Anybody run AppleTV through Windows Media Center?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by ///alpinepower, Oct 11, 2007.

  1. ///alpinepower macrumors member

    Aug 13, 2007
    I am trying to get everything integrated onto one Xserve and it looks like the best way to use the AppleTV is to just run it as an input to Windows Media Center.

    Does anybody do this? What caveats am I not seeing?
  2. imlucid macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2007
    No part of what you said makes any sense...

  3. ///alpinepower thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 13, 2007
  4. PCMacUser macrumors 68000


    Jan 13, 2005
    I second that. Can you give us a better picture of what you are trying to do?

    From what I gather:

    You have an XServe. You're putting all your multimedia content onto it. You want it streaming to an Apple TV, but somehow you want that going to a Windows Media Centre box as well?
  5. foo2 macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2007
    Here's what I want to do:

    1. I have a MCE2005 box with 5 tuners, so my media is in .dvr-ms format.
    2. I have Apple iTunes on the box.
    3. I have an AppleTV in another room.
    4. I have wireless G.
    5. I want to watch 720p TV using HD source from the MCE2005 box.
    6. I have a good, reliable G network in place.

    What do I need to do in order to get Apple iTunes to sync with AppleTV using content from the recordings in the Media Center? (Typical is 720p content, some is SDTV content.)

    Bear in mind I get nightly content added to the MCE2005 box; a manual solution isn't so great... best would be a job that runs at 2AM or so that adds all .dvr-ms content into iTunes...somehow.
  6. jaw04005 macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    I think you would find a better solution on a Media Center-specific newsgroup.

    However, here's what you need to do:

    1. Strip the DRM out of the DVR-MS files.
    2. Convert DVR-MS files to MPEG-2.
    3. Convert the MPEG-2 files to MPEG-4 that's compatible with Apple TV.
    4. Import the newly converted MPEG-4 files into iTunes.
    5. Sync to Apple TV.

    I believe The Green Button Web site has some tools that strip DRM out of DVR-MS, and allow you to re-save as an generic MPEG-2. As for converting MPEG-2 to MPEG-4 on Windows, you're on your own. Apple's QuickTime won't convert MPEG-2 audio, and there is no Visual Hub for Windows.

    I would consider switching to Beyond TV or something that records in a standard file container.
  7. foo2 macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2007
    The MCE2005 media box is the most reliable TV recorder I've ever seen. It has no issues and never has had a problem, so I can't replace or change it. I dread the thought of BeyondTV with 5 tuners and getting that set up. Also, the MCE2005 box works with my XBOX360 as a remote MCE viewer, so I really can't change.

    Is there no automated way to address this? The above looks very tedious and impossible to automate, hence useless to me....
  8. jaw04005 macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    There is no automated way that I'm aware of. DVR-MS is a proprietary format, and unfortunately it is very difficult to convert to other formats. But check out Green Button community, something may have popped up in the last few weeks—but I highly doubt it.
  9. foo2 macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2007
    WebGuide 4.1 has been made free, and that can do some transcoding. I'll look into that and report back. If it can do MPEG2, is there anything that can literally watch a folder for MPEG2 content, convert it into MPEG4, and inject it into iTunes?

    If no, is there any way to inject content into iTunes, short of using the mouse, so that if I can somehow get content into compliant MPEG4 format, iTunes can then automatically make it available to AppleTV?

    Sorry for all the questions, but as you can see my MCE2005 setup is ... nice, to say the least, and I've got lots of content, and I'd love to make it available to the AppleTV.
  10. foo2 macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2007
    I downloaded a few utilities that say they can convert between .dvr-ms and mpeg4, but couldn't get any to do what I need. So far the best I've got is DVRToolbox, IIRC, which can take the .dvr-ms file, rip out the commercials, and convert into mpeg (2) format, in an automatic way (it can poll a given directory every 30 minutes and then output to another unique directory.)

    Once it is in mpeg2 format, I can then put it into a given directory, so then a program that can monitor that directory that can shoot mpeg2 into mpeg4 would be ideal.

