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andy vt's blog

January 2009 - Posts

  • DVRMSToolbox - EA Release 3

    This is an Early Access release.


    - Disable WER on Vista for DVRMStoMPEG.exe
    - Add remote system idle timer reseting in the FW (works slightly different when running in service v. winform)
    - fixed an inconsistent metadata issue
    - ReloadMetadata action
    - MigrateMetadataToContext action
    - Changed Experimental ConvertToXvid to ConvertVideoFile advanced action to convert to xvid (requires xvid encoder filter) h.264 (requires Monogram x264 encoder) with resize and crop (requires custom meraka filters)
    - Cleanup profile GUI in settings tool
    - Coyote's Export to iPhone with ffmpeg profile
    - ffmpeg iPhone profile
    - ReplaceSageTvFile action
    - Reworked action dependancy model, so non-boolean types can have dependant properties (supports boolean and enum, but other types will be easy to add if necessary)

    - CommercialSkipAddin will install on Win7

    x86 | x64 | Source

  • Building a PC extender

    There has been a lot of HTPC hating going around lately, so I figured some alternative perspective was required :)

    Motherboard: DG45ID ($114) - Intel might seem like a strange pick for both graphics and a motherboard, but despite some initial hiccups (early bios revs disabled HWA) I have been very pleased with the stability and performance of the board and IGP.  I initially selected this board based on reviews where it out-scored both nVidia and ATI IGP based solutions (the 780G doesn't do so well with AM2 CPU because of memory bandwidth) in picture quality tests, and because of its excellent feature set (8 channel LPCM over HDMI, HWA, legacy free design).  I just picked up a 780G board that will be paired with a X4 so some comparisons will be made, but for now I can say that the G45HD delivers excellent PQ (connected to a 42" 1080p plasma).  The only really complaint I have with the system is that it's very picky about the memory that you give it (1.8v 800MHz DDR); and doesn't offer a real clear CMOS function (but that's a different story ;)).

    CPU: E5200 ($74) -  It can do h.264 decoding in SW if asked (just don't ask it to do anything else at the same time), but with the G45HD doing all the heavy lifting not much is needed in the CPU department so going for a cheap, cool, and quiet CPU has worked out really well.

    PSU: Earthwatts 380 ($35) - There are cheaper PSUs (even some with active PFC), but I like the 80 Plus Earthwatts.  Higher effciency reduces waste heat, and earns you some green cred, so why not.  This build won't come close to needing 380 watts, so a lower wattage PSU could be swapped in.

    RAM: 2GB 1.8v 800MHz DDR2 ($24) -  I tried to make some OCZ ram that was in the closet, and it didn't take (needed 2.0v).  I had some ADATA chips in my dev box that worked so I went with that.  Vista needs 2GB, so don't get less, 4GB is not much more so it might not hurt to pick up the extra 2GB.

    HD: ($35) - I actually used an old Hitachi 160GB SATA disk that was laying around, so I save some money there.  The cheapest SATA drives that I could find were some 80GB ones for $35, which frankly seems obscene when a 1TG goes for $95. 

    CASE ($?) - I reused my first HTPC case (a micro-ATX Coolermaster), which had been sitting in the closet for 4 years (didn't like it that it didn't have a VFD soon after I bought it).  A decent HTPC case will run $100 (I like the nMedia ones), but state of the working can be had for $15 so I'm leaving this one up to you.  Cases are the only part of a PC that last forever, so I prefer to spend a little more and get something that looks nice and won't slice me up while I play.

    Remote ($7) -  I picked up a HVR-2250 not long before I started planning this build, the MCE bundle (includes remote and IR receiver) was only $7 more than the bare card, so I went for it.

    Build Cost:  $289 + Case

    Of course this doesn't include the software (OS, etc) required to make it all work.  Vista isn't cheap (wait for Windows 7), but all the necessary codecs will be included in the BR drive bundle (do your homework, so you don't get a crippled version of PDVD); or you can also get most anything from the MPC project on SourceForge.  I have a LG GGC-H20L in my main HTPC (haven't picked one up for the extender yet; it's kind of a hassle to do the ISO->Virtual Clone drive thing, but it works :)) which @$119 is pricey for a BR drive, but as an HD-DVD adopter the hybrid nature was nice to have.

    This is the quietest PC that I have ever owned, laptops included; it has one case fan, the CPU fan, and the PSU fan.  I don't have a way to objectively measure how much noise it makes, but I can say that the only thing that can be heard when the TV is off is the hard drive, and only when it's under heavy load (which is almost never), a more modern, laptop, or SSD (maybe someday :)) drive would resolve that.

  • ToDvrms -
    - added subtitle persistance option (vob); requires Haali Video Sink

    bin | source

  • FWChannelProxy

    FWChannelProxy is a SageTV channel tuning pluggin that wraps calls to timmoore's channel.dll for changing channels on the STB via firewire.

    Note, that this package doesn't include the drivers necessary to make the STB device work over firewire.  I used this driver package, to get the device installed.

    Installation steps:

    1. Shut down SageTV (service and client)
    2. Extract the dlls to the SageTV Common folder (e.g. C:\Program Files\SageTV\Common)
    3. Rename FWChannelProxy#.dll (the included file is FWChannelProxy2.dll because that's what works on my system) where # is the device number obtained by running channel.exe -v (the panel device)
    4. If changing an existing tuner, open the file and find the entry for the tuning_pluggin and change it to the path to  FWChannelProxy#.dll
    5. Create copies of FWChannelProxy#.dll and rename as appropriate for multi-tuner systems.
    6. Start the Sage service
    7. Try to change a channel


    1. Stop the service
    2. Create a file called  FWChannelProxy#.log in the Common folder (e.g. FWChannelProxy2.log)
    3. Restart the service, open the client and change the channel
    4. The dll will log it's actions, create a thread in the Sage Tools forum with the log.


  • MetaDataLookup -
    - scan tv provider for videos setting
    - scan video provider for tv settings
    - scan tv files (in addition to favorites) setting
    - remove from video title regex setting


  • MetaDataLookup -
    - when run from the cmdline no gui is shown
    - added exclude titles setting
    - added exclude regex setting 


    Exclusion settings enable skipping things like video conversions and family movies that won't have fanart.

  • MetaDataLookup -
    - don't trust scoring system, weight on title match
    - remove "Complete" message box
    - scan results output
    - fixed not respecting checkboxes issue


  • RunTsMuxeR

    RunTsMuxer is a simple UI application that automates the process of running tsMuxeR against all of the files of a specific type in a specific folder to convert them to m2ts (e.g. mkv).

    Note that you will need a lot of space (more that 2x) as the orginal files are left alone.


  • DVRMSToolbox (R2) - Early Access Release

    This is an Early Access release.


    - Disable WER on Vista for DVRMStoMPEG.exe
    - Add remote system idle timer reseting in the FW (works slightly different when running in service v. winform)
    - fixed an inconsistent metadata issue
    - ReloadMetadata action
    - MigrateMetadataToContext action
    - Experimental ConvertToXvid advanced action (requires xvid encoder filter)
    - CommercialAddin (and associated files) should not install on Win7

    x86 | x64 | Source

    I noticed an interesting statistic just now; the source for R1 was downloaded 385 times since its release (7 days ago).  Wow!

@2008 andy vt
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