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Name-based recording discussion in regard to the 921

Discussion in 'Standard Definition Receiver Support Forum' started by pcirone, Dec 16, 2003.

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  1. jgoggan

    jgoggan Hall Of Fame/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

    Apr 2, 2002
    Yes, I understand the logic behind it. He had said that the 5xx units had "a very good search function." I was simply replying that, while it "works", I don't find it "very good" since it is so very simplistic.

    You call it "effective" and I'm not even sure I'd give it that. It isn't very effective when it finds so many things that you aren't looking for on so many channels that you don't even subscribe to...

    So, it may be "simple" and almost "effective" for many things, but I certainly wouldn't call it efficient or "a very good search function." It really isn't very good, in my opinion...

    - John...
  2. Mike Richardson

    Mike Richardson Banned User

    Jun 12, 2003
    I agree it should not show channels you don't subscribe to, that's just annoying.

    But how else is the search going to work? Returning "monkeys" when searching for "monk" seems logical. Do you want it to return shows that have the exact word "monk"? Try putting a space character before or after "monk", such as " monk" or "monk ".
  3. jgoggan

    jgoggan Hall Of Fame/Supporter DBSTalk Gold Club

    Apr 2, 2002
    Um, how about a checkbox for exact name only match? Or, at least, whole word match only (so that "Monk" would match "Monk Baseball", but not "Monkey Shines")?

    Interesting thought. "MONK<SPACE>" actually does work for an exact word match. Now I only have to skip over a page or two of "Bulletproof Monk" listing on PPV before I find what I want! But, still better -- so I'll keep that trick in mind for the future. Thanks!

    But I still wouldn't call it a "very good search function." I call it a very simple search function that works decent for what it is intended. :)

    My main thing isn't the searching though. Mine is the ability to detect time changes and such. I always end up with messed up Will & Grace and Friends episodes when they do the extended ones...

    Or, even bigger for me -- I'd really like to be able to just cancel the NEXT recording of a show (i.e. when I know it is a re-run) without messing up the repeating timer... :(

    - John...
  4. dbronstein

    dbronstein Hall Of Fame

    Oct 21, 2002
    And you said "Need much more control to avoid recording the same program multiple times or programs that match, but I don't want." This is blatantly wrong. You have that control with name-based DVRs.

    Hmm. You say "Need much more control to avoid recording the same program multiple times or programs that match, but I don't want." Then you just go and record an entire night of programs and just watch what you want from that. So you are recording a bunch of stuff you don't want anyway.

    This is a strawman. I used Replay for 2 years before getting a 721 and the Dish guide is just as accurate as the Replay. Replay only updates once a day, and I'm pretty sure that is the same for Tivo. Very few schedule changes are made on less than a day's notice.

    We've all said it a million times. Read this thread and all the others.

  5. tnsprin

    tnsprin Hall Of Fame

    Mar 15, 2003
    You only have this control with SOME name-based DVR's. As I said please specify how you want DISH to implement such a feature. Since I don't use any of the newer such name-based recorders I don't know what people like and would recommend be implemented. e.g should it
    a) only match once a week?
    b) only match if its on a specific station?
    c) match say the hd broadcast when its also on SD. Even if thats on later?
    d) automatically pad a few minutes.
    e) Guess at similar programs!

    Get specific

    My complaint about EPG is critical not a "strawman". Many of the programs I would most want to watch are on networks where the EPG has most often been totally wrong. I search for the programs using internet sites, and currently set timers based on those searchs. The programs often never even showed in the EPG at all. And OTA on DISH's EPG is even worse.

    Don't assume. Of course I read it and the others. Doesn't mean I necessarily agree with what some people are saying.
  6. dbronstein

    dbronstein Hall Of Fame

    Oct 21, 2002
    Okay - the Tivo season pass. It records each episode of a show once, regardless of time or channel, and doesn't record reruns. So if the same episode is on 5 times, it just gets recorded once. But if the show changes time, channel or duration, it still gets recorded. Is this specific enough for you?

