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The library I work at has been converting VHS tapes to DVDs. They used a Magnavox ZV427MG9. The DVDs play in Windows Media Player, but the seek bar doesn't work. It works fine in VLC Player. It is essential that they play in WMP, because that is the supported institutional standard here.

What would it take to re-encode the DVDs so that the seek bar works? Can it be done in a lossless way, or would the VHS tapes need to be transferred again using a different method?

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The problem is probably not WMP but the Microsoft MPEG-1 codec. The straight forward solution other than using a decent player is to use a better codec pack - ffdshow, it feeds WMP through the operating system level. Besides the seek issue you'll probably get better playback performance, and it doesn't require any end-user involvement - they continue to use WMP as usual.

If touching the end-user's machine is entirely out of the question then you'll have to transcode the video to something else. You'll probably get the best results (file size, quality, compatibility) by transcoding to H.264/AAC (mp4), although the encoding process is heavier/longer than alternatives such as MPEG2. You'll need for that ffmpeg and start with:

ffmpeg -i mpeg1filename outputfilename.mp4

There are tons of options that will affect the transcoding quality and speed, and much of your success will depend on trial and error with your specific footage. All that said, your first choice should be to install ffdshow on the end-user machine.

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