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ExPVR - A Darwin compatible Copy+ alternative released

Discussion in 'Sky, Sky+, Sky HD & Sky 3D' started by crockett, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. crockett

    crockett Member

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    Just a heads up really. ExPVR has just lost its beta status. I've only come across it relatively recently and not seen it mentioned here before. The v2 version includes a new Copy and Format wizard, which allows users to upgrade their hard drives, like Copy+, but with the bonus of being Darwin compatible. It also includes a useful facility to extract any non encrypted recordings.

    Please note I have no connection to the product or author other than as a end user.
  2. logiciel

    logiciel Moderator

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    Interesting. Has anyone come across this name before?
  3. davemurgatroyd2

    davemurgatroyd2 Active Member

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    Yes it is apparently similar to copy+ which had severe limitations if either Sky box had Darwin software. Copy+ was free however ExPVR is £7 but will apparently handle any combination of Sky PVRs.
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  4. muns

    muns Member

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    You can use ExPVR free to transfer from one disk to another. You need to pay for it to extract the unencrypted recordings.
  5. mrmt32

    mrmt32 Member

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    Just came across this thread (I am the author of ExPVR). Just to clarify, all features related to copying between Sky+ HD drives are completely free. The only limitation is you cannot extract recordings so they can be viewed on your PC (e.g. in media player).
  6. marvinwright1

    marvinwright1 Member

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    Just to add, my drive was failing which had Darwin on it, I used expvr to copy my recordings onto a new drive.
    Had one issue with the program not able to find its own config file, I copied the config file to the location I selected where my disk image was to be placed and then it worked fine.
    It's actually quite good, it lists all the programs you have and allows you to select which ones you want to copy off the drive.
    Copied what I needed to my new drive and worked perfectly once installed in the sky box.

    Marvin.
  7. rentagas

    rentagas Member

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    Doesn't work with Thomson hd boxes unfortunately :)

    A combination of copy plus and extract plus works but I could never get it to extract .ts files with sound without fiddly additional software.
  8. mrmt32

    mrmt32 Member

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    I have just uploaded a new beta version with a redesigned interface and experimental pre-darwin (Sky+ and Sky+ HD Thompson) support.

    I have not been able to extensively test it with pre-darwin systems as I only have access to a partial drive image from a Thompson box, recording extraction and pre-darwin to pre-darwin copies should hopefully work however.
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  9. Zaim7890

    Zaim7890 Member

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    Thanks alot for this, I was just about to buy Extract plus which is £15. This software does what I want for free. Awesome.
  10. alpine101

    alpine101 Member

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    +1. I've been able successfully to back up the 2TB disk in my Amstrad 895 using this.
    I've bought it too so I can pull off all the free to air programmes I have on the disk and put them on my media server. I've found that a quick run through the output using txmuxergui fixes any playback issues that occurred with some players. Most work OK with the files straight from the exPVR program.
  11. BrianPK

    BrianPK Member

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    I've been keeping four external drives connected to my 3 year + Samsung 320 GB HD box. However I've been constantly using the same Seafield 1TB drive for the past couple of years and so recently decided to have a look at one of the other three external drives (Western Digital). Much to my surprise I received the same message on my screen when I connected up the other three drives namely " recordings and playback not available, ring Sky etc" (I paraphrase). I've been using external drives and copying from external drives for the past five years without difficulty so this recent inability to play back my ancient recordings took me by surprise. I connected these drives up to Copy+ to see what's what and for the first time read about Darwin.
    I did a little research and discovered ExPVR. I successfully copied over some recordings and reconnected to my Samsung box only to receive the message that there were no recordings in the planner. I reconnected to ExPVR and sure enough the copied recordings had been wiped. I successfully redid the entire copying exercise with ExPVR only to get the same message when reconnected to my Samsung box " no recordings in planner." These drives work perfectly otherwise when connected to the Samsung . It just seems to wipe the old copied over recordings for some reason.The Samsung has no problem making fresh recordings on these drives.
    Any ides what's going wrong? Meanwhile the Samsung happily works perfectly with the Seafield external drive playing back any recordings on the drive .
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2012
  12. mrmt32

    mrmt32 Member

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    The darwin software stores all of the planner information (synopsis, recording name etc.) in a completely different format to older versions (the original proprietary format was replaced with SQLite).

    When the sky boxes where first updated to the Darwin software, it included code which updated the format of the databases on the hard disk if the old type was found. After about a year, a subsequent update removed this feature (presumably because Sky believed that all the users would have received the Darwin update by now, so no legacy drives would still exist). As your additional hard disks where disconnected during this period, they would never have been updated to the new format (which is no longer supported).

    Unfortunately there is currently no way to copy a hard drive containing legacy databases in a way which will allow it to work on Darwin boxes. ExPVR has experimental support for legacy drives, but this only really allows the extraction of recordings to your PC (and possibly copying to a new drive for use in legacy devices). I do hope to add a planner converter at some point in the future which will allow the converting of old format drives so that they will work in Darwin boxes, I am not sure when I will be able to implement this however.
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  13. BrianPK

