Is there an EPG designed for DVR?

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eytwoierfskj
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Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 4:43 pm

Is there an EPG designed for DVR?

Post by eytwoierfskj » Sat Jul 23, 2011 10:50 pm

Is it just me? Or are all the EPG programs out there still designed for the pre-DVR world?

Once upon a time, people would sit down after dinner, turn on the TV and watch whatever was on. Some people would scan the TV guide ahead of time to see when their favorite shows were on so they could make sure they were sitting in front of the TV at that time. In that type of environment, having a grid listing of channels sorted by time made perfect sense.

However, the world has changed.

People who have DVRs (and are comfortable using them) approach TV watching in an entirely different way. Instead of walking a grid to see what shows are on right now, we (want to) scan listings spanning several days and record all the shows that interest us. Then, when we are ready to sit down and watch some shows, we can scan thru the recorded programs and pick something. In other words, we can watch the shows we want when it is convenient for us, not just whenever some network decides is the right time to air it.

It may be that there is an EPG out there with this type of organization in mind, but I haven't found it yet. So far, they all seem to be grid based (channel+time). And while most have the ability to filter by channel, and a few have the ability to highlight favorite programs, it seems to me that the whole approach here is wrong. I think what is needed here is a list, rather than a grid.

I envision starting with the complete list of programs for (say) the next week for all the channels that might be showing something I'd want to watch (for me that excludes shopping channels, golf channels, etc). Then I'd filter out the duplicate episodes (some shows seem to get re-run every day for the next week!). Then there are categories that I would filter out (for example, almost anything that is listed as "Reality" is probably uninteresting for me). Then I'd want to set specific programs to ignore (for example, I'm never going to want to watch programs named "Paid Programming," "Hair Loss News," "The Powerpuff Girls" etc). Plus I'd filter out the series I have already said I want to watch (True Blood, Dr Who, etc).

Finally, after things have been filtered down to a manageable number, I could mark all the programs I was interested in, and upload that list to my DVR to get recorded.

Will this kind of filtering actually be practical? Can reasonable filters be created with the currently available TV listing info? Will the filters leave too many shows to make a manual review practical? Without a way to actually try it, I can't be sure.

But I do know that in the DVR-based world, the thing that may be the *least* useful bit of information about a show is the time it is showing. And that seems to be the core of all the EPGs I have found.

I'm sure that given time and effort, I could write such a thing myself. However, I'm still hoping that someone has already done this. Or, failing that, perhaps one of the people who is writing one of the "old style" EPGs would be interested in working on this new approach? Having already worked with the listing data would give you a big leg up here.

Anyone?

eytwoierfskj
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 4:43 pm

Re: Is there an EPG designed for DVR?

Post by eytwoierfskj » Mon Aug 01, 2011 2:48 am

I'm trying to decide if the lack of response to my post is due to:

a) no one knowing of a guide along these lines
b) no one but me is interested in looking at guide information this way
C) no one is reading this forum.

Whichever, I have begun writing my own app to do this (I'm not big on waiting for other people to solve my problems). So far it is coming along nicely. Program data is loading, filters are applying, etc. Still plenty left to do, though.

If anyone else is interested in looking at their program data this way, reply to this thread. If there is enough interest, I'll see what it takes to become an approved app here on SchedulesDirect. Otherwise, I'll just use it for myself.

rmeden
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Re: Is there an EPG designed for DVR?

Post by rmeden » Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:55 am

maybe all of the above. :)

This is a pretty low volume forum... folks mostly come here when they have guide data problems. Most of the approved apps have their own forums that are a lot more interesting .:)

What you're really talking about is a search tool, not really a EPG... Personally, I think I'm happy with what I have, but if you sense the need, someone else probably does too.

All you have to do to be listed as an approved app is email admin@sd and ask to be put on. If the program is a non-commercial or open source program and you've made it available to the world, it should be approved.

Robert

eytwoierfskj
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Joined: Sat Jul 23, 2011 4:43 pm

Re: Is there an EPG designed for DVR?

Post by eytwoierfskj » Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:16 pm

Hey Robert, thanks for the reply.
This is a pretty low volume forum
Yeah, I saw that. Hadn't really paid much attention to the dates on the posts before. The developer forum doesn't look much busier. Does that mean that SD is becoming stagnant or is in decline? I'd hate to think I was putting this much effort into something that is on the verge of going away.
What you're really talking about is a search tool, not really a EPG
Hmm. Debating semantics is seldom productive. That said...

