media Center gives the dreaded black border playback result.

Ty for the program tips and links for the Adobe instructionals mate- much appreciated - now - I have a couple of quick questions for you if you happen to make it back here for another look at this post and my thankyou to you:
q1: Does Hanbrake convert to formats which are able to be burnt to disk and played in a standard DVD player after trimming the black borders from the .wmv file?
q2: This is related to question 1- can mp4 play in a standard DVD player- I didn't think you could burn a .mp4 file for playback in a standard player - is this right?

dsperber: Thankyou also for the tips and the response. You seemed to push the VideoReDo a little more so it sounds like you use the program all the time. This being the case, if you get back here to view this I also have another couple of questions for you if you would be so kind.
1) I assume that by reading wts directly, VideoReDo does not need this file to be converted before opening the file in this program - correct?
2) Frame accurate editor: Does this mean that no bit rate, resolution, refresh rate settings need to be worried about either within the program itself or Video Card before or after the conversion to another file format?
3) If no setting adjustments need to be made and a successful conversion can be made to VideoTS, does the program automatically create an AudioTS folder which I am led to believe is required to be seen on the burnt disk by the standard player. If this is not the case, can the folder be manually created and burnt onto the disk with no problems (with DVDFab8 for example)?
4) What file format produces the Video/AudioTS file format output in the first place OR is VideoTS an output file format unto itself?

Again- sorry for the dum (_|_) questions
Again- sorry for the long winded post
And again- ty both very much for taking the time to respond to my post in the first place. Think I better ZIP it now !!
PS: This is a big ty to Jed and dsperber but anyone else please feel free to leave your advice/ response- CHEERS (NOW SHHH AllOnTheBus)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Nov 2011   #6

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by AllOnTheBus View Post
I have only just done my first recording of a digital television broadcast using Windows Media Center.
Before going into any detail on VideoReDo (VRD, for future discussion) usage I looked back at your original post. And it is very important to be sure you've been crystal clear on exactly what we're working with here.

When you say "I've done my first recording of a DTV broadcast using Windows Media Center (WMC, for future discussion)", exactly what was the source of that recording? You've described starting from the recorded WTV file and going from there, but exactly what did you record and how?

In other words, do you have a TV tuner card in your PC? Is that what this WTV recording was made from? And if so, is it an OTA/ATSC tuner (e.g. ATI TV Wonder of some sort), or a cablecard-enabled tuner (e.g. Ceton InfinitTV), or did you record from "Internet TV"? Do you have a Tivo, or HDHomeRun, or what? What was your source that produced this WTV result and it was an external device what was the cabling connection to the PC that facilitated the WTV recording using WMC?

Next, what channel did you record from and what was the original source resolution? The HD channels are either 720p or 1080i. There are no 1080p broadcast channels. These channels all deliver "transport streams" which utilize MPEG-2 encoding, and the images are all 16:9 (even if the specific content at any given moment during a non-HD program or commercial appears to not be fullscreen 16:9).

In contrast, the non-HD channels are still digital but are 480i resolution and only 4:3. When you present 4:3 on a 16:9 screen it will necessarily have black bars on the left and right... and this is genuinely "original aspect ration (OAR)". If you stretch the 4:3 image horizontally so that you don't see the black bars on left and right you have just distorted the OAR image, and everything will look squat and fat. So purists will not do this... preferring to just see the black bars on left and right with the 4:3 image centered.

Furthermore, if a broadcaster (e.g. ESPN) delivers "rectangular" content intended for 16:9 HD viewing (at 720p or 1080i) which then gets down-converted to 480i for delivery to the non-HD 480i standard definition 4:3 version of the channel, they may choose to do that in either of two ways: (1) "center-cut", chopping off the left and right sides of the 16:9 image producing a 4:3 image which is then presented full-screen on a 4:3 standard definition TV thus have no black bars on either top/bottom or left/right but also missing the left and right parts of the original rectangular image, or (2) "letterboxed", retaining the rectangular 16:9 image but presenting it on the 4:3 screen which then results in black bars on top and bottom but with 100% of the original rectangular image retained.

