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Hulu Desktop Integration Brings Hulu to Windows 7 Media Center

2010 Sep 25, 7:46PermalinkCommentswmc hulu win7 windows7 media television tv video

DVD Ripping and Viewing in Windows Media Center

2010 Aug 17, 3:05

I've just got a new media center PC connected directly to my television with lots of HD space and so I'm ripping a bunch of my DVDs to the PC so I don't have to fuss with the physical media. I'm ripping with DVD Rip, viewing the results in Windows 7's Windows Media Center after turning on the WMC DVD Library, and using a powershell script I wrote to copy over cover art and metadata.

My powershell script follows. To use it you must do the following:

  1. Run Windows Media Center with the DVD in the drive and view the disc's metadata info.
  2. Rip each DVD to its own subdirectory of a common directory.
  3. The name of the subdirectory to which the DVD is ripped must have the same name as the DVD name in the metadata. An exception to this are characters that aren't allowed in Windows paths (e.g. <, >, ?, *, etc)
  4. Run the script and pass the path to the common directory containing the DVD rips as the first parameter.
Running WMC and viewing the DVD's metadata forces WMC to copy the metadata off the Internet and cache it locally. After playing with Fiddler and reading this blog post on WMC metadata I made the following script that copies metadata and cover art from the WMC cache to the corresponding DVD rip directory.

Download copydvdinfo.ps1

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Methods of Watching TV

2010 Feb 3, 1:09If you've got cable, Internet, and Netflix you end up with a large number of TV viewing options. Its nice to have the options but is there some way to collect and summarize my available options at any one time?

TV PC
Comcast TV Xbox 360 + Windows Media Center Windows Media Center
Comcast OnDemand Cable box Fancast
Hulu Xbox 360 + PlayOn + Windows Media Center Hulu
Netflix Watch Instantly Xbox 360 + Netflix App Netflix Watch Instantly
Netflix DVDs Xbox 360 PC
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Windows Media Center and Zune Integration Hack

2007 Nov 28, 1:23One of the new Zune features that had me the most excited was the claimed improved Windows Media Center integration which unfortunately turned out to simply mean support for the Win MCE video format (with an exception for HD). I wanted to be able to pick shows recorded by my Win MCE and have the Zune automatically sync up the latest episodes. However, with the improved podcast support in the Zune software one can easily create a ridiculous hack to accomplish this.

The new Zune software has podcast support which does everything I'd want to do with a Win MCE recorded TV series so the goal is to shoehorn a TV series into a Zune podcast. An overview of the steps: Create an XSLT that converts Win MCE data to a podcast, run the XSLT as a scheduled task every few hours per TV series, setup a Web server pointed at the resulting podcasts and the Win MCE Recorded TV directory, and subscribe to the resulting podcasts in the Zune software.
  1. Reading through the Win MCE data stored as an XML file in "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\eHome\Recording\Recordings.xml" and the spec for podcasts I created an XSLT to convert a series from Win MCE data to a podcast.
  2. I added a new task to the Scheduled Tasks to run my XSLT using my xsltproc.js script. The task runs a handful of commands that look something like the following:

    C:\windows\system32\wscript.exe C:\users\dave\bin\xsltproc.js C:\Users\Dave\Documents\trunk\development\mce-zune\mce-to-podcast.xslt C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\eHome\Recording\Recordings.xml --param title "The Daily Show With Jon Stewart" --param max 4 --param baseURI "http://groucho/" --param thisRelURI "tds.xml" -o "D:\recorded tv\tds.xml"

    For each TV series I run a command like the above and that outputs a podcast for that series into my "D:\Recorded TV\" directory.
  3. Zune only allows http URIs for its podcasts so I installed a web server on my Win MCE server. I'm running Vista Ultimate so it was quick and easy for me to install IIS7 but any Web server will do. Then I pointed it at "D:\Recorded TV\".
  4. Once all the above was done I just subscribed to the resulting podcasts via my Web server and viola! Since I'm forced to use a Web server I can even run the Zune software on a machine other than my Win MCE server. You can see a screen-shot above of my Zune software showing my Colbert Report podcast.
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