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NGC HD Sneak Peek #14 Failed Miserably in Many Ways


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21 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Supervolcano

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 01:46 AM

Episode titled "Thunderbeast" about buffalo in Yellowstone National Park.
Scheduled Monday 4/23 from 1:00am - 1:44am CDT on channel 98.
I set it to record on HR20-700 with 5 minutes padding before and after.

Knowing the problems with recording Sneak Peeks, I also tuned to the station beforehand to watch what would transpire first hand.


For the recording:
At 12:55, it started recording.
At 1:00, it stopped recording.
Playing the recording shows 5 minutes of black screen.
Nag in the recording's info says:
"This showing was partially recorded because the channel became unavailable. (12)"

I assume this is due to the KNOWN FATAL (AND UNACCEPTABLE) FLAW where D* fails to give any lead time for their transponder switching, in conjunction with how the HR20 tries to monitor the guide in realtime (unlike the old DTivo's which only did this once a day), which is ultimately the same reason why many sports recordings in the 700's range fail miserably.

THIS MUST BE FIXED!!!!

Either give your transponder changes some lead time (like 5 or even 10minutes early) so the guide and to-do list can recuperate from your transponder switches OR lessen the realtime monitoring of the to-do list and recordings to maybe once every hour or half hour (and I don't mean "on the hour" as this wouldn't solve the bug since these transponder changes happen "on the hour", so make it happen on the "oddball 15 and/or 45 minute" spots between each half hour) so this fatal bug won't keep rearing it's head.

If you have to duplicate running a music channel or maybe a "coming up next" screen on the "intended transponder" that the show will ultimately use, then gosh darn it ... DO IT ... and run a REAL REDUNDANT DUPLICATE on every gosh darn transponder that is about to be used (like for mutiple baseball channels on multiple transponders, each should have it's OWN coming up next screen) instead of the current method of one "virtual program" that gets mapped to several channels before such events.


For the live tv:
At 12:55, I had black screen on channel 98.
At 1:00, my HR20-700 changed from channel 98 to channel 201 on it's own.
The "DirecTV Basics" program on 201 was playing.
At 1:01, I manually changed back to channel 98.
The NGC HD Sneak Peek was already a minute into the show.
At 1:22, the show went black screen, no nags.
Receiver was still tuned to channel 98.
At 1:37, the show suddenly came back on.
The 15 minutes was apparently lost as it didn't pick up where it left off.
At 1:44, in the middle of a scene about the buffalo calf, screen went black and a music channel began playing.
I was still tuned to channel 98.
At 1:45, the swirly white/aqua DirecTV logo screen came on as the music continued to play.
At 2:00, the music suddenly quit playing and screen went black.

These issues during the live tv event (after 1:01 when I switched from channel 201 back to channel 98) are seemingly unrelated to transponder switching events that cancelled the recording ... but nevertheless ... the result for even the live event was a complete disaster. My signal strengths are all near perfect and there were no nags on my screen during this fiasco, so I highly doubt this was a problem on my end.

Was anyone at headquarters watching the event live? Shouldn't this be someone's job when your testing a new channel's programming? I find it to be more than a "coincidence" that the outage was precisely 15 minutes from 1:22 to 1:37. This precise timing makes me believe a computer and/or a program on a computer is what controlled that outage (like changing transponders when it shouldn't have, for example).

And don't you time how long the programs are ahead of time? Why did the show get stopped at 1:44 when the show clearly had not ended yet? It did sound like the show was BEGINNING to wrap up, but only beginning to. If for example the show was in it's "last minute", then don't you guys ROUND UP to the NEXT minute instead of DOWN? Especially when this is the only show you plan to air on that channel for the next 6+ hours!!

If I was on the Board of Directors for the National Geographic Channel ... in my best Donald Trump Voice ... I would say "YOUR FIRED!!" ... and cancel the contract with you due to severe negligence since your not getting our programming to the customers.
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#2 OFFLINE   Tom Robertson

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 02:23 AM

This is one of those highly disappointing issues with the HR20. Perhaps in this particular case its not all the HR20's fault, but too often sporting and special events are not working on the HR20, but work well on the HR10. While I applaud the very creative use of bandwidth to give us these sneak peeks, which would be awesome, if only they were reliable.

One would think that since DIRECTV has a long history of creating bandwidth as needed for sporting events, they should be able to make this work too. Since the sporting special events are paid for by the best customers, why are we forced to put up with this? As I said, very disappointing.

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#3 OFFLINE   Supervolcano

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 02:26 AM

Tivo's don't have this problem because they had a workaround for this, by ingoring signal losses and continuing to record the timeslot the to-do list says, and by not doing the maintenance of the to-do list in realtime.

