Tuesday, October 9, 2007

How To Convert Media Center Videos (dvr-ms to avi)

I record a lot of TV content for playback later and all these days have been using Nero Home, WinDVR or MythTV. Recently, I formatted my hard disk to reinstall Windows Vista. And all of a sudden, a friend called and told that I had to record a TV show in which she starred and it was starting in 5mins. You know when the bad times hit you, they hit you hard. I couldn't find my Nero installer and downloading it again would take more than 5 min to complete, considering how bloated the package has become lately. Instead, logic prevailed and I remembered Windows Vista Ultimate's Media Center. Scanned the channels, and started recording. The show finished and I completed recording.

Happy with the recording quality and ease of use of Media Center, I went on to look at the recorded file. The dvr-ms file which was created is an MPEG2 with some ASF Wrapper. I said to myself, "How tough is it going to be to remove the wrapper and get the MPEG2 stream". I scoured the internet to discover "The Green Button" and I decided to press the button (I mean download DVRMSToolBox). It said, "some process failed"..or something. I said, "Ok, lemme try GraphEdit". Connecting the arrows between the input to a video demux would again throw some incompatible stream error. After, some 2hrs of searching for solutions and trying all the different things, I couldn't find a solution.

A little while later, as I was swearing on Microsoft, I remembered Windows Movie Maker... The saviour had arrived!! Sorry, if the story was boring, here the tutorial begins:

Tutorial to convert dvr-ms to avi and then DIVX/XVID/MPG/MP4 or anything else

Step 1.) Drag your recorded TV show into Windows Movie Maker's Library (You could import the dvr-ms file as well)

Step 2.) Here, you can cut/split files and play with it however you may like. (Ignore this step, if you wish to convert the whole video)

Step 3.) Drag the split/complete video file to the timeline.

Step 4.) Then, Click Publish to: This Computer from the left "Tasks" section. Give a name & location and hit "Next"

Step 5.) Put the radio button on "More Settings" and from the drop down select "DV-AVI" and click Publish... and that's it!!

The output process will create and uncompressed AVI file. It's an extremely quick process compared to other video processing tasks from other softwares. This uncompressed avi may be later compressed into DIVX/XVID/MPEG using VirtualDub or GordionKnot... I prefer using Nero Recode and create Nero Digital MP4 files. I couldn't find a quick solution like this anywhere online and hence decided to write this tutorial. Hopefully it'll help a few others to convert dvr-ms to avi, since Vista's Media Center does excellent recording and is simple for dummies... Happy recording!!

60 comments:

Henrik Herold said...

Wow... Why diddnt i come up with this.

Started searching the topic of dvr conversion yesterday, and after having been stuck on tgb with no good tools, and google posts from 2006 i find this.

The perfect solution. Thanks a lot for the tutorial. Henrik Herold
henrik@heroldjensen.dk
-vista mce user ;)

Saptarshi Purkayastha said...

Great to know it proved helpful to atleast someone... Even I wasn't able to find a solution online, until I figured this out myself. Chow!!

tejram said...

I just cannot believe, the solution has been on my PC since I started using mediacentre 2 years ago. From the beginning I have been agonising with 3rd party programs such DVRMSToolBox, DVRMStoWMV, etc when all this time, all I needed was Windows Movie maker. It even converts the file to other formats and in half the time than say DRVtoWMV. I am curious to know however, why you suggest to select DV-AVI and not the smaller size options? DV-AVI expands a 2gb DVRMS to a whopping 14GB! But I am more curious to know why it has taken two years for someone as clever as you to come up with this simplest, no cost, 3rd party free solution! Thanks though, well done.

tejram said...

Alas, I try different conversions on the Windows Movie maker only to find the audio is out of synch quite badly. I now remembr that I did try Movie maker in the early days and abandoned it because of this very problem! Perhap on Vista, this problem is not there? I wonder if if the new version is available for XP...

Eric said...

What's odd is that Microsoft says this will not work:
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/moviemaker/21/faq.mspx

VLC user said...

There is an easy alternative to extract the MPEG data from a DVR-MS file: VLC media player

Open the file in VLC
File -> Wizard
Choose Transcode/Save to file
Next
Choose Existing playlist item
(optinally set start/end times)
Next
Leave the transcode options empty to extract the original MPEG data
Next
Choose your favorite encapsulation format (MPEG PS will do fine)
Next
Choose output filename
Click finish and enjoy the progress indicator speed

PS. You can also transcode directly to many other formats with VLC, just select the appropriate transcoding options

Saptarshi Purkayastha said...

@tejram: I recommended the dvr-avi because although its larger, the quality remains intact. WMV seems to have some quality loss compared to plain MPG2 or Nero Digital MP4, which I prefer. No sync problems in Vista!!

