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Strip the Ads From Your TV Recordings With MCEBuddy 2

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One of the great things about time-shifting your television viewing is that you are able to watch the shows you love at a time that suits you. Just because you have an appointment on Wednesday evening there’s no need to miss out on your favorite program, particularly if you have a TV card installed – just record and watch at your leisure.

But there’s still a little problem: record a TV show and you also record the commercials that are littered throughout it. Sure, you can hit fast forward and jump to the action, but it can be hard not to overshoot which means having to rewind and you may well end up only shaving a few seconds off sitting through the ads in the first place.

If commercials irk you, MCEBuddy 2 could be what you have been looking for. We took a look at MCEBuddy 1.1 almost three years ago and since then things have moved onwards and upwards.

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The concept is simple: point the software in the direction of your recorded TV show and a little while later you are provided with a new version devoid of advertisements. As an added bonus you can also convert videos into different formats ready to be played back on different devices, adjust sound and video quality and more.

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As with many video editing and conversion operations, commercial stripping and re-encoding can be a lengthy process; the same is also true of the installation which takes significantly longer than the average program.

For the most part the app is intuitive, and you should find that you can get started without the need for help – but there is a user guide available if you would like some pointers.

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Edit and Convert

MCEBuddy 2 can be configured to monitor a folder and automatically edit videos that are found. When you launch the program, wait for the required service to load and then click the Settings button. You can then specify one or more folders that should be used as the source.

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You can then specify exactly what you would like to be done to any videos that are found in this folder. There are two different advert detection and removal methods to choose from, and you may want to experiment to see what works best for you. At this screen you can also choose which format edited videos should be saved in so they can be tailored for different devices.

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You can keep things this simple if you like, but there are a number of more advanced options to investigate as well – this includes adjusting volume and reducing resolution.

To save tying up your computer throughout the day when you will probably want to use it for other things, there is a scheduling option that enables you to run conversion tasks when you are away from your machine. Having saved the conversion settings that are to be used, hit the Advanced menu.

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Videos can be converted at a time of your choosing, and you can opt to have an email sent to you when the process is complete.

You can download the tool for free and get to work on your videos. If you don’t like the idea of a standalone app, there is also a Media Center plugin available that does very much the same job and can be used in both Windows 7 and Windows 8.

 

Mark Wilson is a software fiend and a fan of the new, shiny and intriguing. Never afraid to get his hands dirty with some full-scale geekery, he’s always trying out the latest apps, hacks and tweaks. He can be found on Twitter and Google+.

  • Published 02/7/13

Comments (10)

  1. Hyde

    Has anyone tried this? Is it %100 accurate? I don’t want to lose any of my recordings becuase it missed some commercials and deleted other info. Also it looks like this actually moves the recording from Recorded TV to Videos folder, is there a significant quality reduction?

  2. LadyFitzgerald

    @ Hyde. You should never edit original files of any kind. Always make a copy first. That way, if things go pear shaped while editing, you will still have the undamaged original. In this case, you can address your concerns by trying it out on a copy and comparing the edited copy with the original to see if any damage was done.

  3. Bob Tube

    I use MCEBuddy 1.1 religiously! I have tried the version 2.x editions but found them to NOT be very reliable when it comes to commercial zapping and highly unreliable with metadata (subtitles, actors lists, production dates, etc.). The 2.x version has a very annoying “feature” that can not be turned off which inserts graphic art into the resulting .mp4 that I don’t want as well as frequently inserting wrong metadata. That usually means I have to copy any metadata by hand (using highlight and paste) straight from the .wtv’s manually over to the .mp4 assuming I can even do it since 2.x also does something even more annoying to the .mp4’s that makes simply inserting metadata very difficult and time consuming – something MCEBuddy 1.1 never does.

    And since all I ever really want to do is simply convert “transcode” .wtv files (those enormous video files made by Windows Media Center) into .mp4’s and have no sync problems – NONE! – I use MCEBuddy 1.1 which does just that and nothing more. It’s this very reason of simplicity and never having sync problems which is why I use MCEBuddy 1.1 so regularly. Keeping video and audio in sync is probably the one thing any version of MCEBuddy does exceedingly well.

