Cut out commercials in 7MC with Lifextender

logo Even though the last build of Lifextender predates the Windows 7 beta itself it’s still possible to use this app to remove commercials from your recorded TV shows. Lifextender provides a number of benefits over DVRMSToolbox, providing a much simpler configuration of file monitoring and commercial removal. This simplified experience can prove to be the most important benefit to many users.

The first step to getting Lifextender to work is getting your WTV files converted to DVRMS. To do this automatically you will need to download and install DVRMSToolbox and follow the guide on Automatically Converting WTV to DRVMS. However, since Lifextender will be handling the commercial removal you should remove .dvr-ms from the watched file types in the FileWatcher tab. This will prevent files from being scanned by both DVRMSToolbox and Lifextender.

DVRMSToolbox Filewatcher extentions

To convert WTV files manually you can follow this guide on Converting WTV to DVR-MS. Alternatively, newer betas (7048) of Windows 7 include this feature natively from Windows Explorer by right-clicking the WTV file and choosing Convert to DVR-MS.

Once you’ve gotten your dvr-ms files and Lifextender installed, setting up Lifextender is an extremely easy process. Make sure the Lifextender program is running then right-click the blue orb icon in your system tray. Selecting options will bring you to the configuration, selecting Scan Media Center Library will scan your default recorded TV directory for unprocessed dvr-ms files. Scanning can be automated from the options as well.

Lifextender General Settings

Once you’re in the General Settings tab of the options you will be able to set a custom path for your recorded TV if you need Lifextender to scan a directory other than the Media Center default location. There are also option for automated scanning at scheduled times or even when new files are detected. Below that you will find the configuration for how the files should be handled after processing.

Lifextender Additional Options

Lifextender will remove commercials from the output .dvr-ms files instead of using a plug-in for Media Center as DVRMSToolbox does. While this removes the necessity of having a working 7MC plug-in (something DVRMSToolbox doesn’t quite have yet) it does permanently alter the files. For this reason it’s recommended that you send original files to the recycle bin not delete them immediately, incase there are problems with commercial removal clipping parts of your show. There are also options for removing incomplete recordings and duplicates from your library.

Lifextender Automatic Scan

Under More Settings, you will find basic program settings. For automatic scanning Lifextender should be run when Windows starts. Unlike DVRMSToolbox, Lifextender needs to be running in order to do any scanning. This tab also provides tools and guides for tweaking comskip which is the default commercial scanning software. Lifextender also includes support for ShowAnalyser though if you choose to use this you will need to download and install the program separately.

Check back to Hack7MC for future guides on using and tweaking comskip and ShowAnalyser. 

Lifextender Media Center Plug-in

Under the Media Center tab you will notice that Lifextender does come with a Media Center plug-in. This plug-in doesn’t operate the same as DVRMSToolbox however, Lifextender uses this to notify users when a recorded show has completed commercial removal. This is convenient when waiting for commercial skipping to complete before starting viewing your recorded TV. If you should happen to be viewing a show during commercial removal Lifextender may not be able to remove the original when completed. At this time however, enabling the Lifextender plug-in presents errors in Windows 7 Media Center.

Lifextender also includes the ability to add advanced rules to match against show metadata before processing. For example, if you want Lifextender to not process shows with a certain title you can setup a rule for that action. On the advanced tab you will also find options for copying metadata and thumbnails from the original file as well as a file blacklist. Blacklisting a file will tell Lifextender to ignore the file during scanning.

Lifextender Commercial Removal

That should get you started with Lifextender, ripping commercials from your converted dvr-ms files. Compared to DVRMSToolbox, Lifextender can be a breeze to setup. Unfortunately, we still need to use both programs to get dvr-ms files to process. Hopefully a simple, commercial free future awaits all who want it from their Windows 7 Media Center.

Stay Tuned to Hack7MC for upcoming guides to Comskip and ShowAnalyser! Subscribe to the RSS Feed or Follow on Twitter to be alerted to the latest articles.


bjdraw said...

This makes very very little sense.

Sure Life Extender is easier, but if you have to use DTB to convert to DVR-MS anyways, why not just remove the commercials in the same profile and save yourself a lot of grief?

MHealy said...

Setting up DTB is a headache at best while setting up Lifextender needs little to no configuration at all. Above and beyond that, Lifextender has the ability to configure more options through a simple user interface unlike DTB which requires a lot of manual setup.

The ammount of user setup and research required to use DTB is enough to turn off a lot of new users. Include the almost complete lack of a manual and that makes Lifextender a better option, even if you've got to use DTB to convert to DRV-MS.

maggiesbrother said...

Don't know if you've noticed this, but the latest Windows 7 build (7048) has a built-in wtv to dvr-ms converter... just right-click on the wtv file in explorer and you'll see the option in the context menu.

MHealy said...

I noticed they added that to the latest beta and that may be a good solution for those who don't want to install DVRMSToolbox at all. You will lose the automatic conversion but Lifextender will pick it up after you've done it manually still.

I've heard rumors of someone coming out with a program to simply automate the wtv to dvrms conversion without using the full DTB program which would be very nice.

MHealy said...

I've updated the article to include methods to manually convert WTV files. That should ease life for those who don't want to tinker with DVRMSToolbox as well as perhaps adding some additional purpose to the guide, lol.

bjdraw said...

You don't need DVRMSToolbox (DTB), all you need is todvrms.exe which although it is included with DTB, can also be downloaded separately.

Anonymous said...

abuttino in the babgvant forums for DTB has a very nice set of profiles and instructions on automating DTB in Windows 7.

The profile can be modified slightly to not just scan, but also remove the commercials a la Lifextender. Overall, with his DTB profiles and instructions, pretty straightforward just to use DTB.

Dangelus said...

Great guide.
Somebody wrote a script on The Green Button to make use of the built in wtvconverter.exe in Windows 7. I have modified this and scheduled this to automate daily. I have been having problems though. Once the file is converteed to dvr-ms it plays flawlessly in 7MC so I know there is no problem with the conversion. Unfortunately Lifextender is having problems cutting commercials from most of them. Firstly it will process them and usually blacklist the file but still process it. If I don't use the option to transfer ALL metadata to the new file 7MC refuses to play it. If I check this option then it will usually play for a while then say the file is corrupt (probably about where a commercial has been cut)and stop. Affected files also give the wrong length as well for example a 24 minute file comes out as 82 minutes in the metadata (but correct in the time index when ff or rw is used.) I am at a loss to explain why it is struggling to work as I had ZERO issues with file corruption using Lifextender in Vista. The only other change in my system is that I have gone from using a set top box and s-video capture to direct DVB-S. I am in the UK.

MHealy said...

I'm having similiar problems with more recent builds of the Windows 7 beta though not quite as drastic. In build 7057 I'm getting files from Lifextender being marked as 1 min in Recorded TV and no commercials being cut from them. I'll be looking into the problem and I'll post anything I manage to find on it.

Leave a comment using any OpenID including Yahoo!, AIM, Google and more. You can even leave an Anonymous comment below!

Post a Comment

Hack7MC Has Moved!

Hack7MC has left Blogspot for a new home. Following the original address @ will take you to the new home page.