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ShowAnalyzer to Comskip

Posted: Tue Dec 06, 2011 7:03 pm
by mogulman

I've been using Showanalzer for a few years, but Jere has kind of disappeared and hasn't made any updates to SA in over a year. It is actually working OK for me, but it seems like work is still being done on Comskip.

I don't really want to convert all my WTV files over, but see that Comskip advanced eval version includes WTV support.

So.. I guess my question is....

For someone like me.. just recording HD OTA using Windows Media Center... and using DVRMSToolbox with the DVRMSToolbox for scanning for new recordings...

1. What is involved in trying out or changing to Comskip? Ie.. I install Comskip and change what settings in DVRMStoolbox?
2 Anyone have any opinions on Comskip (current WTV version) vs SA? Other then it being actively supported? Is Comskip faster these days? I read that it was slower a few years ago.
3. is there an evaluation version for WTV?
4. Any suggested starting settings for using with OTA/DVRMToolbox and WMC?


Re: ShowAnalyzer to Comskip

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 3:28 am
by WScottCross
I recently switched over to Comskip from SA. I was running SAV1 with profiles and was it was working fairly well when it didn't get stuck on processing a file. It was also difficult to figure out why SA would classify a block as a commercial or a show. It could be done using SQLite and digging through the cryptic databases. If it weren't for the lockups, I probably would have stayed with SA indefinitely.

Comskip is much different and my first impression is that the differences are all for the better!. I donated to get access to the early access section for the WTV support. I use Media Center and already had DVRMSToolbox installed so switching to comskip was pretty easy, just copy the files to the applications subdirectory under DTB and change the preferred analyzer. I was very impressed with how the default settings did a great job at detecting commercials and didn't require so much detective work like SAV1. The other thing I like alot is that Comskip puts all the details of the conversion right in the log file (if you leave it set to verbosity=10, which is the default, at least in version 81.019) Just reading through the log file provides everything you need to tune Comskip for better detection. There is a learning curve on digesting the details in the log file, to be sure, but at least you don't need to learn how to navigate the databases that SA uses.

There are no profiles in Comskip, but most of the same functionality can be obtained by using the Processing Condition Editor in DTB. So far I have created rules to skip the premium channels in DTB and I understand that rules could also be created to use different INI files to scan shows recorded from different channels, although I haven't gotten that far in yet. One thing that is not ready yet is live scanning, but I never used that anyway, so no great loss to me. Erik is working on it and he is great at responding to questions and helping resolve issues within hours in most cases from what I've seen recently. I have very high confidence that the development on Comskip is moving forward (unlike SA).

I don't record OTA any more, but most of my recordings are HD cablecard recordings and Comskip has had no issues so far. My recordings are MPEG based WTV and I have seen that there are a few issues with H.264 compressed recordings right now, but as long as you have MPEG based recordings, I say it's well worth the price of admission (which, by the way, you get to decide how much).

Re: ShowAnalyzer to Comskip

Posted: Wed Dec 07, 2011 6:06 am
by marvin-miller
Agreed :mrgreen:

I've been using SA since before 0.97 was released and the subsequent releases since. At one point I ran both SA versions simoultaneously, along with Comskip, and chose between them on a profile by profile basis :lol:

In the early days SA was it and comskip was the runner up. I'm pleased to say though that comskip has been maturing on a steady basis over the years and it's very, very good. In fact, if you take speed out of the equation it's better then SA period.

Comskip used to be fairly slow but it will now process a 60 minute HD recording (in H.264 no less) in 15 minutes flat. That's pretty quick and well within acceptable parameters. With a better processor I'm pretty sure you'd see sub-10 minute analysis (I'm using an i3-540)

The last version of SA (the profile version) was smoking fast though. I'll give it that. It would process a STD DVRMS file in 2 minutes and often less then 1 - it was that fast.

As you found out though, development on SA has stopped and Jere publicly stated that he programmed himself into a corner - amongst other things - and that it was not likely he was going to be finding a way out. Jere's support was always sporadic, right from day one, in fact, after 0.97 was released nothing was ever really the same and he took SA into directions that were questionable, to say the least with the end result being a bit of a mess.

