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IceTV Guide for IceTV enabled PVRs => SKIPPA => Topic started by: Wayne Richmond on July 13, 2015, 04:42:31 PM

Title: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: Wayne Richmond on July 13, 2015, 04:42:31 PM
I really like what I've heard so far about Skippa and am very tempted to place an order but am I the only one who thinks that 1tb is a tad small - especially considering the Skippa's three tuners!   :)

Is IceTV considering offering a 2tb version?  Our current machine is a TiVo with 1.16tb and it full.  My wife and I often record an entire series before starting to watch it.  We have, for example, a complete set of 'The Wire' ready to be watched at some future date!

I know it is possible to archive files onto a USB drive but we don't want to have to stuff around with that - we just want to have ready access to a large collection of files and, let's face it, a 2tb drive is not an unreasonable/expensive option these days.

Wayne
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: IanL-S on July 13, 2015, 05:07:24 PM
At the present time it is difficult to find 2.5" AV HDDs; the largest model from WesternDigital is WD10JUCT which has 1TB. Similarly HGST CinemaStar C5K1000 is the largest in the HGST rage and is 1TB. The Seagate Video 2.5" HDD top out at 500gig.

For performance reasons an AV specific HDD is desirable. While some PVR manufacturers have been known to use non-PVR specific 2.5" HDD, they tend to be up-market models. The largest I have been able to find are the Seagate-Samsung MT9 which comes in 1.5TB and 2TB - the 2TB model is available in Australia for about $180. WD have 2TB 2.5" USB drives but does not sell the naked HDD.

Ian
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: kavey8 on July 24, 2015, 12:56:44 PM
A few questions on this:

i) What will be the largest external USB Hard drive supported?

ii) File system?  (FAT 32?)

iii) Will the external HDD need to be divided into multiple partitions, and what will be the max partition size?

iv) To search through a listing of all the content on the external HDD, will the user have to manually switch from one partition to another?

v)  Will any functionality be lost if content is stored on the external USB HDD rather than the internal 1 GB HDD?  (e.g. will ad skipping still work?  full program meta data still retained?)

vi) Same questions, but applied to content moved from the Skippa internal HDD to external network storage or media PC.  Will exported via WiFi be feasible?

Thanks
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: IanL-S on July 24, 2015, 01:58:17 PM
There would be no point in supporting FAT32 as it has a max file size of 4Gig. A better bet would be NTFS or the media storage optimised ExFAT: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExFAT. My recollection is that write speeds are faster if ExFAT is used.

The max partition size is determined by the operating system. My recollection is that the SKIPPA uses Linux, so it would depend on the Linux kernel being used: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux_kernel. To support partitions greater than 2TB the kernel would need support for GPT. All recent Linux kernel support GPT.

Ian
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: Dave at IceTV on July 24, 2015, 05:17:02 PM
For external drives SKIPPA supports NTFS as read/write (as well as FAT32!). As SKIPPA 'moves' recordings to external USB drives I would not recommend using a FAT32 formatted USB drive unless you were certain the size of the file you want to move is less than 4GB
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: kavey8 on July 26, 2015, 08:24:43 AM
Thanks, Dave.

Any info on max ext drive / partition size, and also file size per hour of recoded content?
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: IanL-S on July 26, 2015, 08:45:57 AM
It is difficult to give an estimate of hours of storage due to the different resolutions used on various free-to-air LCNs; all but LCN78 are MPEG 2 ts, LCN78 uses the more efficient MPEG4 ts. Also, raw hours or hours adjusted for pre- and post-padding will differ. The real unknown is how must storage will be taken up by the add-skipping information for each recording.

Ian

Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: Wayne Richmond on July 26, 2015, 09:23:13 AM
Quote
The real unknown is how must storage will be taken up by the add-skipping information for each recording.

All the more reason, I reckon, that it is a shame that the Skippa isn't available with a larger drive.   :)


Wayne
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: prl on July 26, 2015, 10:09:00 AM
However it's generated, I can't see much need for the ad-skip info to be more than a few hundred bytes per recording and proportional in size to the number of ads in the recording.
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: IanL-S on July 26, 2015, 11:41:06 AM
However it's generated, I can't see much need for the ad-skip info to be more than a few hundred bytes per recording and proportional in size to the number of ads in the recording.

