For you diehard videophiles who want the perfect video conversion, I think I’ve finally perfected the process of taking TV show recordings and turning them into WMV files for the Zune HD. There were lots of challenges to getting this to work, especially finding the right combination of tools and settings.
Now, the objective is to convert a TV show recording (WTV file from Windows 7 Media Center) into a WMV formatted file for my Zune HD media player. My TV recordings are in standard NTSC format (4:3 ratio) which is a squarish picture. The Zune HD has a wide-screen display (16:9) so I need to configure the conversion to handle this situation. One option is to stretch the picture side ways to fill the screen, but then the displayed image is distorted. Another option is to crop off part of the top and bottom of the TV image to create the 16:9 size. For my process, I decided to do the cropping option.
So, my first step is to convert the WTV file to the older DVR-MS format because most of the available conversion tools are compatible with DVR-MS and not WTV format. This is done by using a conversion program (wtvconverter.exe) that is supplied with Windows 7. Note, that the TV video resolution is 720×480, so we need to do some cropping to get it down to the 16:9 ratio size.
For this operation, I chose to use a freeware program called FFMPEG which is designed for video conversions. My goal in this step is to crop off 38 pixels from the top and bottom of the image, and then shrink the image down to a final size of 480×272 (which is the Zune HD screen resolution). I also want to convert the DVR-MS file to MPEG2 format at the same time. To do all this, I use the following command line with FFMPEG: Continue reading