    And once I have my converted MP4’s it’s either a matter of just watching them or editing them with something like Windows Movie Maker or Avidemux. BTW, Avidemux is not just for Linux and does have a Windows version that lets you edit out commercials almost as fast as editing a text file. Yet, I’ve found Windows Movie Maker just a bit more reliable not to mention, dummy proof.

    And to answer the question from Hyde, no. There is NO risk of loosing your original .wtv files UNLESS you select to have MCEBuddy also delete them after conversion – which I don’t suggest you do. So be careful! Make sure you pay attention to all the options since I can’t remember if this “feature” isn’t turned ON in the 2.x versions. I just know it’s off in the 1.1 version since that’s what I use.

  4. Richard

    There are some issues with MCEBuddy:

    1. Forget doing commercial detection on UK TV shows as ComSkip struggles and can often get it completely wrong.

    2. If you do use this, then your TV shows will no longer be viewable in “Recorded TV” since WMC will only display files which are WTV or DVR-MS format. You’ll need to use something like MediaBrowser and then they won’t be presented in a good way (often because there isn’t enough metadata in the recording for MediaBrowser to determine the season or show number).

    Because of both of these reasons, it failed the Girlfriend Acceptance Test – however other women might be less forgiving.

  5. Even Steven

    I use AVS Video Editor 6.2 to strip ads manually. For an hour show It takes about 5 minutes to strip and then you can be sure only the ads are gone.

    Add another 15 min to save to a file choice you like and you an wave bye to annoying ads.

    I did the Super Bowl & the award ceremony and after stripping all non essential flack I’ve got an hour and a half of fantastic football with no detritus at least for a Ravens fan.

  6. PC

    I like watching stuff at 1.5x speed but it only seems to work w/ the file container windows media center uses :T

  7. John

    You should try the free program called ‘ Freemake Video Converter’. When you do, you will be amazed how good it is, with first class response from their support team.
    Google it, enjoy!

    John

  8. TheFu

    comskip rocks for getting close to where the commercials are, but it is not 100% accurate. That means that commercial removal steps will always need a human to validate.

    I use a commercial tool for this – VideoRedo Plus. It runs on Windows. The comskip-like commercial finding part is equivalent to comskip. Both get tripped up at the same places. OTOH, validating where the commercials start and end takes about 30 seconds per show and saves about 20 minutes of commercials per show too. It is not a full video editor suite. It is all about editing TV shows, which is where it accels.

    As a nearly 100% Linux user, I’m embarrassed to say that 7MC and VideoRedo Plus are 2 of the few things that I have not been able to replace under Linux with reasonable alternatives.

    I’m giving a talk about this exact subject at the next LUG meeting on Tuesday, so it is completely fresh in my mind now.

    I have no connection to VRDP. I am just a happy customer for the last …. 5-7 years.

    I tried MCEBuddy a few years ago when 7MC forced WTV files down our throats and none of the tools worked with them. It seemed to work fine doing conversions, but after a few weeks, it got confused and stopped working for me. Then a new release of VRDP came out that marked and edited WTV files directly, so I stopped using MCEBuddy.

    For cut files, I only bother transcoding the ones that will be kept in the collection, not the shows to be watched once and deleted. As an example in the file size savings, say a 2 hr 1080i movie is 20G
    20G = orig
    15G = commercials removed
    4-5G = transcode to 720p h.264 video w/AC3 5.1 audio compressed into an MKV container.

    These are realistic numbers. On a 47inch or less TV, I can’t tell the difference. It is really amazing. Most HiDef shows are 6-8G per hour after recording. SD shows are about 1.5G/hr recorded and compress nicely too.

  9. Joe

    Can anyone suggest a way to get rid of that enormous bug in the lower right-hand corner of the scifi channel + many others as well. Because of this I do not watch anything on scifi ever at all and they are always chopping stuff out to pile in more unwanted commersh.

    I just wait for the dvd to come out and borrow from Netflix, or Redbox. The executives running all these outfits must have mush for brains.

  10. TheFu

    @Joe, avidemux has a “delogo” filter that can make those channel “bugs” less offensive.

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