Bulk fetching images for dvr-ms files

When using Windows Media Center, there is a hidden option to make it display a “my dvds” menu item.  As well as DVDs, it also shows all your recorded films.

By default there is no thumbnail image displayed for these recorded films (which end in the “dvr-ms” extension):


You can make a thumbnail be displayed  by downloading the appropriate cover art jpeg image, and name it the same as the film’s file, but with the “.jpg” extension, instead of “.dvr-ms”.

I have well over a hundred such films, and it was going to take all night to download each film’s cover from amazon/google, so I’ve created a program which does it in bulk.  You chose a directory containing your dvr-ms files, and for each film that doesn’t already have an image, it looks up the film name in Google Images, and lets you choose the appropriate image:


After you click on the image you want, it creates the JPEG file for the film, and carries on to the next film.  It uses the metadata in the DVR-MS files to determine if the file is a film, and only prompts you for films.


You can download the program here.  Download it to your computer before running it.  It is written in C#  and is free for you to use — use it entirely at your own risk– feel free to report bugs here though.

20 thoughts on “Bulk fetching images for dvr-ms files

  1. Emil J Lesner

    Just downloaded Beta 4. Apparently Beta 3 had an issue…which I experienced. Beta 4 on the other hand


    Cudos mi amigo.


    (rocking out as I type 🙂

  2. J Hill

    I’ve had quite some luck getting DVR-MS files to automatically display images (downloaded from AMG, I think). I wanted to show my offline library, so I created blank DVR-MS files and filled them in with the movie information – it works great. I can only get my dvd to show them if I put the files in the UsersPublicRecorded TV directory – which means they also show up in recorded tv.

    How were you able to get my dvd to find DVR-MS files outside of the recorded tv directory? Or do you know of a way to get recorded tv to either group or ignore dvr-ms files?

    I’d be happy to send you examples of DVR-MS files that will automatically download images, cast info, reviews and similar movies if you’d like.



  3. J Hill

    Hello Damian,

    Thanks for the fast response. Do these movies also show up under Recorded TV? If not, is there any way you could send me the metadata they contain (via private email).

    As far as getting the cast, cover, reviews and similar movies to show up – it looks like the “Title”, “WM/OriginalReleaseTime”-(year only), “WM/MediaIsMovie”-(True) need to be set. Then it will look it up from AMG’s database. I’d be happy to send you a blank DVR-MS file with the required metadata if you’d like to try it.



  4. VMC-HVR1600

    I can’t wait to try this out. It sounds like exactly what I’m looking for.

    I’ve got a question for Jeff about the editable .dvr-ms files you spoke of. How did you create it and can you get the thumbnail to match the cover art of any movie?

  5. J Hill

    Hello VMC-HVR1600,

    What I actually do to create a “blank” dvr-ms file is to take a recorded program and use VideoReDo to edit out the video (just clip it all out) – sometimes, but not always this results in a dvr-ms that media center will recognize (about 80KB-90KB in length). Once I have a usable “blank” file I use EditDvrmsMetadata (http://toub.members.winisp.net/Code/EditDvrmsMetadata.zip) to edit the metadata.

    The movie synopsis, actors, covers display automatically under My DVDs (only if the dvr-ms file is in a location that will be search for Recorded TV). Unfortunately, the file also shows under Recorded TV – I’ve never figured out a way to get rid of it, exclude it from the list, or somehow group them all together. Under Recorded TV, there is no image (after all the video is missing), but when selected it will bring up a page with the covers, actors, etc.

    One thing to watch for is that Media Center seems to cache some metadata from the files. I get around this by editing the metadata first and then renaming the file.

    If you’d like I can send you a sample dvr-ms file to play around with – just email me at j_ef_fhi_ll42_@gmail_.com (remove all the underscores).

    Please let me know if you ever figure out a way to group them, or somehow exclude them from the Recorded TV list.

    Hope this helps,


  6. Robert

    I have been working on getting my dvr-ms ripped dvd’s into “DVD Library” via WHS and was curious if you are saying that by creating this blank dvr-ms file you can group all of your movies in “recorded tv” under that one file. Is that correct?

  7. JHill

    Sorry if I gave you the wrong impression.

    I have not been able to either group them or exclude them from recorded TV. If you figure out a way, please let me know.


  8. Steve

    Hey Damian,
    Big fan of this utility, but any chance of an update to support TV pack 2008 *.wtv files?

    Cheers, and keep up the good work!


  9. dmehers

    Hi Steve,

    I don’t have the pack installed yet, but if it works the same way as the dvr-ms files (an image file with the same name as the wtv file) then it should be very easy to add — do you know if it works that way?


  10. Steve

    Possibly, but i’m not a developer
    The WTV files are about 20% larger to contain additional languages, subtitles and other content but strangly the metadata exposed in Windows Explore is less than dvr-ms.
    The .wtv films still do get displayed in the DVD library, so some similar mechanism must be at work.


  11. Pingback: Damian Mehers Blog » Blog Archive » Small utility to generate summary of your Media Center recorded movies

  12. James Pierce

    Hi, Could you also send me a blank metadata file for the changes mentioned above. I have tried creating an image file with the same name as the movie but it doesn’t show up. I am running Vista Home Preminum Media Center.

    As far as getting the cast, cover, reviews and similar movies to show up – it looks like the “Title”, “WM/OriginalReleaseTime”-(year only), “WM/MediaIsMovie”-(True) need to be set. Then it will look it up from AMG’s database. I’d be happy to send you a blank DVR-MS file with the required metadata if you’d like to try it.

  13. Wayne

    Hi, this will save me some time – many thanks. To perhaps offer an option to group movies out of recorded TV – I had a play with the meta data (using editDVRMSMetadata).

    Copy the title of the movie to the clipboard
    Change the Title field of the movie to something generic – like ‘My Movies’
    Paste the movie name into WM/SubTitle key
    Usually have to move the DVRMS file into a subfolder to get MC to recognise the metadata change.

    Once done for all movies they are all grouped under My Movies under recorded TV.

    The only downside I found was that they were then sorted by the air date of the movie rather than alphabetically – and I wasn’t using any movie sorting applications then. Maybe someone with a bit more knowledge could auotmate the process if its useful.

  14. Terry

    I tried edigint the Title and WM/SubTitle keys but I’m not getting the movies to group. Were there any other metadata fields to edit to make grouping happen?

    (possible caching is playing an issue. Is there a steadfast way to clear the cache without screwing any scheduled recordings up?)

  15. Paul

    Hello, I love this little program, But I now have tv pack 2008 installed, and It’s driving me nuts that there is no thumbnails in dvd libary would pay for an update please please.

  16. dmehers

    Hi Paul,

    I thought I’d lost the source to this program, but recently rediscovered it – I’ll try to get round to updating it.

    I’ll post to my blog when I do.



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