E* doesn't have this problem because they dedicate each of their channels (yes, even sports subscription channels) to one transponder all day/night.

D* ... you either need to make a workaround for the HR20 like Tivo did for their D* receivers .... OR FIX THE DARN STREAM so no workaround is needed!!

There's more than one way this can be accomplished.
Hasn't this problem been going on long enough?
Pick a way, and get it done!!
PLEEEEEEASE!!!!
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#4 OFFLINE   Supervolcano

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 03:00 AM

and D* ... please don't think I'm being ungrateful for the Sneak Peeks ... because I am grateful. I was thoroughly enjoying that episode (until someone pulled the plug 22 minutes into the show). Like Tom Robertson said, you have a long history of creating bandwidth when there is none, and we compliment you for it, but there ARE ways to make it more seemless.

What half of my post is pertaining to is how/why the recordings get dropped. This is what the "real beef" is when it comes to 700's sports not recording ... due to "last moment transponder switching" ... and this NGC Sneak Peek was just another example of WHY the sports fans all suffer from this severe flaw.

This realtime to-do list is also what stops recordings when a storm knocks out the signal for a few minutes. There is no reason the HR20 should cancel a recording due to signal loss. Most of the time the signal comes back in a few minutes (if it was due to rain) so we should just lose those "couple minutes" of black screened recording time. To have the HR20 stop the recording and then you trying to have the HR20 pick it up again after the signal returns just makes for aggrivated users. There's no reason for the show to be "split" into 2 recordings when this happens.

We, the customers, should be deciding what we want to be recorded.
We don't want the HR20 deciding FOR US what should or shouldn't be recorded.

If we tell the HR20 to do something, and we paid for the service, then the HR20 should listen to us, not itself. The HR20 shouldn't be the "HAL 9000 Supercomputer" from "2001: A Space Odyssey" which is exactly what your trying to turn it into.
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#5 OFFLINE   Supervolcano

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 03:26 AM

Ohh, one more thing I didn't note anywhere in here.

Before the episode started, channel 98 was using 1080i resolution.
When I changed from channel 201 back to channel 98 at 1:01am, it was using 720p and stayed on that resolution through the whole show.
Somehwere along the line, after the episode ended, it now returned to 1080i.

Just figured maybe this might be useful info for D*.
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#6 OFFLINE   Just J

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 04:24 AM

None of the NGCHD sneak peaks has recorded properly me, so I've stopped trying. I'm not sure why D* bothers. I suspect that many are having the same reaction I am - any points D* gets for this programming are more than offset by the loss of credibility and confidence in both the hardware and service that results from the inevitable failure to record successfully.

#7 OFFLINE   say-what

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 05:41 AM

I was able to record 14 last night, now I typically get one 0-min. recording and 1 full recording on the HR20, but it worked. Also, I'll also get a few missed recordings, but then I schedule multiple upcoming episodes until I record one. I had missed 13 (just forgot to check the upcoming schedule in a bit), but I see it coming up once more this week.

As for this being a HR20 exclusive problem, I've seen TIVO'ers make the same complaints and I had this problem with my TIVO before decommissioning it (completely missed or only a 0 minute recording).

#8 OFFLINE   Supervolcano

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 05:46 AM

I was able to record 14 last night, now I typically get one 0-min. recording and 1 full recording on the HR20, but it worked.

Could you please check your recording.

1) Did it turn to black screen at the 0:22 minute mark for a period of 15 minutes?

2) Did it record the entire episode and show ending credits or did it stop during the part about how the buffalo calf recovered and was again accepted by the rest of the herd?
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#9 OFFLINE   say-what

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 05:52 AM

Could you please check your recording.

1) Did it turn to black screen at the 0:22 minute mark for a period of 15 minutes?

2) Did it record the entire episode and show ending credits or did it stop during the part about how the buffalo calf recovered and was again accepted by the rest of the herd?

Oh well, it did go black at about the 22 min mark. Not sure what D* is doing with these, but they need to change it as it affects both of their HD recorders.

#10 OFFLINE   Jason Whiddon

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 05:53 AM

I've recorded 7-12 fine. #13 about the Ferrari's I had no luck with and missed.

I've set #14 up twice and it's not recorded either so I missed that one. I have #15 set for 930 this morning, I will be home so Ill see what happens.

