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How do they get "What's Hot"?


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55 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   mrshermanoaks

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 12:05 AM

OK, curious about this. How do they generate the "what's hot?" list? Receivers aren't communicating back to the mother base as far as I know...

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#2 OFFLINE   hasan

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 07:09 AM

OK, curious about this. How do they generate the "what's hot?" list? Receivers aren't communicating back to the mother base as far as I know...


I could see how they could get general viewership (not from satellite in real time) from a secondary source, but then the splash screen says "what's hot on DirecTV". I see no way for them to get real time data for D* (and they show trends up and down, implying near real time).

Phoning home would not provide near real time (overnight), and no one I know reports the phoning home pattern.

It's a mystery. I'm guessing they are using a 2nd party method of collecting near real time data and basically misleading us into thinking that it really is D* data that they show us in "What's Hot".

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#3 OFFLINE   walters

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 07:31 AM

Phoning home would not provide near real time (overnight), and no one I know reports the phoning home pattern.


Sure it would, for the people phoning home at the time. As long as it's representative, you need a shockingly small sample of people for something like this.

Go check your online DirecTV profile. By not opting out, you've agreed to this (assuming you have your phone line connected, of course).
"You should just watch the shows when they are on instead of recording them" -- anonymous DirecTV CSR
"It's like a PC... sometimes you have to reformat the hard drive." -- ibid

#4 OFFLINE   hasan

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 07:37 AM

Sure it would, for the people phoning home at the time. As long as it's representative, you need a shockingly small sample of people for something like this.

Go check your online DirecTV profile. By not opting out, you've agreed to this (assuming you have your phone line connected, of course).


First of all, there is no phoning home, secondly you can't show trends on the screen for currently showing programs by phoning home. No sampling technique will work for that.

They must have a secondary source for viewer data, and they could massage that to produce what they are showing us. No matter....it's deceptive, beause there is no way to get the D* data from my box or anyone elses (unless there is some sort of secret program of data collection) to then present to us with trend arrows for CURRENT shows. It's just not possible, without a source INDEPENDENT of our boxes, and then it is a bunch of statistical massaging to somehow infer from the broader data, what the narrower data (D*) might be doing. Sounds very fishy to me.

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#5 OFFLINE   iceman2a

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 08:02 AM

I was just thinking about how they got that info last night! It came to me in a revelation! It's the "Blue EOT", it realy is watching us! They have put wireless monitoring devices in all new boxes! That's why they wanted to bring it all "in house". They are also broadcasting subliminal messages to all HR20 users! "This DVR is wonderful, it works great! DirecTTV is Better TV.."This DVR is wonderful, it works great! DirecTTV is Better TV.."This DVR is wonderful, it works great! DirecTTV is Better TV.."This DVR is wonderful, it works great! DirecTTV is Better TV.."This explains why some people are having no problems with the HR20,while others hardly work at all! The people with no problems just think they don't have them!:D
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#6 OFFLINE   walters

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 08:09 AM

First of all, there is no phoning home, secondly you can't show trends on the screen for currently showing programs by phoning home. No sampling technique will work for that.

They must have a secondary source for viewer data, and they could massage that to produce what they are showing us. No matter....it's deceptive, beause there is no way to get the D* data from my box or anyone elses (unless there is some sort of secret program of data collection) to then present to us with trend arrows for CURRENT shows. It's just not possible, without a source INDEPENDENT of our boxes, and then it is a bunch of statistical massaging to somehow infer from the broader data, what the narrower data (D*) might be doing. Sounds very fishy to me.


You're wrong in nearly everything you said. There is phoning home (what, you think the phone line is there only for caller ID?) You certainly can show trends, as long as you are constantly polling enough people. And finally, it's not deceptive or secret because you have agreed (through inaction) to anonymous data collection.
"You should just watch the shows when they are on instead of recording them" -- anonymous DirecTV CSR
"It's like a PC... sometimes you have to reformat the hard drive." -- ibid

#7 OFFLINE   joejhawk

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 08:15 AM

I was just thinking about how they got that info last night! It came to me in a revelation! It's the "Blue EOT", it realy is watching us! They have put wireless monitoring devices in all new boxes! That's why they wanted to bring it all "in house". They are also broadcasting subliminal messages to all HR20 users! "This DVR is wonderful, it works great! DirecTTV is Better TV.."This DVR is wonderful, it works great! DirecTTV is Better TV.."This DVR is wonderful, it works great! DirecTTV is Better TV.."This DVR is wonderful, it works great! DirecTTV is Better TV.."This explains why some people are having no problems with the HR20,while others hardly work at all! The people with no problems just think they don't have them!:D


You people are so paranoid! Besides, this DVR is wonderful, it works great! DirecTV is better tv.:eek:

#8 OFFLINE   cookpr

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 08:23 AM

How are you guys getting to this feature...I saw it in an investor presentation saying its been live for weeks.

