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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well I performed the test I mentioned in another thread last week and the results are in ....


UTV is totally CLUELESS about repeats!


I setup Resurrection Blvd. (Tuesday/9 pm/Showtime) to record "Each Time" and Band of Brothers (Sunday/8pm/HBO) to record "Each Time". I wanted to know if UTV would record a previously recorded episode .... even if the first recording was still in My Shows. Well ... Resurrection Blvd is re-broadcast on Wednesdays at 10 ... and of course, repeats of Band of Brothers are showing all week on HBO ... and unfortunately, UTV just records them again anyway.


I knew UTV wasn't smart enough to record new episodes only like Tivo .... but I thought I had read somewhere on these boards that it could recognize if it had already recorded a show and not record it again. Any ideas what may be going on here? What has been your experience with UTV and repeats?


OAW
 

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Are there details in the guide info for these shows? Even Tivos have trouble if the networks don't provide distiguishing guide data... For instance, my Tivo records The O'Reilly Factor three times a day, even though it's the same show. I have it set to only keep the latest episode, so it doesn't consume any more space, but it still ties up the recorder if I don't have time to remove the extraneous episodes from the To Do List...


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by BrettStah:
Are there details in the guide info for these shows? Even Tivos have trouble if the networks don't provide distiguishing guide data... For instance, my Tivo records The O'Reilly Factor three times a day, even though it's the same show. I have it set to only keep the latest episode, so it doesn't consume any more space, but it still ties up the recorder if I don't have time to remove the extraneous episodes from the To Do List...


Channel is the same. Date and time are different. Program Name and Episode Description are the same. You'd think it would have sense enough to know it was the same show. Better yet, you'd think there would be a behind-the-scenes Episode ID or something that it could use. I could have sworn that this was a feature ... but I guess not! http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/frown.gif


OAW

 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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Originally posted by UTVinsider:


Each show is supposed to have a unique identifier but some shows don't differentiate between episodes. That is fine if you are just looking at the listings in the newspaper but now it is part of a database which will determine whether your DVR will record it or not.


UltimateTV responds by giving you the benefit of the doubt and recording the show for you.


It is interesting that all these listings (and the network start times) will now come under a lot of scrutiny since they are actually being used by real viewers to record real shows. Hopefully, they will catch up quickly.


UTVinsider
UTVInsider,


Thanks for the info! Now let me see if I understand you correctly. When you say that "UTV gives us the benefit of the doubt" ... do you mean that since this "Episode ID" isn't always unique UTV doesn't even bother to use it and simply records all the shows anyway? That is, UTV could easily avoid recording repeats but currently doesn't because it can't be sure that the guide data is accurate ... and thus, it errs on the side of recording a repeat rather than missing an episode?


OAW

 

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That's absurd. The fact is the ID is either unique or generic (i.e. the box knows it won't be unique). In the former case, it should not record the same show twice. In the latter case, it needs to record every show, because it has no idea which one is different.


The vast majority of shows have correct, usable IDs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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Originally posted by walters:
That's absurd. The fact is the ID is either unique or generic (i.e. the box knows it won't be unique). In the former case, it should not record the same show twice. In the latter case, it needs to record every show, because it has no idea which one is different.


The vast majority of shows have correct, usable IDs.
Walters,


Maybe my mind is still numb from the tragedy this week ... but I don't follow you. If the "Episode ID" can be unique or generic ... then how does UTV know if it is unique or generic for a particular show? That is, if UTV has no way of knowing if the "Episode ID" is unique for a particular show ... then wouldn't it have to err on the side of recording repeats?


I have no idea how the guide database records or structured .. but in order for UTV to be able to avoid recording repeats but not miss any episodes there would have to be something along the line of ....


Episode_ID - unique or generic number identifying a particular episode.


Unique_Flag - flag indicating whether or not the Episode_ID is unique.


IF the Unique_Flag is set, then UTV could skip the recording of shows it has already recorded. If not, then it must record all episodes it finds.


However, if nothing along the line of a Unique_Flag exists then UTV has no choice but to record all episodes. So the question is, does the guide data indicate if an Episode ID is unique or not?


OAW
 

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The only thing I can add is that I have X-files episodes saved on the UTV. In the summer repeats, it recorded episodes I didn't have but didn't record episodes I did have.
 

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Each show is supposed to have a unique identifier but some shows don't differentiate between episodes. That is fine if you are just looking at the listings in the newspaper but now it is part of a database which will determine whether your DVR will record it or not.


UltimateTV responds by giving you the benefit of the doubt and recording the show for you.


It is interesting that all these listings (and the network start times) will now come under a lot of scrutiny since they are actually being used by real viewers to record real shows. Hopefully, they will catch up quickly.


UTVinsider
 

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hmmm, perhaps some programming help is needed? why bother with ids? ever heard of strcmp() or all the equivalents (like == or System.String.Compare() in .NET C#)?


every show I see repeated could easily be avoided if it just looked at the show title and the description in the guide. case in point, Band of Brothers taped Sunday and Wednesday. Just looked at the show info, identical... That's how us humans do it, btw http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif


paul
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by OAW:
Walters,


Maybe my mind is still numb from the tragedy this week ... but I don't follow you. If the "Episode ID" can be unique or generic ... then how does UTV know if it is unique or generic for a particular show? That is, if UTV has no way of knowing if the "Episode ID" is unique for a particular show ... then wouldn't it have to err on the side of recording repeats?


