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IceTV Guide for IceTV enabled PVRs => Windows Vista Media Center => Topic started by: philzgr8 on July 19, 2006, 09:24:21 AM

Title: Standby and Guide Updates / Fixes
Post by: philzgr8 on July 19, 2006, 09:24:21 AM
I did a search and found a few posts describing standby issues and guide updates etc but I'm not really clear exactly what needs to be done to have the guide updating and the fixes all happening etc when my machine is usually in standby. If I set PIMP to update every 4 hours will the machine come out of standby and update then go back into standby every 4 hours? I assume that the guide update will cause this wake/sleep cycle but the whole process seems a little bit vague and perhaps a bit confused because I'm not sure whether enhancements in the latest version have changed the way it works. Can someone please explain clearly what the process is and how I should set it up to get the most reliable results?
Thanks,

Phil
Title: Re: Standby and Guide Updates / Fixes
Post by: philzgr8 on July 21, 2006, 04:23:02 PM
Bump...

Despite some more reading I'm still not sure what is the expected behaviour for any given setting. In other words which, if any actions cause the machine to come out of standby. I'm assuming that the fixes and the guide update would do that but I'm not sure what the function of the PIMP update is and how it affects standby if at all.
Title: Re: Standby and Guide Updates / Fixes
Post by: Shane on July 21, 2006, 07:51:27 PM
Hi,

My guess is that PIMP and standby aren't going to work well together - they are in fact almost a conflict of interest.

Standby wants to put your computer to sleep whenever you the user aren't using it for anything, ie watching TV, movies, web, recording tv etc.

PIMP is a service that requires the PC to be always on as it needs to be in constant contact with an external server so you can use it to program recordings at a moments notice.

If you set your PC to standby whenever it is not in use, you negate the capability PIMP brings as the client can no longer talk to the PIMP server. You set a recording up via the web, and it doesn't get updated until the next time you turn your PC on? Failed or missed recording would be the result.

Personally I leave my Media Center PC running all of the time - it is the only PC in my house on 24 hours a day. PIMP updates to the Ice PIMP server every 5 mins, so whether I am visiting my parents 3 hours away, or sitting in my office, I know that a show I program to record will be on my PC at home and scheduled within the next 5 mins.

So you need to decide what you want to do... save a little bit of money using standby, or have the convenience of PIMP to remotely schedule recordings at a moments notice. I believe they are mutually exclusive.

Regards,
Shane.
Title: Re: Standby and Guide Updates / Fixes
Post by: JPP on July 21, 2006, 08:10:26 PM
Hi Shane,

I've been posting a bit in the Topfield PIMP thread, but reading your post here I have a suggestion that will perhaps get around the 24/7 ON requirement.

In the case of my Toppy, which I have directly connected to the net via the IceBox2, I have suggested in one of my posts that the timer info could perhaps be slotted in at the same time as the user has set his IceBox up to get the EPG from the Ice Server. For example in my case, I have set the time to get the EPG at 2.15pm, during a half hour of a non-recording timer on the Toppy between 2 and 2.30pm.

Now I normally don't have any recordings set for daytime, so the Toppy is in standby except for that half hour. But, I have noticed, that if the Toppy isn't ON at the time you have the upload of the EPG set, the IceBox2 will actually cue the transmission to the Toppy and continually retry, firstly every 1/2 hr from memory, and then hourly, until it finally gets it into your Toppy when it's powered up.

So, even if the Toppy is OFF at the time the upload of the EPG, it will get it eventually. If the PIMP commands could likewise be cued, it wouldn't matter when the Toppy came ON, as long as of course it would come on before the updated or new timer was to kick in.

Not sure how this would work on a PC based PVR, but the above might be some food for thought.

