Watching Media Center Recorded TV on a Nexus 7

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Google’s Nexus 7 tablet is a really nice device (see my review), it’s a great size and is very good value for money. The 1280×800 display is very nice and is great for watching videos on so I thought I would see if it could be used to watch Windows Media Center recorded TV on it.

My Windows Media Center system is Freeview HD (DVB-T2) and so I have tested standard def recordings as well as HD recordings. 

The nice thing about Android over iOS is that you can just plug in a USB cable to the Media Center machine and copy the files over without having to use an app like iTunes. So to do the tests I copied over an SD recording and a HD recording.

First the SD recording, I recorded a show from ITV4 and copied it to the Nexus 7. Using the the Play Movie app I couldn’t find the WTV file and other video player apps won’t find it either which isn’t surprising as its not a standard video format. So I downloaded VLC player from Google Play which scans for playable video files automatically but that didn’t find it either. To find the file I downloaded a File Manager app from Google Play which worked and I could find the file, selecting Open let me pick an app to watch the video on and I used VLC which played back the SD fine.

Next I tested a HD file, this was recorded from BBC1 HD and was about 4GB in size. I used the same method to playback the video file and opened it in VLC but the video was not watchable, you could just about make out the picture but not watchable at all. So my next test was to convert the file into a better format for the Nexus, so using Handbreak I converted the HD WTV file to mp4 and used the Android HD settings. This reduced the file down from 4gb to about 400mb and played perfectly from VLC and Google Play Video. The bonus with the converted file is that as it’s a standard mp4 file its listed automatically in the video app and VLC so its much easier to play.

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I also tested an MKV file, this worked fine in VLC  but won’t work in the Google Play video app.

So if you want to watch Windows Media Center files on the Nexus 7 you can with the help of VLC, for HD recordings your going to have to convert them with a tool like Handbreak or WTV Converter.

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5 thoughts on “Watching Media Center Recorded TV on a Nexus 7

  1. Nice.

    My Nexus 7 should arrive in a couple of days so I’ll be trying this out, I’d prefer not to re-encode HD files really though.

    I wonder if just remuxing the .wtv file to .mp4 would help at all? The Google app should see the file at least?

  2. I suggest you try DLNA servers and transcoders, such as:

    Emit for Android
    PS3 Media Server
    Plex
    Tversity

    Emit would transcode the video while streaming it to your device.

  3. If your conversion results in a 400MB mp4 from a 4GB original, then you are seriously compressing it and/or losing tons of resolution. Something I never want to do with any of my Full HD content. I’d just as soon stream these sources via a DLNA server such as Plex or TVersity which would convert the file on the fly while streaming it to my mobile device.

  4. What I’m doing is installing Splashtop on the Nexus and on the Media Center machine. Splashtop allows you to remotely operate the MC machine, so you can watch SD or HD .wtv files using Media Player on the Media Center machine. You could also go right into Media Center, but the Splashtop app requires that Media Center run in a window rather than full screen. Rather than hassle with trying to remember to leave MC in a windowed state, I just browse for Recorded TV using File Manager via the Splashtop interface, and launch the video in Media Player. If you have a VPN set up and sufficient upstream bandwidth, you can also log into your home network from the internet and watch your content remotely via Splashtop.

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