I don't believe that "a search tool" really conveys what the program does. And I certainly think I qualify as EP. Actually I think a credible argument could be made that programs that describe themselves as EPGs are actually EPL (Lists or Listings). *Mine* is actually a Guide. ;)
I think I'm happy with what I have
Someone once told me (accurately I believe) that if you can't describe what your product does in a single sentence, it's going to be hard to sell. By that measure, my idea is in a lot of trouble. I think that like DVRs themselves, until you have actually seen it in use, you don't realize how much you need it.
to be listed as an approved app
I have done a few other projects in my time. Mostly I release them on SourceForge these days, so those requirements don't sound like a problem. I guess before I make a decision here, I'll wait and see how the program turns out. After I have used it myself for a few weeks, maybe I'll feel better (or worse) about how useful it will be.

rmeden
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Re: Is there an EPG designed for DVR?

Post by rmeden » Mon Aug 01, 2011 3:47 pm

We're not going away....

Most folks just don't have a lot to say, we haven't changed anything in a while... conversations are just in the forums for the various projects.

Robert

rshendershot
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Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2007 6:19 am

Re: Is there an EPG designed for DVR?

Post by rshendershot » Tue Aug 09, 2011 9:52 am

Semantics aside (Electronic Program Guide is a general type, Lister is a more concrete type), I think perhaps the lack of response is that the idea was confusing. If nobody had already replied I'd have stopped at about the 60% point in your OP.

As I see it the Guide is only part of the system. There are several ways you may wish to record a program: 1) somebody tells you about a show, 2) you find mention of a show on media like TV, Radio, Internet, RSS, etc., 3) you have enough time on your hands to 'brute-force' some kind of listings, 4) you wish to just Watch It Now. Several of those do NOT have any automatic way to invoke a recording scheduling.

I, like you apparently, spend time in the #3 category but there are shortcuts. New Shows listing (eg. mythweb) save me a lot of bother in the process. This allows me easily to spot Pilots and Premiers. Category searches based on title, production company, cast member, etc. are also in the domain. I think this is the area that most EPG focus currently. Not all of them integrate with the recorder. An open-source system that does is MythTV.
the thing that may be the *least* useful bit of information about a show is the time it is showing.
Actually a recorder/scheduler issue. If I find an episode of Star Trek, which its Description causes me to want to record, I have several options: If it's a special (say like the Curiosity discussion that broadcast as an Extra after the premier) I likely don't care when, but only that it's ID is scheduled. If it's a Series then I want to schedule it specifically, or perhaps I wish to schedule the series to get all episodes. If it conflicts with other shows' schedule then I need a way to resolve the conflict, even if that means the schedule remains far into the future so that it does not get recorded until the off-season. At this, MythTV excels.

I need a convenient way to approach the listings. At this MythWeb excels. SchedulesDirect is simply the base data for a subset of the global community. EPG like FreeGuideTV are simply a way of conveniently searching listings. Recording schedulers have to know about your hardware and maintain a central repository of your expectations. That's separate from your transient desires concerning "What is on Now?". That's where the EPG excels.

I'd suggest that what you are looking for is a friend to the EPG which might be described as EPR (Recorder). Best-of-breed in that class is MythTV.

I'd be interested to know if you sense a need beyond what is available in that class.

Cheers,
-Rick

videobruce
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Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:00 pm

Re: Is there an EPG designed for DVR?

Post by videobruce » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:07 pm

1. eytwoierfskj; I loved your post. It's right on target.

2. Add me to the list for this problem with DVR's that only use PSIP data from stations that are lame, only providing 3-6 hours of programming which is basically useless AFAIC.

3. I see all the existing applications, but the DVR I have is in serious need of Internet based data to replace the above useless sources. How does on contact you people as a manufacture to get on the band wagon to use your service with their product?

4. Better yet, how can an individual, or group of individuals go about adapting your data for a DVR that doesn't have the ability (yet) to provide usable Guide data for a week in advance?

Thanks in advance.
Keep OTA (over the air) TV available to all. Stop taking spectrum away for other unnecessary wireless services. They already have enough.

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