Obviously the letterboxed 4:3 retains all the original image, but because it really was intended for display on a larger 16:9 screen the image as seen on the 4:3 screen is necessarily smaller (and with black bars on top/bottom to retain the 16:9 aspect ratio, but with the rectangular image running the full width of the 4:3 screen so that there are no black bars on left/right).

Now, if you actually present the 480i 4:3 non-HD standard definition image on an actual 16:9 screen, the results will also vary, depending on how that 480i image was created: (1) if the 480i image was "center-cut" from the 16:9 original HD source then the 480i image will be 4:3 in the middle of the 16:9 screen and running the full vertical size of the screen but with black bars on left and right, or (2) if the 480i image was "letterboxed" from the 16:9 original HD source then the 480i image will be letterboxed 16:9 in the middle of the 4:3 portion of the 16:9 screen, so that it will appear as having black bars on BOTH left/right as well as top/bottom. This latter appearance is the natural result of presenting a letterboxed 4:3 (from a 16:9 original) image in the central 4:3 portion of a 16:9 screen... black bars all around.

So, back to my original questions: (a) what is your hardware method of getting digital TV into WMC, and (b) what channel did you make your recording from... was it 1080i/720p 16:9 HD or was it 480i 4:3 SD, and (c) if it was 480i 4:3 SD did it appear "letterboxed 4:3" or "center-cut 4:3" when viewed live on that 480i SD channel?

I ask these questions because the information is all relevant when saving any edited result.

Also relevant is the intended target recording medium... standard definition DVD or high-definition BluRay, and their supported aspect ratios and resolutions. Note again that broadcast TV (even HDTV) is not 1080p.

So, are you trying to take a 480i non-HD 4:3 program and create what you think is an HD BluRay "HD" result? Not going to happen, because the original source was not HD. You may upconvert and stretch, but you're not really producing an HD BluRay. Only if you started from a true HDTV 720p/1080i recording would any BluRay version be true HDTV retaining the original MPEG-2 data. And if you down-converted and re-compressed to produce a standard definition 480p SD DVD (even at 16:9), then you've again lost the original HDTV quality.

I'm not trying to make this overly complex, but there are just lots of factors that go into any "project" that starts from a recorded WTV file out of WMC and want to produce some edited output.

To understand why your screenshot shows black bars all around you really do need to clarify what you recorded originally, and how. Also, what kind of output do you really want... 480p SD DVD's from 720p/1080i HD original?

Once this is cleared up we can explore VRD and how to accomplish what you want to accompolish.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Nov 2011   #7
3D Jed

Windows 7 pro x64 SP1

dsperber - the OP says in para 3 that the wtv plays back ok in WMC, so I guess its not a 16:9/4:3 issue but something he is doing wrong in WLMM.

allonthe bus - Handbrake is a prog for archiving video for storage + watching on your pc ie takes a large file from DVD or converted WMC and outputs a smaller mp4 (I use 700MB for a movie). If the orig was very widescreen it crops the black bars and just gives a mp4 the size of the image. So you could use it to fix your problem wmv's, although that doesn't fix your problem.

To produce the files needed for DVD you need a DVD authoring prog such as Nero or equiv. Nero creates a video_ts folder containing vob, ifo and bup files which is the standard for 'ordinary' DVD players. Nero can accept most video files as imput eg mpg, avi, mp4 but not wtv or dvr-ms. Sometimes a audio_ts folder is present, but empty.

frame accurate - this means when editing you can advance the video one frame at a time to cut adverts etc accurately

dsperber - just to confuse things, in the UK SD TV is mpeg2 of various PARs which is stretched to correct DAR giving diff qualities for diff shows. HD seems to be 1440 * 1080 h.264 which is flagged to fill 1920 * 1080. The old VRD would do SD dvr-ms but not SD wtv and def not HD h.264. New VRD will do mpeg2 wtv and some HD h.264 but not all - prob due to copy protection.

