MCEBuddy - Channels DVR files


Just a heads up that after stripping the commercials with MCE Buddy like described in this post, Channels doesn’t read the length of the show correctly. The show will end and it isn’t marked as complete, I have to manually mark it. Anyone else notice this?


You have to refresh the file from the web ui. See also Does the dvr refresh it's files at a certain interval?


How do I refresh the file? I’m not seeing a refresh button and I don’t understand how to apply the command in the post you referenced.


On the web UI, if you click into a show, each recording has a refresh option in the gear menu.


Ok got it. I wasn’t seeing it when I clicked on a show. Turns out I needed to click on “Other Episodes” and then the gear button on the following page to be able to refresh it. Thanks!


@DebbieFL since the MP4 file is in a mpegts container, does Plex still need to transcode the file? I know it should be easier than mpeg-2, but one of the reasons I convert to MP4 is to prevent any transcoding from occurring. If one were not to remove the commercials, would detecting and marking the commercials via MCEBuddy be recognized by Channels, or no?


In the previous outlined MCEBuddy process, resultant file is compressed utilizing H.264 video codec (not MPEG-4) and AC-3 audio codec and then enclosed in a mpegts container (mpg).

The new file is substantially smaller without much degradation of video quality. It is also playable by Channels, which is my foremost goal.

Note: A conversion to MP4 (container) can utilize either MPEG-4 or H.264 compression. H.264 takes longer, new file is larger, however video quality is better (imo) for large screens.

However, when you state that you convert to MP4, I assume that you are referring to an MP4 container utilizing MPEG-4 video compression and AAC audio. Smaller file, less time to convert, etc., however not playable by Channels’ player.

Re: Plex transcoding, it depends…Plex interrogates the video player (on the client device), and doesn’t transcode if the player is capable; if not, Plex transcodes to acceptable format. Many players/clients are capable of decoding H.264, but not as many as MPEG-4. In some cases, only the AC-3 audio might have to be transcoded (again, it depends on client player).

I defer to the Channels’ devs to answer your second question.

@tmm1 , please correct if I am misstating anything.


@DebbieFL Thanks for the follow up and corrections. For me, I use both MPEG-4 and H.264 compression for my mp4 containers, primarily depending on how much video quality I need; for cartoons which are primarily consumed on iPads, I find H.264 to be overkill. I think either compression technique within the mp4 container can be streamed on Plex without transcoding or remuxing. What I wasn’t sure about was whether or not the mpegts container would allow for direct streaming or not. I played around with things yesterday, and I still need to look at my logs to see if transcoding or remuxing is occurring or not, but the CPU load on my server (QNAP HS-251+) wasn’t too bad for the files that were re-encoded using MCEBuddy. As a follow up to my initial question, if you choose to leave the commercials in with MCEBuddy, it appears the resultant file still has the commercials marked in a way Channels can identify. The only downside to this (minor) is that MCEBuddy creates a .edl file with the re-encoded file. It appears this file can be deleted, and the commercials are still marked.


MPEG-4, H264 and AVC are different names for the same thing.


You are correct. The MP4 container MCEBuddy creates uses H.264 as well… for some reason I thought there was an older MPEG-4 compression that was H.263 but not H.264 compliant (I seem to remember some old EyeTV hardware using that), but I could be mistaken, or I’ve just dated myself. Anyway, the MP4 setting used results in smaller files, which I assume is due to greater compression; furthermore, the MP4 container seems to not require transcoding or remuxing by Plex. I am still not certain if that is the case with the MPEGTS containers.


MPEG-4 Part 2 (some state simply as MPEG-4) is a bit older than H.264 (aka MPEG-4 Part 10 … (H.264/AVC) and was more widely used in the “olden” days for playback on mobile devices, IIRC.

Check out bitrates on both conversions, the MP4 file is probably substantially lower.


Based on the Plex logs, MPEGTS containers are transcoded, while MP4 containers can be played directly w/o transcoding. Obviously, the overhead of transcoding the H.264 files is significantly less than the MPEG-2 files, so there is some benefit of converting when playing through Plex. Just FYI.


Thanks for your follow up and info. Can you tell if Plex is transcoding both a/v. Be great if it was only audio. Ha Ha, wishful thinking!


On TVOS its actually direct streaming the content, which essentially means its repackaging the content into a compatible file container. On iOS, the AAC file is being transcoded, which takes a bit more processing power, but not much.


By refreshing the file, if all I’ve done is compress the file (MPEG-2 to H.264), without removing the commercials, will I then lose the commercial markings? I’ve chosen not to detect commercials in MCEBuddy when compressing the file.


Markers will not change on refresh


Hi @rcgfl:
You piqued my interest re: MP4 using H.264 for conversion (on MCEBuddy), so I ran my own test today.

File: channelsmovie.mpg - 10.81gb and 3:15 length (Convert & Delete Comms)

MCEBuddy Preset - HDHomeRun H.264:
Conversion Time - 3 hrs
File Size - 3.71gb and 2:15 length
Final file container - .MPG

MCEBuddy Preset - MP4 Normal: (Didn’t use Low - Wanted to Retain Quality)
Conversion Time - 3 hrs 34 min
File Size - 3.76 gb and 2:15 length
Final file container - .MP4

Both final files are Plex compliant for naming, metadata match, sorting and playback. However, only the x.MPG file is still playable by Channels ATV. Web UI playback still is exhibiting some problems. No problems with other 3rd party players.

Primarily based on Channels compatibility and augmented by faster conversion time, I will continue to use HDHR H.264 conversion process, even if there is a slight t/c penalty on Plex playback (as reported on your tests).

As stated previously, I only use MCEBuddy for files which will be saved for long term, like movies. On most series/news/sports, it is not worth waiting the lengthy time for conversion for us, as we watch, skip comms and then delete.

Hopefully, all can replaced with a new process created by Channels’ devs.


Any updates on this?


No update or ETA on transcoding features in Channels DVR.

However yesterday I received an update from the MCEBuddy developer with an idea for easy hack which can fix the integration, so I am looking into that.


Please upgrade to today’s new MCEbuddy beta version 2.4.7, and to DVR v2017.02.11.0312

Then run this power shell command:

Invoke-WebRequest -Method put

MCEBuddy Suggested Settings?