[mythtv-users] PVR-500 Dual Tuner

Bruce Markey bjm at lvcm.com
Fri Dec 3 23:36:35 UTC 2004

Brad Templeton wrote:
> On Thu, Dec 02, 2004 at 06:07:40PM -0800, Bruce Markey wrote:
>>Brad Templeton wrote:
>>Myth shines here because unlike the system you are familiar with
>>where previously recorded shows are only remembered for 5 or 6
>>weeks and a first run feature is used to block reruns, myth keeps
>>it's previously recorded entries. It will remember which ones
> That's good, but it actually overdoes it.  One of my first bad
> Myth experiences -- once it was working -- involved it failing
> to record a show because the signal wasn't strong enough.  It was
> convinced, even though it had failed, that it had recorded the
> show.  It took quite a bit of work (and I lost several minutes of
> the show) trying to convince it to record it "again."
> These things will improve with time.

I hope so. That's actually a different set of issues that have
to do with the scheduler keeping track of what could, should or
might be in progress or stopped or deleted. There are buttons to
"Stop recording" then "Reactivate" to get out of these situations
but there are cases now where something fails in a way that it doesn't
know about it and Stop doesn't take effect so it can't be restarted.

>>already formed an opinion about but the new titles I hadn't heard
>>of before(!). This lead to the What's New list now in Schedule
>>Recordings->Search Lists->New Titles. This is a slightly different
> I am sure the suggestion concept will see much advancement over
> time, including showing you shows that people with similar tastes
> to you are approving of etc.

Oh, I agree that there will be more stuff along these lines but
my own personal opinion is that this is mostly Emperor's New
Clothes. We're supposed to think it sounds like a good idea but
there's almost nothing there. Suggestion's may be a good thing for
Amazon where there are so many books, CDs and DVDs but for TV, Star
Trek fans already know what other Sci-fi series are out there and
Jerry Springer fans know about Rikki Lake. For events and specials,
it would be too late by the time the viewership was totaled up.

There have been a couple stabs at 'finding out what myth users
watch' but this seems misguided. There already is demographic info
about what people watch from Nielsen ratings on down. If someone
wants recommendations, go to zap2it's site and such rather than
planting spyware just in MythTV.

>    With disk space cheap you might also
> just automatically record new shows and specials until the word gets
> out over whether they were good or bad.
> In fact, this is similar to how I use the PVR.
> See the section at the bottom called "Quick Review and the Nature of TV..."
> at:
> 	http://www.templetons.com/brad/tvfuture.html
> The interesting concept of the suggestions was that, since the Tivo
> has an mpeg encoder, there is no reason for it to not always be
> recording something into spare disk space.  Why not?

The cable is screwed on and the and the disks are spinning. Why
shouldn't the red light be on?

>   It's a new lens
> onto the world of TV and worth exploring.   As long as you have
> a clear concept of spare disk space, and your recording doesn't cost
> you CPU, you should go for it.

I failed to make the distinction between the suggestion list and
auto-recording. But, ya, I thought having these record was a good
idea for a few months. By then I never watched any of these anymore
but left it on because this was the only way to see how much or
little space wasn't taken by my own recordings. One thing I came
to believe is that this was a good feature for DVR newbies because
it sent a clear message that it's okay to record and delete things
without watching them. The machine should be busy recording things
for you to choose from and not just the things you feel obligated
to watch.

>>I now like reality shows like Survivor, Apprentice, Rebel Billionaire,
>>Biggest Loser, even this new The Real Gilligan's Island. I'd like
>>to watch all six of these shows (and not Dragnet BTW ;-) each week.
>>Other than Survivor and Apprentice on Thursday, the other four are
> Don't worry, you will get over it. :-)

Of course, this was a convenient scenario for a contrived example.

> I mean I used to watch Survivor religiously.  It was the only show I
> watched live (Starting at 8:15 and ending live.  I never watch LIVE-live).
> But I broke from it this season and find I don't really miss it.

I also watched at ~8:10 or 8:20 which was a little revelation
for me. One night I got a call from a friend from out of town
and didn't start Survivor until ~9:30. That was a freeing experience
and I never looked back. I'm no longer constrained in any way by
TV broadcast schedules. I turn on the tube whenever I have time to
watch one of my favorite shows and never believe that I need
to be at the TV because of a scheduled broadcast time.

Another of many revelations was watching an episode of Junkyard
Wars, as I did about four times a month, and realizing that I
had no idea what time or night of the week they first aired new
episodes. I also wasn't sure if I remembered the channel number
for TLC.

>>Myth had two different concepts for padding that are not intertwined
>>but are often confused. First, on the options page for any record
>>rule, minutes can be added or subtracted from the beginning and the
>>end. This information is used bu the scheduler in planning the schedule
>>and is always honored. If this creates more conflicts than tuners,
>>a show will not record if it cannot fit. 
> Right.  This is what Tivo does and it's bad.  You should almost never
> have to use it, because the auto padding should be long enough to handle
> almost all cases.   The only time you should need to use manual padding
> is if you have two shows that abut, and they don't follow their time
> slots in some predictable way, and you don't have enough tuners and you
> know just what you want.  That's pretty rare, but it does happen.
>>this is none of the the scheduler's business. If two shows are back
>>to back, the encoder goes from one to the next and quietly forgoes
>>the extra time.
> That's the right approach -- but it should also start the playing cursor
> at the listed start time, and allow rewind if needed, so the user isn't
> even aware of it most of the time.

Well that sounds nifty but if the padding is there on the premise
that the broadcast may have started early and it did, then the
user is past the point where they'd like to be. Either way, the
user needs to seek to find their starting point and I personally
prefer going forward rather than rewinding over a part I shouldn't
have seen yet.

>>What you can do with Myth is to set some preroll seconds so that
>>every show that isn't back to back will get this padding. If you
>>strongly suspect that a certain title is likely to need more time
>>and you don't want to risk missing, you can force the scheduled
>>minutes for that show.
> Though most users won't really get into that.

Um, speculative conclusion. You use it, I use it and it is
discussed a lot on these lists. I suspect most people know about
this feature, what it does, why they want it and which show they
want it use it for. However, neither of us have an informed
opinion about 'most users' ;-).

  One imagines that a good
> idea would be for users to form collective opinions on shows.  For
> example, the last 5 minutes of 60 minutes are all commercials.  The
> last 30 seconds of Survivor are an important part of the show (final words
> of contestant.)   The first 30 seconds of some shows are always the
> theme music (less common today than it used to be.)  Etc. etc.

Well now the premise of collective opinion is that most users
are responding to end offset times =).

> A database of this would be very handy so people would almost never
> have to manually pad.  True PVR success means "it just works."  You don't
> have to tweak it.  Because my mother would not ever tweak it.

Padding suggestions may be good but if the shows are not abut
then global pre/post-roll will be safe with no need identify the
specific show. Where it would matter is when shows are back-to-back
and the real problem remains of how to handle overlaps. If it was
established that that Survivor is still showing the voters while
they roll the credits after the top of the hour and there is no
clear pattern that it is okay to start the user's 9:00 show late
but it might be okay, then what do you do? Ultimately I think
these kinds of decisions will always need human intervention.

--  bjm

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