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davidmorr

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Reply with quote  #16 
Sounds good. Glad it was useful for you.
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DeltaMikeCharlie

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Reply with quote  #17 
FireBird sent me his source code and I had a quick scan though it.  Unfortunately, it is as I suspected (and FireBird confirmed), there are no special functions to flush the cache file in use.  This would appear to be a dead end.  :-(
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davidmorr

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Reply with quote  #18 
Bugger!

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mykear

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Reply with quote  #19 
A TAP that in combination with $4 a month XML subscription allows me to filter out repeats from searches would seem a wonderful thing. But I'm not the one who has to do the work [comp] to make it happen. Good Luck with it if you decide to go ahead.
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DeltaMikeCharlie

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Reply with quote  #20 
Some of the background work on this TAP is coming along well and I would like some feature ideas.  One of the reasons for this TAP is to provide more useful EPG information and there are a few ways to do this.

Firstly, as shown in previous postings, additional data will be added to the "Extended Event Description" as per the following example:

When an alien infects Torres, the Doctor decides to look to the holodeck for help. However, when Torres discovers that the expert enlisted by the Doctor is Cardassian, she decides that all bets are off. +repeat:yes, +subtitles:no, +date:1998, +lang:English, +country:United States, +cat:Sci-Fi, +act:Kate Mulgrew, +act:Robert Beltran, +act:Roxann Dawson, +act:Robert Picardo, +act:Tim Russ, +act:Robert Duncan McNeill, +rating:G, +season:5, +episode:8, +ice_series:32343, +ice_episode:152521, +ice_show_id:137501823, +episode_num:S05E08

For a little bit of background, there are three text areas associated with an EPG entry:

Event Title
Event Short Description
Event Extended Description

Currently, the following tags are added to the end "Extended Description" if they exist.

+repeat:The show has been previously aired.
+subtitles:Availability of subtitles.
+date:The production year of the show.
+lang:The language that the show was produced in.
+country:The country of origin of the show.
+act:Actor with credit for the show.
+dir:Director with credit for the show.
+cat:Genre classification.  ICE often provides several genres.  All of the ICE genres are added to the extended description, however, only the first one is shown as the genre on the PVR's EPG window.
+rating:Parent rating (G, PG, M, etc) for the show.
+season:Season indicator.  Normally a sequential number but also can be the year.
+episode:Episode number.
+ice_series:Internal ICE code identifying the series.
+ice_episode:Internal ICE code identifying the individual episode.
+ice_show_id:Internal ICE code unique to this event.
+episode_num:Text string indicating the season and episode.  For example, "S01E12" is episode 12 of season 1.

When the EPG is display on screen, the user normally sees the "Title".  As the cursor is moved, the "Short Description" is normally shown towards the bottom of the screen.  The see the "Extended Description", the user normally needs to press "Info" to display another window.

Many years ago, at my request, ICE added the ability to prepend/append some text to the Title/Short/Extended areas if the show was a repeat.  Personally, I choose to append "(Repeat)" to the short description so that it is more easily visible.

I would like to know what other beneficial information could be added in this way.  I will only consider the Title and Short description as everything is already appended to the extended description.  I want to avoid allowing any field to be added anywhere because of the complexity.  Also, actor, director and category will be exempt due to their potential length.  Useful information could be:

Repeat status – Add custom text
Subtitle status – Add custom text
Episode number – Add the value

Taking repeats as an example, the user could elect to have their title appear as "[R] Programme Title" or "Programme Title {R}" or the short description as "Short Description (Repeat)".

Constructive thoughts, comment and opinions welcome.
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mykear

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Reply with quote  #21 
Quote:
Taking repeats as an example, the user could elect to have their title appear as "[R] Programme Title" or "Programme Title {R}" or the short description as "Short Description (Repeat)".


I think Pre-pending/Post-pending some information to the Title could be useful. In particular some indicator if the show is a repeat, such as the [R], {R} or (R) that you suggest. Possible caution is that if these would ever flow to a recording name then they need to use characters that are legal in a name. I suspect some viewers could be interested to know whether or not a show carries Closed Captions (CC) or not by looking at EPG titles. Does ICE allow a distinction between CC and subtitles, or are they one and the same, i.e. 'subtitle' on an "english/american/australian" show means it is CC - or is it totally different? Either way it could be useful to show "[RS] Programme Title" or "Programme Title {RS}" where the 'S' is only shown if subtitles are available, just like the 'R' is only shown if it is a repeat. 

