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Guest Message by DevFuse

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Dual Buffers


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2966 replies to this topic

Poll: Dual Buffers (3645 member(s) have cast votes)

Dual Buffers

  1. A must have! (2836 votes [77.66%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 77.66%

  2. Voted Don't really care about it. (179 votes [4.90%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 4.90%

  3. Like the option but, Ok if it's not there. (637 votes [17.44%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 17.44%

Vote

#1 OFFLINE   Que

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Posted 16 August 2006 - 11:09 PM

How DLB works on most other DVRs (Change to the other tuner/buffer)

I find 2 games that I am interested in and get them one on each buffer. I pause Game 1 and flip to the other buffer to watch game 2. At the first commercial on Game 2, I pause it and go back to Game 1. I use the 30-sec skip to watch only the plays. At the next commercial of Game 1, I flip back to Game 2 and repeat the process.

I can effectively see 95% of all plays of 2 games and none of the commercials. And if something important happened that I missed with the 30-sec skip, I have the last 30 minutes in the buffer.

HR20 does not save your pause point.There really isn't a good workaround.


List of some DVRs with DLB


S3 from TIVO Has DLB HR10-250 SD-DVR40 Hughes GXCEBOTD
AT&T Homezone DVR
Dish Network – ViP622
Charter Communications – Motorola (Moxie BMC-9000 series) and Scientific Atlanta (Explorer 8000HD).
Cox, Comcast, Adelphia, Time Warner – Motorola (DCT-6412 & Moxie) and Scientific Atlantic (Explorer 8000HD)
MetroCast – Motorola(DCT-6412)
CableVision/Optimum – Scientific Atlanta (Explorer 8000HD)
CableOne – Motorola (DCT-6412)
FiOS – Motorola(QIP6416)


If you feel strongly about DLB. Please copy and print this letter. Make sure to include your account number and name.

Attention: President, D*

I am writing in regard to your flagship receiver, the HR20. DirecTV deserves high credit for attempting to bring such a cutting edge piece of technology to the consumer market. As a consumer who appreciates products just like this one, I am pleased you have tried to make this receiver everything for everyone in the realm of living room entertainment.

I am also highly impressed with your willingness to work with the user community to make this product the best it can be. In that spirit, I am requesting an additional feature be added to the receiver.

Nearly all modern DVR receivers have a feature that has come to be known as DLB (Dual Live Buffers). This feature (available on your DirecTivo models) allows a viewer to pause a television show, change over to the second available tuner, and watch a different show or channel surf. The viewer can then go back to the first tuner and resume watching the paused show. Both tuners have independent buffers, and both are easily viewable at the touch of a single button.

Due to apparent design limitations, planned or unplanned, the HR20 lacks this feature. There are at the very least thousands of people who have become accustomed to the Dual Buffer feature, who are now very displeased due to its absence on the HR20. In my view, this feature is holding the HR20 back from being a truly groundbreaking piece of technology. A DVR without this feature is at best, a partially finished product.

I’m writing in hopes that DirecTV will work to add the feature to the HR20 first and foremost. But if this is not technically possible, then I am writing to ask that DirecTV design the feature into its future products.

I assure you there is a large community of people who would be relieved to hear that this is in fact part of DirecTV’s plans. I appreciate your consideration of this matter, and look forward to some kind of response from DirecTV. If not a personal response, perhaps a public one can be given.

Thank you for your time,

[Letter #2]

Dear Sir,

I am writing in regard to DirecTV’s High Definition (HD) Digital Video Recorder (DVR) receiver models HR20-100/HR20-700. The HR20 has many features and capabilities that enhance the TV viewing experience. However, there is one important deficiency.

As I’m sure you are aware, to buffer only the channel currently being watched is known as a Single Live Buffer (SLB). Buffering on dual tuners with the ability to switch between them is known Dual Live Buffers (DLB). The HR20 lacks DLB and I strongly believe this needs your attention. Its operation must be transparent to the viewer with switching between tuners only a simple key press of the remote. It should not be a “work around” with limited functionality. DLB needs to be high on DirecTV’s priority list.