this post is turning into alphabet soup !
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Nov 2011   #8
3D Jed

Windows 7 pro x64 SP1


you asked about frame accurate editing in VRD - here's a screenshot to illustrate - I suggest you get the trial VRD and test it out

.wtv and .dvr-ms files (Media Center TV Recordings)-vrd_screenshot.jpg

Jed, Manchester UK

My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Nov 2011   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 Bit OS
Lotsa acronyms hey!!!

Again dsperber and Jed- ty for your time

It is a bit alpahabet soupish I must admit- I thought the General Dip. in IT
and all the networking stuff was bad what with all them acronyms and all :)


dsperber: The original recording was done bye connecting the coaxial cable from the home ouside aerial (capable of DTV reception) and the use of the inbuilt TV tuner on Toshiba Qosmio laptop. DTV Stations were tuned in using Media Center itself and therefore the output was the default .wtv which also by default can only be converted to dvr-ms through Windows 7 itself.

If there are settings within Media Center itself which could have affected the output of the file I was unaware of this fact and they were left at there default settings for recording the free to air DTV program.

I am unsure of what make or model the tuner card in the laptop is- never looked cause I was never really doing any work with video or tv before (I is a bit old school meaning I watch TV on the TV and pay money to hire my DVD'S).

As Jed mentioned correctly, both of the original files played back no problem within Media Center itself, it was only when I imported the dvr-ms file into WLMM and outputted a .wmv file that the borders appeared. Note that the WLMM does have a cropping adjustment setting within it but regardless of if I used these settings or not, and no matter which resolution I used in the save as option, the result was still the black borders.

My head is spinning from all the video file format acronyms, resolution numbers and aspect ratios so I will remain naive on this and what different countries broadcast their TV in folks!

I did take both of your advice and downloaded the trial of VideoReDo which is spot on. I think I will be purchasing my copy very shortly. I was able to open the .wtv file as you said and outputted mpeg2 Transport Stream .ts. Also authored and played with settings so I actually learnt how to mux and demux the output giving me the files I recognise and am more familiar with. So I've learnt something new and understand a little more about what is going on in the re-encoding process I guess. I'm sure now that I can see the VIDEO_ts and AUDIO_ts folders in the save that these are now able to be burnt to disk either by VRD itself or another program such as DVDFab, AnyDVDshrink etc.. (havent tried the burn with any software yet)

The file plays with minimal quality loss in VLC and if I use a 16:10 or 16:9 crop setting in here the result is very good.

For your interest (maybe?) I have also been transferring old VHS tapes to my hard drive using Kaiser Baas DVD Maker which comes with Magix Video Easy software. This has it's own editing capabilities however I found it to be pretty ordinary in the frame cutting accuracy department and besides that, I'm pretty sure it does not have the capability of joining videos together which I require for old home videos (next project). The chapter insertion in VideoRedo is also awesome so I think you peeps sold a copy for them!

The VHS to Magix to VideoReDo .ts output is also good quality and although I may not need all these tools and may be complicating the process a bit, I am happy with results when using either the aspect ratio and/or crop options of VLC for viewing on my external monitor (bigscreen TV). It's great to be able to easily insert scenes for the VHS copies especially for music vids where you can chapter to each individual song.

Like I said before - VideoReDo SOLD!!!! due to ease of use.

Thankyou both again for the valuable help and tips, I don't think I'll ever be working at Columbia or Pixar as a video editor somehow but I'll keep trying to wrap my head round it! Cheers folks
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Nov 2011   #10

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1

On the Projects tab in WLMM did you set the project to 16:9?

.wtv and .dvr-ms files (Media Center TV Recordings)-screenshot50_2011-11-09.png

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 .wtv and .dvr-ms files (Media Center TV Recordings)

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