DVRMSToolbox for Video Conversions

video_conversionIf you’ve read my Zune Tips blog, you’ll know that I use a freeware product called DVRMSToolbox to convert my Vista Media Center recordings (from Cable TV) to WMV file format for my Microsoft Zune media player. DVRMSToolbox (Dtb) automates the entire process, where it monitors my “Recorded TV” folder for new completed files, and then does the processing and copies the generate WMV file to my Zune sync folder. It’s entirely automatic, so I just sync my Zune in the morning to my Desktop PC and I’m ready to watch my TV shows!

I had everything working just fine before the big Deskop PC upgrade, but I noticed that using the tool called DVRMStoWMVHD (to do the DVR-MS to WMV format conversion) didn’t work quite right on my upgraded system. For some reason, the audio gradually goes out of sync with the video while it is being played, to the point where after 45 minutes the audio is about 6 seconds behind the video. Really annoying to watch.

I ran a bunch of tests, and I can’t seem to figure out the problem. Usually this type of issue occurs with the installed Video and Audio Codecs on the Desktop PC system, but I was careful to only use known good codecs. I’ve also installed the AC3Filter application (as recommended by the maker of Dtb) but that didn’t seem to help.

My alternative solution was to replace DVRMStoWMVHD with using a two step process:

  1. Convert the DVR-MS file to MPEG format using the program ffmpeg
  2. Convert the MPEG file to WMV format using Windows Media Encoder 9 (WME9)

That seemed to work just fine, however, the Visual Basic script used to run WME9 bombed out under Vista with the message, “Console Based Script Host has Stopped Working. cscript.exe“. With some digging, I discovered that a protection scheme called Data Execution Prevention (DEP) was stopping the Visual Basic script from running. This “protection” scheme was designed to prevent malicious software from running on your system. The cause for this error, was a bug or improper compiling of certain DLL files used by WME9. To fix this, I had to follow the steps outlined by this Microsoft Hotfix.

Once I did that, the Visual Basic script running WME9 worked fine on my Vista system. So, I’d rather use the one-step approach with DVRMStoWMVHD, but it looks like I’ll need to use the two-step approach that I outlined to have audio-video synced WMV files.

Updated (8 May 09): I figured out the problem with DVRMStoWMVHD having the audio/video sync issue. It turns out version 1.0.1.0 works fine (which I was using on my old system before upgrading) and the latest version 1.0.1.4 has the syncing issue, so I think the current version has a bug. Since I still had the older version on my old hard drive, I switch back to using it and problem solved!

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