    Anyone know of such a program? Is there anything like that on the Mac, if we eliminate all Windows components from this (aside from the MCE2005 box, obviously.)
  11. ymartin77 macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2007
    Quebec City, Canada
    I'm using Videora AppleTV Converter to convert my downloaded videos for my :apple:TV. It can automaticaly insert the video into iTunes once the conversion is complete but I didn't tried yet to start the conversion with a batch file.

    Let me know if you come up with something...
  12. foo2 macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2007
    I'm using Visual Hub, and it works, but I'm worried if the Dolby Digital bits are going to come over, and the video did soften quite a bit in the conversion... I'm not too happy with the end results. I used h264, medium quality, and it took a bit more than real time (on a 2.0 iMac Core Duo).

    It also shrunk the 720p results down to 520p or so - not pleased with that. :(
  13. ///alpinepower thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 13, 2007
    i am building an MCE box - presently, Windows Home Server beta is virtualized as a storage solution. The layering is getting interesting now that Time Machine is out.

    I also just want everything automated - i think your dvr-ms files can be batched with a scheduled script that runs ffmpeg (videora converter's backend).

    as for the appletv - it seems that it would work best tethered as one of the inputs to the MCE box as a source....
  14. foo2 macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2007
    P1 : Note TM requires HFS+ and I've yet to see a way to get WHSb to work with that, even with disk image files on the WHS. If you have a way I'm all ears, as I've VMWare'd the WHSb for months on a 2003 x64 box perfectly (and Server 2003, and MOM2005/SQL Server, and....)

    P2: Yes, I need to explore ffmpeg.

    P3: Yes, that's exactly what I'm trying to do - the XBOX360 is nice, but for $225 (referb, 40GB) or $329 (referb, 160GB) I think the AppleTV would be very nice, and much less dependent on the wireless network constantly being in 100% tip top shape (if it goes down while syncing, who cares as long as it's up enough to sync at night when we're all asleep?)
  15. ///alpinepower thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 13, 2007
    P1 - use the workaround (google) to get the TM drive onto Airport Extreme (set it up locally via USB, then plug it back into the airport - apparently that's it. Haven't done it yet myself; i'm slacking on getting a 1TB-2TB drive). Maybe even use a Drobo for this? (Storage "Robot").

    P3: My only complaint is that the xbox menus require too much fussing for somebody unfamiliar with the system. MCE and AppleTV are mostly idiot proof.
  16. foo2 macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2007

    P1: I have no Airport Extreme, "just" a normal DLink 655. I want TM to store directly to WHS / Server 2003 shares; any ideas on that? .dmg files, as I've mentioned, don't work.

    P3: I have no idea what you mean on XBOX menus. You get the remote, hit the green button, and you're in the MCE2005 interface, remotely. There literally is no difference. I haven't seen the actual XBOX360 menus in weeks (I don't game on the XBOX360... I bought Halo3, tried it for a day, got bored, and there it sits...)
  17. ITGuy macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2005
    Integrating Windows Media Centre TV recordings with your iTunes Library


    Windows Media Centre 2005 plays an important role in my digital entertainment technology solution at home. For more than a year I have been using a very simple, reliable, and elegant solution to integrate Windows Media Centre TV recordings into my iTunes Library, and from there I can view it on my iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV if I wish.

    For more than a year I have been using a utility called "MyTV ToGo", and the company has since been purchased by ROXIO. See the URL

    MyTV ToGo installs directly into the Windows Media Centre 2005 environment and is accessible directly from within the Media Centre interface using the remote control. You can select recordings to be transcoded and automatically imported into your iTunes Library. You don't have to do anything to the DVR-MS files as the process can be fully automated. I have been very pleased with it for more than a year. I am using an older version, and I will probably get around to upgrading soon.

    I find Windows Media Centre 2005 to be a very reliable product and I continue to use it to record television shows. I haven't been bothered to upgrade to Vista Media Centre, as I don't use it for anything but recording television shows to feed my iTunes Library and Apple digital media ecosystem.

    On a side note, the Apple TV is fantastic with my 46" high definition flat screen Sony Bravia XBR2, but I am now loving it even more since I am also using Apple TV in another room on a standard definition TV by tricking it into outputting a colour composite signal through the Green component output. Thanks to Mauricio Pastrana for discovering the solution - see for the solution.

    Cheers and Good luck,


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