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>>> Slow channel guide display <<<

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midas is offline Old Post 05-14-2004 12:51 AM
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midas
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Registered: Jun 2000
Location: Chicago, IL USA
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quote:
Originally posted by dropper
What has TiVo done the has been really innovative over there original product? If you are talking about HMO and folders and such, okay, but it seems like many people are DirecTiVo and have no access to such things. I would really like to know what the reason DirecTV keeps the folder thing on hold? They didn't have a problem with allowing it for UTV's.



First, you blame Tivo for not inovating. But then you mention inovations that Tivo has made but DirecTV has decided not to implement. But that doesn't take away the fact that they are indeed inovations.

And to further answer your question, I can give you at least 3 more very major innovations since the original product:

Season Pass Manager
Wishlists
Recording History

All of those were very major innovations not included in the original product. Some other minor innovations are padding and the ability to bypass the 28 day rule. And there's a ton more.

And oh yea, one more thing, the ability to record HD programs. That's kind of innovative

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borghe is offline Old Post 05-14-2004 12:54 AM
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borghe
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ok mchaney, I get some of what you are saying...

the icons (and genre colors) I already conceded to... yes there is no HD icon... however in regards to HD icon, I have a wishlist setup for Audio & Video/HDTV. I go to Menu->Pick Programs->Wishlists->HDTV->View Upcoming and it shows me everything in the guide data (usually around two weeks) that has HDTV designated. To me that is much more useful (again, to me) for finding some HD to watch than scanning through hundreds of channels of which only a handful would actually have HD on... but that is preference, I am just offering up a way that you can basically see that same info.

As for the 16 channels vs 24, to me it's 6 of one, half a dozen of another. I have gotten very accustomed to seeing at least the next 4 hours on a given channel and up to the next 16 hours on a movie channel.. I HATED browsing through the movie channels on the grid guide as you only get to see usually the current movie or sometimes the current movie and the next movie. being able to see the next eight movies is a godsend.

as for just channel surfing over the next hour or so, learn the ffwd button.. it is your friend. you can still see the next 1.5 hours across all channels with just the flick of a button, and moving ahead in time on the Tivo guide is light years faster than the directv grid guide on my old E86.

Oh, I will concede to you though about the movie start and end times.. that was the only thing that I still actually miss on the tivo guide..

Most of what you are complaining about though can be solved with the ffwd button. and for me at least it is nicely packaged up.. if it is 6:50pm, just hit the ffwd button once and see what's on at 7. Don't like what's on at 7? Hit it again and check out 7:30...

You can accomplish the same on both guides, it is just in different ways..

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mchaney is offline Old Post 05-14-2004 12:55 AM
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mchaney
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I think a lot depends on what you watch and how you watch. There are a lot of things that I watch that would never be picked up on a season pass or wish list. I watch some of the shows like PrimeTime, 20/20, Dateline, etc. and most of the time, the description on those shows is "Investigative Journalism". Sometimes I'll watch the intro to see what stories they are playing and most of the time, I'm not interested, but sometimes they'll have something that interests me. Due to how rare it is that something on those interests me, I don't want to record them every time they are on just to decide whether I want to see it or not.

The same goes for things on other channels like the Science channel, TLC, Discovery, etc.. There's no way that I could anticipate that TLC will be running a special on the Mars Rovers unless I see it on the guide. If I put in Mars Rover on a Wish list, then it'll get all the useless NASA news announcements and other things I don't want to see. If I put in general insterests like "Technology" then it will record 225 shows a day and it'll take me longer to manage my "Now Playing" list, deleting 90% of what it records, that I won't have any time left to watch TV.



Mike

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jack1313 is offline Old Post 05-14-2004 12:58 AM
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Not looking to get flamed here, and not trying to do any subversive advertising, but I know there is a "cache card" available for series 1 DirecTivos that puts the Tivo DB in high-speed SDRAM...I've never seen it used in person, but I've heard it is quite effective. They sell it at 9th Tee for $99 (http://www.9thtee.com/tivocachecard.htm). I don't know if they have tested it with an HD-TiVo, and I know you shouldn't have to pay an additional $99 to get the performance of a $999 piece of electronics up to an acceptable level, but if enough people show interest, maybe they will test it with/develop one for an HD-Tivo. Just an FYI.

On a personal level, I have a DirecTivo at home, and I have tried using the Tivo guide, and I don't like it either...I think it's just a matter of personal preference. I'm a channel surfer too, and I think contending that people who watch live TV with a Tivo are using it as a "glorified VCR" is a bit harsh. The (lack of) speed and small number of channels displayed in the D* guide compared to any other STB has always bothered me, and I can't believe Tivo/D* wouldn't have created either a faster guide or a higher resolution guide with more channels listed (figuring most who buy an HD-Tivo have an HDTV). It seems to me that there has been a lack of innovation here - For a product that was delayed >1 year from its original projected launch date, I'd expect a bit more...Faster operation, additional recording options, anything...As it stands, it's the same as my DSR6000, except it records HDTV. That's it. Not too belittle the value of that feature, as I consistently watch SD version of HD shows on my HDTV, as I can't give up my Tivo, but I don't think adding HDTV recording capabilities and changing nothing else is really innovation, especially after the amount of time it took to get this product to market. Aside from the suggestions, which are the feature I use the least, it doesn't seem to me that building the code to power a Tivo would really be that difficult...Build a DB of all the shows in the guide, index it a number of ways, add a "record" flag for each show, and design a UI that can search the index and activate the record flag...Not easy, but not impossible either. Seems to me all Tivo did was take their existing code base and add some new codecs. I want one, but I don't want one $1000 more than what I already have...Just my $0.02.