Phil.
Title: Re: Standby and Guide Updates / Fixes
Post by: Shane on July 21, 2006, 09:04:14 PM
I have suggested in one of my posts that the timer info could perhaps be slotted in at the same time as the user has set his IceBox up to get the EPG from the Ice Server. For example in my case, I have set the time to get the EPG at 2.15pm, during a half hour of a non-recording timer on the Toppy between 2 and 2.30pm.

Phil,

Thanks for the suggestions. There are however two problems I see with this:

1. A PC can't be easily programmed to come out of standby without third party utilities.
2. A scheduled timer update once a day wouldn't work if you wanted to record a show that started in the next 10mins

The beauty of PIMP is I can be at work (or wherever) and go: "I really want to record this show I've just been told about, and it starts in 20mins" and with PIMP updating every 5mins (as per default) this works.

I guess if this isn't an option you want or need you could get around it with a daily schedule update. PIMP will update whenever there is a network connection.

Regards,
Shane.
Title: Re: Standby and Guide Updates / Fixes
Post by: Marc on July 22, 2006, 05:30:57 PM
Shane, I've had the same dilemma with my Mac mini and come to the exact same conclusion... I think it has to be on 24/7. I have PIMP set to every 15mins though. Depending on the system, the HDs should sleep and the screen is off (ie. your TV!), so hopefully it's not sucking up too much juice.
Title: Re: Standby and Guide Updates / Fixes
Post by: philzgr8 on July 25, 2006, 10:28:57 AM
1. A PC can't be easily programmed to come out of standby without third party utilities.
Shane,
I'm not sure what gave you that impression. Personally I can schedule virtually anything I like and tell XP to wake from standby to perform that action and it works perfectly.
Title: Re: Standby and Guide Updates / Fixes
Post by: Shane on July 25, 2006, 10:41:57 AM
Shane,
I'm not sure what gave you that impression. Personally I can schedule virtually anything I like and tell XP to wake from standby to perform that action and it works perfectly.

Can I ask you what you are using to do this?

Even still - for me another reason to leave my machine on is I use an Xbox 360 as a MCE Extender, and because Microsoft don't have "magic packet" support (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Packet) in the 360 Extender functionality there is no easy way to ensure the system is running when someone else in my family, or a friend or visitor wants to watch TV.

Regards,
Shane.
Title: Re: Standby and Guide Updates / Fixes
Post by: philzgr8 on July 25, 2006, 11:12:17 AM
Can I ask you what you are using to do this?

Even still - for me another reason to leave my machine on is I use an Xbox 360 as a MCE Extender, and because Microsoft don't have "magic packet" support (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Packet) in the 360 Extender functionality there is no easy way to ensure the system is running when someone else in my family, or a friend or visitor wants to watch TV.
Shane,
I just use the standard Windows Task scheduler. (Start-Programs-Accessories-System Tools-Scheduled Tasks) but you will have to have a password configured for the user account that you log in with. Logging in might seem like an issue in itself but if you use the tweakxp hacks to configure automatic logons the problems all go away. If you get stuck there are some really good discussions on this stuff in the xpmediacenter.com.au forums.
Title: Re: Standby and Guide Updates / Fixes
Post by: Shane on July 25, 2006, 11:31:08 AM
Shane,
I just use the standard Windows Task scheduler. (Start-Programs-Accessories-System Tools-Scheduled Tasks) but you will have to have a password configured for the user account that you log in with. Logging in might seem like an issue in itself but if you use the tweakxp hacks to configure automatic logons the problems all go away. If you get stuck there are some really good discussions on this stuff in the xpmediacenter.com.au forums.

Actually I have tried this, and whilst it works (definately not idiot proof) I've found a better option in Auto Power-On and Shutdown (http://www.lifsoft.com/power/ (http://www.lifsoft.com/power/)) to do these things. It is a paid tool but has extra capability that Task Scheduler lacks.

Regards,
Shane.
Title: Re: Standby and Guide Updates / Fixes
Post by: BJReplay on July 26, 2006, 09:55:06 PM
...don't have "magic packet" support (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Packet)...

