[mythtv-users] PVR-500 Dual Tuner

Brad Templeton brad+myth at templetons.com
Thu Dec 2 21:44:21 UTC 2004

On Thu, Dec 02, 2004 at 01:15:52PM -0800, Bruce Markey wrote:
> Brad Templeton wrote:
> ...
> >Of course, I have lived happily on a 1 tuner Tivo before trying to build
> >my mythbox which will have two tuners, a pcHDTV and a wintv-150.  I
> >sort of feel that a scheduling conflict is god's way of telling me I
> >watch too much TV.
> God probably didn't tell networks to pit shows that appeal to
> the same demographic against each other in order to undermine
> the Nielsen ratings of their competitors =).
> on at 8:00pm Tuesday we most want to watch. However, there may
> be four things on at 8pm Tue that I'd prefer over almost anything
> else on at any other time of the week. So the advantage of

This can be true in theory, and sometimes in practice, but how true
is it really?   Sometimes I feel the right answer is to just accept
it, and that week watch only one thing.  You should never watch an
inferior thing to fill your time just because you couldn't record
a superior thing.  Chances are, it will come on again (if it's not
a sporting event.)   A clever PVR might even notice when it failed
to record something due to conflicts, and remember to grab it for
you in summer reruns (while not recording all the other reruns.)  Ie.
add it to a permanent wishlist of sorts.

But I'm not like many.  When I got my Tivo I did watch more TV,
even accounting for the fact that I could watch TV in 30% less time
due to commercial skip.  It took effort to bring it back down.  Tivo
suggestions are an interesting feature but can contribute to more
watching.  On the other hand you can be bothered by the lack of variety
without them and start surfing, which is of course bad (and very slow
with digital TV.)

But for example, I deliberately don't get HBO, even though it has shows
I would like to see, because I know I would watch more of it than I
should.  (This decision was reinforced when comcast switched to requiring
digital cable to get pay channels.  PVRs work much better with broadband
RF style cable than with set top boxes, as we all know.)

So I agree, sometimes multiple tuners will give you better quality
TV.  But they will also make you -- at least if you are weak like me --
from thinking about the decisions over what you really want to watch.

One thing multiple tuners can do though is facilitate automatic padding.
All PVRs should automatically pad a few minutes extra before and after
each program.   The before-padding would be invisible -- the cursor would
start at the programmed start time, and a few minutes of rewind would be
available.  The post-padding of course is not watched because you manually
stop at the end. 

This is an obvious win, but harder to do on a single tuner.  The Tivo does
it terribly.  Padding is manual and if you add it, the one minute overlap
with another show counts as a conflict rather than a "no padding in
this instance"

Multiple tuners can give you full padding on all shows, which is a useful
feature, but reduces your ability to use multiple tuners to avoid conflicts
if you also have abutting shows.

Many people seem to want multiple tuners so they can watch live TV while
recording.  They haven't realized the error of their ways in wanting to
watch live TV. :-)

Ideally, when given a variable length event (sports, news, academy awards etc.)
a PVR would always do tons of padding in available free disk space.  As much
as an hour.  Then it would mark this extra hour as "delete this if you need
space, starting at the end."   Thus, if you watched reasonably soon after
the event, you would not find it cut off.

A really smart PVR would use shared knowledge from other viewers to figure
out when the event actually ended (ie. almost everybody quit and deleted at 3
hours 22 minutes) and then retroactively queue that space for re-use.
(But it should never delete until actually needed.)   Or transcode the extra
space really small.

Can you tell I have been frustrated to miss the end of a program?

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