[mythtv-users] PVR-500 Dual Tuner

Bruce Markey bjm at lvcm.com
Mon Dec 6 23:53:28 UTC 2004

Brad Templeton wrote:
> On Fri, Dec 03, 2004 at 03:36:35PM -0800, Bruce Markey wrote:
>>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
> Are you saying that collaborative filtering is the new clothes, or
> Tivo suggestions?

I believe any form of relevance feedback for television shows
is overrated simply because there is a finite set of channels
and series in any set of current listings. A user already knows
and has formed opinions about the regularly scheduled shows so
there is no vast, untapped wealth of interesting series that the
user could discover even with the best possible feedback.

Therefore, the new clothes is that it seems like it could become
a killer app but it can only ever be an interesting novelty.

> I would disagree.  I have found Tivo suggestions to be a useful feature.
> It fills my spare disk space with shows it things I might possibly like.
> Of course, I watch only a tiny, tiny fraction of them.

I agree. I too ended up watching only a tiny, tiny fraction
which lead me to rethink what we're really looking for. I'm
not saying it is bad or useless or that you shouldn't use it;
you should. However, after talking to some other users, I
finally realized that it just isn't a great idea that should
be wonderful for everyone else despite the fact that I'm not
getting good results anymore. It will only have limited value
for anyone in the long term. It's not just you and me that end
up watching a tiny, tiny fraction =).

> One could also make an argument for edited suggestions, where a person
> you choose would publish lists and those lists end up in your extra disk
> space, and if they do a good job, you discover new stuff.

Don't get me wrong, that would be a good thing too. However,
it's still the same problem. I expect that a "24" fan probably
watches "CSI" and I know about both. I watch Nova and I record
Discover Magazine now that I get the Discovery Science channel.

> And to a limite extent, Suggestions can find shows you weren't aware
> were on because you don't see the ads any more and you don't browse
> the listings that much.   Specials, movies and so on.

Bingo. I finally realized that, like you, the suggestions that
caught my attention where the specials, series primers and
first time on TV movies. So, rather than looking through the
relevance feedback lists and the sponsored promotional lists
hoping to find these, let's just cut to the chase and have lists
of these new things.

By looking at these lists every few days, I find a variety of
things that I'm much more likely to watch and end up watching
far more different things than I did with suggestions. As I look
at the list today, it is every bit as fresh as when I first
started a year ago.

> And you know, I would even consider there to be some value in paid
> placement (if the money paid provided benefit to me) where studios with
> a new show could pay to get a ton of folks to record their show into
> spare space on a PVR.   (Though I like the editor/reviewer giving approval
> better.)

A simple way to approach this would be to use a script that
adds entries into the record table. Attached is such a script
that isn't very robust but it is enough for me to enter a title
on the command line or from a list of titles in a file. Given
a script like this, you can scrape web pages newsgroups, email
or whatever source and inject the titles that you harvest.
Networks and reviewers won't have to do something or pay someone
as long as someone can write a parser for their recommendations.
Then as the end user you can control what sources you want to
receive and when without the main application imposing policies
on the user.

This script defaults to setting the FindOne record type which
is a feature unique to myth that is like a flexible single record.
It looks for any showing to record and removes itself once it
succeeds. If you set you suggested items to this type all with
a low priority (myth priorities don't need to be unique) they
will always lose to your choices and will only record when they
do not conflict. You can also set a recording group for these so
that the playback page can show these in a separate list.

> One could imagine a small studio with a new show.  They can't get it on
> prime time, but they can get it on at 4am.  So they either convince
> reviewers to bless it or they pay for placement and lo, people check it
> out, and if it's good, it becomes a success without having to be sold
> to a network.

That's the tip of an iceberg. They could even release pilots
digitally over the Internet (that your DVR could grab at it's
convenience) to run it up the flagpole then try to sell it to
networks when they get enough buzz. But then, why sell to
the network or even talk someone into a 4am showing if DVRs
can grab your digital content at their convenience?...

> For me, Survivor was like a sporting event.  I was impressed how Burnett
> took a strategy game and got an audience like the superbowl for it.
> So a big part was being able to discuss it on the net after, which is
> why I watched it starting 15 minutes in, to end at the same time.

Right, you need to see it in time before discussing with
friends and before you hear any spoilers.

> But otherwise, I agree.  Ignore the schedules.   Though we still will
> pay attention for news and sports.  The Olypmics were interesting.  The
> Tivo was _vital_ for watching them, but you didn't want to get too far
> behind.