@eric: This does work and I have been doing it quite a bit lately. It may not at times work for protected content, but it actually worked on protected content atleast 4/6 things I tried lately!!

@vlcuser: Infact, I tried doing that before Movie maker, but vlc would hang when transcoding some files. Also movie maker allows very fast cutting of videos... Anyways good tip that others can try if they dont like MovieMaker

gidney said...

Thanks a lot, i have been pulling my hair out for a few days now trying to figure out how to split a recorded tv show and 5 mins after reading your post i had completed my task.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't work on my computer. Is this because it's XP and not Vista?

Anonymous said...

Is there a command line option for the conversion so I can auto convert all the stuff I record ?

sunknee said...

I know very little about any of this, but I got it, thanks to you. You also saved me $35-$40, since I had been searching for downloadable software that would do this. Thanks!!

john0wein said...

How do you get Movie Maker to accept a dvr-ms file? I have tried to import dvr-ms files into Movie Maker on XP Media Center, XP X64 and Vista 32 bit home basic without success.

Sami said...

movie maker only takes dvr-ms files on vista - the XP version can't do them

Anonymous said...

Using Vista Home Premium the import option also gave an error for me until I removed the mp4 plug-in for my Axis webcam. Top post btw as I've been 'playing' with Nero DrDivX MCEbuddy etc etc etc for weeks and got nowhere fast - now watching recorded TV on my PS3 perfectly

Anonymous said...

Great info !

This is what Blogs should be used for.

You've saved me days of messing about , trying not to have to Download umpteen codecs and convertors.

Luckly I found this blog just as I starting searching for "DVR-MS to avi"

Many Thanks
Andy, UK

henderrob said...

Thanks for your research and solution. I use Ashampoo Shrink and Burn 3 but sometimes it won't accept Media Center dvr.ms. This will allow me to shrink a 3.3GB file to 675MS to save space.

Anonymous said...

Hi

I tried your solution. I took a one hour recording dvr-ms file (around 1.5GB) a transformed it, as you said in a DV-AVI.

Generated file is 14GB size !!!

How did you process such heavy weight file ?

I've tried to load it with VirtualDub without success. Also, I wonder how you use GordianKnoth with such file...

Any help appreciated.

J

Curt00 said...

I have lots of old VHS recordings that I like to put onto my PC (1st preference) or DVDs (2nd preference).

I can record my VHS tapes with Windows Media Center and use Movie Maker to convert them. However, AVI formats create files that are too big. If I create WMV files, they are much smaller than the DVR-MS format. How much quality do I lose by converting to WMV? Is there another format other than AVI that will preserve the quality?

I have a Panasonic VHS/DVD combo recorder. If I use that to copy my VHS tapes to DVD, will I lose any quality? Is it better to copy the VHS tapes to my PC?

Anonymous said...

as soon as i came to know about this wonderful news that we can convert dvr-ms files in avi or wmv using windows movie maker installed in vista..
i format my pc and now install vista in it..
but i could not import dvr-ms files in moviemaker (i have windows movie maker 6.0.6000 installed in my pc)

once i had done it (converted dvr-ms files in wmv) using my laptop but but it doesnt work in my pc

what should i need to do? is there any seeting which i need to change?

what version of windows movie maker should i have to use?

mrh829 said...

No good for HDTV recordings...

Exporting DV-AVI from Windows Movie Maker (with Vista Home Premium 32-bit) does not allow you to choose any specific options of how the movie will be encoded.

DV-AVI only exports a 720x480 file, which not only reduces the resolution from the original 1080i/p source, but also produces a 4:3 letterboxed file. In my testing, the audio also got horribly out of sync.

If Microsoft would allow you to tweak the behavior of the video encoder, as most other video editing programs do, this might work (and then VirtualDub could be used on the output file to fix the audio sync), but this may be too much to expect Microsoft to provide "free" of charge.

I know that Movie Maker has a preset "Windows Media HD 1080p," but this one also resulted in the audio getting horribly out of sync, and this file won't be as friendly to other video programs, if the intent is to go to Xvid.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately it doesn't import DVR-MS files under MCE 2005 with WinXP, error pops up.
Does anyone know a solution w/o upgrading to the terrible Vista?
Any help very appreciated

Joeno said...

Thanks for the post. Windows Movie Maker does have the 16:9 output option under Tools->Options->Advanced. I just had Windows Media Center then burn my dvd from the video library I had just converted, works fine no audio problems picture looks very good. My conversion was from HDTV. So happy now, wish I would have known about this earlier.

Anonymous said...