I have an HR20 and have never ran across on the Interactive Channel.

#9 OFFLINE   Earl Bonovich

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 08:24 AM

How are you guys getting to this feature...I saw it in an investor presentation saying its been live for weeks.

I have an HR20 and have never ran across on the Interactive Channel.


Two ways:

Hit the ACTIVE button, and there should be an option for What's Hot in it's menu's

Or if you tune one of the MIX channels (102 I believe is one).
After about 30s, a dialog will appear stating you can hit the RED button to open What's Hot
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#10 OFFLINE   walters

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 08:31 AM

How about it, Earl? Any inside info about this feature to add? I've proven (to my satisfaction, anyway) that it's possible just by speculating, but I'd be interested in any details you can get.
"You should just watch the shows when they are on instead of recording them" -- anonymous DirecTV CSR
"It's like a PC... sometimes you have to reformat the hard drive." -- ibid

#11 OFFLINE   dvrblogger

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 08:36 AM

How about it, Earl? Any inside info about this feature to add? I've proven (to my satisfaction, anyway) that it's possible just by speculating, but I'd be interested in any details you can get.

Boxes are meant to call back mothly. By scheduling these calls the data can be used for whtas hot.

#12 OFFLINE   patsrule316

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 08:44 AM

First of all, there is no phoning home, secondly you can't show trends on the screen for currently showing programs by phoning home. No sampling technique will work for that.

They must have a secondary source for viewer data, and they could massage that to produce what they are showing us. No matter....it's deceptive, beause there is no way to get the D* data from my box or anyone elses (unless there is some sort of secret program of data collection) to then present to us with trend arrows for CURRENT shows. It's just not possible, without a source INDEPENDENT of our boxes, and then it is a bunch of statistical massaging to somehow infer from the broader data, what the narrower data (D*) might be doing. Sounds very fishy to me.


I make my living as a statistician, dealing with several sample studies. If boxes were truly chosen at random and sent info back on what is currently being watched, it would not require a large sample at all to represent what is hot on directv. It would actually be very easy to sample and update quickly using computerized results. The only wrinkle would be if a large subset of the directv viewing population opted out of the sampling process (either becuase they refused to be in the sample or their boxes did not have the capability of being in the sample), and those directv viewers had different viewing habits than those in the sample.

Theoretically, if every box had the ability to phone in its viewer data, you could litteraly perform a random sample of less than 100 boxes every 15 minutes and get an idea of what is hot.

As a side note, the reason Nielsen ratings require larger sizes and can be somewhat dubious is twofold...one, is the sample representative of the nation as a whole, two, they don't just try to reflect what is hot, but try to provide actual measurements of how many people are watching each program, not just what is the most watched show.

#13 OFFLINE   hasan

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 08:48 AM

You're wrong in nearly everything you said. There is phoning home (what, you think the phone line is there only for caller ID?) You certainly can show trends, as long as you are constantly polling enough people. And finally, it's not deceptive or secret because you have agreed (through inaction) to anonymous data collection.


The phone calls are NOT BEING MADE ..yes it's connected, but the calls are not going out except for PPV or overnight, and that is not REAL TIME or NEAR REAL TIME. If that were the case, the phones would be busy all day...and they aren't. They are not "coming in" either, or one's phone would ring.

Polling people at night (which is just fine) cannot produce real time trends, which is PRECISELY what they show if you go to the What's Hot screen. They have CURRENT programs that are airing at that very moment, showing their TREND....you can't do this except in REAL TIME, and the units are NOT phoning home in the middle of the day (no one has reported this). They could gather overnight data from the previous day, but it could not be reasonably applied to a currently airiing show....and that is exactly how they show it.

So, either the data is NOT real time (in which case their presentation is a complete deception), or it is near real time and their data source has nothing to do with our HR20s, but is a derivative of another data source.

This is not rocket science, it's basic logic.