    BrianPK Member

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    Thanks for the swift reply and look forward to your future work.
  14. raven219

    raven219 Member

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    mrmt32 - If you can develop planner converter then I think there would be a whole bunch of people in your debt. I for one would pay for that as it is this lack of support from Sky that is preventing me from moving from Sky+ to Sky HD.
  15. mrmt32

    mrmt32 Member

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    I have just successfully copied some recordings from a Thompson (pre-darwin) box to my darwin Samsung. I need to do a bit more testing before making a beta release, but it should be coming very soon!
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  16. bulks

    bulks Member

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    Hi mrmt32 - Can I connect two drives using ExPVR and do a direct disk to disk copy? Or do I have to copy off the content from the source and then onto the other? I am looking to to a Darwin to Darwin (Amstrad 780 to 895) 1tb to 1tb copy this weekend.
    Thanks
    bulks
  17. mrmt32

    mrmt32 Member

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    A direct disk to disk copy will work fine, just select your source drive in ExPVR, select the recordings you want to copy, choose "Copy to New Hard Disk" and follow the instructions. One thing to check is that your new drive has no partitions before your begin, otherwise it will not be listed in ExPVR (this is to prevent the accidental overwriting of the wrong drive).
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  18. mrmt32

    mrmt32 Member

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    I have just uploaded a new beta version to Download ExPVR - The XTV & Sky+ Recording Extractor - pH-Mb which adds a fair few new features, including support for copying from pre-darwin Thompson boxes (the legacy planner is now converted to the darwin format as part of the copy) and the ability to copy recordings from more than one source drive (disk merging).

    I have also added an option to add the date the recording was made to the beginning of the synopsis of each copied recording. The current sky planner only shows the day of the month, which can be quite annoying for people with older recordings. Obviously this will not work for recordings made after the copy, but it is better than nothing.

    As this is a beta, there may be some issues, but I have tested all the features with my Samsung box, and a Thompson I purchased the other day, and everything seems to be working. One possible problem is that this version is a bit more picky when it comes to the database format (it has to be, as it must also create databases as part of the Thompson conversion and merging features), so if any of the boxes have a slightly different database version it may give an error. If this happens, I would be grateful if you could send me a copy of the databases (PCAT.DB and MFS.DB in the FSN_DATA directory of the sky hard disk) so I can add support.
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  19. 1pudding1

    1pudding1 Member

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    I took delivery of a new 1.5TB Sky box yesterday to replace my old Thompson. Just did a quick software update on the new box but without pairing the card yet. Both hard disks are now in my PC and all the recordings are copying across right now.

    I did have to go into the PC disk management and 'delete volume' to remove a partition on the brand new box's disk, even though it hadnt been used yet. It appeared in exPVR, but not as an option to copy progs to. That worked anyway which is the main thing and then appeared as a disk available to copy to. 3hrs to go for just over 300GB worth. I included the recording date in the synopsis too which should come in handy if it works. Fingers crossed!
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  20. 1pudding1

    1pudding1 Member

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    All done and seems to have worked well. Paired the card to the new box and all the recordings seem to play. There are a couple of entries in the planner at the end which have exPVR in their name and are future recordings, not really sure what they are? Maybe the old scheduled series linked recordings? I've had to go through and set everything to record again. Off to watch a film now :smashin:
  21. BrianPK

    BrianPK Member

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    This is a huge step forward.But does this breakthrough apply to other than Thomson boxes i.e. my problem in post 11 above.Thanks.
  22. mrmt32

    mrmt32 Member

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    The beta version should work with pre-darwin drives from the other HD boxes, as far as I know they used the same planner version as the Thompson before the upgrade.
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  23. BrianPK

    BrianPK Member

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    This works perfectly with my Samsung box. This is a wonderful facility which has been made available to us.I can once again look at treasured 5 year old recordings which I thought were lost forever to me. I am also fascinated with the ability to combine recordings from different hard drives.Thanks a million for this splendid effort.:smashin:
  24. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Member

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    A brilliant effort mrmt32!! Even though I don't need the extra facility, I have bought the paid for version in appreciation of the amount of time you must have spent developing this wonderful tool. I'm sure many Sky+ users will be indepted to you! :thumbsup:

    Regards
    Menorcaman
  25. danwillo

    danwillo Member

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    Hi, this is a bit of a long winded question but hopefully I don't confuse you all as much as I'm confused myself!!! Haha. Anyways I'm just reading about extract+ and am hoping it can work for me. I've got an old white amstrad sky+ box which I fitted with a 500gb hard drive a few years ago, sky then offered me a new sky+hd box which had the new planner so didn't really use the white box anymore. My hd box is on about 6-10% space left so really need a new option and after reading a few posts I am hoping that I can extract what's on my hd box and store on my computer then put these recordings onto my 500gb hard drive even though they would be from 2 different planners/boxes and then put the 500gb into my hd box? Would appreciate any help given so thanks in advance.
  26. maltezer

    maltezer Member

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    it wont work as the sky+ box drive is eide and the hd box is sata.
    your only option is to purchase a bigger sata drive and transfer the recorded programs
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 14, 2012
  27. danwillo

    danwillo Member

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    So if I got a 1 or 2 tb sata hard drive, I would be able to copy both sky boxes hard drives onto it then put that hard drive into my sky hd box and be able to view everything merged?
  28. Free To Air

    Free To Air Member

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    This software sounds really useful.

    One question, will it allow me to copy recording from a standard Sky+ box (non HD) to a Sky+ HD box?

    The standard (non HD) Sky+ box is around two to three years old, I would have to pull it out from under the TV to see if there is a model number on it if that is required to answer my question?


    Rgds
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2012
  29. mrmt32

    mrmt32 Member

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    I have just uploaded an updated version of ExPVR to Download ExPVR - The XTV & Sky+ Recording Extractor - pH-Mb (V3.7). This version fixes issues copying from pre-darwin (Sky+ / Thompson Sky+ HD) devices to boxes with the new Picasso firmware. There are also improvements to the disk merging feature and quite a few changes to the user interface.

    To answer the question above, copying from Sky+ boxes is supported but there is a possibility it will not work first time if your specific box model has not been used before. This is due to variations in the planner format between boxes. If it does not work, adding support is not hard, I would just require a copy of your planner database file (JOPA).
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  30. Eltee

    Eltee Member

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    Wow! I had assumed my old Thommo box was non copy as a result of Darwin.

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