Author Topic: New Freeview EPG & Ice  (Read 9311 times)

Offline Nodeity

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New Freeview EPG & Ice
« on: July 01, 2010, 08:41:36 AM »
Hey guys, it's probably too soon for a definitive answer to this question, but will Ice be able to dynamically change the recording times of programs in the same way as Freeview's new EPG (apparently). I realise that there are licensing issues with their system but I'm unsure whether it will exclude Ice from using it. It certainly would be nice not to have to go to the trouble of putting a 20 minute pad on my recordings and still, in some cases, miss the end (Damn you Channel 9)   ::)

Online prl

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Re: New Freeview EPG & Ice
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2010, 09:54:25 AM »
Hey guys, it's probably too soon for a definitive answer to this question, but will Ice be able to dynamically change the recording times of programs in the same way as Freeview's new EPG (apparently). I realise that there are licensing issues with their system but I'm unsure whether it will exclude Ice from using it. It certainly would be nice not to have to go to the trouble of putting a 20 minute pad on my recordings and still, in some cases, miss the end (Damn you Channel 9)   ::)
This is my reply to Nodeity's post on the same topic on the Beyonwiz forum.

From discussions I've had with IceTV support folk on another issue, IceTV isn't permitted to record programs (the provisions in the Copyright Act that allow home recording of TV shows precludes any commercial use). Capturing the whole of the EPG would probably be a risky business, especially given the line that Nine has taken in the past, and it would be hard to see how something like this would be implemented without capturing the whole EPG stream. From my (non-legal) understanding, much of IceTV's defense against Nine was that they were only taking very small amounts of information from the published schedules.

Anyway, as I've said several times in the past, I think that this capability is rather over-rated. It would suit VCR-like use of a PVR, where you predominantly watch live TV, and occasionally record. It improves things slightly, but doesn't really fix the problem if you have a crowded recording schedule, which is how many of the folk on the forum run their PVRs, recording most or all of what they watch, and watching little live TV.

For example, if you have (for simplicity's sake) a single tuner PVR, and have scheduled a program from 19:30 to 20:30 on Nine, and something else from 20:30 to 21:30 on Seven, but the Nine program finishes at 20:40 and the Seven program starts at 20:35, no clever timer scheduling stuff can prevent you missing part of one program. From the vague fluff that Freeview has published, you'd probably get all of the show on Nine and and miss the first five minutes of the Seven show, but you're definitely going to miss something. This situation will occur roughly 50% of the time that you have consecutive timers on different services and no spare recording stream or tuner. That's an improvement over padding, where you have this problem 100% of the time, but it doesn't make the problem go away.

The Topfields that can record four streams from up to two tuners will manage this somewhat better than Beyonwizes, but it's still possible to construct realistic scenarios where program content will be lost on them, too (for example if you're recording something from both Nine and Ten from 19:30 to 20:30 in the example above).

Even for consecutive programs on the same service, where it does offer a pretty big improvement, it's not likely to solve the problem all the time. Because programs go straight from credits of one show straight into the start of the next, unless the timing is accurate to seconds, there'll be some "leakage" of one show into the wrong recording.

The Freeview EPG will have some advantages over using padding, but IMO the Freeview EPG pages oversell its reliability. Now there's a surprise. :roll:
Peter
Beyonwiz T4 in-use
Beyonwiz T2, T3 & T4 for testing

Offline Matt at IceTV

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Re: New Freeview EPG & Ice
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2010, 11:15:05 AM »
Well said Peter.

I would prefer having the ability to control my recordings, especially when there are multiple recordings around one another.

The last thing I would personally want is to let the TV Networks have control over my recordings. They play enough games as it is with their schedule to compete with one another.

What we (IceTV) and everyone else want, is for the TV Networks to simply stick to their advertised schedule! If they say a show is going to start at 8:30pm, then it should start at 8:30pm. Hopefully ACMA put pressure on the TV Networks to finally do this, like other Networks are forced to do in other countries.

This would make everyone happy.

Having said this, we will be paying close attention to this CRID feature and how other non-Freeview devices (TiVo included) deal with it.

Cheers,

Matt
General Manager
IceTV Pty
1300 654 803

Offline Nodeity

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Re: New Freeview EPG & Ice
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2010, 11:47:42 AM »
Erm,... so basically, for those of us technically deficient,... no real change then, unless the networks suddenly decide to play nice and actually start and stop as scheduled    :?

Online prl

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Re: New Freeview EPG & Ice
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2010, 11:51:50 AM »
The Beyonwiz Forum discussion on this topic has drifted off into more general issues about the implementation of the timers in Freeview EPG branded PVRs. Rather speculative, since I don't think any such beast exists yet :). However, in one fairly likely implementation possibility, the Freeview EPG timers should be able to do accurate handover for consecutive recordings on the same service (the VPS model of recording where a marker in the broadcast stream changes when the program content changes).

My other misgiving about the way Freeview EPG timers work stands, though, independent of implementation, since it involves the nature of time as we know it :) It is an improvement, though, over padding. Just not a complete solution.