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#14 OFFLINE   walters

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 08:51 AM

Theoretically, if every box had the ability to phone in its viewer data, you could litteraly perform a random sample of less than 100 boxes every 15 minutes and get an idea of what is hot.


Just to take the numbers a bit further, if these boxes only called in monthly (as they always have for PPV purposes), that would be less than 300,000 boxes. How many subscribers does DirecTV have?

Now, the what's hot app refreshes more than every 15 minutes (I think I clocked it at 20 seconds). Which means you'd need (using all these same numbers) about 15 million boxes. Like I said: how many subscribers does DirecTV have? :)
"You should just watch the shows when they are on instead of recording them" -- anonymous DirecTV CSR
"It's like a PC... sometimes you have to reformat the hard drive." -- ibid

#15 OFFLINE   walters

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 08:52 AM

the units are NOT phoning home in the middle of the day (no one has reported this).


How would anyone know?

Actually, come to think of it, I picked my phone up just the other day around 7pm or so and heard modems talking. I don't know if it was the call to TiVo from my R10 or a call to DirecTV from either my R10 or my R15, but there it is.

BTW, I've speculated that you could do this without the overhead of modem negotiation. Just call and report the currently-tuned channel using DTMF. It would take less than 10 seconds, and if you used offhook detection, nobody would even notice.
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"It's like a PC... sometimes you have to reformat the hard drive." -- ibid

#16 OFFLINE   hasan

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 08:59 AM

How would anyone know?

Actually, come to think of it, I picked my phone up just the other day around 7pm or so and heard modems talking. I don't know if it was the call to TiVo or a call to DirecTV, but there it is.


And...how would that address the program airing at 10:00 a.m. ? Do you really think there are thousands of outgoing calls being made 24 hours per day from D* subscribers phoning home? Get a grip.

I could see a summary call being made in the middle of the night...but that is not near real time as the trends would have one believe. You can't get there from here. Either it's a statistical derivative from a secondary source, or it's NOT near real time as their presentation shows.

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#17 OFFLINE   walters

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 09:10 AM

And...how would that address the program airing at 10:00 a.m. ? Do you really think there are thousands of outgoing calls being made 24 hours per day from D* subscribers phoning home? Get a grip.


Yes, I truly believe there are on the order of 300 calls being made every minute, on average.

Things I don't know:
How many receivers there are (most subscribers probably have more than one).
Number of receivers connected to phone lines.
Number of subscribers who have opted out of data collection.

Things I do know:
How many subscribers DirecTV has (over 15 million).
The minimum time between calls to DirecTV for a connected receiver (1 month).
The number of minutes in a month (44640 or less).
"You should just watch the shows when they are on instead of recording them" -- anonymous DirecTV CSR
"It's like a PC... sometimes you have to reformat the hard drive." -- ibid

#18 OFFLINE   stroh

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 09:55 AM

Here is the email that I sent to DirecTV tech support, I'll post a response if I get one.

[Quote]
How, technically, does DirecTV collect the information for the What's Hot interactive service?

Since the receivers can not transmit to DirecTV via the satelite to show what channels are tuned in, and telephone calls are made only monthly, how can the results appear to reflect real time changes indicating what people are watching at that moment in time?
[/End Quote]

#19 OFFLINE   jonaswan2

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 10:09 AM

[quote name='stroh']Here is the email that I sent to DirecTV tech support, I'll post a response if I get one.

[Quote]
How, technically, does DirecTV collect the information for the What's Hot interactive service?

Since the receivers can not transmit to DirecTV via the satelite to show what channels are tuned in, and telephone calls are made only monthly, how can the results appear to reflect real time changes indicating what people are watching at that moment in time?
[/End Quote][/QUOTE]

It's a feature of NDS's VideoGuard. It's probably recieved when a reciever calls in for a PPV purchase or some other method not disclosed by DirecTV or NDS.

http://nds.com/condi...easurement.html

#20 OFFLINE   Wolffpack

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Posted 25 October 2006 - 10:10 AM

During the guided setup of the R15 (for example) I didn't recall entering an area code, or selecting any local phone number (to avoid long distance charges), as you do on the Tivo units. So for the R15 to phone home are they all using DTVs toll free numbers?

Plus, for the sake of argument lets assume this reporting mechanism does work properly. When a unit transmits this info back to DTV, how does DTV know if someone's watching that show, recording that show or the tuner was simply left on that channel?
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