Author Topic: How often should Topfield 2460 interact with the IceTV website?  (Read 10208 times)

Offline boomerangirl

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How often should Topfield 2460 interact with the IceTV website?
« on: February 07, 2011, 06:38:52 PM »
Hi Everyone,

I've just wasted a day getting my shiny new 2460 setup and online via my airport base station.  This is my first PVR and I'm trying to get my head around how the whole system is supposed to work, so perhaps someone out there can enlighten me...?

I know from tech support that during the first 30 mins after switch on the 2460 will download the EPG and recording data from IceTV.  Then, during the next 30 mins it uploads confirmation (or not) data back to the IceTV site.  Hence, after about an hour, the PVR and the website should be in synch -- among other things, all the hollow 'queued recoring' icons in the My Week listing change into filled 'recording' ones... assuming the wireless network link hasn't gone down in the meantime.

The question is, what *should* happen next?  Should the 2460 keep talking to the IceTV webserver hour by hour, or do I have to force a synch by hitting the 'Resend All Recordings' button in the My Account section?

Also, does anyone out there have any tips for keeping the wireless link stable?  I have a Macbook and an Xbox that both use the basestation without any problems, but the 2460 has seemed reluctant to connect at least a couple of times after powering up.

Offline prl

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Re: How often should Topfield 2460 interact with the IceTV website?
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2011, 06:58:48 PM »
...
The question is, what *should* happen next?  Should the 2460 keep talking to the IceTV webserver hour by hour,

Yes.

or do I have to force a synch by hitting the 'Resend All Recordings' button in the My Account section?
...

No. That would be a right pain.
Peter
Beyonwiz T4 in-use
Beyonwiz T2, T3 & T4 for testing

Offline boomerangirl

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Re: How often should Topfield 2460 interact with the IceTV website?
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2011, 07:07:52 PM »
Yep, it's a real pain.  Any suggestions other than doing (another) factory reset and crossing my fingers...?

Offline prl

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Re: How often should Topfield 2460 interact with the IceTV website?
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2011, 10:30:03 PM »
Yep, it's a real pain.  Any suggestions other than doing (another) factory reset and crossing my fingers...?

Which bit? You shouldn't need to force synchs. As I said in my post.

Offline markb

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Re: How often should Topfield 2460 interact with the IceTV website?
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2011, 12:01:21 AM »
When I bought my Topfield 7100+ and set it up with ICE a few months ago I was also shocked that neither Topfield or ICE publish a description of how and when the ICE EPG and timer polling is performed. They would probably try and argue that it all "just works" but they are wrong, as for example, a user needs to know the minimum time before a program start at which you can set a remote timer (and what if your PVR is in standby etc). I have picked up an understanding of how this all works now, but only by trawling around this and the Topfield forums. Why this is not all stated clearly in an FAQ etc on the ICE site just perplexes me?

Offline prl

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Re: How often should Topfield 2460 interact with the IceTV website?
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2011, 09:05:26 AM »
There's an FAQ about what's known of how Topfield PVRs interact with IceTV on the Topfield forum. It's based on a similar FAQ on the Beyonwiz forum.

I agree that IceTV provides very little information about how IceTV is intended to work, and some of what they do provide is misleading, especially when the web page says "Note: it may take a few minutes for scheduled shows to appear" after a recording is created. On Beyonwiz recorders at least, it can be up to 30 minutes, and is an average of 15 minutes. I think that's a bit different from a "few" minutes. IceTV could definitely do better.
« Last Edit: February 08, 2011, 09:07:04 AM by prl »

Offline Daniel Hall at IceTV

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Re: How often should Topfield 2460 interact with the IceTV website?
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2011, 09:14:57 AM »
There is also this one:

http://www.icetv.com.au/cgi-bin/websupport.cgi?op=show_faq&cat_level=3&faq_id=115&faq_cat3_id=110

As for the few minutes message, this is purely for the website to go through and mark the rest of the episodes in the series as scheduled to record (but as queued ready for sending to the PVR).
Regards,

Daniel.
CTO.

Offline markb

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Re: How often should Topfield 2460 interact with the IceTV website?
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2011, 10:06:54 AM »
There's an FAQ about what's known of how Topfield PVRs interact with IceTV on the Topfield forum.

Yes, I know about that but that FAQ is on the community forum and created by public contributors as a "compilation" of observed and guessed information. It is not really authorative and certainly not in a place likely to be found by non-technical users.

There is also this one:

http://www.icetv.com.au/cgi-bin/websupport.cgi?op=show_faq&cat_level=3&faq_id=115&faq_cat3_id=110

There is not enough detail there Daniel. E.g. There are EPG polls, and there are timer polls. What is the relationship/timing of them? What happens when your device boots? What if your network is down? In particular - what if you PVR is left in standby? Now you and I know what happens but a newbie won't have a clue and will probably assume the ICE client still polls while in standby. After a few years trawling around the various forums it is clear to me that very many people avoid ICETV because they think it is too complicated. You can improve that by documenting things a little better on your site.

Offline Daniel Hall at IceTV

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Re: How often should Topfield 2460 interact with the IceTV website?
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2011, 10:15:02 AM »
Definitely documentation and FAQ's are one of our focuses this year, and hopefully over the next couple of weeks you should see a lot more information being available on the website itself.

Offline prl

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Re: How often should Topfield 2460 interact with the IceTV website?
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2011, 10:40:39 AM »
There is also this one:

http://www.icetv.com.au/cgi-bin/websupport.cgi?op=show_faq&cat_level=3&faq_id=115&faq_cat3_id=110

As for the few minutes message, this is purely for the website to go through and mark the rest of the episodes in the series as scheduled to record (but as queued ready for sending to the PVR).
Thanks, Daniel. I hadn't seen that one about how long it takes for the timers to be sent. But there's a lot more detail (mostly from observation or deduction) about how the process works in the FAQs on the Topfield and Beyonwiz forums.