MythTV was vital for the Olympics =). Couldn't have done it with
just the one tuner. I recorded everything on all NBC networks so
I could pick and choose and fast forward through all the events
shown. Not only that but while the Olympics were on I was also
able to record al my regular series. After the Olympics I had
a wealth of series where I slowly caught up over the course of
the next few weeks.

> You must understand mythtv users on this list and way out on the bell
> curve.

In many ways. I agree.

> There is data on "most users" and they think the Tivo is too complex
> a device.

Bummer. I know that most people watch TV and watching TV with
a DVR is better and I honestly believe that DVR's will become
ubiquitous. How it evolves and what that mass market learning
curve is remains to be seen. If you think back to the days when
acceptable use policies said you weren't supposed to ftp files
larger that 1 meg during business hours and there wasn't anything
entertaining on the net other than maybe the jokes newsgroup, it
would be inconceivable to show Mom NCSA Mosaic and explain to
her what it is and why she'd want it. Now, mom's have their own
websites and pick up more memory chips while they're out shopping.

It's sometimes interesting to see people learning. As you may have
mentioned, people often sheepishly post that they are thinking
about getting a second card so they can "watch TV while recording
a show" as if they need this rationalization. You and I and most
of the out on the bell curve folks know that in a few weeks
they'll figure out that they want two tuners so they can record
both shows and watch either recording in progress or not or
watch either show whenever they darn well feel like it.

--  bjm

-------------- next part --------------
#!/usr/bin/perl -w
# addrecord: insert titles into MythTVs record table -- bjm at lvcm.com
# Based on MythMail by Hirobumi Shimada <shimada at systemcreate-inc.com>
# MythMail is distributed under GPL, version 2 only.
# If you don't have a copy of the GPL, get one at:
#      http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.txt

use DBI;

%settings = (
	# mythtv's configulation file
	# please edit configulation path
	# 'configfile'	=> '/usr/local/share/mythtv/mysql.txt',
	'configfile'	=> $ENV{HOME} . '/.mythtv/mysql.txt',

	# 0	kNotRecording
	# 1	kSingleRecord
	# 2	kTimeslotRecord
	# 3	kChannelRecord
	# 4	kAllRecord
	# 5	kWeekslotRecord
	# 6	kFindOneRecord
	'type' 		=> 6,

	# set MythTV recording profile
	'profile' 	=> 'Default',

	# any settings 
	'chanid'	=> '1003',
	'recpriority' 	=> 0,
	'autoexpire' 	=> 1,

my %blank_prg = (
	'starttime'	=> '',
	'startdate'	=> '',
	'endtime'	=> '',
	'enddate'	=> '',
	'title' 	=> '',

my $verbose = 1;
my $noupdate = 0;
my $dbprm;

# load database connecting parameters from mythtv's config file
open(CONF, "< $settings{configfile}") or die "cannot open config file:$settings{configfile}\n";

	$dbprm{$1} = $2;

# connecting db
$dbh = DBI->connect("DBI:mysql:$dbprm{DBName}:$dbprm{DBHostName}",
		$dbprm{DBPassword}) or die $dbh->errstr;

while (<>)
        my %prg = %blank_prg;

	$prg{title} = $_;
	insert_record($dbh, %prg);

# do stuff


exit 0;

### end of main

sub insert_record
	my ($dbh, %prg) = @_;

	if ($prg{title} eq '')
		warn "No valid title.\n";

	# non alphabet strings required utf8
	$prg{subtitle} = '' if (!$prg{subtitle});
	$prg{desc} = '' if (!$prg{desc});
	$prg{category} = '' if (!$prg{category});

	$sql = "INSERT INTO record(type, chanid, starttime, startdate" .
			", endtime, enddate, title" .
			", profile, recpriority, autoexpire)" .
		"VALUES($settings{type}" .
			", $settings{chanid}" .
			", CURTIME()" .
			", CURDATE()" .
			", CURTIME()" .
			", CURDATE()" .
			", '$prg{title}'" .
			", '$settings{profile}'" .
			", '$settings{recpriority}'".
			", '$settings{autoexpire}')";
	warn "set_recording:$sql\n" if ($verbose);

	if (!$noupdate && !$dbh->do($sql))
		warn "$dbh->errstr\n";
		return FALSE;

	return TRUE;

sub backend_notify_changes
	my ($dbh) = @_;
	my $sql = "UPDATE settings SET data='yes' WHERE value='RecordChanged'";
	warn "backend_notify_changes:$sql\n" if ($verbose);

	if (!$dbh->do($sql))
		warn "$dbh->errstr";
		return FALSE;
	return TRUE;

# end

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