Online prl

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Re: New Freeview EPG & Ice
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2010, 11:53:50 AM »
Erm,... so basically, for those of us technically deficient,... no real change then, unless the networks suddenly decide to play nice and actually start and stop as scheduled    :?
The Freeview EPG does offer an improvement over padding. But it can't cover all conflicts caused by the broadcasters not sticking to their schedule. Not without the violation of space-time, anyway :)

In those situations where Freeview EPG can't resolve a recording conflict, though, padding does no better, and typically doesn't work as well.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2010, 12:10:42 PM by prl »

Offline Nodeity

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Re: New Freeview EPG & Ice
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2010, 12:34:11 PM »
Yeah,... see, the way I see it, from right back to when I had my “Toppy 5000” I always figured that the networks, particularly 9, were bullying owners of PVR's, because of the Add skip issue. Somehow I don't think they'll stop being dicks about it now  :(

Online prl

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Re: New Freeview EPG & Ice
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2010, 12:56:20 PM »
Yeah,... see, the way I see it, from right back to when I had my “Toppy 5000” I always figured that the networks, particularly 9, were bullying owners of PVR's, because of the Add skip issue. Somehow I don't think they'll stop being dicks about it now  :(

The reasons the networks are thought to deliberately deviate from schedule probably aren't driven directly by PVRs (or VCRs, this predates digital TV, and possibly predates consumer TV recording). It's all about audience retention; trying to make sure that once someone is on your channel, they stay on it. One device in that is to make it uncertain whether, if you change to another channel, you'll miss part of the program on one or the other. That can be done by not running to schedule. Dropping the ad breaks between shows means that even a small difference in timing will mean you're likely to miss something.

Wikipedia items on the same page as the two links list some of the other ways that broadcasters try to retain audiences for longer than they might otherwise stay on the channel.

That it also makes it harder to use PVRs and skip all the ads is just icing on the cake :)

One other Wikipedia item suggests that people who have PVRs may actually watch more normal speed ads than people who don't have PVRs.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2010, 01:13:25 PM by prl »

Offline Nodeity

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Re: New Freeview EPG & Ice
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2010, 02:18:09 PM »
Hopefully,... and I do mean "Hopefully" because they've sold so many supposedly “freeview” enabled products already that aren't actually able to use this new EPG's full capability, they just might have to actually start and Finnish when advertised. Maybe they've painted themselves into a corner on this. Or am I wrong about the products already sold ?

Online prl

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Re: New Freeview EPG & Ice
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2010, 05:12:10 PM »
Hopefully,... and I do mean "Hopefully" because they've sold so many supposedly “freeview” enabled products already that aren't actually able to use this new EPG's full capability, they just might have to actually start and Finnish when advertised. Maybe they've painted themselves into a corner on this. Or am I wrong about the products already sold ?

"We'll give you $50 for your old Freeview PVR to trade up to a Freeview EPG PVR".

It's uncertain whether existing Freeview devices will be firmware upgradable to Freeview EPG.

Offline Nodeity

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Re: New Freeview EPG & Ice
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2010, 06:02:00 PM »
Hopefully,... and I do mean "Hopefully" because they've sold so many supposedly “freeview” enabled products already that aren't actually able to use this new EPG's full capability, they just might have to actually start and Finnish when advertised. Maybe they've painted themselves into a corner on this. Or am I wrong about the products already sold ?

"We'll give you $50 for your old Freeview PVR to trade up to a Freeview EPG PVR".

It's uncertain whether existing Freeview devices will be firmware upgradable to Freeview EPG.

Actually, I don't own a "Freeview PVR" I was never silly enough to fall into that trap. I was just speaking out for those who did get ripped off! I own a Wiz P1 & P2 plus my old Toppy 5000.

Online prl

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Re: New Freeview EPG & Ice
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2010, 07:01:20 PM »
...

"We'll give you $50 for your old Freeview PVR to trade up to a Freeview EPG PVR".

It's uncertain whether existing Freeview devices will be firmware upgradable to Freeview EPG.

Actually, I don't own a "Freeview PVR" I was never silly enough to fall into that trap. I was just speaking out for those who did get ripped off! I own a Wiz P1 & P2 plus my old Toppy 5000.
[/quote]

It was just meant to be a generic reply...

Offline Saltcastle

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Re: New Freeview EPG & Ice
« Reply #12 on: July 13, 2010, 08:05:25 PM »
I think this whole Freeview EPG thing really revolves around finding a solution to the problem of programs not ending / starting when they are scheduled to start. Its a major pain, really, but as others pointed out, there is good reason for the networks (some at least) to do that. And of course, let's not forget that there are a few really good reasons that sometime a program needs to run longer. Say its the 5th set in a Grand Slam Tennis final and a tie break is about to start - oops, sorry folks, but our broadcast for Parliament Questioning time is about to start. You know what I mean.

For IceTV there would be some workarounds that would ease that problem to some extent. For starters, the time intervals when the Wiz talks to IceTV need to be shorter. Then, when a program is about to run over time, IceTv could send "additional" timers out to all the Wizes starting when the program was supposed to stop at the regular programming schedule.

I guess that would however require human intervention and judgement - in other words, someone doing nothing else but watch TV and monitor programs for their "punctuality". Not a bad job to have, come to think of it, but probably cost prohibitive I guess. Maybe it could even be managed by a handful of trusted "moderators" who have access to IceTV's server controls via a simple web page. Wishful thinking, huh? ;)  Besides, most IceTV users would probably not be sitting there watching live TV and see when something runs over time. Damn - I thought I had an idea there  :-[

On a more serious note though, one other thing that I would just love to see in IceTV is the ability to set the amount of padding online when programming a show via IceTV interactive. We all know the culprit networks and the ones that behave properly. But my padding settings are of course set to cater for the lowest common denominator. So a 30 minutes Kids show on ABC unnecessarily gets the same padding of 20 minutes as a late show on Ch9 or 10 gets. I don't think it would be too tough to add a drop down box in "interactive" that allows the selection of added recording time.

Just a thought.


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