    Can you provide some specifics? I have never seen an EPG be as bad as you claim they are, especially for OTA channels. It might be off if you're looking a week out, but by the time the show comes on, the EPG is almost always correct, barring last-minute things like presidential speeches.

    You don't have to agree, but if you've read all the threads then you should know what specific features people want.

  7. Inaba

    Inaba Legend

    Jun 20, 2003
    Dbronstein is correct. I've had DBS for 8 years now and I've never encountered an EPG that bad off. There have been occasions (mainly sports BS comes to mind) that the EPG has been off, but 99% of the time, the EPG is accurate for everything I've ever wanted to watch.

    Maybe some bassackwards company like Primestar couldn't keep the EPG straight, but DTV and E* have always kept the EPG pretty accurate the majority of the time.

    As for specific functionality on the NBR, dbronstien has again pretty much covered it. However, one additional thing that needs to be added for E*'s receivers to be even remotely competitive is the ability to set your timers over the internet. If you could stream your video to another 721 or 921, that would be even better... ala the Tivo HMO.

    Other PVRs can do all these things, so it's not impossible (and it's not really that hard either)... the fact that E* doesn't have it is simply because they are too lazy and/or don't care about the customers, because they have them locked into one supplier for the IRDs. If there was any sort of competition in the E* IRD market, E*'s IRDs would never sell a single unit, except to the uninformed masses who don't care.
  8. bunkers

    bunkers Legend

    Dec 16, 2002
    How about some the following features be added or considered?

    (1) EPG locking -- what this means is that when you pick the show, it would optionally allow you to "lock" it -- which might mean that a daily check (or when new EPG information is released) is done to compare the latest EPG start, stop times with those in the locked timer (s). If they differ, then you might be able to manually adjust it in a timer conflicts/adjustments screen (if you wanted) or have it optionally take the latest start,stop times automatically. Obviously, if the auto adjustment created a timer conflict, then it would go the manual timer conflict/adjustment screen which is not automatically popped up of forced upon you ... but rather there to assist and allow you to catch problems if you interested and willing.

    (2) I also thought that a "search based" timer might be possible, but might only work if the results could be filtered appropriately. For example, options like: Use the first occurance each day, or each week, or only if channel is one I subscribe to, or only if the results does not create a conflict, etc.

    (3) I think being able to modify the existing timer setup slightly to specify "New shows only" (denoted by NEW in the EPG) might be a nice enhancement. Maybe even a filter to specify the year (2002,2003) might be nice also.
  9. toad57

    toad57 Legend

    Apr 23, 2002
    Re: your "EPG Locking" suggestion

    Not trivial to implement. The current way of recording future programs isn't very complex and is not much more complex that how a VCR does future recordings. To implement anything different requires the added capability of being able to uniquely identify a program by more than just the name, which means a whole new level of software in the box and a whole new ballgame as far as guide data goes.

    Example: Your favorite episode of "Friends" was to be recorded on chan. 123 at 8:30PM, 01/15/04, but 3 days before this date a program "Fiends: The Loves of Ghengis Kahn" is now in this time slot. Obviously, "Friends" has moved, but how can it detect that the episode you wanted to see is no longer occurring at this time?

    If it were to just use the name, it might find 17 more programs named "Friends" in the span of the available guide data - which one is the one it should now record (that certain one that you wanted)?

    Tivo can handle this because they have some method of not only tracking the name of a program but creating a unique ID for each episode. Thus, if that particular episode of "Friends" that you wanted to record moves out 8 days from now it will still record it properly even though there are 3 other "Friends" episodes that will be broadcast before you desired episode is finally shown.

    As you can see, more than just the software in the box will need changed- the format of the guide data will have to change. Maintaining guide data this detailed is important (read: $$$) and is best farmed out to an outside service company- having "Harvey the part-time webmaster" performing the "new guide data updates" just isn't going to cut it.

    If Dish goes to this kind of capability I think people might feel better about paying the DVR fee.
  10. Clinton Fields

    Clinton Fields The Voom guy!