But I still think the message you get when you set a recording on the Web page is very unclear about just what the "few minutes" refers to.

Offline boomerangirl

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Re: How often should Topfield 2460 interact with the IceTV website?
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2011, 11:29:01 AM »
Thanks to prl for the link to the explanation.  To quote:

"Currently, (Dec 2009 FW), the 2400/7100HD+ PVRs take half an hour after turn on before contacting the IceTV server. This will hopefully be fixed as this long waiting period was instigated as a means of circumventing a bug which led to loss of IceTV connection."

FFS talk about a hack!  I'd probably think this was hillarious if it wasn't still being used in the 2460.  I get impatient just waiting for the thing to boot up, never mind waiting 30 minutes for updates to come through.

Anyway, it's now clear that my 2460 and my Airport extreme don't get along.  Is there, by any chance, a similarly detailed FAQ on wireless networking specifically for Topfields?

Offline boomerangirl

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Re: How often should Topfield 2460 interact with the IceTV website?
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2011, 11:44:00 AM »

What if your network is down? In particular - what if you PVR is left in standby? Now you and I know what happens but a newbie won't have a clue and will probably assume the ICE client still polls while in standby.

Yep, this newbie initially assumed it was smart enough to do this in standby mode.  It is, after all, smart enough to wake up when it needs to record something... isn't it!?

Offline prl

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Re: How often should Topfield 2460 interact with the IceTV website?
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2011, 12:14:04 PM »
...
Yep, this newbie initially assumed it was smart enough to do this in standby mode.  It is, after all, smart enough to wake up when it needs to record something... isn't it!?
Even if the delay in doing the first fetch on the Topfields wasn't there, would you really want to have it starting from standby every 30 minutes to check the EPG and recordings? There's no way of knowing ahead of time whether an EPG or timer fetch will do anything useful.

One fairly common trick on Beyonwizes is to set a "view-only" timer to fire once a day to force an update of the IceTV information on machines that aren't heavily used. Our main machine, the DP-Lite, is on regularly enough, for viewing or recording, that it keeps itself reasonably up to date. Our DP-H1 is used much less frequently, so it has a view timer that runs it for 5 minutes at 5am each morning to refresh its EPG and timers. I'm pretty sure that Topfields have a similar facility, though because of the delay on the first IceTV fetch, they'll need a longer view timer. You can set these timers to run as often as you want.

For a PVR that gets a reasonable amount of use, though, you'll probably find that it all actually works reasonably well except for last-minute recordings. We set those up on the PVR itself.

Offline boomerangirl

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Re: How often should Topfield 2460 interact with the IceTV website?
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2011, 01:49:33 PM »
Even if the delay in doing the first fetch on the Topfields wasn't there, would you really want to have it starting from standby every 30 minutes to check the EPG and recordings? There's no way of knowing ahead of time whether an EPG or timer fetch will do anything useful.

I'd want it to do something sensible, like power up once every 12-24 hours just long enough to synch with the web server (which would only take a few seconds if the PVR wasn't burdened with the 'wait-30-minutes' hack).

BTW thanks for the tip about setting a daily viewing timer, but again this is a nasty hack at best -- assuming it's even possible with a 2460.  I'm gobsmacked that the Topfield doesn't check in regularly even in stand-by mode, likewise that the only way to force a synch is to power up and wait.  Clearly, any claims about being able to control your PVR from anywhere should come with small print: provided you leave it on 24/7 or resort to trickery.

Offline prl

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Re: How often should Topfield 2460 interact with the IceTV website?
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2011, 02:29:39 PM »
...
I'd want it to do something sensible, like power up once every 12-24 hours just long enough to synch with the web server (which would only take a few seconds if the PVR wasn't burdened with the 'wait-30-minutes' hack).

BTW thanks for the tip about setting a daily viewing timer, but again this is a nasty hack at best -- assuming it's even possible with a 2460.  I'm gobsmacked that the Topfield doesn't check in regularly even in stand-by mode, likewise that the only way to force a synch is to power up and wait.  Clearly, any claims about being able to control your PVR from anywhere should come with small print: provided you leave it on 24/7 or resort to trickery.

Setting a daily viewing timer (or two for twice-a-day) does very close to what you demand in the first paragraph. A small set of viewing timers is probably far more flexible than any special mechanism that the manufacturer might like to supply for the specific task. The only problem with a view timer on the Beyonwiz is that it forces the selection of a service, even if the device is running, which is a pain if you're watching something else live. That's why the update timer I have on the H1 is at 5am. "Power-on-only" timers that don't change to a specific service have been suggested in the Beyonwiz forum, but the idea never made it to the forum wish list.

Topfields appear to have a similar facility as the Beyonwiz view timer (I only looked at the TRF2460 manual). You just set the Record option in the timer to Off, and it looks as though it will do the same as a Beyonwiz view timer. You just need to make it a longer-running timer than you would for a Beyonwiz because of the differences in the way the two interact with IceTV on startup. The Topfield version of the view timer will also force the selection of a service, so it sufferes the same drawback if the timer fires when someone is watching live TV.

As for your being "gobsmacked that the Topfield doesn't check in regularly even in stand-by mode": for Topfield and the Beyonwiz PVRs (and many others) "standby" really means "turned off except for the front panel". It's nothing like a PC being in Standby or Hibernate mode. It's like a PC when it is in Shut down mode.


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