[mythtv-users] Watching TV the "MythTV way" and finding new programs

Chad masterclc at gmail.com
Sat Mar 31 21:58:08 UTC 2007

On 3/31/07, Bruce Markey <bjm at lvcm.com> wrote:
> I've been using DVR's for so long it's hard to get back to
> that mind set. At this point I wonder how a channel surfer
> really expects to find something new that they'd really
> like to see (as opposed to killing time for now). Channel
> surfing is a terrible way to to try to discover new series.
> First, you could only find things that are on while flipping
> channels but not the other majority of the time (unless you
> surf more than 12hrs/day =). You catch bits from the middle
> rather than the beginning of the shows. The chance of stumbling
> across something that might turn out to be a favorite show are
> slim at best. You might see a bit of a show that would be a
> favorite but not recognize it as such or flip past during a
> commercial. You might discover a show weeks after it started.
> That's for series. For specials or one time events, the chance
> of stumbling across something you really would have enjoyed
> are negligible. However, the assumption that you find new things
> by channel surfing may not be as true as you think. You often
> see promos, actors doing the talk show circuit, mentions on
> entertainment shows, jokes in late night talk show monologues,
> promo animation in the corner of the screen, etc. When you hear
> about a show that might be interesting, you need to remember the
> day and time, plan to be home and in front of the TV, remember
> what channel to tune to, see that it sucks then go do something
> else. With myth when I'm FF through a recording of Reality Remix
> and see a preview of something that looks interesting, I exit
> playback, look up the show and set a record rule then go back to
> Remix. At this point, I don't need to know what channel it was,
> what day or time it will be on or the title or even what it was
> supposed to be about. Sometime next week a recording of this
> unknown show will pop up on my Watch List. I can watch a few
> minutes, FF, see that it sucks and delete it.
> The question seems to me to be one of familiarity as how do I
> do things differently than I'm used to. So, the question strikes
> me as akin to 'how do I dig a trench if I don't have a sharp
> stick'. Well, a backhoe sounds scary but... ;-).
> Chad wrote:
> >> Once in a while I go to Manage Recordings>Schedule Recordings>Search
> >> Lists>New Titles and scroll through to see if there's anything
> >> interesting in there.
> I've never been impressed with suggestion systems. As nifty
> as they sound in a demo, in practice they are generally
> close to useless. When I used a commercial DVR, I'd look at
> the lists suggested by the stations and the list from their
> scoring system and it was mostly a waste of time because I
> knew most of the titles and had already decided if they were
> shows I did or didn't want to watch. However, I always looked
> at these because sometimes there would be a new title that I
> didn't know about yet. One day at lunch it hit me, 'why don't
> I make a list of all the titles that I don't know about yet?'
> So, mythfilldatabase deletes old data every day but before it
> does so, I merge all the titles of shows that have already ended
> into a table 'oldprogram'. Now, any show that hasn't ended yet
> which has a title that isn't in that list is a new title.
> Titles are discarded if they haven't appeared again in 11 months.
> This way holiday specials and annual events (Indy 500) are shown
> as "new" and so the list of old titles doesn't grow forever.
> A couple big problems with a suggestion based system. Say I
> watch Letterman every night. The suggestions should then be
> that I might want to watch Leno, Kimmel, O'Brien, Ferguson or
> Daly. The quality of the scoring system might be determined by
> how accurately it produces this exact list. However, I know about
> all these shows and I choose to watch Dave. These other suggestions
> may be annoying when they appear the second day but not nearly
> as annoying as after a week, two weeks, a month, two months, a
> year, two years, etc. The other problem is that the assumption
> is that I want to record more shows just like the ones that I'm
> recording now. This is not true. I record Dave rather than Jay
> or Conan. The fact that I record Letterman and Nova in no way
> hints that I'd really like to see a Curling match if one is ever
> shown. I already record the shows I want for their genre. What
> I want to add to my schedule are things that are different.
> The What's New list addresses both of these. Because the New
> Titles list are by definition titles that have never appeared
> before (or at least not in the past year), as I look at it today,
> the list is as fresh as it was when I first set it up several
> years ago and several years from now I will be exploring the
> unknown again every day. It also doesn't try to make assumptions
> about my tastes. I often find things that tickle me even though
> I've never recorded anything like it ever before.
> > Thanks for the response!  :)  What's funny is that is exactly what
> > prompted me to ask this question.  I just found that place and thought
> > it was quite useful for seeing what's new, but wondered if there was
> > something...  better I guess.
> I'm biased but I don't think there is =). At the time I was
> actually thinking about integrating the Futon Critic calendar
> (wow, it's gone. Anyway http://www.thefutoncritic.com/ ). However
> the what's new list was more to the point, more complete, geared
> to the user's local listings and didn't create any dependencies
> (on pages that are no longer there).
> >   But better as in grouping types of
> For most scheduling pages the view keys Home and End change
> the lists on the page. This is especially true for the proglist
> pages for the Search Words and Search Lists pages. "Time" shifts
> by hours, "Movies" change the minimum stars rating, etc. For the
> New Titles page they cycle through All, Premieres, Movies, Series,
> and Specials. "Premieres" may be the best list as this also
> looks at the original air date and only shows new titles that
> are on the date that it is first shown plus movies with release
> dates within the past year or two and some minimum star rating.
> I normally look at the All list for the next 24 to 48 hours
> then switch to the Premieres list and look a week or more ahead.
> > programs and describing the new series; though I guess I can always
> > read the description and make my own judgements.
> You can press "U" to get the Program Details for the selected
> show. I find the Category (and genre) plus the type and air
> date help me decide.
> In addition to the what's new list, you should take advantage
> of the Search Words pages. Once you've entered a search term
> (for whatever reason) it is stored. These can be deleted but
> once you have it, you may find the results interesting again
> in the future. Here again the view keys are important. On these
> pages they cycle through your search terms. If I go to Title
> and press enter on "Baseball", I can hit End to see "Big Break"
> results, End again for "Celebrity", and so on.
> For example, a couple years ago there was a show called "But Can
> They Sing?" with a celebrity(?) named Bai Ling. I entered a
> People search to see what movies she had been in. No matches.
> In fact, never any matches until today while typing this I see
> a match for "Edmond".
> I don't go through searches as often as the New Titles but I
> do look at these at least once a week usually.
> Also, there's a trick you can do with Custom Record that was
> quite popular when this first came up but hasn't been mentioned
> recently. Go to Custom Record and look for the example called
> "First Episodes". Click Add then Record. On the options page
> go to Scheduling Options and change the last item to "This
> recording schedule is inactive".
> This creates a rule that matches every episode of any series
> that is cataloged as "0001" when it is shown on it's original
> air date. IOW the premiere of a new series. These are included
> in your Upcoming Recordings list but because the rule is marked
> as inactive, they are in white marked with an "x" and won't
> record. These just appear as reminders that a new series is
> starting. If something shows up that you want to see, press
> enter on the item then click "Record anyway".
> I've been working on this stuff for several years and I can
> tell you for a fact that from my perspective, this is the
> "MythTV way" :)
> --  bjm
> _______________________________________________

Awesome reply, thank you!  I really appreciate the insight in how to
use these parts of MythTV.


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