MCEBuddy 2.0 Beta 16 Released – Fresh New UI

by Damian on July 19, 2011 · 7 comments

in Guides

A few months ago I wrote an article about updating profiles in MCEBuddy 2.0 Beta 13. MCEBuddy is a small application that can monitor PC DVR recordings, converting to a variety of formats as well as removing commercials. When MCEBuddy 2.0 Beta 13 was released a basic UI was introduced meant more for testing purposes then anything else. A few weeks ago Beta 16 was released, which brought a fully functional UI along with many new features/fixes. Let’s take a closer look at what Beta 16 brings and how to use.

Features:

  • Converts from WTV, DVR-MS, TS, MPEG and many other formats
  • Converts to MP4 , AVI, portable devices and others
  • Removes commercials
  • Converts in the background at scheduled times

Supported Platforms and Software:

  • Windows Media Center, Media Portal and other DVR software
  • Desktop support Windows XP, Vista, Vista 64, Windows 7 and Windows 7
  • For a server deployments Windows 2003, Windows 2008
  • 32 bit and 64 bit versions

Price:

  • Free (although PayPal donations are more then welcomed)

Changelog:

  • Corrected file permissions issue, fixing no changes saved for non-admin users from GUI bug and no manually added file for non-admin users bug
  • Added auto-corrected x64 setup project build to save plenty of time during builds
  • Corrected numerous GUI bugs
  • Added audio sync fix for AVI files
  • Updated MP4 profile
  • Ad removal in MP4 fixed
  • Ad removal for MP4 files > 2GB fixed
  • Updated MP4 profiles for better quality
  • Added Apple friendly profile
  •  Fixed unclean service shutdown
  • Cleaned up GUI interface
  • Improved GOP settings to allow for neater ad cutting
  • Moved to all constant bitrate conversions to reduce A/V sync issues when ads removed
  • Fixed file rename based upon meta data
  • Added sort by series from MCEBuddy 1.x
  • Fixed Wake time
  • Added Start and stop times for conversions (Start linked to a wake)
  • Fixed non-divisible by 2/4/8/16 errors for ffmpeg based conversions
  • Service starts with engine in STOPPED condition after install to allow configuration first even with a reboot
  • MCEBuddy service is now started automatically after installation
  • Numerous installation fixes (oh, I do hate msi development…)
  • Corrected file->meta generation on Windows server as Windows Server platforms cannot extract WTV and DVR-MS meta data

Downloads:

Setting up MCEBuddy 2.0 Beta 16:

When you first launch MCEBuddy 2.0 you will see a very streamlined UI. Simply clicking the “Start” button will get MCEBuddy running, monitoring any designated folders for recordings (clicking the “Rescan” button will force MCEBuddy to recheck your monitored folders for new content). Clicking the “Add” button will allow you to manually add a file for MCEBuddy to process.

Selecting the “Settings” button will bring up the Engine Settings. “Source Locations” denotes what folders MCEBuddy should monitor, and by default will be set to C:\Users\Public\Recorded TV. “Conversion tasks” is where you specify what encoding profile you want MCEBuddy to use on your recordings. The available profiles (I will discuss briefly how to add custom profiles momentarily) are MP4 High Quality, MP4 Fast, M4V Apple, DivX Avi, and DivX Avi Fast. The remainder of the settings are straightforward, allowing you to schedule when MCEBuddy runs, delete the original file once the conversion is done, and set the logging level.

As I mentioned earlier, you can customize your Conversion Tasks and even create custom profiles. In order to customize a conversion task simply click the “Add” button under the “Conversion tasks” window to add a new task or highlight a current task and click ” Change”. This will bring up the “Conversion Task” box which will allow you assign a Task Name and Conversion profile. You can then choose where you want your converted files to be stored, adjust some of the encoding settings (such as width and quality), select what program if any should be used to remove commercials (I use ShowAnalyzer), allow MCEBuddy to rename and sort the converted files by series, download banners, and further customize the Conversion Task based on some sort of matching (for example, if you wanted a specific profile to only be used for your “Fringe” recordings you would simply type in Fringe* in the Meta Match field).

In my MCEBuddy 2.0 Beta 13 article that I linked to at the beginning of this post I talked about actually adding your own profile. I record a lot of shows for my sons that I want converted to an Apple friendly format, and previously I had been using handbrake to accomplish this. In Beta 13 I was able to replace the default x264 profile with the Handbrake profile I was using. With Beta 16 MCEBuddy comes with an Apple friendly profile, however when testing this profile I found audio video sync issues and the file just didn’t look right compared to my handbrake created files. Following the same procedure I outlined in Beta 13, I went to C:\Program Files\MCEBuddy\Config and made a backup of the profiles.conf file. Once done I then opened up the profiles.conf file for editing (I use NotePad ++) and added my handbrake profile (I simply called it [M4V Apple DP Option]). After saving the new profile should appear as an option in the Conversion Tasks.

