Author Topic: Restart/Catch-Up TV  (Read 5154 times)

chrisbirkinshaw

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Restart/Catch-Up TV
« on: March 27, 2009, 12:33:37 pm »
I'm not offering a solution to this, but just interested to know if anyone has thought about it.

Basically Restart TV/Catch-up TV is where you can click any event in the past 7 days from the EPG viewer and start watching that event. This includes the current event. Events available for Restart are normally flagged in the EPG viewer with a special icon.

The recordings would need to be hidden from the normal Videos section of LMCE. They would also need to be available from the EPG viewer in mythtv/vdr which could be a big change.

What I might do is write something which schedules VDR to record channels constantly and then have these given a special tag so you can sort them easily from your normal recordings, but this is not a very polished solution.

It would also be great to be able to select one of the events available for Restart and "record" that event to your normal recording storage.

Has anyone else thought about this?

Regards,

Chris

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Re: Restart/Catch-Up TV
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2009, 02:10:04 pm »
I'm not offering a solution to this, but just interested to know if anyone has thought about it.

Basically Restart TV/Catch-up TV is where you can click any event in the past 7 days from the EPG viewer and start watching that event. This includes the current event. Events available for Restart are normally flagged in the EPG viewer with a special icon.

The recordings would need to be hidden from the normal Videos section of LMCE. They would also need to be available from the EPG viewer in mythtv/vdr which could be a big change.

What I might do is write something which schedules VDR to record channels constantly and then have these given a special tag so you can sort them easily from your normal recordings, but this is not a very polished solution.

It would also be great to be able to select one of the events available for Restart and "record" that event to your normal recording storage.

Has anyone else thought about this?

Regards,

Chris


Yes BSKYB's Sky+ & SkyHD boxes can do this now here in the UK. They buffer a small range of shows to a hidden area on their hard drives...on the basis that if you liked Show 'X' then you might also like Show 'Y' etc.

Something similar could be engineered that was not 'operator' driven but was user driven. Under the 'hood' it would probably be somewhat similar to 'series link' in technical scope I would guess. Most of it could be written in Bash I would imagine with some PHP for the Web UI (in vdr's case).

It sounds like a nice extension to what we have today...

All the best

Andrew

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posde

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Re: Restart/Catch-Up TV
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2009, 03:22:37 pm »
Isn't this something that is done in MythTV already? I am no MythTV user, but I do recall seeing some automatic recordings that were not initiated by the user.

chrisbirkinshaw

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Re: Restart/Catch-Up TV
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2009, 08:28:01 pm »

Yes BSKYB's Sky+ & SkyHD boxes can do this now here in the UK. They buffer a small range of shows to a hidden area on their hard drives...on the basis that if you liked Show 'X' then you might also like Show 'Y' etc.


That kind of thing is more commonly called "Push VOD", and is different to Restart TV because there is some element of recommendation. Restart TV makes all events for the last N days of broadcasting for channels X, Y, and Z available to the user through the on screen EPG timeline view. The events do not appear to the user as if they have been recorded - what the user gets is an EPG in which they can jump back in time.

BTW Andrew if you are interested in content recommendation I spoke to a few people at the IPTV World forum this week who are making recommendation engines with APIs exposed over the internet as a commercial service. PM me if you want any more info...!

Chris


colinjones

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Re: Restart/Catch-Up TV
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2009, 08:51:17 pm »
Actually, I like both approaches! The recommendation is a bit much :) but at the least, prioritising a list of previous shows you have manually or schedule recorded, like the series concept, then recording them again as they come up, and backing the storage requirement for these specific recordings into a manually set percentage of overall diskspace required. Only the recordings at the top of the list get recorded and/or older auto-recordings get deleted automatically to keep the storage within the percentage set. It could even tune itself based on user behaviour, by watching which auto-recordings the user manually deletes and deprioritising them for auto-recording next time... it would have to look at the schedule as well to make sure it doesn't record something twice!

Wouldn't this need to be a plugin, that would then be able to interact with either Myth or VDR as appropriate?

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Re: Restart/Catch-Up TV
« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2009, 03:31:48 pm »
Actually, I like both approaches! The recommendation is a bit much :) but at the least, prioritising a list of previous shows you have manually or schedule recorded, like the series concept, then recording them again as they come up, and backing the storage requirement for these specific recordings into a manually set percentage of overall diskspace required. Only the recordings at the top of the list get recorded and/or older auto-recordings get deleted automatically to keep the storage within the percentage set. It could even tune itself based on user behaviour, by watching which auto-recordings the user manually deletes and deprioritising them for auto-recording next time... it would have to look at the schedule as well to make sure it doesn't record something twice!

Wouldn't this need to be a plugin, that would then be able to interact with either Myth or VDR as appropriate?

Well in vdr's case I think these types of enhancements may require changes in the source code itself as they require very tightly coupled interaction with the broadcast epg data etc...at least thats our current view. It may be possible to implement basic Restart-TV in a plugin though.