This is actually the secret - add WOL (and STUN and uPnP) to PIMP.

Woot.

You can do it without STUN as the server can determine the external IP, and you can do it without uPnP by setting up a static port forward & IP address.

This would be worth testing out (simply, with hand configured IP, port & MAC settings) to see if it works, and adding the flash automation stuff if it does.

If you look at some of the links in the wikipedia article you quoted, Shane, you can see there are already services out there that do this, so it isn't too hard.
Title: Re: Standby and Guide Updates / Fixes
Post by: Shane on July 26, 2006, 10:04:29 PM
BJ - nice idea !

Whilst this doesn't fix my issue with the 360 not being able to wake up the PC, it should fix the issue of waking the machine from standby to update the PIMP client (which is the topic's original point).

Up to Ice team (Doug?) to see if this is a possibility.

Regards,
Shane.
Title: Re: Standby and Guide Updates / Fixes
Post by: peteru on July 27, 2006, 12:40:55 AM
UPnP won't let you keep a port open indefinitely. The forward has to be renewed regularly, otherwise it expires.

Not that any of that matters, since WOL is done with a broadcast packet at the Ethernet level, whereas UPnP works at the IP level. Ethernet broadcasts are not forwarded by routers either.

About the closest solution you would get is to have an embedded always-on device, like the IceBox2, connected to your local Ethernet segment, acting as a WOL agent for your main PC.
Title: Re: Standby and Guide Updates / Fixes
Post by: BJReplay on July 27, 2006, 08:24:59 AM
Peter, I was probably mislead by the fact that if I look at the port forwards in my router, I see two ports opened by Azureus - I last used Azureus weeks ago to DL knoppix, and it hasn't been run since.

Interestingly, though, now that I have another look, it is gone - the thing is that I added a static port forward for WOL testing - so maybe that's the trigger for the router - a new port forward causes out of date uPnPs to expire. So I'm not sure how long the expiration is, but there are ways around that.

WOL can be done with a broadcast packet, but it can also be done with a specific packet.

Anyway, I did some testing last night.

DSL Reports has a wake up tool: http://www.dslreports.com/wakeup. You put in your external IP and a MAC.  Provided you've got port nine forwarded, it wakes up your PC.

So, I know that I can get system outside my router (BEFSR41) to forward a packet, and my NIC will wake up my PC.

All good.  I can be pretty confident that dslreports are not sending a broadcast packet.

What about if you want to wake more than one PC inside a router.  My router (at least) won't allow me to set the port forward address to the broadcast subnet (e.g. 192.168.1.255), so that's out.  That means multiple ports would need to be forwarded to multiple PCs - which is why I thought of uPnP.

However, if that is out, then you could, at least, manually set up port forwards for each PC running PIMP that you wanted woken up.  Even if you have to set these up manually - and even if you need to configure the same settings on each PC in PIMP or on the server, it can be done, so it's a viable option.
Title: Re: Standby and Guide Updates / Fixes
Post by: Marc on July 27, 2006, 01:24:25 PM
While I don't have the same depth of understand as most of the guys is this thread, would waking up your computer every 5 mins be healthy? Or isn't that what's being suggested? Even if PIMP is set to update once every 30mins, I still think I'd prefer always on when compared to wake up and sleep every 30mins. Surely that'd shorten the life of the media center?
Title: Re: Standby and Guide Updates / Fixes
Post by: BJReplay on July 27, 2006, 05:09:27 PM
Hi Marc,

The intention wasn't to wake every 5 minutes to update PIMP, but rather, only if a recording request is scheduled by a user via the PIMP server, and the server detects that the device has not picked up the request (say) 15 minutes before the scheduled start time of the request, that it then sends a WOL packet to wake up the HTPC.

That way the PC gets to sleep, until it wakes up to record something it already knows about, or the PIMP server knows it needs to be woken up to be told about a recording that it doesn't yet have scheduled.

