[mythtv-users] [RFC] Proposed settings rework

Robert McNamara robert.mcnamara at gmail.com
Tue Nov 3 21:07:22 UTC 2009

Hello MythTV Community,

There has been substantial discussion in the past several weeks,
culminating in a long dev channel discussion this morning, on how to
best improve MythTV usability and user experience.  As most of you
know, Stuart Morgan has been hard at work improving Myth's User
Interface, and that work is ongoing.  There are other elements
necessary to improving usability, including simplifying setup and
drastically simplifying the ocean of settings Myth users are presented
with.  With this in mind, I drew up a tentative list of items that can
be replaced with sane defaults or removed outright.  Please note that
I was (in my own words) "ruthless" in the creation of this list.  Some
are more deserving of removal/rework than others, but all need some

Please feel free to peruse and comment on the list.  Sometimes I note
why a setting is a bad idea, or what the default behavior ought to be.
 A word of caution:  Please keep the discussion civil.  Sometimes,
what might be a slight usability hit to one person drastically
improves the experience for most others.  Everyone is bound to see
some behaviors that they are used to changed, and everyone is bound to
disagree with some action taken.  Try to keep in mind the new user's
perspective, as well as your own.  Also bear in mind settings which
you toggled and fixed a problem might not necessarily be behaving as
they ought to be-- just because it fixed a problem for you doesn't
mean that we can't fix the core problem if it comes back.
Fundamentally, the setting needs to *make sense* and needs to be
unfixable without a setting to remain.  Also, if a setting controls a
UI behavior so small/fiddly that it is more effort than it is worth,
it should go.

Try to keep conversations on-topic and specific, and we'll do our best
to explain/work things out.


Robert McNamara


Delete outright:

Aggressive Sound card Buffering (always false, we will fix any
playback issues that occur without it)


Delete outright:

All GUI offset/width spinboxes (respect screen wizard and -geometry
command line)
Use fixed window size (should always allow scaling when possible)
Fine Tune Font Size (should be theme controlled)
Use Transparent Boxes (now theme controlled)
Popup Background Shading Method (theme controlled/removed)
Use Line Edit Virtual Keyboard (true)

Replace w/ Sensible Defaults:

Theme cache size (2?) (size on filesystems--once cached themes hit
size, delete LRU?)
Merge Guide Language Prefs and UI Language Prefs
Date Formats by Locale?
Use Window Border (if fullscreen, no borders-- if not, draw borders)
Hide Mouse Cursor (display when moving, hide after ~5s idle?)


Delete Outright:

- Program Guide-
Display Genre Colors (theme controlled)
Display Channel Icons (theme controlled)
Use video as timebase (causes more damage than help)
Show group summary (no longer used)
Display live preview of recordings (will be theme controlled)
Extra audio buffering (always true)
-Playback OSD-
OSD Font (themer controlled upon MythUI conversion)
Font Size (themer controlled upon MythUI conversion)
Default Caption Font Type (themer controlled upon MythUI conversion)
ALL the caption font settings (themer controlled upon MythUI conversion)
All the timeout settings (themer controlled upon MythUI conversion)
CC Font (themer controlled upon MythUI conversion)

Replace w/ Sensible Defaults:

-Program Guide-
What to call unknown programs (Unknown)
What category to give unknown programs (Unknown)
Use select to change the channel in program guide (true, or at least
default to true if not removed)
Alternate clear and save bookmark (true)
Clear bookmark on playback (true) (false once we have multiple bookmark support)
Warn on no audio output (true)
Start in group list (true)
Use HW Acceleration for live recording preview (true)
Generate preview image from a bookmark if possible (true)
Time offset for thumbnail preview images (account for start early
(currently accounts for preroll/flaglist/cutlist) and use some
sensible default-- 180 seconds?  or percentage of duration?)
Generate preview image remotely (true)
Default group filter to apply (set when changed in the PBB)
Always prompt for initial group filter (false)
Start from Watch List view (false)
Seek to exact frame (true)
Fast forward/rewind reposition amount (no idea, but this is WAY too
fiddly - Whatever the default is now should be fine)
Sticky Keys (if one wants this, just bind the alternate ffwd/rwd keys,
which do it by default)
Skip blank frames after commercials (false?)
Maximum commercial skip (3600, the default)
-Playback OSD-
Always display closed captioning or subtitles (when turned on during
playback, set the default, as any television would)
Prefer EIA-708 over EIA-608 captions (true, allow toggle during
playback if both available and save last used)


Delete Outright:

Audio device (should respect/use default audio device)
Show Song Ratings (themer controlled after conversion)
Show entire music tree (themer controlled after conversion)

Replace w/ Sensible Defaults:

Automatically lookup CDs (true, but fail gracefully)
Enable CD Writing (true)
List as Shuffled (tooltip and name disagree-- "List songs on playback
screen in the order they will be played"--- true?)
Visualization List (all available/compiled)

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