DO NOT USE WINDOWS SERVER 2003 as your OS. I have tested the following process on Windows XP SP2 and Windows Vista 32bit versions ONLY. 64bit DirectShow filters/codecs will NOT be detected properly by Windows Media Encoder 9 and will NOT work.
* Download the K-Lite Codec Pack Full (http://www.free-codecs.com/K_Lite_Codec ... wnload.htm)
* Make sure that ffdshow is NOT enabled for H.264/x264 playback, and CoreAVC is. Make sure that you are using AC3Filter for AC3/DTS/DDS audio playback. The Haali Spliter component is critical also, as it will be used to split the audio stream from the video stream in the MKV file.
* When you get to the finished screen, check the "configured ffdshow video decoder" checkmark box. The ffdshow Configuration window should appear, with H.264/AVC as the first select item. Make sure it's set to DISABLED.
* Download Microsoft's Windows Media Encoder 9 (http://www.microsoft.com/windows/window ... fault.mspx). Download only the 32bit version.
* Make sure that you have Windows Media Player 11, or you will not have Windows Media 9 Advanced Profile or Windows Media Audio 10 Professional to encode to WM-VC1 and WMA 6ch.
Once you have the above installed and configured, open Windows Media Encoder, and select Custom Session. Select File in the "Source From" section in the window. Browse to your MKV file (you will need to select the "All Files" filter.) Once selected, the video and audio checkmark box text should read "In File" and not "Blank." If Bank is shown, then you have a DirectShow filter/codec issue. Either, re-start Windows Media Encoder, or you will need to uninstall any and all codecs, and re-install the K-Lite Codec pack.
Now comes the tricky part. IF the file is small (i.e. less than 1.5GB in size and you have a pretty powerful system, PIV/Athalon 2600 or greater and 2GB of RAM, preferably a dual core system) then leave both Video and Audio selected in the Sources tab. Otherwise, I would recommend extracting the audio first, then the video. Why would I need to do this you ask? Well, if you have a larger file, you are 100% guaranteed to have Windows Media Encoder crash.
In the Output tab, un-check "Pull from encoder" and check "Archive to file." Specify the file name you wish.
Select the Compression tab. Select the Edit button. In the next window do the following:
* Audio - Use CBR mode, and select Windows Media Audio 10 Professional codec.
* Video - Use CBR mode, and select Windows Media Video 9 Advanced Profile.
Select the [number]Kbps tab. For Audio, I always select "768 kbps, 48 kHz, 5.1 channel 24 bit CBR." This provides the best audio quality possible, and will stream the audio in 6ch. For Video, I select the following:
* Same as Video input
* Frame Rate: 25fps for 720p, and 30fps for 1080p
* Video bit rate: 5500bps for 720p and 7000bps for 1080p
* Buffer size: 60 seconds
* Video Smoothness: 100
It's best to then select the General tab, give the profile a name, and select Export to save the profile.
Select Ok, Apply, and Start Encoding. Audio should not take more than 20 minutes for a 2hr video on an average system. Video, well. That's a different story. Prepare to go play a game, sleep, fix your car, etc. I have seen the process take about 18 hours to encode a 2hr 1080p video on an AMD Athalon 2000 with 1GB of RAM. On a Turion 2.6Ghz, about half that time.
In order to combine the extracted audio and video to a single WMV file, use Windows Media Stream Editor. To use, simply load both files (WMA and WMV.) Expand until you get to the Audience contained in the file. Select the sub-component for both the audio and video files. This will combine the audiences to a single WMV that it will create.
I can say that this process has 100% worked for me for every MKV files I wanted to convert to WMV VC1. It takes a while for the re-encoding to complete, but this process produces the absolutely BEST audio and video.