Pausing and rewinding live TV is at the very heart of the DVR experience. Without this any DVR is little more than a high-tech VCR. Your subscribers have come to use DLB many different ways. It has become an important aspect of that viewing experience. The lack of DLB has actually changed how some of us watch TV.

The lack of DLB is very disappointing. However, the HR20 has had issues with SLB working properly and when it doesn’t it can be down right frustrating. I understand the latest software release is supposed to addresses SLB but it must be proven over time. It needs operate flawlessly and should not require the least consideration that it might not. Further, I am not alone in my disappointment. A simple search of the internet will provide numerous discussions specifically dedicated to live buffering on the HR20.

While DirecTV receivers have gotten away from DLB as a feature, most other DVR equipment has moved toward it. Currently, most television service providers have a HD-DVR option with this feature. The following are ten such examples all of which have DLB.

1. Dish Network – ViP622
2. Charter Communications – Motorola (Moxie BMC-9000 series) and Scientific Atlanta (Explorer 8000HD).
3. Cox, Comcast, Adelphia, Time Warner – Motorola (DCT-6412 & Moxie) and Scientific Atlantic (Explorer 8000HD)
4. MetroCast – Motorola(DCT-6412)
5. CableVision/Optimum – Scientific Atlanta (Explorer 8000HD)
6. CableOne – Motorola (DCT-6412)
7. FiOS – Motorola(QIP6416)
8. AT&T – allows the use of stand-alone DVR such as a TiVo.

Although my disappointment has been the focus of this letter, I wish to be clear. With the exception of the buffers, I believe the HR20 is an exceptional receiver. It meets or exceeds nearly all aspects of my previous dual-tuner DVR. I commend DirecTV for your continuing work to provide a quality product and appreciate your time to address my concerns.

Sincerely,
Mail to:

Office of the President
DIRECTV, Inc.
P.O. Box 6550
Greenwood Village, CO 80155-6550



Originally Posted by boltjames
Can I impose upon someone to give me the backstory here? Why is this simple functional request such a political issue requiring segregated threads, thread closings, etc.?


I can give you my take, I suppose. (I want to preface this by saying that I realize that this is "just TV", but this is a DBS forum, and here, TV is everything. I have a life, a family, a job, and am reasonably fulfilled, with or without TV. So take this in the context of a TV based forum.)

One reason is the sheer number of users that want it. That certainly is part of it. A very large number of HR20 lessees, came to this box from either SD DirecTivos, or the HR10.

Particularly in the case of the HR10, the users were essentially forced to upgrade if they wanted to get their LiL's in HD. So, they get this box (that didn't work very well at the time), and it was inexplicably missing what many feel is a key feature, and at that, for no good reason. The thing has dual tuners, and the capability to record two HD streams, how was it possible that the designers neglected to include DLB?

Second, (and the part that I don't feel you yet appreciate, BJ) is how this particular feature changed forever the way many of us watch TV at a very basic level.

While, for me, DLB is most missed for sports programming, it was a feature that I used on a daily basis. Sure, I recorded lots of programs for later viewing. In fact, I would say most of my family's viewing was done that way. Primetime programs, movies, kids shows, etc...

But, I also like to surf. That's how I would typically find new programs I wanted to record. To me, and many others, surfing with DLB is television nirvana, and the Tivo implementation was really good. When I first discovered this feature, it was one of those "where have you been all my life" kind of moments, akin to the first time I hooked up my HDTV. Absolute bliss.

So that's another part of it, passion.

I understand, BJ, that you don't share that passion, but to understand why this topic is such a hot button, you have to realize that many do feel it, deep in their gut.

Lastly, the biggest source of annoyance, I think, to those that don't care about, or are actively against DLB (yeah, I'm looking at you JeremyW ), is the sheer number of threads that pop up. So, why do these DLB threads tend to crop up on an almost daily basis? Because most people coming to the HR20 are coming from another DVR, and most of those DVR's had DLB. Whether or not the user knew to call it that.