    Dec 16, 2003
    See the problem is, Dish has never really made good equipment. Consumer reports has them dead last (among pay tv services) in the reliabilty catagory. That takes talent to be that bad. When I lived in Europe, I was a Sky TV subscriber (News Corp.) and News Corp put two competitors out of business. If you own Dish stock I would sell it now because DirecTV is going to hit the ground running with it's new owners. From what I have seen in the past,News Corp gives away high-end Equipment I.E. HDTV and DVR setop boxes over here (over in Europe it was interactive boxes) and a big reduction of programming Fees. Their model is to lose money on obtaining customers for several years until their competition yells "no-mas". Dish has no chance unless they get better/more equipment and better customer service. DirecTV is going to clean Dish's Clock. I give Dish one year before they feel the pain and another before Charlie unloads Dish the latter of which would be good for current subscribers.
  11. bunkers

    bunkers Legend

    Dec 16, 2002

    I agree that implementing something like the "EPG lock" that I mentioned isn't trivial -- but what I was suggesting would be significantly EASIER to implement (and far less perfect) than what TIVO does and would not require the addition of a unique ID for each show.

    I was just suggesting that the following (fairly simple) things be done:

    (1) After each EPG download/refresh, we do the following if you have enabled EPG locking capability:

    (1a) You pull the list of timers which are using the "EPG lock" from the list of all timers.
    In particular, you just use the name of the show as it was stored when the timer
    was originally created. Yes, this can change, but not very often. Again, this
    solution isn't perfect, but its the 80/20 or 90/10 rule at work.
    (1b) If no timers are returned, then your done, otherwise loop through each unique Channel, Start, Stop, Name combinition from the timers screen having the "epg lock" checked/enabled.

    (2) A note to keep thing simple, round all start/stop times to the nearest hour or half hour -- for example, if you ended a show 3 minutes late (say at 11:33), it would still use 11:30 instead. If you started 1 minute early (say at 10:59), it would use 11:00 instead. This keeps comparisions simple, but isn't perfect, no. But remember 90/10 rule.

    (3) Compare each channel, rounded-start, rounded-stop, Name combination against the latest EPG information. If the guide information no longer matches, then tag the timer with a potential "conflict" attribute. Thats it. If the EPG information matches (as it would MOST of the time, then leave the conflict attribute set to "ok").

    (4) So then a user can manually see a conflicted timer in timers screen because it might have an asterisk next to it in the listing, simple simple and easy to add.

    (5) If a user decides to fix this possible problem, then they can go into a new conflict resolutino screen which then just allows the use a few simple options:

    * (A) Syncronize name and times with EPG, just does the look up again and uses the name name and start,stop times
    * (B) Search for show -- just throws you into the search screen with the old show and you can edit the name if you want and if you find it elsewhere, you can manually select and have the new show name/time be used to replace the old.
    * (C) Do nothing

    (5-A) Take the name information from EPG and keep everything else the same. This handles name changes and possible time changes. Again, only EPG start/stop times were compared, so even if you had added extra minutes at the beginning and/or ending, the rounding should make the shows match when compared. The rounding would be limited to rounding 3 minutes or less, so that real program changes (i.e. show is super sized to +15 minutes) would still be caught accurately.

    (5-B) not much coding here, since your reusing the search capability and just trying to relocate a show. This option might not even need to exist. Maybe just knowing the show changed is enough to allow you to manually deleted it and then add it again yourself like to did originally.

    (5-C) maybe its different but you know and don't care -- leave it alone.

    My point is -- this ISN'T name based recording by any means, but an EPG lock feature would really be more an EPG validation capabilty which is 90-95% accurate and just lets you know when things are no longer correct according the the EPG information when compared to your timers. This doesn't require any additional EPG data or costs whatsoever.

    Again, realizing the DISH doesn't create the greatest software and anything beyond fairly simple usually isn't implemented or added -- this is just a simple enhanement to 90-95% fill the occaisional mishaps created by a non name-based timer system.

    You can't honestly say that this very simplified enhancement would be a really big effort to do. Its a simple loop only performed when EPG data is refereshed and only performed if you want it to. Its just a simple validation.
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