Sunday, March 14, 2004

How to create a DVD from a show recorded on a ReplayTV

I searched high and low for this information and never really found it all in one place. If you have a ReplayTV unit, here's a step-by-step guide to creating a DVD from a recorded show using your PC. (for MAC OS X instructions, click here)


  • A ReplayTV unit connected to a home network
  • A Windows-based PC* connected to the same network
  • A recordable DVD drive


  • DVArchive - For transferring the files from the ReplayTV to your PC [free]
    - -- Requires Java2 Runtime Environment from [free]
  • Replay TV 5K Tools - For editing and converting your RTV files (the download is attached to the end of the AVS forums post) [free]
  • Suitable DVD creation software. I use and many others recommend Ulead DVD Movie Factory (DMF) [$99]. I have successfully used a trial version of DMF3 then found an excellent price on DMF2 at eBay [I got mine for $21.50]. Roxio DVD Creator is specifically NOT recommended
  • OPTIONAL: Womble MPEG-VCR [$69.95] or another program capable of playing back raw ReplayTV mpg files and displaying timecode

Step 1: Get the mpg file from the ReplayTV unit to your PC

  • Using DVArchive, copy the file from the ReplayTV unit to your PC. DVArchive is pretty easy to use. When you first run it, it will ask where you want to put the files it copies from your ReplayTV unit. Make sure to pre-create the folder and create two sub-folders. One called "Import" and the other called "Local_Guide"
  • When you copy the file, it will create a .evt (event) file, the .mpg file and a .ndx file. Each of these files is necessary for the conversion process.

Step 2: Editing your file

  • Run EVTDUMP** against the .evt file for the show you want to edit (c:\>evtdump "downloaded program.evt" > dump.txt). This creates an editable list of scene changes showing in-points (marked by A) and out-points (marked by D). The RTV tools documentation describes the evtdump output quite well.
  • Open the evtdump output file you just created (dump.txt in my example) using Notepad. Open the .mpg file in Womble (MPG-VCR). Scroll through the video file and match the in and out points listed in the dump file. Edit as necessary.
  • Run RTVEdit** using your dump file as an edit decision list (c:\>rtvedit dump.txt). Unless otherwise specified (see EVTDUMP documentation), RTVEdit will automatically create .evt, .mpg and .ndx files, adding a 1 to the end of the file name (i.e. downloaded program1.mpg). NOTE: This step usually takes less than three minutes for a one hour show.
  • Open the edited file in MPG-VCR and make sure the breaks are smooth (i.e. there are no "blips" of commercials). Re-edit the dump file accordingly and re-run RTVEdit. The second go-round usually does the trick.

Step 3: Prepare for output

  • Once the edit process has been completed to your satisfaction, you need to run the edited .mpg file through RTVConvert** before you can burn it to a DVD. (c:\>rtvconvert "input file.mpg" "output file.mpg")

Step 4: Output to DVD

  • Using your authoring software, output the converted file to DVD.


  • If your satellite receiver or other tuner displays a banner when switching channels, set your ReplayTV unit to start recording one minute prior to the start of the program. This will give the banner time to disappear and it won't be on your final recording.
  • I've been told that DVD-R discs tend to be more compatible with consumer equipment. I have been able to use a DVD+R disc with no problems, however.
  • MPG-VCR uses timecode in the format of HH:MM:SS:FF where H=Hour, M=Minute, S=Second & F=Frame. There are 30 frames per second. EVTDUMP displays the timecode as MMM:SS.mmm where M=Minute, S=Second and m=milisecond. There are 1,000 miliseconds per second. Therefore, every three frames is 100 miliseconds. 15 frames=1/2 second=500 miliseconds.
  • The AVS ReplayTV Forums are a WONDERFUL source of information.
  • You should also check out the ReplayTV FAQ
  • Raw ReplayTV files, although adherent to the MPEG-2 standard, will not play in most MPG playback software. Windows Media Player, for example, will crash every time you try to launch a raw file unless you have a codec installed that can handle the file directly from a ReplayTV unit. At the very least, you will need to create an "empty" dump file (see RTV 5K Tools documentation) and run the file through RTVEdit and RTVConvert before burning to a DVD.
  • Some people like to use Womble (MPG-VCR) to edit their video because it affords more exact control. I have yet to edit a program using it where I did not have sound synchronization issues.

*Your PC should have sufficient free hard drive space to accomodate three times the amount of data for a single show. A one-hour television show recorded at medium quality takes up about 1.7 gigabytes. My system is running Windows XP on an Intel Pentium 3 running at 866 MHz with 640 megabytes of RAM and 140 gigabytes of hard drive space. I have a 120GB drive partitioned into a 20GB system volume and a 100MB storage volume, plus a 20GB drive I use for file transfers. This system handles the methods I use just fine.

** Part of the ReplayTV 5K Tools

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