Some of us having been using Windows 7 Media Center as our primary DVR for over three years. When it was first released we were missing out on one big feature that we had grown to love and depend on in prior versions: automatic commercial skipping. With Windows 7 the default file format for recorded TV files was changed from DVR-MS to WTV, and when that happened both of the available commercial skipping solutions, Comskip and ShowAnalyzer, ceased to function. Later that year ShowAnalyzer was updated to work with the new WTV format. A couple of years went by without any updates to Comskip that would support WTV files.
That has all changed now. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen any updates to ShowAnalyzer, but now the developer behind Comskip has a new version in beta that supports WTV files. Being able to read the new file format isn’t the only new update though. It’s now fully multi-threaded and uses this, along with other optimizations, to greatly decrease the amount of time required to analyze a show. Some users in the Comskip support forums are claiming faster and more accurate scans using Comskip with a default profile compared to ShowAnalyzer with custom profiles. Of course, as always, your mileage may vary. The only major downside right now is that it won’t perform “live commercial detection”. That means that using the new version you’ll have to configure DVRMSToolbox to wait until a show has finished recording before it starts the commercial detection process. Don’t worry, there are instructions for configuring DVRMSToolbox in the support forums, and the developer says that live detection will be coming soon.
Comskip has always been a free tool, but currently to get the new version you will need to donate at least $10 to the project. That will give you access to a password protected site where you can download the latest “donation version”. The most current version is 81.32, and was released just a few days ago, on March 4th.
We’re going to continue to test it here, and we’ll report back later on our results. If it sounds interesting to you head on over to the Comskip website and check it out.