How will these slow receivers be able to handle HD GUI?

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by BK89, Jul 7, 2011.

  1. Jul 7, 2011 #1 of 22

    BK89 Legend

    Sep 18, 2007
    I have been wondering this ever since they announced the HD GUI. These receivers (excluding the HR-24 apparently) are extremely slow as it is now. How will they possibly be able to handle an HD GUI, wont this slow them down even more?
  2. Jul 7, 2011 #2 of 22
  3. Jul 7, 2011 #3 of 22

    litzdog911 Well-Known Member

    Jun 23, 2004
    Mill Creek, WA
    Maybe the HD GUI will be faster?
  4. Jul 7, 2011 #4 of 22

    argonaut AllStar

    Dec 16, 2006
    The OP is pondering if a new HD GUI (not available yet) will hamper existing D* receivers given how slow the CPUs are and the limited amount of memory. This is a valid question indeed.


    IMHO the current HR24 is sluggish when it comes to GUI operations. STBs have always lacked an ability to render GUIs effectively mostly because of the lack of GPU capability and lack of optimizing the GUI for slow CPUs, or just using a crappy window toolkit to being with. Compared with something like a Boxee Box which has a Atom CPU CE4100 and powerful GPU capabilities the D* are very slow. When users have super polished GUI experiences like Apple devices they have come to expect a responsive and polished GUI. It sounds like we will get a polished GUI but I hope we get a responsive one as well. My greatest fear will be a Guide and series management screen chock-full of ads. With all the new added real estate I doubt D* will be able to resist the urge. The worst example of this is the Comcast DVRs. Every guide page change defaults the "cursor" to an ad click. I'm sure this sleazy tactic generates PPV purchases. I think ultimately the GPU performance or more memory has to improve dramatically before user satisfaction will be reached with a new GUI that is HD and polished. This means new hardware.

    Of course having never seen or used the new GUI I have no idea. These are just my thoughts.
  5. Jul 8, 2011 #5 of 22

    n3ntj Hall Of Fame

    Dec 18, 2006
    My HR22-100 is painfully slow at changing channels the past week or so. It has been taking 5~7 secs. to change channels and all I get is a black screen in b/w channels. My HR24-200 has no similar issues.
  6. Jul 8, 2011 #6 of 22

    RCinFLA Legend

    Oct 3, 2006
    I received SW download 4a7 yesterday. If anything, it got slower. It is the same on all five of my units, ranging from HR20 to HR23's.

    It all happened several weeks ago when the new Info bar modifications showed up.

    This is just unacceptable that they can put out such trash SW. Sometimes it takes over 30 seconds for guide to show up after button push.
  7. Jul 8, 2011 #7 of 22

    BK89 Legend

    Sep 18, 2007
    I know about the recent problem regarding slow channel changes. This has only started happening in the last few weeks. Before this issue began, my HRs have been very laggy/slow overall. Even within the guide and menu pages - so I'm not just talking about slow channel changes. I really dont see how they will be able to make a nice, sleek HD GUI without upgrading hardware. I recently sent in one of my HRs because the hard drive died and I got back an HR-22. This is like four or five year old technology at this point and they are still sending them out to customers. I am just afraid they are going to make overall speed/responsiveness worse by adding new features. Why not make the exisiting guide nice and snappy before you go adding features that could possibly make performance even worse? Take the money you are spending on HD GUI and send me new hardware so I don't have to wait ten seconds between button presses.
  8. Jul 8, 2011 #8 of 22
    Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

    Jun 18, 2006
    I'd say, don't worry about it so much. And don't place as much stock in that old graph, it doesn't really compare apples to apples. (literally.) Embedded systems act very differently from general purpose computing devices.

    When the HD GUI actually hits the streets, worry about it then… if it's really a problem.
  9. Jul 8, 2011 #9 of 22
    Tom Robertson

    Tom Robertson Lifetime Achiever DBSTalk Club

    Nov 15, 2005
    There are many measures of performance. Some are firmly stuck in the hardware, some not so much.

