Monday, June 05, 2006

Update on MCE 2005 and the mystical [ha!] Adaptec dual TV tuner:

The latest info I have had -- relative to my problems in connecting a set top box [STB] to one input and direct cable through a VCR to the second input is that it simply can't be done. Those who know -- supposedly -- say that I must have the same input source for each input. Thus, I can have two STBs, or two direct cable inputs, but I cannot mix and match the two. Well, they're wrong!

Here's what I did last night. I connected the STB to input 1 and direct cable through a VCR to input 2. I then went through the MCE tuner setup manually. As before, the STB on input 1 set up properly -- MCE saw the picture, the remote set up for my particular STB, etc. The MCE setup then automatically went to the same setup procedure for input 2. It saw the picture, and I just pretended that it set up a remote properly. Setup ended normally, and I was left seeing input 2 [direct cable through VCR].

Using the electronic programming guid [EPG], I started recording what I was seeing on input 2 [direct cable/VCR]. Once the record started, I went to the EPG again, and chose another channel. Voila! The STB changed to that selected channel, and I could see/record from input 1 [STB]. While one or both inputs are recording, I can toggle between the two by going to the guide and selecting those channels. If both inputs are recording and I try to select a third channel, MCE gives me a pop-up asking if I want to terminate the record on one or the other channels. It's a little kluge-y, but at least (1) I can go back and forth between the tuners, (2) I can record from the VCR using the manual record, and (3) if I want to record from input 2 [direct cable/VCR], then all I have to do is manually set the VCR channel at the same time I set the record with the EPG. I can live with this.

Next problem: MCE saves the recordings in a proprietary format called DVR-MS. If I want to edit the recording after the fact -- to remove commercials or to add an alternate audio track -- what's the best, if any, software to convert from DVR-MS format to a recognizable format like MPEG 2? Any ideas out there?

No comments: