Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Recorded TV Manager

The Windows Media Center has been working for us.  I have been interested in finding a way to copy recorded TV shows to my Windows Home Server.  This would allow me to record TV shows, and save them off the Media Center hard drive, but I can still watch them when I have time.

Recorded TV Manager has two main functions.

  1. It copies recordings from the Media Center to a Windows Home Server when they finish

  2. It copies recordings from the Home Server to a Media Center PC

  3. It fixes a problem in Windows Media Center where it will delete duplicate recordings and will enable playback by Original Airdate.

The copying/moving is controlled by rules that enable you to do things like:

  • Archive all episodes of show to a Windows Home Server

  • Automatically copy recorded shows to a Windows Media Center that doesn't have a tuner

  • Lets you play a series in order of air date

Here is a page that has come example usages of Recorded TV Manager

The install on the windows home server was pretty straight forward, but getting sharing of the Recorded content on the Media Center took some work to get right.  I set up a few folders for recorded content, and some rules to copy some shows to the server

Yesterday, Microsoft pushed Power Pack 2 for Windows Home Server.  This includes better integration with Windows Media Center.  Now if a recorded program is copied into the Recorded TV folder on the Home Server, it will automatically appear in Media Center.  I am doing this with South Park, so as episodes are recorded, they are copied to the server, but also playable.

I am doing something slightly different with Heroes.  I didn't watch the series when it started airing, but I have gotten hooked while streaming it over Netflix.  I figure, I will just record every episode that airs.  I have these shows moved to a directory that is not visible to Media Center.  At some point the first episodes will be recorded.  Once that happen, I will set up Recorded TV Manager to copy the oldest episode.  Then when I watch and delete that episode, the next one will be copied.

There is a Vista Media Center plugin for Recorded TV Manager.  I installed it, but I don't like the way it looks.   It does allow you to play or delete content that is on the Home Server.  Though, with the Power Pack 2, much of the functionality provided by the plugin is not necessary.  Now you can play and delete the content on the server from just the Media Center.


  1. I've just started using Windows Media Center (WMC), and your post seems to resolve questions I've had about it's operation. Where does WMC display a recorded TV file stored on the Windows Home Server (WHS) device? Does WMC list it in it's own "recorded TV" location, or in "watched folders"? Can the WMC machine record TV directly to the WHS server, or does a recorded TV file have to be copied to the WHS device from the WMC machine some time after the recording has completed?

  2. I have installed Power Pack 2 on my Windows Home Server. This adds better integration with Windows Media Center
    With the server upgraded the recorded content stored on the Windows Home Server appears in the normal "Recorded TV" section in the UI.
    No, Windows Media Center can not record directly to the Windows Home Server. This is the functionality that Recorded TV Manager provides.

  3. [...] Last year, I installed Recorded TV Manager to manage moving recording to my Windows Home server.  I stopped using it when the Power Pack 3 was made available for Windows Home Server, as it enabled archiving recordings automatically.  Also, Recorded TV Manager was not compatible with the recordings that Windows 7 made. [...]


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