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.