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borghe is offline Old Post 05-14-2004 01:18 AM
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mchaney, your last comment there is interesting.. with the mars rover for example, I would think you would almost prefer the Tivo guide, considering you can go to TLC and scan over the next 3-4 days for Mars content much quicker than with the grid guide. As for wishlists, you would be surprised how detailed you can get them. Do Keyword Mars/Interests/Space Exploration (yes that is a real choice), and I can't imagine a whole would come up that you wouldn't be interested in... give a few of the shows a thumbs up or two and you would be surprised what starts getting autorecorded for you..

and I recognize everyone's right to an opinion... never once did I mean otherwise.. as for speed, well, the DirecTV grid guide has ALWAYS been slow, and for some reason on the Tivo it has always been even slower. I think part of the lack of attention on that (just my guess) is that the DirecTV grid guide is not very conducive to how the Tivo works. It is a channel surfing guide, and arguably the Tivo isn't a channel surfing box (both in function as well as technical limitations). In that respect the Tivo guide is much better at hunting out shows 1, 2, or 16 hours from now to record, what the primary purpose of the unit is. This would be my guess as to why it hasn't been looked at.. Most people after a few months of using their Tivo prefer the Tivo guide (such as myself and most others).

I can see what you guys who were used to the grid guide are saying. Like I said in a previous post, I'm just saying give the Tivo guide a try. Eventually you will find no matter what you will become less of a channel surfer.. There will just be too much good stuff sitting in your now playing list.

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avNeophyte is offline Old Post 05-14-2004 01:23 AM
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avNeophyte
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quote:
Originally posted by borghe
ok, I won't get all surly anymore, I will just describe how I channel surf..

...

I am just asking you to take a little more of a look at the Tivo guide.. play around with it more. Play around with withlists (from the menu) or filters (while on the Tivo guide hit the Info button).



I don't think you have been surly at all. We're just pointing out a shortcoming of the TiVo when used to channel surf in a certain way. You don't use the product in the same way so the product deficiency doesn't affect you and therefor isn't important to you. Nothing wrong with that at all. I have just been trying to point out and help you understand one relatively minor, but annoying, issue that I have with the TiVo that I wish they would remedy.

Regarding the TiVo guide. I do appreciate its value for certain activities and use it for those activities. I like it and would be upset to lose it. I just wish that TiVo would improve the performance of the TiVo guide and improve both the performance and layout of the D* guide.

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midas is offline Old Post 05-14-2004 01:26 AM
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midas
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Hey, if you guys want to see a slow guide, pick up a Panasonic TU-HDS20. That thing is slower than owl poop.

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Geof in CO is offline Old Post 05-14-2004 01:42 AM
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Geof in CO
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quote:
Originally posted by midas
Hey, if you guys want to see a slow guide, pick up a Panasonic TU-HDS20. That thing is slower than owl poop.
Owl poop is slow? Huh!

Seriously. one reason I never bothered to try that Panny unit was because of it's sloooooooooooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwww guide.

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Nomarian is offline Old Post 05-14-2004 07:00 AM
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Nomarian
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Can someone explain how the guide is processed. Is the slowness an issue with the hard drive speed and cache or the general processing power the unit itself?

I wonder if anyone has done a test with a faster hard drive with a larger cache to determine if the guide is any faster. I am migrating from an Ultimate TV and the guide on that is very fast. I can channel surf like a madman with it and I know I will have a conforming period with a slower guide.

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GreyGhost00 is offline Old Post 05-14-2004 07:09 AM
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GreyGhost00
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I believe (someone will correct me if I'm wrong) that all activities from the User Interface are done from HD reads and not from memory. That places a high importance on disk I/O operations. I'm not sure what the RPM is of the stock HD in the HR10-250 - certainly *if* it's 5400 going to 7200 would improve things.

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bbodin is offline Old Post 05-15-2004 03:13 AM
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bbodin
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quote:
I wonder if anyone has done a test with a faster hard drive with a larger cache to determine if the guide is any faster. I am migrating from an Ultimate TV and the guide on that is very fast. I can channel surf like a madman with it and I know I will have a conforming period with a slower guide.


Well I have a HDVR2 with an updated drive with larger cache and 7200rpm (as opposed to the 5600 of the original) and it doesn't help the guide at all, so don't expect it to for the HD Tivo.

And it does take a conforming period...I was a channel surfer (and still am), but I'm slowly getting more used to using Tivo as it's supposed to be used, which means less channel surfing and more watching previously recorded shows.