I have no idea how the guide database records or structured .. but in order for UTV to be able to avoid recording repeats but not miss any episodes there would have to be something along the line of ....


Episode_ID - unique or generic number identifying a particular episode.


Unique_Flag - flag indicating whether or not the Episode_ID is unique.


IF the Unique_Flag is set, then UTV could skip the recording of shows it has already recorded. If not, then it must record all episodes it finds.


However, if nothing along the line of a Unique_Flag exists then UTV has no choice but to record all episodes. So the question is, does the guide data indicate if an Episode ID is unique or not?


OAW
I don't know the exact mechanics, but suppose the episode ID is a large integer, and that "0" is a special episode ID that means "generic".


So for something like O'Reily Factor, unfortunately all episodes have an ID of "0". For something like Friends, each episode has a unique number like "893764823". So the proper way to handle it is to record every instance of a show with an ID of "0", but to only record a non-zero ID once (or at least once per 28-day period, which is the way my TiVo does it http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif ).
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by walters:
<snip>

So the proper way to handle it is to record every instance of a show with an ID of "0", but to only record a non-zero ID once (or at least once per 28-day period, which is the way my TiVo does it http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif ).
actually, that isn't the right way either, imo. see my previous post regarding string compares. id's should be one mechanism to handle repeats, but show info strings should be another...




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Paul
 

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If there isn't an episode ID, then there won't be any unique strings to match. The lack of an episode ID means Tribune doesn't know which episode it is.


Samsara
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by pjenkins:


actually, that isn't the right way either, imo. see my previous post regarding string compares. id's should be one mechanism to handle repeats, but show info strings should be another...

Nope, the ID is the proper way to handle it. For one, it's a whole lot more efficient obviously to compare two integers than two strings. More importantly, though, there are lots of shows with generic descriptions but unique IDs (e.g. "Host Anne Robinson conducts a quiz show that eliminates one contestant after each round.").


Besides, if it has a specific description (such that your strcmp solution will work), it also likely has a specific ID. And if it has a generic ID, it is likely to have a generic description (meaning strcmp will fail).
 

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samsara and walters, what guide are you both looking at? you can definitely use the string in the guide data IN ADDITION to the unique IDs in the shows. band of brothers is one prime example, they screwed up the ID on the first episode, but you could definitely tell on the strings...


walters, as for efficiency you have to be joking, right? you are trying to say the comparing strings is so inefficient that it can't be done or what? what does efficiency on this magnitude have to do with anything? none that i can see...


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[This message has been edited by pjenkins (edited 09-17-2001).]
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by pjenkins:
walters, as for efficiency you have to be joking, right? you are trying to say the comparing strings is so inefficient that it can't be done or what? what does efficiency on this magnitude have to do with anything? none that i can see...

No, I'm not joking (looks like the one smilie missing from the UBB repertoire is the "serious" smilie http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif ). Probably the single most consistent complaint about PVRs in general is how slow most operations are. The processors in these things are very weak to keep costs down, and IMO there has not been enough attention paid to code efficiency as it is. Going with an even less efficient algorithm just doesn't make any sense, particularly when the sole purpose of the episode ID is to avoid having to do what you proposed.
 

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walters, are you in software development by chance? what you think is an issue is definitely NOT an issue by any stretch of the imagination...



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Paul
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by pjenkins:
samsara and walters, what guide are you both looking at? you can definitely use the string in the guide data IN ADDITION to the unique IDs in the shows. band of brothers is one prime example, they screwed up the ID on the first episode, but you could definitely tell on the strings...
I didn't see any problems on TiVo related to the episode ID or anything else. If you're referring to the fact that they combined the first two episodes, that also resulted in a combined description, which wouldn't have matched later broadcasts of the individual episodes, anyway. If you're talking about building in some logic to handle that situation, it's so rare that I can't imagine anyone bothering with it.


Samsara
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Samsara:
I didn't see any problems on TiVo related to the episode ID or anything else. If you're referring to the fact that they combined the first two episodes, that also resulted in a combined description, which wouldn't have matched later broadcasts of the individual episodes, anyway. If you're talking about building in some logic to handle that situation, it's so rare that I can't imagine anyone bothering with it.


Samsara
The first episode repeated recording on UTV even though we had it in our already recorded shows. The second episode was not re-recorded. A simple string comparison would have not re-recorded the one episode it already had. I really don't understand the logic not including it, it is a very small amount of code...



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Paul
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by pjenkins:
The first episode repeated recording on UTV even though we had it in our already recorded shows. The second episode was not re-recorded. A simple string comparison would have not re-recorded the one episode it already had. I really don't understand the logic not including it, it is a very small amount of code...
The first episode did not re-record on my D-TiVo even though it sat in my Now playing for 2 weeks(during which I KNOW it was rebroadcast) before I got around to watching it..


Sounds like this is a case of UTV not handling the episode/show IDs properly..



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Quote:
Originally posted by Oh2Smooth:

The first episode did not re-record on my D-TiVo even though it sat in my Now playing for 2 weeks(during which I KNOW it was rebroadcast) before I got around to watching it..


Sounds like this is a case of UTV not handling the episode/show IDs properly..

[/b]
could be, didn't think to see if Tivo-people got a double recording...




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