It gives you the best of both worlds - PIMP for last minute "I want to record this" requests, but the HTPC sleeping when not required.
Title: Re: Standby and Guide Updates / Fixes
Post by: philzgr8 on July 28, 2006, 11:39:40 AM
Sorry to bring this thread back on topic guys but I think I need to restate the original question in a different way. From my observations it seems that guide updates and fixes cause the machine to automatically come out of standby while PIMP updates only occur while the machine is awake. If that is correct then I would assume that the PIMP updates could be safely set to 5 minute intervals and they would likely occur when the machine wakes to update the guide.

Is that the way it works?
Title: Re: Standby and Guide Updates / Fixes
Post by: Shane on July 28, 2006, 06:40:36 PM
Phil,

The last 4 or 5 posts have actually been right on topic.

PIMP does as you state - it will update when the machine is "awake". The problem is if your machine only wakes to record programs that it already has in it's guide, or when the guide needs to update, you lose one of the best features of PIMP, the "last minute recording" from anywhere (via phone or web).

This is because the client needs to connect to the server as regularly as possible to pull down the latest programs you want it to record. If the machine is off and you ask PIMP to record something - more than likely it won't record as the PIMP client won't be able to update MCE.

With the WOL functionality BJ is talking about, it may actually be possible for your machine to be asleep, and the PIMP server (ie at IceTV's premises) wakes your computer up to allow the PIMP client to connect, and therefore grab that "last minute recording".

Here's hoping the WOL capability as described by BJ is a feasible option.

Regards,
Shane.
Title: Re: Standby and Guide Updates / Fixes
Post by: BJReplay on July 28, 2006, 07:20:41 PM
Here's hoping the WOL capability as described by BJ is a feasible option.

Yeah, I hope so - I'm hoping DB can come to the rescue here (Peter as you know, I'm happy to help off line).

Otherwise I'll have to hack someone else's work and create QuickWOLâ„¢!

Sorry to bring this thread back on topic guys but I think I need to restate the original question in a different way. From my observations it seems that guide updates and fixes cause the machine to automatically come out of standby while PIMP updates only occur while the machine is awake. If that is correct then I would assume that the PIMP updates could be safely set to 5 minute intervals and they would likely occur when the machine wakes to update the guide.

Is that the way it works?

Phil, your understanding is correct.  I haven't personally observed my HTPC waking up to do a guide update - I have, infact, observed my dev PC doing a guide update 'late' after I manually wake it up - so I suspect that MCE natively doesn't wake up to do a guide update, though PIMP might.

But, in summary, if PIMP is set for five minute updates - and anything wakes up the PC, PIMP will be able to update.

However, my HTPC isn't reliably sleeping any more.  I haven't bothered to see if it is PIMP keeping it awake, or the fact that the mobo died and I did a mobo transplant without a re-install.  One possibility is, however, that PIMP might keep your PC from sleeping if five minute updates are more frequent than the standby/hibernate timeout.

On the chance that PIMP was keeping the HTPC awake, I've set the update to 20 minutes (Standby is set to 15 minutes), and it seems to have allowed the HTPC to go to sleep.

Now, lets get back OT.  Peter, Doug, any comments on WOL?
Title: Re: Standby and Guide Updates / Fixes
Post by: philzgr8 on July 31, 2006, 08:07:39 AM
With the benefit of a bit of time over the weekend I find that the PC is definitely waking to do the guide updates and I suspect the guide fixes too. It clearly is not waking every 5 minutes to do the PIMP update but I am finding that pimp is causing some kind of problem once or twice a week where by the time I get to it there are about 40 or 50 error dialogs on the screen. I haven't had time to document them yet because my kids were over on the weekend and they wanted to watch something at the time but I have found that when it happens there are so many error dialogs that the only reasonable way to fix it is to press the reset button... not ideal! When I see it again I'll try to document the error and post in a new thread.