My thinking also.

Ian
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: prl on July 26, 2015, 01:25:25 PM
However it's generated, I can't see much need for the ad-skip info to be more than a few hundred bytes per recording and proportional in size to the number of ads in the recording.

My thinking also.

Ian
Cut marks on the Beyonwiz T series are a gigantic 12 bytes each, 8 bytes for the recording offset and 4 bytes for the cut mark type (the cut mark type is actually only 3 bits long, so there's plenty of room for more types :) ). A pair of them (cut out/cut in) serves to skip an ad, though that has to be done manually on the T series.

So for each ad in a T series recording, you need 24 bytes to skip it. Four ads is a touch less than 100 bytes.

There's no reason that the Skippa would use the same format, but it can certainly be done with very little data. Disappearingly little compared to the size of the recording.
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: Dave at IceTV on July 26, 2015, 06:51:07 PM
i) What will be the largest external USB Hard drive supported?
Skippa can read from and write to an 8TB HDD in a USB caddy okay.

ii) File system?  (FAT 32?)
Skippa can read from and write to FAT, FAT32, NTFS and EXT4 (I didn't try EXT2 or EXT3). Skippa can NOT see exFAT formatted partitions/drives.

iii) Will the external HDD need to be divided into multiple partitions, and what will be the max partition size?
Multiple partitions are not necessary, but Skippa can read from and write to drives with multiple partitions.

Skippa will always move recordings to the 1st partition of the 1st drive, or the 1st drive if the're only 1 partition. You don't get to choose the destination drive or partition to move recordings to. You also don't get to choose the folder. Skippa creates a top-level folder named 'skippa' and moves the recordings there.

The device info menu page can only fit the first 3 USB drives in the displayed list of connected USB devices. But the actual media menu where you access Local Devices (i.e. USB) or Network Devices (i.e. DLNA) can list many more. I had a USB hub with 3 USB sticks and a USB caddy with a 2 partition USB drive connected and it listed all 5 drives/partitions.

iv) To search through a listing of all the content on the external HDD, will the user have to manually switch from one partition to another?
Yes.

v)  Will any functionality be lost if content is stored on the external USB HDD rather than the internal 1 GB HDD?  (e.g. will ad skipping still work?  full program meta data still retained?)
Currently, yes, meta data, resume points, bookmarks and auto skip points are not moved to the USB drive with the recording. These extra files (or at least 2 of them) are moved with the recording to the USB drive but they are 0 bytes. I believe this will be changed in a future firmware update but I need to confirm this.

vi) Same questions, but applied to content moved from the Skippa internal HDD to external network storage or media PC.  Will exported via WiFi be feasible?
Recording can only be moved to an external USB drive and not copied, so answer above applies.

There is no LAN or WiFi access to or from a computer, other than streaming to a DLNA media player or from a DLNA media server. Skippa is both a DLNA media client and media server.

You can copy a recording's DLNA url from a media player (like Windows Media Player) on a computer and then paste that url into the address bar of any web browser to download the recording's TS file directly to a computer. The TS file will have a number for it's filename so you will probably want to rename the file after it downloads. You can copy the original show's name from the properties in the DLNA media player (where you get the url from). No meat data is copied with the recording when using this trick.
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: prl on July 26, 2015, 06:55:29 PM
... Skippa can read from and write to ... EXT4 (I didn't try EXT2 or EXT3). ...
If it's the standard Linux ext4 driver, it should also be able to read/write ext2 and ext3.
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: JPP on July 26, 2015, 07:02:25 PM
As Warkus (Mark) has pointed out on Whirlpool, it may be possible to use an Opera TV app to download files via the Ethernet port.

Another option would be to use a driver-less USB2/3 to Ethernet dongle.

Maybe ICETV could comment on these 2 options.  I do remember that some sort of "promise" was made that perhaps a future FW update would allow direct file transfer via Ethernet, but Dave did not mention that in the post 2 up.
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: kavey8 on July 30, 2015, 10:06:52 AM
"v)  Will any functionality be lost if content is stored on the external USB HDD rather than the internal 1 GB HDD?  (e.g. will ad skipping still work?  full program meta data still retained?)

