Convert TV Series DVDs & Blu-rays to WTV


Ben at HD Engadget has an article on “How to automatically download and import HD to Windows Media Center” [1]. Which got me thinking if you can do this with downloaded material why can’t I do this with TV shows on DVD that I already own.

What you will need:

DVRMSToolbox [2]

MakeMKV [3]

Haali Media Splitter [4]

Metadata comes from TheTVDB [5] so you will need to reference this database for filenames.

Install, DVRMSToolbox, MakeMKV, and the Haali Media Splitter. During the DVRMSToolbox install you can uncheck “Download/Install ShowAnalyzer” and “Run the DTB File Watcher as a service” if you do not want to use these features of DVRMSToolbox.

After installing the programs above you can start the process of converting your TV DVDs to WTV.

First, you will need to convert each episode to MKV. Bring up MakeMKV with the DVD or Blu-ray you plan on converting. MakeMKV will display each episode usually as “title00, title01 and so on,” if there are any other bonus material on the disc it will also show these as well. You can simply uncheck the bonus material if you are not sure if a particular title# is an episode or bonus material just go a head and convert it to MKV as you can always delete the file if it happens to be bonus material instead of an episode. Also, some episodes may contain multiple audio tracks like commentaries and subtitles. You can uncheck these as well.

Once the disc has been converted to its respective MKV files you will need to rename these files. This is where accessing TheTVDB comes into play. Do a search on the series name and the season. Verify the episode order matches the MKV files, TheTVDB uses original air date which doesn’t always match the DVD episode order. So you may need to play the MKV file to make sure which episode it is prior to the rename. Most usually it will match which makes rename the files fairly simple.

The name file format is Series Name, Season # and Episode #, with periods for spaces and leading zero’s for single digits, so a show like The Addams Family would be done as The.Addams.Family.S01E01.mkv also shows where there is a “&” like Law & Order just become Law.Order.S01E01.mkv

After you have renamed the MKV files we can now convert them to WTV. For DVDs we will use the profile “Convert MKV TV Show to WTV”. There is another profile you will want to use for Blu-ray MKV files.

1. Go to the DVRMSToolbox program group and select DRVMStoMPEGGUI. Click on the “Process Directory” tab.

2. Under “Processing Directory” browse to where the MKV files are stored.

3. Under “Output Directory” browse to where you want to save the WTV files. This can be your Recorded TV folder but, I usually output to a temp directory first. After I verify the WTV files have been converted successfully then I just move them to the Recorded TV folder.

4. For Profile, select “Convert MKV TV Show to WTV

5. Then just press “Run

Once it has completed you can verify that the WTV files have been completed successfully and move them to your Recorded TV folder. Just delete the old MKV files after you have verified the WTV file. Sometimes the ToDVRMS process may crash or metadata didn’t get created, if so just run the process again on the MKV file.

For Blu-ray MKV files there is a profile “Convert MKV to DVR-MS – mencoder” that should convert these files but, I have never gotten it to work correctly so I have created one based on this profile that saves it to WTV. There are some issues with this profile that I’m still working on and will post it later if there is interest in doing Blu-ray TV episodes to WTV.

Problems and Issues:

Issue 1. Processing directory doesn't work.

1. Go to the DVRMSToolbox program group and select “DVRMSToolboxSettings

2. Select the "File Watcher" tab

3. Add to the list of "Watched Ext" the file type .mkv

4. Select the "Processing" tab

5. On the drop down "Delayed Processing" select ignore

6. Click on OK, Save and then Close.

Issue 2. Problems with the “Convert MKV TV Show to WTV” where it never completes the conversion to WTV.

1. Go to the DVRMSToolbox program group and select “DVRMSToolboxSettings

2. Select the profile “Convert MKV TV Show to WTV” and click on “Edit Profile”

3. Find the line Run todvrms.exe “%InputFile%” “%OutputFile%” –wtv

4. Select this and click on “Configure

5. On the line just add –v before –wtv

6. So it should now read “%InputFile%” “%OutputFile%” –v –wtv

7. Click on OK, Save and then Close.

Issue 3. MakeMKV finds no individual episodes on the DVD.

1.If you use AutoRip n Compress to convert your Movie DVDs, you will need to check MakeMKV Preferences.

2.Open MakeMKV and select "View" and then choose "Preferences". Once you bring up the Preferences properties click on the "Video" tab.

3.Under "Minimum title length (seconds):" change this setting to 120, then "OK" and restart MakeMKV.

4.AutoRip n Compress changes this setting so it will only convert the Movie only. Each time you run AutoRip n Compress it will change this setting in MakeMKV so you when converting TV DVDs you may need to change this setting back to 120.

Issue 4. VC-1 encoded Blu-rays fail to convert.

1. Mencoder fails to convert blu-rays using the VC-1 codec.

2. Create a Codecs directory ie. C:\Program Files\DVRMSToolbox\Applications\Mencoder\Codecs

3. Download the mencoder codecs from mplayerhq [6]

4. UnZip the codecs in the file and copy all the files stored in the zip into the Codecs folder

Adding additional Audio Tracks

If the DVD series you are converting to WTV has additional audio tracks (multiple languages, commentaries) and you want to include them in the WTV file you can do this.

1. First when you convert the DVD to MKV files using MakeMKV, check the additional audio tracks you want to include.

2. Rename the files using the same naming standards as described in the above instructions.

3. Now you will need to modify the DVRMSToolbox profile “Convert MKV TV Show to WTV” using the DVRMSToolboxSettings application.

4. Go to the DVRMSToolbox program group and select “DVRMSToolboxSettings

5. Select the profile “Convert MKV TV Show to WTV” and click on “Edit Profile”.

6. Find the line Run todvrms.exe “%InputFile%” “%OutputFile%” –wtv or “%InputFile%” “%OutputFile%” –v –wtv (if you modified it adding the -v command)

7. Select this and click on “Configure

8. On the line just add –allstreams before –wtv

9. So it should now read “%InputFile%” “%OutputFile%” –allstreams –wtv or “%InputFile%” “%OutputFile%” –v –allstreams –wtv

10. Click on OK, Save and then Close.