If you use Windows 7 Media Center to record live TV, you’re probably interested in skipping through commercials. After all, a big reason to record programs is to avoid commercials, right? Today we focus on a fairly simple and free way to get you skipping commercials in no time.
In Windows 7, the .wtv file format has replaced the dvr-ms file format used in previous versions of Media Center for Recorded TV. The .wtv file format, however, does not work very well with commercial skipping applications.
Our first step will be to convert the recorded .wtv files to the previously used dvr-ms file format. This conversion will be done automatically by WtvWatcher. It’s important to note that this process deletes the original .wtv file after successfully converting to .dvr-ms. Next, we will use DVRMSToolBox with the DTB Addin to handle commercials skipping. This process does not “cut” or remove the commercials from the file. It merely skips the commercials during playback.
Download and install the WTVWatcher (link below). To install WtvWatcher, you’ll need to have Windows Installer 3.1 and .NET Framework 3.5 SP1.
If you get the Publisher cannot be verified warning you can go ahead and click Install. We’ve completely tested this app and it contains no malware and runs successfully.
After installing, the WtvWatcher will pop up in the lower right corner of your screen.
You will need to set the path to your Recorded TV directory. Click on the button for “Click here to set your recorded TV path…”
The WtvWatcher Preferences window will open…
…and you’ll be prompted to browse for your Recorded TV folder. If you did not change the default location at setup, it will be found at C:\Users\Public\Recorded TV. Click “OK” when finished.
Click the “X” to close the Preferences screen.
You should now see WtvWatcher begin to convert any existing WTV files.
The process should only take a few minutes per file. Note: If WtvWatcher detects an error during the conversion process, it will not delete the original WTV file.
You will probably want to run WtvWatcher on startup. This will allow WtvWatcher too constantly scan for new .wtv files to convert. There is no setting in the application to run on startup, so you’ll need to copy the WTV icon from your desktop into your Windows start menu “Startup” directory. To do so, click on Start > All Programs, right-click on Startup and click on Open all users.
Drag and drop, or cut and paste, the WtvWatcher desktop shortcut into the Startup folder.
DVRMSToolBox and DTBAddIn
Next, we need to download and install the DVRMSToolBox and the DTBAddIn. These two pieces of software will do the actual commercial skipping. After downloading the DVRMSToolBox zip file, extract it and double-click the setup.exe file. Click “Next” to begin the installation.
Unless DVRMSToolBox will only be used by Administrator accounts, check the “Modify File Permissions” box. Click “Next.”
When you get to the Optional Components window, uncheck Download/Install ShowAnalyzer. We will not be using that application.
When the installation is complete, click “Close.”
Next we need to install the DTBAddin. Unzip the download folder and run the appropriate .msi file for your system. It is available in 32 & 64 bit versions.
Just double click on the file and take the default options. Click “Finish” when the install is completed. You will then be prompted to restart your computer.
After your computer has restarted, open DVRMSToolBox settings by going to Start > All Programs, DVRMSToolBox, and click on DVRMStoMPEGSettings.
On the MC Addin tab, make sure that Skip Commercials is checked. It should be by default.
On the Commercial Skip tab, make sure the Auto Skip option is selected. Click “Save.”
If you try to watch recorded TV before the file conversion and commercial indexing process is complete you’ll get the following message pop up in Media Center. If you click Yes, it will start indexing the commercials if WtvWatcher has already converted it to dvr-ms.
Now you’re ready to kick back and watch your recorded tv without having to wait through those long commercial breaks.
The DVRMSToolBox is a powerful and complex application with a multitude of features and utilities. We’ve showed you a quick and easy way to get your Windows Media Center setup to skip commercials. This setup, like virtually all commercial skipping setups, is not perfect. You will occasionally find a commercial that doesn’t get skipped.
Need help getting your Windows 7 PC configured for TV? Check out our previous tutorial on setting up live TV in Windows Media Center.
Andrew is a media center geek with some serious Windows skills. He's never far from a WiFi connection or a great cup of coffee.
- Published 03/10/10