Currently, yes, meta data, resume points, bookmarks and auto skip points are not moved to the USB drive with the recording. These extra files (or at least 2 of them) are moved with the recording to the USB drive but they are 0 bytes. I believe this will be changed in a future firmware update but I need to confirm this."


If the exported content (i.e. moved from the Skippa internal HDD to other storage) loses the ability to show program summary, synopsis etc., that is a real concern.  Factors which make this even more problematic are the relatively small size of the internal HDD (1 TB), the amount of storage space wasted by pre- and post- padding, and the stated requirement that the HDD should not become more than 95% full. 

Even my ancient T-Box is able to show the meta-data from exported content.  (Ideally, autoskip functionality should also be retained for content exported from the Skippa.)

This could be a deal-breaker.  Any more news on this, Dave? 

Thanks.
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: Dave at IceTV on July 30, 2015, 03:07:30 PM
"v)  Will any functionality be lost if content is stored on the external USB HDD rather than the internal 1 GB HDD?  (e.g. will ad skipping still work?  full program meta data still retained?)

Currently, yes, meta data, resume points, bookmarks and auto skip points are not moved to the USB drive with the recording. These extra files (or at least 2 of them) are moved with the recording to the USB drive but they are 0 bytes. I believe this will be changed in a future firmware update but I need to confirm this."


If the exported content (i.e. moved from the Skippa internal HDD to other storage) loses the ability to show program summary, synopsis etc., that is a real concern.  Factors which make this even more problematic are the relatively small size of the internal HDD (1 TB), the amount of storage space wasted by pre- and post- padding, and the stated requirement that the HDD should not become more than 95% full. 

Even my ancient T-Box is able to show the meta-data from exported content.  (Ideally, autoskip functionality should also be retained for content exported from the Skippa.)

This could be a deal-breaker.  Any more news on this, Dave? 

I think I was wrong about this. The recording I looked at had 0 byte meta data and navigation files, but others I've got on USB sticks have files with information in them. I don't know if the was firmware version or if I was using a FAT formatted USB stick and that's why the meta data files were empty. They definitely show parental rating and how much of the file you played etc but no information when pressing the info button. I need to test some more with the latest firmware.
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: kavey8 on July 31, 2015, 11:31:49 AM
Thanks, Dave.

Given that the provision of meta-data (program summary, synopsis etc.) for exported content is such a fundamental and essential requirement, any idea of when you will have more info on this?
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: kavey8 on August 03, 2015, 02:53:16 PM
Hi Dave

Don't want to bug you on this, but it's such a fundamental aspect of the unit's operation that I'm hoping we can get an answer quite soon.  Any idea when that might be?

Cheers
Title: * Showstopper / Dealbreaker? * Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: kavey8 on August 10, 2015, 04:33:21 PM
Hi Dave and Leon

I'm getting a bit concerned by the lack of further info on this.

I think it has already been established that:

i) Skippa will not allow wasted space from padding to be edited out
ii) this will use significant amounts of disc space
iii) the user guide states that the internal 1TB drive must not be allowed to become more than 95% full
iv) with these factors and multi-channel record capabilities, it is likely that the internal HDD may become full within a matter of weeks for some users
v) many users will then wish to 'export' program content to an external USB hard drive or some other external storage / server.

No real problem so far... except that it was suggested a few weeks ago by Dave that content meta-data may not be included in the exported files - and that this means that simple things like reading program content title, synopsis, summary (timing, original broadcast channel) may not be accessible for exported content.

Presumably, the auto-skip function may also not be available for exported content...?

If the above is correct, then this would appear to be a pretty fundamental shortcoming in the product - a bit of a showstopper, in fact.

I hope that there turns out to be no issue here...but, as I mentioned, I'm concerned by the lack of further information.

What does the design spec for the product say with regard to this, and what have your tests revealed?  Please provide an update - or at least, say what is happening to investigate this.

Thaanks
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: Wayne Richmond on August 10, 2015, 06:01:05 PM
I'm sorry to keep harping on this but my original question still stands - 'Why can't a larger drive be at least an option?'

If the Beyonwiz T4 can come with a 4tb drive, surely the Skippa can have more than 1tb.  And if it did, this whole issue would go away or at least become much less dire.  Who really wants to be stuffing around with moving files between drives anyway?
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: IanL-S on August 10, 2015, 08:40:29 PM
I'm sorry to keep harping on this but my original question still stands - 'Why can't a larger drive be at least an option?'