Many, perhaps even most, of the DLB threads come from a new member, one that recently upgraded to the HR20, and the OP is often a very innocent question such as, "How do I switch tuners on the HR20?"

Someone replies, "You can't."

The new member, not knowing the history of the "Great DLB Wars" on this forum, goes off on a rant about the lack of dual buffers, as it is such an obvious feature of a dual tuner device, that most new users would never think to check ahead of time to see if it exists on the HR20.

And the flame wars begin..... again.....

Some new members get so PO'd about this (remember the passion part), they start spamming completely unrelated threads with their displeasure about the lack of DLB. Not being invested in this forum, they don't care that their actions are contrary to the goals of this forum, and many of its members. The moderators (rightly) have to step in to close threads, or ban users, and that's where it gets political.

This is why I think the idea to have ONE sticky thread for all things DLB is a great idea. When a new member posts one of these "innocent" questions, they can be referred to the sticky, and the thread can be closed before things get out of hand. Once on the sticky, the new member can rant their brains out to a sympathetic audience. No fuss, no muss. No spamming, no bans.

At least that's my take. Thanks for listening.



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#2 OFFLINE   anubys

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 05:44 AM

I'd much rather have 2 30-minute live buffers than 1 90-minute...if you have NFL Sunday Ticket, dual buffers is the only way to go...

#3 OFFLINE   tfederov

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 08:41 AM

I said must have (I'm still in my comfy chair you told me to take, Earl!) but if it's 90% possible it'll never happen I don't think it's going to keep me from upgrading eventually.

1) DIRECTV will eventually be upgrading everything to MPEG-4
2) When that happens, my HD TiVos will be useless (OTA aside)
3) Making the jump sooner than later will help me get used to the idea dual live buffers are gone and the new DVR's features which the TiVo doesn't have might just actually be better.

#4 OFFLINE   HiDefGator

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 10:32 AM

I asked my family members the other day how important they felt dual buffers were...not one of them even knew that was a feature.

While some serious couch potatoes might consider dual buffers a crucial feature my guess would be that the majority of users have never made use of them.

On the other hand every body said a 90 minute buffer would be a great improvement. Not that the two are mutually exclusive.

#5 OFFLINE   tfederov

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 10:36 AM

Maybe we can think of the HR20 like pulling off a band-aid. Not having dual buffers for us that LOVE IT may hurt for a bit but that pain will go away and we will feel much better in the long run? :D

#6 OFFLINE   Herdfan

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 11:20 AM

I know Earl can't say, but I would love to know D*'s reasons for NOT wanting to give them to us.

I could understanding if it is a technology or patent issue. But if the powers at D* just don't want to give them to us for some other reason such as they don't want us to buffer two football games and watch none of the FOX commercials, well then that would suck.

#7 OFFLINE   wilbur_the_goose

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 11:22 AM

It's funny - Earl was talking about D* doing regression testing on the new TiVo 6.3 software for the HR10-250. I applaud D* for doing good regression testing.

So why then have they introduced a significant regression in the new HDDVR? NFL Sunday Ticket isn't worth anything without dual tuners (same goes for NHL Center Ice).

When I told my wife about the loss of dual buffers she asked if we should switch to Comcast and just visit the local restrauant for NFL Sunday Ticket.

#8 OFFLINE   Earl Bonovich

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 11:33 AM

The lack of "Daul" live buffers... isn't new to the DirecTV DVR line.
The R15 hasn't had them since it's launch either.
Earl - Gotta Love Karma

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All comments are my own. Unless specifically stated, my views do NOT represent the views of DIRECTV

#9 OFFLINE   mark_winn

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 11:49 AM

And that is one of the reasons I have not switched to the R15. I want the dual buffers. I use them often. It allows me to time shift without recording. I also personally really like the TIVO suggestions. After some time of learning it really does a great job of recording what I like. I only set up season passes for things I know I don't want to miss.

#10 OFFLINE   Que

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 02:04 PM

I know Earl can't say, but I would love to know D*'s reasons for NOT wanting to give them to us.

