Recorded TV shows usually contain one or multiple commercial breaks, which most users would probably like to remove to save storage space, and watch recorded tv shows without interruption.
A typical 30 minute TV show has between five to ten minutes of advertisements, which means that removing those ads from the video will save between ten to twenty minutes of playtime and storage space per hour.
Life Extender automatically removes TV commercials from recorded videos. The program works as a standalone application, and as a Windows Media Center addin.
The application scans the system for a directory that Media Center saves the recorded TV shows to. If it cannot find it it prompts the user to add the directory manually.
All new TV shows that are discovered by the scan are analyzed and scanned for commercials. The program then removes the commercials from each show which usually reduces the file size to three quarters, and replaces the original video with the ad-free version.
Lifextender by default uses the free mpeg commercial detector Comskip to detect commercials in the videos. The application furthermore supports the commercial Show Analyzer, which needs to be purchased before it can be integrated into the software program.
The recording is analyzed on various characteristics such as black frames, silences and changes in aspect ratio. Based on this information Comskip segments the recording in blocks and using heuristics, together with additional information such as the presence of logo, the scene change rate, Close Captioning information and other information sources Comskip tries to determine what blocks of the recording are to be characterized as commercials.
Lifextender has not been updated in the last two years. It still works in most cases, but lacks support for new formats like .wtv. The program is however compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Windows XP, Windows Vista and Windows 7.
The processing speed per video depends largely on the computer's resources. Expect five minutes or less per 30 minute TV show on most modern computer systems.
The program offers several comfortable options, like scheduling scans of the recorded video directory, blacklisting videos that should not be processed, including videos from other directories in the scan, and the ability to cleanup partially recorded and duplicate TV shows.
Lifextender is available for download at the project website. The program works surprisingly well considering its age.
DVRMSToolbox is an advanced alternative that is still actively developed.
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