Personally, a single letter does it for me as an indicator, i.e. "R" rather than the complete "Repeat". 

As for Pre-pending or Post-pending the indicator letter(s) I'm not sure which would be better.  If the text does ever flow through to a recording name then post pending would seem optimal otherwise a lot of recordings would begin with [RS] and also consume screen space on already 'busy' screens such as the list of recordings where recording names are truncated anyway.  

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DeltaMikeCharlie

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Reply with quote  #22 
Thanks for your input.

This is the information that ICE provides regarding subtitles:

  <subtitles lang="en" type="teletext" />
  <subtitles lang="en" type="onscreen">
   <language lang="en">English</language>
  </subtitles>

As soon as I see one of the "<subtitles" tags, the subtitle flag gets set to "yes".

My recollection is that I have only ever seen both together, I don't recall seeing either separately.  The documentation says 'onscreen (string, optional): If present then will list the language that the "Closed Captions" subtitles are presented in, if not present then the show is not subtitled.'

From this, I'm assuming that the 'type="onscreen"' statement means closed captions.

DVB provides a way to indicate "character emphasis" in its text fields.  I assume that this just means "bold".  I doubt that the Topfield firmware would support this, but I may do a test to see if it does.  If so, then the added text could be bolded.

Another field that I thought of was a decimal episode number.  Instead of a long "S01E12", perhaps I could just shorten it to "1.12" and make that available.
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DeltaMikeCharlie

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Reply with quote  #23 
Would there be any benefit to use to adding information about other times that a programme is scheduled for?  For example, analysing some EPG data, I found that a specific episode of "Four Corners" was scheduled as follows:

ABC - 2        26-03-2018 20:30
ABC - 2        27-03-2018 13:00
ABC - 2        28-03-2018 23:15
ABC HD - 20    26-03-2018 20:30
ABC HD - 20    27-03-2018 13:00
ABC HD - 20    28-03-2018 23:15
ABC - 21       26-03-2018 20:30
ABC - 21       27-03-2018 13:00
ABC - 21       28-03-2018 23:15

LCN 2, 20 & 21 are simulcast, but it can be seen that the episode is actually broadcast on 3 separate occasions.

I have also seen this for other programmes like "Frasier" on "Eleven" where the same episode is scheduled 3 times on the same day.  There are also incidents of programmes on "7SD/7HD" being repeated on "7TWO" later in the week.

There could be another tag "+also_scheduled:" added to the extended description that lists all of the other times that a specific programme is scheduled.  If the user is unable to record a record a specific instance, perhaps the timing of another instance is more suitable.

"The Project" is also repeated later the same night, but ICE do not provide a unique episode number for that programme.

Taken to the extreme, if the user attempts to create a timer for the first instance and fails, the system could automatically search for a repeat instance and record that instead.
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davidmorr

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Reply with quote  #24 

I have pondered this too. On one hand, I end up with three recordings of the same thing. On the other hand, if the first one misses for some reason and I have not told it to record them all, I do not get any copies. (All of this using ICE native functionality.)


So yes, this would be useful functionality.

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IanL-S

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Reply with quote  #25 
9Gem often programs the same episode twice within 12 hours. One that come to mind are New Tricks, Antiques Roadshow, and sometimes programs such as The Commander, Waking The Dead, Cold Case, Major Crimes, The Closer. I am sure there are other that are also duplicated.

On Eleven they tend to have same day repeats for Diagnosis Murder, The Division, JAG, Judging Amy .... it goes on and on.

Ian
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mykear

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Reply with quote  #26 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeltaMikeCharlie

DVB provides a way to indicate "character emphasis" in its text fields.  I assume that this just means "bold".  I doubt that the Topfield firmware would support this, but I may do a test to see if it does.  If so, then the added text could be bolded.

Another field that I thought of was a decimal episode number.  Instead of a long "S01E12", perhaps I could just shorten it to "1.12" and make that available.


If "bold" doesn't work then perhaps a coloured background similar to blocks in INFPLUS, or just a different colour from the rest? 

