Automating commercial cutting

One of the nice features of mythtv is that it can do commercial detection, and from that, build a cutlist. My biggest problem, and what kept me from using this feature was that I thought you had to use the user interface to do this. Alas, I have found that indeed there is a command line way to generate the cutlist. Using mythcommflag -f <filename> you can create the commercial flags, the coming back and using mythcommflag –blanks -f give me the cutlist.

Breaks (computed using only blank frame detection)
13090 : 4 (00:07:16.10) (436)
18678 : 5 (00:10:22.18) (622)
35104 : 4 (00:19:30.04) (1170)
41431 : 5 (00:23:01.01) (1381)
51877 : 4 (00:28:49.07) (1729)
52374 : 5 (00:29:05.24) (1745)
53651 : 4 (00:29:48.11) (1788)
65357 : 5 (00:36:18.17) (2178)
78320 : 4 (00:43:30.20) (2610)
85881 : 5 (00:47:42.21) (2862)
100991 : 4 (00:56:06.11) (3366)
107762 : 5 (00:59:52.02) (3592)

The first column is the frame number (useful for avidemux), the second column is the ‘4:cut out‘ ‘5:cut in‘ column, the third column is the timecode (useful for ProjectX) and the fourth column is seconds (useful for mplayer).

Some simple perl scripting, and we have a cutlist that can be used for avidemux, or as an EDL (edit decision list) for mplayer.

HDTV Viewing update

Not much earth shattering to report here. The good news is that I have been recording like a madman, and trying to perfect the process before the new fall season begins. I think I have a pretty good process down at this point.

First, I record the shows (duh), then I use ProjectX to demux them, then I use transcode to multiplex them back together and convert them from MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 (ffmpeg XviD codec) with a lower resolution. This might all seem terribly complex at first, but it’s really quite simple, and the result is a file that comes in at 10% the size of the HD counterpart, and the viewing quality is almost as good.

Fedora Core 2.0 update

I’m still waiting to upgrade to Fedora Core 2.0, for two reasons.

  1. The nvidia driver does not compile against the native kernel

  2. I haven’t had the time

But as soon as Both of those things change, I’ll definintely upgrade. I have been quite successfully transcoding some shows, but others have the strangest interlacing problems that I haven’t been able to solve.

Remote happiness

I have followed the advice of Jarod Wilson a few months ago and went to Radio Shack and picked up a remote. I got the 15-2117 (with the RF command center). I pretty much followed his directions for setting it up verbatim, but I have always had problems navigating. Sometimes I have to press a button on the remote several times in order to get it to move around the MythTV menus. The latest CVS release (for some reason) really exacerbated the problem. I actually had to revert to my wireless keyboard just to watch a movie.

I was convinced that the problem was in my .lircrc file, so after digging a bit, I decided to try and fix it by removing the ‘repeat = 4’ from all of my entries, so that the default (repeat = 0) would be in effect. If you’re interested in just what the ‘repeat = n’ option is and how it works, check out the lirc documentation.

Sure enough, it solved my problem. I’m back to my remote, happy as a clam.

Trying to solve the HDTV dilemma

I have a basic dilemma with regards to HDTV. I can capture this amazingly high quality video (1920×1080), but cannot play it back on my system. I have a few choices here:

  1. Get a faster system (no way)

  2. Wait until all of this XvMC, nVidia driver, MythTV HDTV Patches to CVS version 0.15 stuff works itself out

  3. Upgrade to kernel 2.6 and basically start all over again.

  4. Transcode down to something more manageable.

Option four at this point seems to be to best because it also solves some disk space issues, as HDTV content usually takes up about 10 Gigabytes for each hour recorded.

I’ll post more on my transcoding experience when I get a chance.

Fedora Core 2.0

It looks like Fedora Core 2.0 is out, and I’ve heard that HDTV playback is significantly improved with Linux kernel 2.6. I think my next step is to create another partition and install FC 2.0 and try to get this thing going again from the ground up.

Mission accomplished

The antenna was installed, and now I can reliably receive HDTV signals for all of the major channels in the area. Just as I suspected however; I still can’t view a show… Maybe the 2.6 kernel will be my savior.

HDTV Here I come?

In my continued quest to create a completely usable HDTV tuner, I am getting closer. Tonight, I have a ‘cable guy’ coming over to install my UHF attic antenna. At first I (naively) thought that I could do it, but going up two stories, drilling, wiring, cabling, and digging through mountains of attic insulation is not my cup of tea.

Once the attic antenna is installed, I should be able to get a reliable DTV signal, then I can focus on getting my system tweaked to decode and display TV.

How I use MythTV

As you might have read (if you checked out the web site) MythTV has a boatload of features. I really only use a few of them, but what I do use, I love.

I use MythVideo to view any videos (tv shows mainly) that I have on my disk.

I use MythWeather (Ann really likes this one) to check the weather before I go to bed each night

I use MythDVD to play DVD’s. What’s really nice is that you can rip a copy of your DVD and keep it on your hard drive.

I would love to use MythTV, but alas, cannot yet get it to play HDTV content (read more later).

Enter MythTV

In order to view TV through a Linux based HDTV you need a solid client. I wanted something similar to my Dish Network PVR (the 721) where I could do things like pause live TV, record shows from a guide, etc… There are a couple projects out there that seemed interesting; Freevo, and MythTV. MythTV is a much more active current project, and since HDTV is a newer technology, I decided (good decision) to go with that.

MythTV is amazing, and I can’t even begin to scractch the surface of what it’s capable of doing here. Instead, I’ll put a link, and anybody interested in learning more, check it out.