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Simple. Go to =>

Or if you're a coder, feel free to download the source code, as I have compiled before zipping.

If you're getting errors, see the 'Known Error Codes' page.
For a list of offsite Tutorials, Reviews, and Discussions, click here.

Show / Hide / Exit Application

If you don't see the application window, click the little red 'TV' icon in your start menu tray (near the system date/time). To hide, click the "_" button in the upper-right corner of the application window. To exit, click the "X" button instead.

Run at Startup

Just copy the "TV" icon/shortcut into your Windows start menu 'Startup' program group. When you install from the link above, this shortcut will automatically be placed on your desktop for this reason. This tutorial has a section dedicated to copying a shortcut to the "all users" startup menu group.

Change the 'Recorded TV' location

To change where WtvWatcher looks for WTV files (usually the same as your 'Recorded TV' folder), click on the tool/wrench icon in the upper right corner of the application window.

What Version Am I Running?

When you move your mouse over the application window title "WtvWatcher", a tooltip should appear, displaying the version of WtvWatcher you are currently running.

How Do I Get the Latest Version and Updates?

Since the preferred installation process is based on .NET ClickOnce deployment, all you have to do is launch the application. It will automatically tell you when there are new updates, showing a notification message that you can click on to stop/install/restart WtvWatcher.

Can I Schedule Start / Stop Times?

If you need to have WtvWatcher run only at certain time(s) of the day, you can use Windows Scheduler to start it up at a certain time and kill it at a certain time, just as you would any other scheduled process. Introduced in version is an option to "kindly shutdown" at a certain time each day, instead of being terminated in the middle of a conversion by Windows Scheduler. This 'Exit Time' preference is useful in conjunction with a Windows Scheduled Task to define a 'window of processing time', where WtvWatcher only runs during a certain timeframe.

Can I Include / Exclude Certain WTV Files from Being Converted?

Introduced in version is support for custom filters, or "Processing Rules". You can manage your own custom list of inclusion / exclusion rules under Preferences (wrench icon) > Processing Rules.

These rules look at the metadata properties of WTV files to determine which files should be processed. When setting a rule value, auto-complete (text dropdown) values come from the metadata of both unconverted WTV files and converted DVR-MS files in your source directory. Having this auto-complete feature really helps to see what kinds of shows you already have, so that you can easily create rules that will work as you expect them to.

NOTE: other products that work on the resulting DVR-MS files (such as Lifextender) may have inclusion/exclusion rule management, so you might want to check the preferences of those applications if you want to further reduce overhead processing.

What Does WtvWatcher Do with the Original WTV Files?

WtvWatcher attempts to delete the original WTV file after it confirms that the new file was process successfully (i.e. automation of wtvconverter.exe returns with no error code). There is an optional preference to delete to the Recycle Bin, but then you will have to empty the recycle bin periodically yourself, which could lead to disk-full issues. Leading to the next question...

How Much Free Space Do I Need to Convert Files?

The only thing you have to watch out for is the minimum free space of whatever drive your recorded TV folder is on. Since WtvWatcher just uses the same folder as the source to do the conversion in, you'll have to have at least one show's worth of free space there. You can most effectively accomplish this by setting Media Center recording limit down 5gb from whatever the max of the drive is, and not using your Recorded TV drive for other unmanaged activities that might cause this free space to be taken up.

WtvWatcher can be set to a different 'working directory' that the 'source location', where it will store output of the transcoding process temporarily until successful. Then it copies the temporary working file back into the source location. This is primarily to be used to increase throughput performance by using multiple hard drives during the intensive file I/O process. Reading from the source location only, writing to the working directory only, and then reversing this pattern in the final copy-back procedure ensures optimal disk read/write concurrency.

What Kind of Computer Does WtvWatcher Work the Best On?

Generally speaking, the Media Center that's going to be doing background processing (e.g. decoding, commercial cutting, etc.) should have at least a dual-core CPU and 2gb or more of RAM to efficiently do what it does. Don't bother messing around with hard drives that are less than 7200rpm. I like to have one Media Center in the house do all the recording (dual tuners), and let the rest of the devices in my house benefit from this consolidation of media processing.

If you're going to be using the same computer interactively (i.e. web browsing, TV watching, etc.) consider offloading the media processing to another machine. If you absolutely insist on having one computer do it all, then don't skip on the number of CPU cores (don't forget about proper heat dispensation!), FSB speed, and gb of RAM that the computer has available to the multiple tasks your imposing on it.

Playing / Processing Media Over a Network

First of all, it helps to understand that a 1.3gb/1hr TV file takes about 10 mins to push over a gigabit well-rated network. On a 10/100T network, that figure generally quadruples.

Wireless sucks for home media streaming. You may be one of the fortunate ones that have no outside RF interference and a perfectly structured house, but for the most part, the average A/B/G wireless network causes more trouble than it's worth, dropping over 3/4 of its packets after distances of 20ft or more. Don't waist your time, wire your house (leaving them exposed if neccessary) with good quality CAT-6 (not CAT-5e) cable and make all the routers/hubs between computers are all quality 1000T full duplex componentry.

Error Codes, They Happen

When (not if) your computer decides it cannot process a file, WtvWatcher will report the error code to you. This is the error code of whatever utility is specified in the 'Action Command...' option, typically set to Microsoft's built-in 'wtvconverter.exe' utility.

To look up what an error code means, you can go to the 'Known Error Codes' page.

Last edited Dec 17, 2010 at 3:56 PM by pbruce, version 15


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