Getting video off MythTV and onto a DVD

Today Sooz pointed out that our MythTV box did not tape something last night, and it turned out it was 99% full. This is not unsurprising as it has full seasons of The West Wing, 24, Sleeper Cell, Prison Break, Charmed (hers), Medium (hers), The Ghost Whisperer (hers) and much more on there. With it so chock full of stuff I needed to look into getting things off and onto DVD. After succesfully burning a few DVDs I figured I should blog about it as someone is sure to find my experience useful if they are in the same position.

On our MythTV box we are running version 0.18. I have not upgraded to 0.19, and with 0.20 allegedly around the corner, I figured I would until then to upgrade. As such, I cannot use the mucho-mucho-fantastico MythArchive for getting the recordings onto DVD. MythArchive solves this entire problem and allows you to select which things to burn, complete with DVD menus to boot. So, if you are on 0.18 and don’t have MythArchive, this is what you do.

You essentially have two options for getting video onto a DVD:

  • Use nuvexport.
  • Encode the video yourself and burn to DVD.

nuvexport is a utility that converts the .nuv files that MythTV saves its video in, into a format that someone has actually heard of. This problem goes away in later versions of MythTV and it just saves it as MPEG, but until then, you need to convert the .nuv file yourself. To do this, you can download nuvexport and it provides a simple command line menu to do the conversion.

If you are on MythTV 0.18, you need to grab nuvexport 0.2 from the archive, as 0.3 does not work correctly for this Myth version. Although this sounds great, I had problems with nuxexport, and Juski from #mythtv-users informed me that I probably needed a special, super cleverly compiled, custom ffmpeg. I went to get this, and they demand you grab it from Subversion. While groaning and checking it out, I discovered something new to avert such drudgery…

It turns out that if you are running one of the WinTV PVR-50 cards (I run the PVR-350), it actually saves the video files as MPEG anyway. So, that file called 00030202020202-303040302023.nuv could be just renamed to .mpeg and it should play. To test, I saved it to my Thinkpad, renamed it, and it played fine. Now all I needed to do was to burn it to DVD.

You can use a tool called tovid to burn it to DVD, and this excellent little tool also includes support for menus and such. Although I tried to run my videos through tovid, it barfed and told me it could not understand what kind of audio was on the video file. So, it seems that my .nuv files are MPEG with some kind of freaky audio track on there.

To solve this I used avidemux to convert it to something that can live on a DVD just fine. To do this, install avidemux and simply click the Auto menu and select DVD. Then encode the video and feed it into tovid for all your DVD lovelyness.

This is not easy, and I suspect MythArchive should resolve all of these problems, but creating and burning DVD content on the normal desktop is notoriously difficult. I really hope this gets easier sometime soon. We have a pretty awesome stack, its just the user experience that needs consolidating. :)

  • EmmEff

    Funny you should make this post just now… I just got around to installing MythArchive tonight for the very same reason as you. It’s transcoding right now so I have nothing more useful to report.

    Everybody has mentioned how easy it is to create video DVDs on Linux but I’ve never had any good success with the multitude of packages out there. If the conditions are just right, it works. I’ve seen it, but I’ve also seen it fail more often than not. I hope MythArchive is an exception.

  • dvdr

    Just tried DeVeDe (http://www.rastersoft.com/programas/devede.html). It is a pretty nice gui for burning videos to dvd. Having used tovid before devede felt simple and quick to use.

  • Bill

    I’ve got MythArchive runing and it’s great! I didn’t have any problems with it, except needing to install an extra package (mjpegtools I think). Give me a shout if you need a hand.

  • http://emmeff.blogspot.com EmmEff

    I created my first DVD using MythArchive with a couple of recorded shows as the content. I always record my stuff at high resolution and high bitrate off of DBS and I must say MythArchive did a great job. I burned the .iso onto a DVD+RW, plunked it into my Panasonic DVD player, and it looks great! The picture quality is solid and the audio sync seems to be decent (one of my biggest worries).

    Give it a go, Jono! Looks like it works!

  • Pat

    You wrote: “This is not easy, and I suspect MythArchive should resolve all of these problems, but creating and burning DVD content on the normal desktop is notoriously difficult. I really hope this gets easier sometime soon. We have a pretty awesome stack, its just the user experience that needs consolidating”

    Well you’re right. Its not easy. What we need to do with the awesome stack is write some really good documentation. Documentation that helps people understand what is really going on. I know how to write such documentation, unfortunately I don’t understand what’s really going on when people try to take a myth file and put it on a dvd. Anyone want to collaborate on something like this can contact me.

  • Pat

    Pat Callahan earthlink net (bring your own punctuation. dots and at.)