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Windows 7 : Windows Media Center - Some Tricks of the Trade (part 2) - Burning DVDs from Recorded TV, Setting Parental Control Ratings

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2/14/2014 12:38:51 AM

Burning DVDs from Recorded TV

An obvious trick you can perform is to create a DVD or VHS tape of shows recorded from TV + Movies. One reason to do so is to keep the shows to watch months or years from now, without tying up hard disk space in the meantime. (Be sure you are aware of copyright laws that pertain to the shows you want to copy, of course.) If your WMC computer includes a recordable DVD drive, you are already capable of creating your first DVD. It’s a simple process with WMC. Just follow these steps:

1.
Insert a blank recordable DVD in your DVD recorder.

2.
Select Recorded TV in the TV category.

3.
Select the TV show you want to record.

4.
Press Enter on the selected title or right-click to bring up the details window.

5.
Press the right-arrow key or click the Actions entry.

6.
Under Additional Commands, choose Burn a CD/DVD.

Now that you have recorded your first TV show to DVD, you may have noticed that it recorded everything that occurred during your recording. This usually includes a few minutes of the previous show, commercials, and a few minutes of the following show. That’s a lot of extra material that you probably don’t want to watch, and it is certainly a lot of storage space you don’t want to waste. So, what can you do about it? Quite a bit, actually.

Windows 7 includes Windows Movie Maker. It’s a basic application for merging video clips with simple transitions and creating an output file. The output file has several options—from playback on your computer as an AVI file to reducing it in resolution and compressing the file so that you can play it back on any Windows Mobile device, including your Windows Smartphone. It is also possible to burn the output file to DVD using Windows DVD Maker. Windows Movie Maker was included in Vista, but as of Windows 7 it is a download from the Windows Live site.

Some key items to keep in mind with using Windows Movie Maker to edit and publish your recorded TV shows include

  • Storage space and compression— High-quality video consumes a great deal of storage space on your disk. The WMC file format (DVR-MS) provides good-quality video files, but a long-term storage conversion to a higher compression video format can lower your storage requirements significantly. Storing your files in high-quality DVD format can reduce the file size by two-thirds.

  • Video quality— The better the quality of the video, the more space it requires on your disk. If you use a recorded TV show in SDTV format, use an output resolution of 720×480 as your highest-quality setting. Broadcast SDTV is as low as 320×240, whereas cable and satellite SDTV can be as high as 720×480. Using an output format higher than the input format generally does not produce a higher-quality video. Instead, it usually just takes up more storage space on the disk.

    Tip

    To dub a show from your WMC machine to a VHS tape, connect the composite video output (or S-Video output of your S-VHS recorder) to the recorder. Then, start playing back the show on the computer. Try a little sample at first, and play the tape back on a TV set to ensure that the entire image is making it onto the tape. On some computers, the entire video image is automatically scaled to fit into the NTSC analog output. On others, you have to manually size and position the playback window, as explained in the previous section.


  • Back up your work— Editing is a time-consuming process. Make frequent backups of your work in progress to avoid data loss in the event of a computer software/hardware glitch.

  • Output/storage— Depending on the size of your video, you might output to a video CD (VCD). A VCD cannot store as much data as a DVD but is less expensive. A VCD also makes a good alternative for sending smaller files to relatives. If a file is too large to fit on a VCD, use a DVD. A single-sided DVD can store up to 2 hours of video in standard mode and 1 hour in high-quality mode.

Setting Parental Control Ratings

You might want to control what kinds of TV, movies, or DVDs are playable on your system. To prevent your children from watching inappropriate TV, follow these steps:

1.
From the WMC Start screen, select Tasks, Settings, General, Parental Controls.

2.
When prompted, enter your four-digit code using the numeric keypad on the remote or keyboard. If this is the first time you have entered a code, confirm the code when prompted.

3.
Select TV Ratings.

4.
On the TV Ratings menu, you can make the selections shown in Table 1.

Table 1. TV Parental Controls
ControlFunction
Turn on or turn off TV blocking.Select or clear the check box next to Turn On TV Blocking. When the box is selected, TV programs that exceed the selected rating level are blocked.
Block or unblock unrated TV Programs.Select or clear the check box next to Block Unrated TV programs. When the box is selected, TV programs that do not have a rating are blocked.
Set the maximum allowed TV rating.Use the arrow buttons and the CH/PG+ and CH/PG– buttons to select the rating that cannot be exceeded for TV programs.

5.
When finished specifying your ratings, click the Save button.

To prevent your children from seeing X-rated DVDs, follow these steps:

1.
From the WMC Start screen, select Tasks, Settings, General, Parental Controls.

2.
When prompted, enter your four-digit code using the numeric keypad on the remote or keyboard. If this is the first time you entered your code, confirm the code when prompted.

3.
Select Movie/DVD Ratings.

4.
On the Movie/DVD Ratings menu, you can make the selections shown in Table 2.

Table 2. Movie/DVD Parental Controls
ControlFunction
Turn on or turn off movie blocking.Select or clear the check box next to Turn On Movie Blocking. When the box is selected, movies or DVDs that exceed the selected rating level are blocked.
Block or unblock unrated movies.Select or clear the check box next to Block Unrated Movies. When the box is selected, Movies or DVDs that do not have a rating are blocked.
Set the maximum allowed movie rating.Use the arrow buttons and the CH/PG+ and CH/PG– buttons to select the rating that cannot be exceeded for movies or DVDs.

5.
When you finish specifying your ratings, click the Save button.

Table 3 shows the keyboard shortcuts for playing DVDs when you don’t have the remote control available or are sitting at your PC.

Table 3. DVD Keyboard Shortcuts
To Do This...Press...
Go to the DVD menuCtrl+Shift+M
PlayCtrl+Shift+P
PauseCtrl+P
StopCtrl+Shift+S
RewindCtrl+Shift+B
Fast forwardCtrl+Shift+F
Skip backCtrl+B
Skip forwardCtrl+F
Go to the previous chapterPage Down
Go to the next chapterPage Up
Change the DVD angleArrow keys
Change the DVD audio selectionCtrl+Shift+A
Change the DVD subtitles selectionCtrl+U
 
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