[mythtv] MythTV Usability Report

Tony Howard tahoward at nc.rr.com
Mon Jan 9 16:57:53 UTC 2006

On Saturday 07 January 2006 07:47 pm, Jono Bacon wrote:

> * G1 - When watching a show, you should be able to hit the record
> button to record the entire show if it has been watched from the
> beginning and as such the live TV buffer contains the show.
> * G2 - If you schedule a show to record, you can only watch the show
> at the same time as recording it by first selecting Media
> Library->Watch and then selecting a show. This is unintuitive - you
> should just be able to watch TV like normal and be able to view the
> channel while the show is recording.
> * G3 - Switching between channels is far to slow - this slowness makes
> skipping through channels rather laborious.

G1-G3 turned off a lot of people, because these are problems that have 
literally been discussed for YEARS, and the developers have almost completed 
fixes.  Everyone may not be running svn, but I don't think it's too much to 
ask anyone with suggestions to at least look through the mailing lists to see 
if their ideas have been discussed before.

> * G4 - The term 'Optical Disks' in the menu is not particularly clear
> - I suspect most people know its a Disk, but not optical.
> * G5 - In the Upcoming recordings screen, the use of dimmed and
> non-dimmed entries in entirely unclear - what do they signify? It is
> certainly unclear to me and my other half. The other problem is that
> many of the entries listed in Upcoming will not actually be taped
> because it says the recording will be taped at a later time. If it is
> not going to be taped, why is it still in the list?
> * G6 - Many of the screens in MythTV (such as Upcoming and Set
> Priorities) have specific letters in each entry. These letters
> obviously refer to something specific, but there is no legend
> displayed on the screen to say what they mean.
> * G7 - There seems to be no simple way of cancelling all recordings
> for a show other than finding it in the EPG and changing the recording
> option to not record the show. The ideal solution would be to have a
> list of shows that are being recorded and then when you select a show,
> there are options such as Cancel this recording, Cancel all recordings
> etc.

These are good examples of a good usability points.  The fact that some of 
them are easily customizable is irrelevant - usability is about making the 
default configuration more understandable for the novice user.  Maybe they 
should be changed, maybe not, but these are the kind of things that should be 
brought up in a usability discussion.

> --> Electronic Programme Guide
> * EPG1 - When watching TV you will often want to view the EPG.
> Currently you do this by pressing Menu and then selecting Program
> Guide from the on-screen menu. This two step process needs to be
> instead bound to a single key so that you can press one button and
> access the EPG while watching TV.

This is a fine suggestion, but there's nothing the MythTV developers can do to 
fix it for you.  There is already a keybinding to immediately view the EPG - 
the same person that set up your remote needs to configure one of the buttons 
to send that command.

> * EPG2 - When you access the EPG from the main menu, there is no TV
> feed on the top right-hand corner, whereas when you access the EPG
> when watching TV by pressing Menu->Program Guide, there is a TV feed
> in the EPG. This behaviour needs to be unified - I would suggest
> always having a feed of the current TV channel.

The con of this is that it ties up a tuner when I really wasn't trying to 
watch tv - otherwise, I would have gone to Watch TV.  The pro is that the 
interface looks the same in both places.  Personally, I would choose to save 
the tuner for when I really want it.

> * EPG3 - The EPG should not be inside the Manage menu, for a few
> reasons. The first is that you don't really 'manage' your program
> schedule, and secondly because you need to reference the EPG
> regularly. Why take two steps to access the EPG when you likely want
> to access it on the main menu?

This EPG is for scheduling recordings, which is a case of management.  What 
are you doing when you go to the EPG?  I'm either deciding to schedule 
something, in which case I go to the manage menu, or I'm trying to figure out 
what to watch next in Live TV, in which case I do it through the EPG button 
on my remote.

> --> MythMusic

No specific suggestions here - I don't use MythMusic.  Although the general 
concensus on the list is that the UI does need a lot of work.  I think the 
problem here is all the developers are working on other parts of the code.

> --> MythWeather
> * MW1 - When loading MythWeather and it says it is retrieving weather
> data, it takes a long time to grab this information. It would be
> better if it just went away and grabbed it periodically in the
> background, this giving little or no delay.

This has been discussed before - polling in the background means high load on 
the weather servers or outdated data.

> * MW2 - Unlike other modules in MythTV, MythWeather does not display
> information in the LCD panel on the front of my case.
> --> Ideas for features
> * Reminders - there should be a feature to allow you to set a reminder
> to watch a particular show, even if you are not recording it. MythTV
> would then pp up a box to say the show is on and allow you to change
> the channel. It would also be useful to possibly pop up a small OSD
> with a countdown to when the reminded show starts.
> * A module to go and grab National Lottery numbers and display them.
> Cheers,
>   Jono
> _______________________________________________
> mythtv-dev mailing list
> mythtv-dev at mythtv.org
> http://mythtv.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/mythtv-dev

On another note, it's possible to run SVN and stable backends on the same 
machine - maybe I'll put up a Howto, if someone doesn't beat me to it.  The 
only issue I know of is that there's no mechanism for them to share tuners.  
Isaac or somebody, would it be possible to add support for sharing a tuner 
among multiple backends on the same machine?  The idea would be that the 
first backend wouldn't do anything different.  In the config for the second 
backend, you would tell it which tuner is being shared by which backend.  For 
scheduling, the second backend would query the first to see if a tuner will 
be in use at a given time, and if so, consider it unavailable.  For 
recordings (including LiveTV), it would check the first backend to see if the 
tuner is in use before changing anything on the tuner.  If the input source 
is in use, it would switch to another tuner if possible, or offer (or check a 
configuration value) to cancel the recording or continue using the tuner in a 
read only mode (no channel/volume/brightness changes).


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