    On those times when I'm watching live TV (called a sporting event, generally), I think the DVR is incredibly slow playing commercials--because I can't skip them. :)

    Stuart is right in that while the CPU performance measures are indicative of horsepower, since the applications running on the different units are completely different, the real user performance experience is based upon the application load not the CPU ability.

    (Now if you ran Microsoft Office [a common benchmark] on all the CPUs, then the CPU performance would dictate the user experience.)

    Anyway, back to the HD GUI. Now that DIRECTV's programmers have 5 years more experience with the hardware and with their software, they can identify areas of the software that are less efficient than they could be. By re-writing those modules, some serious performance enhancements can happen across all the DIRECTV receivers.

  10. RobertE

    RobertE Active Member

    Jun 9, 2006
    Its possible that some to most of the slowness today is because of the current gui.
  11. hdtvfan0001

    hdtvfan0001 Well-Known Member

    Jul 28, 2004
    Here's perhaps a good demonstration...

    We pretty much all know how Windows XP ran on most PC's and what hardware was required.

    Then came Vista. It required more horsepower, and still did not perform to intended expectations.

    Fast forward now to Windows 7, which can run much, much faster and more efficiently on those old XP machines than Vista did on more powerful CPU devices.

    Bottom can indeed have a bearing on how the hardware performs, and significant improvements/impact can be seen depending on how code is written, compiled, and applied towards the hardware.
  12. NR4P

    NR4P Dad

    Jan 15, 2007
    Sunny Florida
    I know Directv has received considerable feedback on slow performance over the years so I doubt they would do anything to slow these boxes down, no matter how pretty looking.

    I have confidence in Directv and look forward to seeing it someday.
  13. TomCat

    TomCat Broadcast Engineer

    Aug 31, 2002
    Another good example would be Tivo software 3.1.5 compared to v6.x in the HR10-250, which many of you are familiar with. Speed increased maybe 5 or 6 times for certain tasks once rewrittten (unfortunately this also broke much of the legacy stability which was at the time the unique province of Tivo).
  14. Davenlr

    Davenlr Geek til I die

    Sep 16, 2006
    IF there write the major routines in machine code (if they still use that stuff) instead of a bloated C++ or other language, its possible to make any processor handle just about anything.

    An old example from the bygone days... I wrote a bulletin board program (think website by modem) for the Commodore 128. Using a transfer protocol popular back then, I was able to transfer data using the basic compiler, but it would take perhaps, 5 minutes to download a single picture. Regardless of connect speed (we had 19200 baud modems), the fastest it would transfer would be equal to about 2400 baud, the buffer would NEVER fill up. I studied, and rewrote that subroutine using machine code, and not only did it keep up at 19200, it caused the modem to signal the computer to "WAIT" approx 50% of the time.

    Using that, if they could rewrite one bloated subroutine in the DVR software using such code, that it not only speeds up its task by 10x, that will also leave that much for free processor time for another subroutine, which if also written in machine get the idea.

    That and the space required would be drastically reduced for the total program.

    Now, they may be using an efficient code now, I have no idea. But if not, there are great opportunities for a good programmer to put the jets to it.
  15. dpeters11

    dpeters11 Hall Of Fame

    May 30, 2007
    I know of one programmer that still programs in assembly. He's a very rare breed these days, his flagship program is under 200k.
  16. Davenlr

    Davenlr Geek til I die

    Sep 16, 2006
    Yep, faster processors just allowed programmers to get sloppy and bloated.
  17. Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

    Jun 18, 2006
    I have a feeling when HD GUI comes to fruition... we'll see what these receivers are really capable of.
  18. gio12

    gio12 Icon

    Jul 31, 2006
    Miami, Fl
    Its sad when phones have better performance than a STB box, LOL. You would think the D* boxes would get closer and a HD guide would be available after all these years.

    I agree. Ads, Ads, Ads are coming and will litter the guide.
  19. dpeters11

    dpeters11 Hall Of Fame

    May 30, 2007
    And a HR23 has more processing power than the space shuttles computer. With the right programming, an older system can do quite a lot.
  20. txtommy

    txtommy Icon

    Dec 30, 2006
    Still waiting for the right programming.....

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