I do agree that D* should fix this as offering previews in HD that wont record at hours when most can't watch them is not very useful.
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#11 OFFLINE   gpg

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 07:35 AM

All I get is a black screen for the 9:30 am live showing of NGC #15. No wonder my recordings of these sneak peaks often fail.
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#12 OFFLINE   Supervolcano

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 07:48 AM

All I get is a black screen for the 9:30 am live showing of NGC #15. No wonder my recordings of these sneak peaks often fail.

Currently I'm watching and recording #15 and it's not black screen.

Press "info" button.
Maybe the receiver changed channel on you like it did for me before #14 played.
Manually tune channel 98 again and you should see the current #15 episode.

1) Knowing that there would probably be a transponder shift, I decided not to pad my recording as I normally do for everything.

2) I'm currently also recording the movie "Supervolcano" on channel 76 (go figure with my nickname, I know, I've seen it a few times but I still want to see it again hehe).

3) I manually tuned to channel 98 about 15 minutes before the Sneak Peek began, but then decided to finish watching an old recording from my playlist.

Apparently something within these 3 things I did allowed the #15 show to record.

Maybe because of no padding.
Maybe because the other tuner is also recording.
Maybe because I'm not watching live tv.
Maybe a combination of the above.
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#13 OFFLINE   dvrwannabee

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 08:05 AM

and D* ... please don't think I'm being ungrateful for the Sneak Peeks ... because I am grateful.


IMHO you don't need to worry about if D* thinks you are ungrateful. They should be grateful to have you as a customer. They work for you and there is too much competition for them to forget that.

On another note, how do you find these sneak peaks. Can I search for NGC HD or are they on a certain channel number every time?

#14 OFFLINE   Supervolcano

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 08:18 AM

While watching the #15 Sneak Peek, I got black screen again just like in the #14 episode, but this time the program never came back.

#14 went black screen at 0:22 minute mark.
#15 went black screen at 0:23 minute mark.

I'm still tuned to channel 98, so it wasn't a channel change on the HR20.

At the 0:45 minute mark, when the show was scheduled to end, a Bob Dylan song came on with the white/aqua D* logo screen.
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#15 OFFLINE   Jason Whiddon

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 08:25 AM

I set up a Manual recording for 9:30 and was out, when I got back it did not record and shows as canceled.
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#16 OFFLINE   Supervolcano

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 08:28 AM

IMHO you don't need to worry about if D* thinks you are ungrateful. They should be grateful to have you as a customer. They work for you and there is too much competition for them to forget that.

I'd like to think this is true, but on the other hand D* has known about this transponder switching flaw and/or realtime to-do list processing flaw that has been causing failed recordings for MONTHS on the sports subscriptions (that people pay big BIG bucks for) and they continually fail to try and correct the issue ... so it makes me wonder if what you say is really true or not ... so I felt the disclaimer of showing my appreciation towards them was neccessary.

On another note, how do you find these sneak peaks.

When they work?
They are great!!!
I've seen a couple that worked nicely.
Kinda surprised it's only 720p though.

When they fail?
They embarrass DirecTV.
They embarrass National Geographic Channel.
And they embarrass me for keeping my subscription.

Can I search for NGC HD or are they on a certain channel number every time?

Seems they are all on Channel 98.

Go into the guide and find channel 98.
Press "left" arrow so channel name is highlighted.
Press "info" and a dropdown will appear with all the upcoming episodes.
Press "select" on any show to see info and/or set recording options.
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#17 OFFLINE   Supervolcano

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 09:02 AM

Was just watching Sneak Peek #16.
Guess what.
Black screen again at 22 minute mark.

#14 went black screen at 0:22 minute mark.
#15 went black screen at 0:23 minute mark.
#16 went black screen at 0:22 minute mark.

D*, get a handle on this.
Your making a fool of yourself.
:rolleyes:
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#18 OFFLINE   MichaelP

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 12:01 PM

Right before finding this thread I had called D* to complain that my HD DVR had canceled the NCG sneak peek for "Thunderbeasts" because the channel became unavailable. After waiting on hold for a minute or so, while the CSR checked with her supervisor, she told me, and I'm not making this up, that those sneak peeks are not available for recording. And there may be copyright issues that she was not aware of. *sigh*

I told her I hardly ever watch live TV, so what is the point of showing these sneak peeks (at all hours of the day or night incidentally) if I can't record them? I politely asked that she pass my complaint along to the appropriate people.
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#19 OFFLINE   Supervolcano

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 12:05 PM

CSR's will say anything to get you to stop complaining.
:rolleyes:
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#20 OFFLINE   Jason Whiddon

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Posted 23 April 2007 - 12:08 PM

Yeah, thats BS as I've copied many before these started screwing up.
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