Convert MKVs to DVR-MS for Media Center Extenders

WTV Icon Converting MKVs to DVR-MS is the best way to guarantee full compatibility with any extender. Since DVR-MS is the default file type for all pre-Windows 7 (and TV Pack 2008) TV recordings, the file format will have no problem with playback on any Windows Media Center Extender. The DVR-MS file format will also preserve surround sound and full resolution of the MKV files being converted.

Get the Tools

To do this conversion we’ll use DVRMSToolbox which can be downloaded from Andy VT’s Blog. The latest version of DVRMSToolbox will include all the programs we need to do the conversion from MKV to DVR-MS for our Media Center Extender.

The profile for DVRMSToolbox was developed by Ben of Engadget HD with help from Warren Wiltshire of Seagull Consulting. Be sure to head over there and check out Engadget HD as they have lots of great home theater related articles each day.

Let’s Get Started

Once you’ve downloaded and installed DVRMSToolbox launch DVRMStoMPEGSettings from the start menu programs. We will need to tell the profile that we aren’t just working with TV series files and instruct it to not send all the files to Recorded TV.

Since we aren’t exclusively using TV series’, locate “Convert MKV to DVR-MS – mencoder” in the profile listing then press the “Edit Profile” button. Select the line that reads “Read metadata from TvDB and build Sage XML file” and click “Configure”. Check the “ContinueOnFail” checkbox and click OK.

DVRMS to MPEG Settings

Next locate the line reading “Move file specified in Context(‘OutputFile’) to …” and select it then hit “Configure”. Uncheck the “UseRecordedTVPath” checkbox and double-click the DestinationPath dialog box to set the output directory. This will prevent each converted file from being moved to the Recorded TV directory. Alternatively, you could also simply remove this step from the conversion profile. Once this is done, save the profile and exit DVRMSToolbox Settings.

DVRMS Output Directory

After saving the conversion profile you should be able to convert non-TV series files to DVR-MS. Open DVRMStoMPEGGUI from the start menu programs. Once inside, double-click the Input File dialog box and select the MKV file you want to convert (you will need to change the file types dropbox to “All Files (*.*)”). Then set the output file name by double-clicking the Output File dialog box and setting the “Save as Type” dropbox to DVR-MS.


Inside the main window set the Process Priority, the higher the priority the faster the transcode should take place. Setting the priority to “Realtime” is not suggested, however, as this can cause system instability. In the Profile dropbox select the “Convert MKV to DVR-MS – mencoder” profile and make sure the “Use Selected Profile” checkbox is marked.


Press “Run” to begin the conversion. This process can take quite a bit of time to complete and doesn’t scale well with multiple core systems. The resulting DVR-MS file will most likely take up more space than the original MKV file as well. Any MKV files that have been converted can be deleted after the process is completed.

That’s all there is to converting your MKVs to DVR-MS using DVRMSToolbox. You should now be able to play the converted file on any Windows Media Center Extender.

Be sure to leave a comment on your experience and tips for using DVRMSToolbox and Media Center Extenders below or in the Google Friend Connect at the top of each page!


bjdraw said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MHealy said...

Though this guide may appear similiar to another posted on a different site, the functionality of the operation is included in DVRMSToolbox by default. Assuming that only one person can figure out how to use default program actions is just ridiculous.

As a side note linking to sites that include illegal activity such as piracy will not be accepted. Neither will trolling.

MHealy said...

The post has been ammended due to requests to note that the profile used and distributed with DVRMSToolbox was in fact developed by Ben of Engadget HD. Despite the fact that no other software on this site having extended credits, and the DVRMSToolbox download noting his contribution on it's site, apparently this god amongh men warrants extra credit. Therefore, credit has been given.

Links to the article posted will still not be allow, however, as cable piracy is not a topic to be taken lightly. Despite where you may stand on the topic the terms of service of this site prohibit the posting of links to any illegal content and this will be enforced.

bjdraw said...

Thanks. I think.

I was not asking for "extra" credit, simply a mention. If you look in the releases notes for DTB you'll see I am credited for the profiles.

My friend Warren wrote the custom action that queries TheTVDB for metadata, at my request and Andy provided support for the entire project.

Like I said before, if you saw my post on Engadget before you wrote this, then I wanted a little mention that this post is a derivative work. I write online to share my experiences and I don't do it for money. I simply want to be recognized.

90% of everything I write is a derivative work and I'm more than happy to share my sources. Links are what makes the world wide web go round and the more links to/from your site the easier it is for others to find your site and the more valuable the site is.

If I didn't like your site I wouldn't care and wouldn't have it in my reader and most definitely wouldn't comment.

As for your claims about cable piracy. I'm not sure how you recognize the value of converting mkv files to dvr-ms without recognizing the source of those files, but there are VERY FEW truly legitimate mkv files out there. And if the mkv files that a media center user has, that are legitimate, I'm not sure why they'd want to convert them to dvr-ms as said file was probably created from a recording.

MHealy said...

I understand completely and regret coming off as hostile, had you contacted me directly something certainly could've been arranged. At the time of writing I was actually not aware that you had written the profile or I would have mentioned it in the first place.

I also understand the paradox between the most likely source of the files being converted and avoiding the issue of piracy. Think of it as a "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Again, I appologize for any hostilities and appreciate your reading my little blog very much. Feel free to contact me via any time, any reason.

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