If the Beyonwiz T4 can come with a 4tb drive, surely the Skippa can have more than 1tb.  And if it did, this whole issue would go away or at least become much less dire.  Who really wants to be stuffing around with moving files between drives anyway?

The max internal HDD size is dictated by the form factor choosen; the Skippa has 2.5" interal HDD wheras the T4 has a 3.5" HDD. At the presnet time I beleive the max 2.5" AV HDD is 1TB; the largest 2.5" drives are only 2TB. For 3.5" HDD you can easily find 6TB AV dives, and I think there are 8TB models. Once the 2.5" for factor was decided on, the 1TB limit was imposed by what is available in the market.

Ian
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: Wayne Richmond on August 11, 2015, 07:23:26 AM
Quote
The max internal HDD size is dictated by the form factor choosen; the Skippa has 2.5" interal HDD wheras the T4 has a 3.5" HDD. At the presnet time I beleive the max 2.5" AV HDD is 1TB; the largest 2.5" drives are only 2TB. For 3.5" HDD you can easily find 6TB AV dives, and I think there are 8TB models. Once the 2.5" for factor was decided on, the 1TB limit was imposed by what is available in the market.

In that case that was a very poor and somewhat inexplicable decision for a device that could have easily housed the larger drives!   :(


Wayne
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: FMB on August 11, 2015, 08:45:57 AM
I'm not sure I understand the problem here. I've been using my TiVo for years now. It has a 160Gb drive and I've never run into problems with lack of storage. Sure, TiVo automatically deletes files after a certain period, but I've never had it delete a show I haven't watched.

In reality, those shows or series you've recorded and want to keep, do you ever actually watch them again? Also, these are shows you recorded from FTA so there's a very high probability they will be repeated (repeatedly). For those shows you seem to think need to be stored forever, there is an option to save them to an external drive which you can lock away and never look at again.

The problem isn't Skippa, it's you. Come to terms with it, learn to manage your content and try not to blame IceTV for your obsession.
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: JPP on August 11, 2015, 09:18:57 AM
I'm not sure I understand the problem here. I've been using my TiVo for years now. It has a 160Gb drive and I've never run into problems with lack of storage. Sure, TiVo automatically deletes files after a certain period, but I've never had it delete a show I haven't watched.

In reality, those shows or series you've recorded and want to keep, do you ever actually watch them again? Also, these are shows you recorded from FTA so there's a very high probability they will be repeated (repeatedly). For those shows you seem to think need to be stored forever, there is an option to save them to an external drive which you can lock away and never look at again.

The problem isn't Skippa, it's you. Come to terms with it, learn to manage your content and try not to blame IceTV for your obsession.
Couldn't have said it better myself. I've had various Toppies for more years than I care to remember and never had more than 500GB drives in them. I manage space occasionally by deleting old recordings that I know I will never have the time to watch either again or for the first time.
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: kavey8 on August 11, 2015, 09:47:06 AM
"For those shows you seem to think need to be stored forever, there is an option to save them to an external drive which you can lock away and never look at again."

I also believe it is a great pity that the Skippa does not use a 3.5 inch HDD.

However, the issue I raised was not about the ability or inability to export to an external drive - in my book, that has to be a given, otherwise the machine is a not worth considering.  (Imagine the situation where you have more than one person in the household making recordings across multiple channels using three tuners, some recordings in HD, with substantial amounts of space wasted due to pre- and post-content padding which cannot be edited out - the internal HDD *will* fill up.)

The real concern I raised is the potential lack of meta-data for the exported content - so that several items on the internal HDD which are listed as, say:

David Attenborough in Africa - Episode 1 - Elephants
David Attenborough in Africa - Episode 2 - Big Cats
Q & A - 10-Aug-15
Insight - 11-Aug-15

become, after export, listed as:

3845gdnef.mp4
375534egq.mp4
427043e73.mp4
264400000.mp4

This is a simplified, hypothetical example (not the actual format of the meta-data or the file names, just an example).  Other meta-data, such as summary information, might also be lost).

Presumably the auto-skip function depends on meta-data, so that may also not be available for exported content...?