So SA is dead and has been for some time at least as far as development goes. All that remains now is for the site to disappear. In the meantime, comskip has been maturing and continues to mature. Eric has done wonderful stuff with his program and I'm now using it exclusively (all versions of SA have been removed on my system). I haven't got my commerical detection dialed-in yet (just using OOB settings) but it's been pretty darn good.

Btw, I've also been using DVRMS-Toolbox for years - it's an incredibly powerful app. Now if I could just figure out how to cut the commercials out of my H.264 .wtv files I'd be laughing.... :-)

Re: ShowAnalyzer to Comskip

Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2012 10:58 pm
by serge
I could not agree with you more WScottCross. I am a newbie, and tried Show Analyzer for a few days and just did not want to spend the effort of tuning it. I was very thankful for your instructions on switching over from Show Analyzer. I have only tested Comskip on a few shows, but so far I am incredibly impressed with it. It seems to be very accurate, without the need for tuning.

Erik, it might be good to add these instructions as well as a reference to NextPVR now that GBPVR has been renamed (unless I have missed something).

While on the topic of NextPVR, how does it compare to Windows 7 Media Center? I am reasonably happy with Windows 7 Media Center, but wondering whether it would be worth switching over. I assume NextPVR also works with Comskip since GBPVR did...

Like so many others out there, I am also looking forward to the live tv support. I am so thankful for Comskip and that Comskip development is alive and well.

Re: ShowAnalyzer to Comskip

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:33 am
by erik
Could any of you guys make a short instruction for people that want to update their comskip version to the donator build in dvrmstoolbox?
I understood you basically only need to replace comskip.exe but how to set comskip to start only after the show is recorded?

Re: ShowAnalyzer to Comskip

Posted: Fri Jan 20, 2012 6:57 am
by marvin-miller
Maybe I can help :mrgreen:

DVRMSToolbox comes with a public version of ComSkip installed. It is located in C:\Program Files (x86)\DVRMSToolbox\Applications

If you want to update the version that comes with DVRMSToolbox, with either the latest public version or the donator version of ComSkip (recommended) you just extract the comskip files to that directory overwriting the existing files.

*Keep in mind, if you have a custom comskip.ini already created you probably don't want to copy over it with the new version - you probably want to keep the one you have or merge your changes with the new comskip.ini*

At that point you have the latest ComSkip version installed.

With respect to adjusting DVRMSToolbox to wait for the recordings to be completely written to before processing with comskip, I believe most of the information given in other threads on this site is incorrect.

The proper way to make DVRMSToolbox wait is by going into DVRMStoMPEGSettings and then clicking on the File Watcher tab. Look for the field called Wait Time (Min) and change it to 10 minutes (or more - 10 minutes has always worked for me).

That setting relates directly to the File Watcher service and is literally the amount of time to wait for a file to stop being written to. My experience has been that 10 minutes is adequate, if you have reason to believe it's not just increase it to whatever number you are comfortable with.

If you haven't already adjusted the comskip.ini file to work with DVRMSToolbox then you need to before it will work.

Go to C:\Program Files (x86)\DVRMSToolbox\Applications\comskip.ini and open the file with a text editor. Look for the line that says output_dvrmstb=0 and change it to output_dvrmstb=1 and then save the file as comskip.ini

At that point go into the services section of your operating system and re-start the file watcher service (it's called DTBService). Or, you can just re-start your computer. You should now be good to go with respect to comskip and the toolbox :mrgreen:

Hope this helps :D

Re: ShowAnalyzer to Comskip

Posted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:24 am
by erik
How to tell dvrmstoolbox NOT to convert wtv files before processing by comskip?

Re: ShowAnalyzer to Comskip

Posted: Sat Jan 21, 2012 5:28 pm
by marvin-miller
It doesn't :mrgreen:

I believe the default profile upon installation is Find Commercials in DVRMS. That profile only scans for commercials and writes out the .xml file to C:\Users\Public\DvrmsToolbox\CommercialsXml

Conversion only occurs when you use a custom profile or one of the specialty profiles that comes with the toolbox.