You can also use media coder and then cut in virtual dub. It´s faster.

Anonymous said...

Windows Movie maker, in all honesty, sucks. It crashes all the time, and, it would not load any of my DVR-MS files, ever. Plus, it's foolish to convert a DVR-MS file from 1.5 GB to 14GB avi (DV-AVI). Only so you can convert it to divx later? Come on, waste of time and hard drive space!

You can use SUPER, from eRightSoft, which is free, and will convert to many, many formats (http://www.erightsoft.com/SUPER.html). And will convert DVR-MS to MPEG too! It's just a little clunky, and takes a little bit to get used to.

Personally, I use VideoRedo to convert to MPEG, which works quickly, then I use virtualdub-MPEG2 with the divx encoder, deinterlace filter (blend), and the sharpen filter, to get high quality, reduced sized files.

In addition, I tried using the VLC method to convert, and it did work, however, I had no audio. I also cannot play any DVR-MS files using VLC, the video skips, and the audio sounds horrible.

So your suggestions are helpful, but don't work, at least not for someone with Windows XP professional. I'm assuming everyone is "rich" and has Vista?

Anonymous said...

"I recommended the dvr-avi because although its larger, the quality remains intact."

Come on - DV-AVI isn't uncompressed - you'd get horrible filesizes.
I also discovered and tried your method - yes it works but you'll loose some quality using this recompression detour.
Therefore I'm going to try other methods. Graphedit worked but made audio/video sync problems...

Anonymous said...

Must be some magic! This does not work on Movie Maker in Vista - even Microsoft says so. DVR-MS is not a supported file type in Movie Maker.
What version are you using, operating system, etc.
Trying to import gives an error msg - not a supported file type - and from other posts Xp doesn't work either.
Has anybody actually DONE this?

Anonymous said...

It is my belief that MS has disabled this with a update moths ago crashes all the time now. Security update for Windows Movie Maker My A**. It use to work for my computer using Windows Vista Ultimate. Now even my video card has stopped working. I almost think that MS might have done something to this but it was proabably a surge in the antenna that fried the thing. The only way to get this working is through some of the alternatives that others have listed above or bit the bullet and pay for a program that will convert this for you.

aaansv said...

fine, is there any body who can advise me how can i convert my cctv feedback as .dvr in to .avi. and i want to edit those clippings also like in windows movie maker, now i have only raw video which opening through only dvr player which is about 2mb.
please adviseme.
aaansv
aaansvprasad@rediffmail.com

Anonymous said...

I spent four long days trying to convert dvr-ms to something that would save me computer space and tranfrer to my Archos 5 and it was on my computer all the time. I've converted to vhs quality to dvr quality and they all work. Had to unselect some filters that were messing up, but now it works like a dream. Can't say thank you enough for this info.

Anonymous said...

I have Windows XP media center edition 2004.

When I record a tv show or movie the file type is: Microsoft Recorded Tv Show.

I cannot Click and drag this file into Windows Movie Maker or import it into collections.

and there is no program on the market (I believe) that can convert a "microsoft recorded tv show" file into an MP4.

got any advice on how to approach this?

Anonymous said...

You could try this one It claims to be able to do it. Cant comment on how well it works or not.
http://www.ojosoft.com/how-to-convert/dvr-ms-to-mp4-converter.html

Saptagiri-Shrikant said...

I have a Media center version 5 and a Movie Maker version 5. The movie maker does not recognize the file type of the recorded TV
any specifics i need to look for to make this work? anyone got any other suggestions
thanks in advance folks

mike said...

the answer to converting my recorded tv shows for my sansa fuze was under my nose all the time! it still takes 2 steps convert once with movie maker then again with sansa media converter but it works!
thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

The sixth posting, VLC User, gives a procedure on using VLC Media Player. I cannot follow his explanation. I cannot find "file" nor the wizard associated with it. I opened Media found a couple of "files" there, but no Wizard. Did anybody have any luck with this procedure?

Anonymous said...

VLC 0.9.8a, Click on Media, then convert/save and open the appropriate file. ms-dvr files don't show up unless you tell it to find all files... they do load though and then click convert/save. Select the appropriate file format. Make sure that you indicate a file name instead of a stream. It then should convert it to the appropriate file format.

Cindy Kilkenny said...

Thanks! After half an hour of kicking around the 'net I found your advice. Worked like you said. I'm so grateful.

Anonymous said...

Thanks :)

gnrocker said...

now i can watch recorded tv on my iphone :) i dont think i will be buying tv from the itunes store anymore

barbarajanice said...

was grateful for the advice to use windows movie maker but cannot import dvr-ms file in Windows 7. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

Cassie said...