Initially Dave at IceTV said he though that no meta-data was exported to external storage, then there seemed to be a suggestion that some of it *is* exported, but that some of the meta-data files are in fact empty.

I'd find it amazing if this degree of functionality were lost for exported content - and really hope we can get some clarity on this soon (please!).


Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: IanL-S on August 11, 2015, 09:56:00 AM
I'd find it amazing if this degree of functionality were lost for exported content - and really hope we can get some clarity on this soon (please!).

Definitely need clarification on this point. It also appears that you can only move recordings to the external HDD one at a time which is decidedly inconvenient.

Ian
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: csutak40 on August 11, 2015, 09:37:08 PM

The problem isn't Skippa, it's you. Come to terms with it, learn to manage your content and try not to blame IceTV for your obsession.

Well, anyone that wasn't "obsessed" wouldn't bother buying a PVR with a large (supposedly, until you find out that half of it would be taken up with padding) HDD.  In fact, you probably wouldn't bother buying a PVR, period.

I for one, wouldn't want any PVR to automatically delete anything.  I have my own "system", which includes immediately removing the padding from any show that I plan to watch later.  Then I watch the shows from the commercial channels first, as they have ads, so take up more room.  That doesn't mean I don't want to watch the shows I've recorded from the ABC, just they come last.  I also save up series and tend to binge watch those.

If I am running  short on space, then I have a look to see what's on the drive and may delete some that I am not that interested in. I would be really annoyed if it decided to delete things for me.
ATM, I have a 750 gig HDD and that rarely happens.  Just checked, have  498Gig spare ATM.   :D
I still don't understand why my ancient Toppy 5k can do stuff that a modern PVR can't
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: warkus on August 11, 2015, 09:49:18 PM
I think you should just give up on purchasing any PVR to be honest.

Sounds like that toppy 5000 is pretty much perfect! Get it repaired and keep it... Much better than any other PVR out there by the sounds of it.

Not sure why you are even looking for a replacement.

Mark
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: csutak40 on August 12, 2015, 03:17:38 AM

Sounds like that toppy 5000 is pretty much perfect! Get it repaired and keep it... Much better than any other PVR out there by the sounds of it.

Not sure why you are even looking for a replacement.

Mark

I never said it was perfect.  As you know, it only has two tuners and doesn't do HD. And, it is getting rather long in the tooth. ;D  There is a time when repairing something is like throwing good money after bad.

What I did say (and I'm not alone) that it seems that the Skippa doesn't do quite a few things that I presumed was a given and/or were originally promised.

And I have also said that it is disappointing that most of the questions are not answered by IceTV.  They have been testing it with staff and families for about a month now, so surely, someone should know the machine back to front by now

I am a long-standing and happy customer of IceTV, but am an not happy with the present state of affairs.  I didn't ask any questions until I got a look at the manual and then, basically, I just asked questions to make sure I haven't misunderstood the manual.  The silence makes me presume that I hadn't

I don't believe I am being disloyal buy voicing my concerns.

I don't know you Mark, except by reputation.  I have no doubt that you know a lot about PVRs,  but it seems to me (could be wrong) that you are more interested in the hardware then the software. 

I am interested in both and I don't think that my questions and concerns are unreasonable, there is really no cause for sarcasm. I am not the only person asking similar questions - they include IanL-S, kavey8 just recently.
Title: Re: Additional storage for Skippa
Post by: warkus on August 12, 2015, 09:36:41 AM
I wasn't being sarcastic.

Actually from how you describe it and how it seems to suit your particular needs / situation / usage / do what you require, it's a perfect fit for you with the taps installed. You genuinely should look at getting it repaired, a replacement PSU for it is only about $50, because nothing new on the market seems to tick all of the boxes on your list, or have all the features you need like that machines does, yet anyway.

And no I'm not just concerned about just hardware or more concerned about hardware.

I already pre ordered it, that's why it's called a pre order, you do so knowing the risks, that it's not been real world tested yet, so im just waiting patiently like most others until it arrives. There is no point in my opinion guessing what it can and can't do until I play with it and see for it myself, nor is there any point in rubbishing or knocking icetv who are probably under a lot of pressure to get it released at the moment.

Your questions are not unreasonable, I didn't say they were Judy, but time to respond on here to everyone's posts is probably not the priority right now for icetv.