I could understanding if it is a technology or patent issue. But if the powers at D* just don't want to give them to us for some other reason such as they don't want us to buffer two football games and watch none of the FOX commercials, well then that would suck.


I bet it just SPAM stuff. Something else to make them $$$. What ever it is I know I don't want or need it.

#11 OFFLINE   tfederov

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 03:09 PM

This just hit me as a reason they are shying away from it.... With dual live buffers, do we technically have two receivers for the price of one?

#12 OFFLINE   Earl Bonovich

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 03:12 PM

This just hit me as a reason they are shying away from it.... With dual live buffers, do we technically have two receivers for the price of one?


Nah... You still have dual tuners...
And dual buffers have been around on the DTivos for a while (they where not there at the start, but they where eventually added)

The "Mirror"/"Lease" fee is based on the # of Access Cards, not the number of tuners. If that was the case... my gosh my bill would be another $30 higher....
Earl - Gotta Love Karma

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#13 OFFLINE   agreer

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 03:32 PM

Without dual buffers, can it not record 2 feeds at once? If I can't "Live Buffer" lets say ESPN and Fox at the same time, then you cant record 2 at a time? Ny cable DVR can record 2 shows at once; if a $400 D* box cant, then forget a potential switch to D*.

#14 OFFLINE   Earl Bonovich

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 03:48 PM

The HR20 can most definently record 2 things at once.

What this is about is the fact it that it cannot LIVE BUFFER two things at once.

Two similar, yet different things.

Basically a Buffer is a rolling constant recording, that never gets saved (even thought that isn't 100% true)

The HR20 only offers 1 buffer... but it can and does record two things at once.
Earl - Gotta Love Karma

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#15 OFFLINE   bonscott87

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 05:36 PM

I could care less about dual buffers. I just want it to record my programs.

#16 OFFLINE   DTV TiVo Dealer

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 10:05 PM

I also don't care about dual buffers as the work-around is to simply record the two shows you are interested in switching between and just delete them after watching them if you like.

What's important is the overall performance of the system and the ability to decode MPEG-2/4 so we can begin the mass roll-out of significant HD content.

-Robert

#17 OFFLINE   MichiganFan

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 10:28 PM

Is there a workaround to the dual buffers? For example, if I set up two programs to record at the same time can I do the equivalent of a "Live TV button" switch, or would the program being recorded in the background need to be accessed from the menu?

How do you know which program is being buffered? Is it always the foreground, or can you record in the back and buffer in the front? How do you switch between 2 recording shows?

#18 OFFLINE   nogdas

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 10:31 PM

I also don't care about dual buffers as the work-around is to simply record the two shows you are interested in switching between and just delete them after watching them if you like.

What's important is the overall performance of the system and the ability to decode MPEG-2/4 so we can begin the mass roll-out of significant HD content.

-Robert


Nope,

How record 4 games goin at once and switching between them, and buffering the last 2 was at ? So Dual Live Buffers is a MUST

Also the people who have the sports packages and etc are Directv main Income source, Lack of Dual Live Buffers will piss them off BIG TIME.

#19 OFFLINE   DTV TiVo Dealer

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 10:36 PM

Nope,

How record 4 games goin at once and switching between them, and buffering the last 2 was at ? So Dual Live Buffers is a MUST

Also the people who have the sports packages and etc are Directv main Income source, Lack of Dual Live Buffers will piss them off BIG TIME.


Not sure I underatand your post? How could you record 4 games going on at once with the HR10-250 or any other DVR?

-Robert

#20 OFFLINE   nogdas

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Posted 17 August 2006 - 10:42 PM

Not sure I underatand your post? How could you record 4 games going on at once with the HR10-250 or any other DVR?

-Robert


I meant, Since the HR20 is cippled and has no Dual Live buffers, you can not be able switch between 2 games and rewind, and then switch to a 3rd and a 4th channel, and buffer that current and last channel.

With your method you are loked into watching 2 nfl sunday ticket games at once and have no options to go to the other games on at same time, therefore crippling NFL Sunday Ticket.




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