It works for me (Vista Home). I publish the movie as Windows Media DVD Quality (wmv format) because after I've done my editing, I don't plan on messing with the file again so I don't need it to be in an editable format. Also, I'm not too concerned with the quality since I will only be watching the video on my computer (not a tv screen).

My only problem is that the volume seems a bit low - I don't know if this is a problem when I first recorded the tv on Windows Media Center (the initial video had low audio) or if it gets progressively worse each time I manipulate the file. Anyway, it isn't horribly inconvenient - i just have to turn up the volume (almost all the way).

Bradley Bennett said...

For anyone else looking for how to play dvr-ms files on a Mac, I was able to open them just fine from VLC view. You can't double click on the file from the desktop to have it play, but if you go to File>Open, it will open and read the file just fine.

Ken said...

nice blog, good, this is good information for me u can also u know make post about H.264 DVR, Digital Video Recorder.

Avcap DVR said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Adam Scott said...

thanks for this information i also finding this information and u give me so thanks and i also find information about Security System.

Mutuelle sante said...

Thanks a lot it is a great help, now to convert media center videos (dvr-ms to avi) is without a doubt very easy with the help of your advice. Thanks

Dan M. said...

Years later, sill works great...Thanks...

Anonymous said...

On windows 7 - 32bit or 64 bit - i use AVS Video converter 7.1. Conversion from dvr-ms to avi takes about 35 minutes and quality is very good. A 2.85 GB dvr-ms converts to a 430 MB avi. My considerable efforts to use movie maker on any microsoft operating system always failed as movie maker wont recognise a dvr-ms file.

Anonymous said...

Well this is brilliant. Who'd have thought. I am using Win 7 Premium and I used Media Center and a TV Tuner card (Hauppage) to capture OTA video from the NBC series Grimm as a test. Broadcast video is 1920x1080i. The file saved as a *.wtv. The wtv is 5.68 GB. Opened Win Movie Maker and imported the wtv into Win Movie Maker (it took awhile, look at the bottom left of the screen for an indicator). I then cut the video into approx 10 sec chunk to test. Movie Maker had the following quality options:
e-mail wmv, 426x240, 48kbps
DVD wmv, 720x480, 1500kbps
Computer wmv, 854x480, 5500kbps
HD wmv, 1920x1080, 24000kbps

All of these outputs looked great. I am actually impressed with the HD. There are some web pusblishing options too. Flckr, You Tube, etc. Very cool.

Anonymous said...

All good things must come to an end. It appears that Windows Movie Maker no longer recognizes files recorded using Window Media Center. I tried to import the file but no go. Dragging and dropping doesn't work either. An upgrade of Windows7 or WMC must have stopped the ability to convert or edit recorded tv programs. I've used WMM in the past to convert the WMC files with great success. Looks like there's been some changes to WMM or WMC since late 2011

Eve said...

it works for me! Importing dvr-ms into MovieMaker at least. I wanted to save to mpg but it only lets me save to wmv- which is fine. Thank goodness! Just goes to show that 6 year-old posts should not be discarded offhand as outdated.... dvr-ms is not common anymore (I think?) so thank God this post is here!

Eve said...

It worked for me! Thanks so much. I was trying to convert dvr-ms to mpg and this was very helpful indeed. Goes to show that 'new' is not always 'best' - this 6 year old post has been a lifesaver! =D

Anonymous said...

Had found this post after hours of searching on the internet. Haven't used it in years and use mcebuddy for my convert WTV to what ever but this corner of the internet facinates me. Yes this post is still helpful after all those years. Just goes to show you you may never know what may be helpful to someone even after all this time.

Anonymous said...

hi ! i can not drag the .dvr file to the wm maker... what next?

mpg for mac mov said...

Thanks! After half an hour of kicking around the 'net I found your advice. Worked like you said. I'm so grateful.

look said...

Well done, it works for me. thanks a lot.

parental control said...

convert dvr-ms video to avi format? just find a good video converter help to do so, there are tons of such video on the internet, such as xilisoft video converter, wondershare video converter, avs video converter etc.

Anonymous said...

Those alternatives are all paid software's. This option was a solution already on your computer free. If you don't have either a free and better or already on computer alternative I suggest you move on.

video converter said...

FFmepg,Handbrake and Freemake are all good freewares for converting video formats among all popular formats.

Anonymous said...

Have you tried iDealshare VideoGo? It can easily convert DVR or WTV to any other video format like MP4, AVI, WMV, MOV, MPG, FLV, MKV, etc.
You may get it and a step by step guide from http://www.idealshare.net/wtv-converter.html

Mary O'Connor said...

Congrats, determination and hard working never get bad result.
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