When I get home in the evenings, first thing I do is scroll through shows to see if anything is on RIGHT NOW (which the tivo guide does just fine)...if not, I'm pulling up a previously recorded program.

Given this is how most people use the tivo, I doubt the focus has been on improving the other guide. Most tivo owners are wanting them to improve things like folders, sorting, etc...so improving a guide that few % of the users even use is very low on their priority list I'm sure.

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borghe is offline Old Post 05-15-2004 03:35 AM
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borghe
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though the guide data is definitely held on the hard drive, the bottleneck is most likely located in the hardware itself. This is where the cachecard helped out in regards to database reads and caching. The problem is that in terms of the guide, at least the raw guide data (not the separate Tivo program data) even though all of the data is present on a fast hard drive, and DB programmer will tell you that having the data on a fast server is only half of the equation. The other half is how fast it can be accessed and transformed into what's needed. This I one would have to believe is an application operating in memory using CPU cycles. So the question here is, is that application well written and operating as fast as it possibly can?

Remember.. all of the non-Tivo DirecTV boxes run everything from EEPROMs and do nothing but process guide data and decode a single stream of audio and video. The Tivo is constantly running updating the Tivo DB, the DirecTV guide, and probably almost always decoding and/or recording two streams of data (with TivoWebPlus you can see even when the receiver is in standby the tuners are still locked onto channels and the guide data is still available on them).

In other words, the non-Tivo boxes are faster but also have a hell of a lot work to do on a 24 hour basis.

anyway, back to the question at hand, no, a faster drive and even more memory probably won't help in this case, and a cachecard only helps with DB operations.. no, in this case likely the only thing that will help is a faster CPU, but unless you can get ahold of a MIPS processor using the exact same instruction sets as the Tivo and are a pro with surface mounted ICs, you are pretty much out of luck.

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Griffon is offline Old Post 05-15-2004 05:40 AM
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That's funny that is just what my 4 year old replay has to do and it's guide data runs at a acceptable speed... sorry there is just no excuse for the D*TV guide situation, and I doubt there is even a reasonable explanation. If it's hardware issue that it fell through at design phase and that is ridiculous given that it was known issue on previous models. If it's a software issue they need to pony the heck up and fix it pronto. sure there are other ways do do things (I actually think the Tivo Guide is a bit slow on line moves and stacking page flips) but this is a feature of the box and is there to support different mind sets, it needs to perform correctly.

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Boddington's is offline Old Post 05-15-2004 06:21 AM
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Anyone out there using a Harmony 688' or equivalent's tiny remote guide as an alternative to surfing with D* or Tivo's guide. Like to know as I was planning on getting both.

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borghe is offline Old Post 05-17-2004 07:05 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by Griffon
That's funny that is just what my 4 year old replay has to do and it's guide data runs at a acceptable speed...

The replay isn't recording two things simultaneously.

The replay isn't receiving a proprietary and encrypted stream on even one, let alone both tuners that needs decrypting.

The replay isn't constantly processing new incoming guide data, only scheduled packaged downloads.

But most importantly, Replay was able to format all of their data exactly how they chose to.. The Tivo has to work with the same guide data format DirecTV has been sending down since 1994 and integrate that with their database information on each show.

If you think the ReplayTV and DirecTivo boxes are doing the exact same thing, then you really don't understand what a DirecTivo box does, let alone why it is different from an SA box or a ReplayTV box.

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Cheezmo is offline Old Post 05-17-2004 07:33 PM
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You would think that after spending two days indexing/formatting the data the way they want to it would be in a format they could display with reasonable speed. It is obviously not a high priority for them. The fact that one doesn't use it too much after you get all your season passes/etc. set up and watch mostly recorded programs is no excuse. It makes me feel like I'm using a slow out of date PC instead of a cutting edge new home theater component.

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Ed Campbell is offline Old Post 05-17-2004 07:40 PM
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You all DO realize that owls don't even have a poop chute?

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borghe is offline Old Post 05-17-2004 07:42 PM
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you fail to mention that new data is constantly being sent down. technically the data doesn't have tow days all to itself to be formatted. New guide data is continually being sent down by the satellite.

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Cheezmo is offline Old Post 05-17-2004 07:54 PM
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Just because the guide data is continually being sent down, doesn't mean it can't be processed efficiently. I'm sure they just collect it and then periodically do indexing to incorporate the new data. I don't see why that would necessary make display of the already indexed data slow.

Either way, what is the point of arguing about it? Unless you can talk to the developers and hear from them why it can't be faster, it is all conjecture. They either have a good technical reason or it hasn't been a priority.

It IS too slow. You can either complain about it (to DirecTV/TiVo if you want it to matter) or accept it.

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borghe is offline Old Post 05-17-2004 07:59 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by Cheezmo
It IS too slow. You can either complain about it (to DirecTV/TiVo if you want it to matter) or accept it.

Which is pretty much the point.. I didn't say that because I JUST posted that in a previous slow guide thread located on the front page. :P

If this bothers enough people and they complain, it will be resolved one way or another. If it is never resolved it seems that would be directly related to few people complaining. That seems to be the way things are tackled at DirecTV..

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