As for episode number 'decimalisation' seems like a good idea. For things that are not multiple episodes, perhaps this could be replaced by year made.  So you can tell if it's a remake of an earlier movie of the same name for example.  Perhaps allow year made to show based on configuration, two digits should suffice as it seems very unlikely a Toppy will still be in use when TV turns 100. But I'm not sure how much screen real estate you have to play with and indeed how configurable you want to allow this to be.  

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeltaMikeCharlie

There could be another tag "+also_scheduled:" added to the extended description that lists all of the other times that a specific programme is scheduled.  If the user is unable to record a record a specific instance, perhaps the timing of another instance is more suitable.


Seems like a good idea. If it's implemented though, how would a search be created in SmartEPG or WebControl that allows a user to select the later version if there is a clash with original. Or would this (as I suspect) be left to the user to notice the +also_scheduled tag when a clash occurs and initiate an alternate search? I also note that when there is a later showing of the same show ICE states that it is a repeat. So if you were looking to ignore repeats in the original search you'd have to remove that criteria.

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DeltaMikeCharlie

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Reply with quote  #27 
Bold does not work, I have tested it.  I can not play with the colours either.

"Year Made" is a good idea.  It is already contained in the extended description, but if the series.episode are missing then the year is a good value to have.

With "+also_scheduled:", that would need to be a wholly manual process.

From memory, ICE does not tag a "later showing" as a repeat until the first showing has actually been shown.  I'll need to double-check that.

There are actually 2 distinct phenomena at play here:  "M*A*S*H" was first broadcast back in the 1970's, so every episode is a "Repeat".  This week's "Four Corners" is only repeated this week and then it's done.  This could be considered an "Encore".

I could have "+repeat:yes", "+repeat:no", "+repeat:encore" where an "Encore" as a repeat within 7 days of the original air date.  Perhaps this could be used in SE/WC to differentiate.

"Encores" can be on the same channel and/or the same network, there could be a lot of work involved to identify these.  I need to give it some more thought.

Status Update:  I have the EPG working well and new timers are probably 80% there.  I am talking with the authors of SmartEPG and we are making excellent progress with methods to ease coexistence.  Timer deletions are still very crude and that is my next task.

I have a Beta tester playing with an early version and until that testing is complete, I don't plan to unleash the TAP.
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davidmorr

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Reply with quote  #28 
One thing you might want to consider in this is Daylight Savings Time. At present it is a nightmare, with the Toppy having to be reset and all the queued recordings redownloaded twice a year. It would be good if your TAP could somehow simplify this.
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DeltaMikeCharlie

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Reply with quote  #29 
All ICE times (EPG events, timers, timestamps) use UTC, for everything.

Many years ago I wrote a TAP called DSTConfig, it creates a DST config file for other TAPs to use.  Using this TAP the user provides the DST rules for their location.  Any other TAP that uses libFireBird will automatically adjust for DST correctly.  These TAPs include: INFplus, WebControl, TMSTimer, SmartEPG and iceConnect.

http://deltamikecharlie.yolasite.com/#DSTConfig
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DeltaMikeCharlie

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Reply with quote  #30 
I'm looking for another testing guinea pig because my current beta tester is having network problems at home.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, will be to:
1) Install iceConnect on your PVR and test out the setup steps using your existing ICE account.
1a) Try to break it if you like, see if you can cause some unanticipated instability.
2) Make sure that EPG updates are happening OK.
3) Create and delete some ICE timers and hope the PVR does not catch fire.
4) If you are running SE, you can see what happens to ICE timers with a special development version of SE that I can give you.

I need to stress that the software is still in Beta testing, not fully featured and unforeseen problems could arise that may randomly stop your PVR from recording shows.  This is not something to be done on your one and only PVR that you use every day with no other means of recording your favourite shows.  However, having said that, rolling back should be relatively simple.

If you have a lot of searches on ICE, you will need to configure them from scratch again, there is no way to convert them.

You will need:
1) To be slightly technical, but not necessarily a guru.
2) An internet connection for your PVR.
3) An existing ICE account, or the willingness to cough-up for one.
4) FTP access to the PVR.
5) Telnet access to the PVR would be handy, but not mandatory.

Send me a PM if you are brave or crazy enough to want to give it a go.
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