[M4V Apple DP Option]
Description=Apple compatible 1 pass MP4 (H.264/AAC) conversion via Handbrake.
order=handbrake
handbrake-general=-v 2 –decomb
handbrake-video=-e x264 -X 720 –loose-anamorphic -m -x cabac=0:ref=2:me=umh:bframes=0:weightp=0:8x8dct=0:trellis=0:subme=6 -f mp4 -O -I -q 20
handbrake-audio=-a 1 -E faac -6 auto -R Auto -B 160 -D 0
handbrake-audioac3=-a 1 -E faac -6 dpl2 -R 48 -B 160 -D 0
handbrake-ext=.mp4

With everything set up MCEBuddy should now be running, monitoring your designated folder(s). Once a file is located MCEBuddy will apply the appropriate conversion task and a progress bar will appear in the UI.

When completed you should now see a folder for each TV Series that was converted, with the respective TV episodes named appropriately (assuming the “Rename and sort by series”conversion task option was enabled)

Final Thoughts:

Overall MCEBuddy 2.0 Beta 16 is a very nice step up from Beta 13, and I would definitely recommend giving it a try if you are currently using your PC as a DVR. However, I would recommend verifying your converted files before deleting the original files initially to ensure there are no issues (such as the A/V sync issues I encountered with the default Apple profile). There are two features I would love to see added down the road:

  1. The ability to convert to an mkv (although I assume the same way I added a custom Apple profile the same could be done for an mkv).
  2. Naming the converted file based on the S##E## format which many of the video jukeboxes currently support (cross referencing TVDB, similar to what WTV-MetaRenamer does).




Article by

Hi, my name is Damian, and I'm tech gadget addict! Although I always had some interest in technology, it wasn't until I got my EX470 and more importantly found Mediasmartserver.net, that my interest became an addiction. My goal, aside from world domination and to see the Mets/Broncos win another championship, is to set up the perfect digital home where all my media is available at the click of a button. When I am not writing for Mediasmartserver.net you can find me over at my blog at http://www.adigitalhomeblog.com or follow me on twitter


{ 7 comments }

MonoPestoso July 19, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Hey Damian,

How accurate would you say com skip is when removing commercials from your recordings?

Damian July 19, 2011 at 4:03 pm

I really haven’t used ComSkip in a while (I have a license to Show Analyzer). What I have found with SA and Comskip when I did test in the past is that cutting commercials for the most part is pretty reliable/accurate. The only runoff I see is at the beginning and end of the recording (i.e. not cutting out the few minutes before and after the show starts/ends). The best bet is to test out for yourself and see how it handles your recordings.

VideoGuru February 21, 2012 at 7:23 am

A new version is out MCEBUddy 2.1 Release 2

Come in both 32bit and 64 bit. It is now opensource. Available at:

https://sourceforge.net/projects/mcebuddy2x/

Documenation, help files, discussions forums, news etc at:
https://sourceforge.net/projects/mcebuddy2x/

VideoGuru March 2, 2012 at 11:34 am

Try version 2.1.3

super fast and stable skips a lot of unnecessary stuff while converting now so some profiles (like m4v handbrake) zoom while the mp4 is rock solid now!

ofcourse nothing beats the NoRecode profile for performance but it doesn’t compress, just removes teh commercials.

Damian March 2, 2012 at 11:36 am

Thanks. It is on my list to upgrade from the 2.0 Beta 16 release i still have running on my PC.

VideoGuru March 12, 2012 at 10:48 pm

Well 2.1.4 is out now, mostly a few enhancements and minor bug fixes I’m really looking forward to 2.1.5

Hear it’ll be a first in the video world, you can select the language you want while converting the videos’ (WTV typically has more than 1 audio language). Plus it appears to have many other “enhancements” like drag n drop and also support for extracting media information.

can’t wait for it…

What blows my mind is the 2.2.x schedule for next quarter, it’ll have a MCE native plugin allowing me to control it from within MCE directly. It’ll also have hardware based encoding which should reallllly speed things up.

VideoGuru April 25, 2012 at 9:02 pm

2.1.8 Rocks!

Extract subtitles
eMail notifications
Audio language support
Trimming video’s
A brand new user interface, much simpler.
Volume control

This just keeps getting better and better.

Maybe it’s time this article was updated with the latest screenshots and features.

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