I have also been playing with some hacks inside vdradmin-am so that recordings already made for a particular program are 'stacked' under relevant entries in the 'time-line' view. Its kind of working for future show instances in the epg...but currently the epg data for days in the past are not buffered so that would need to be changed. So for example a show that is on tonight at 8pm on channel 2 has an icon to indicate that shows are already recorded in the media library...click that timeline view entry and all those shows are displayed for playback.

Another version of this that would be to have 6 DVB-T tuners and just have them record all six UK mux's (in other countries you might need more or less tuners to achieve this) 24-7. Then the concept of scheduling a timer disappears completely! You would just configure the size of the TV buffer to the number of days you want ie 10 days would keep a rolling buffer 'window'  of 10 days into the past. A 10 day buffer would be about 3Tb for the UK in SD...today a very affordable amount of storage. With this in place you would just browse around the EPG (or search it) and when you found a program you liked say from last 'Tuesday' you'd just select it and press 'Play'...because it would already be in the Media Library. Any programs you wanted to keep beyon the 10 day rolling window could be 'flagged' for keeping and then the system would not delete them as it removed older recordings.

We have done a lot of performance testing on continuous recording from 6 tuners and so we know that part if no problem whatsoever. In many ways this is pretty simple to implement compared to scheduling timers and all that that entails. From a users point of view its a dream as everything the y could possibly want to watch has already been recorded for them ;-)

All the best

Andrew
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Zaerc

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Re: Restart/Catch-Up TV
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2009, 04:30:48 pm »
...
Another version of this that would be to have 6 DVB-T tuners and just have them record all six UK mux's (in other countries you might need more or less tuners to achieve this) 24-7. Then the concept of scheduling a timer disappears completely! You would just configure the size of the TV buffer to the number of days you want ie 10 days would keep a rolling buffer 'window'  of 10 days into the past. A 10 day buffer would be about 3Tb for the UK in SD...today a very affordable amount of storage. With this in place you would just browse around the EPG (or search it) and when you found a program you liked say from last 'Tuesday' you'd just select it and press 'Play'...because it would already be in the Media Library. Any programs you wanted to keep beyon the 10 day rolling window could be 'flagged' for keeping and then the system would not delete them as it removed older recordings.

We have done a lot of performance testing on continuous recording from 6 tuners and so we know that part if no problem whatsoever. In many ways this is pretty simple to implement compared to scheduling timers and all that that entails. From a users point of view its a dream as everything the y could possibly want to watch has already been recorded for them ;-)

All the best

Andrew

I have been pondering about something like that too and think it's a wonderful idea.
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Re: Restart/Catch-Up TV
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2009, 08:31:28 pm »
...
Another version of this that would be to have 6 DVB-T tuners and just have them record all six UK mux's (in other countries you might need more or less tuners to achieve this) 24-7. Then the concept of scheduling a timer disappears completely! You would just configure the size of the TV buffer to the number of days you want ie 10 days would keep a rolling buffer 'window'  of 10 days into the past. A 10 day buffer would be about 3Tb for the UK in SD...today a very affordable amount of storage. With this in place you would just browse around the EPG (or search it) and when you found a program you liked say from last 'Tuesday' you'd just select it and press 'Play'...because it would already be in the Media Library. Any programs you wanted to keep beyon the 10 day rolling window could be 'flagged' for keeping and then the system would not delete them as it removed older recordings.

We have done a lot of performance testing on continuous recording from 6 tuners and so we know that part if no problem whatsoever. In many ways this is pretty simple to implement compared to scheduling timers and all that that entails. From a users point of view its a dream as everything the y could possibly want to watch has already been recorded for them ;-)

All the best

Andrew

I have been pondering about something like that too and think it's a wonderful idea.


Yeah...its an intriguing idea as it makes the need to understand how to record or remember to record TV shows go away. That whole side is invisible to the user and line between live TV and recorded TV disappears completely.

Andrew
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chrisbirkinshaw

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Re: Restart/Catch-Up TV
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2009, 09:26:41 pm »
Another version of this that would be to have 6 DVB-T tuners and just have them record all six UK mux's (in other countries you might need more or less tuners to achieve this) 24-7. Then the concept of scheduling a timer disappears completely! You would just configure the size of the TV buffer to the number of days you want ie 10 days would keep a rolling buffer 'window'  of 10 days into the past. A 10 day buffer would be about 3Tb for the UK in SD...today a very affordable amount of storage. With this in place you would just browse around the EPG (or search it) and when you found a program you liked say from last 'Tuesday' you'd just select it and press 'Play'...because it would already be in the Media Library. Any programs you wanted to keep beyon the 10 day rolling window could be 'flagged' for keeping and then the system would not delete them as it removed older recordings.

Yes, this is precisely what I was hoping to implement. It sounds like we nearly have it!!! Normally of course for VOD systems over DVB-C/IPTV the recording is done at the headend onto the video server, and the end user never actually holds the physical content, but in the case of LMCE the headend is in your closet!

Chris


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Re: Restart/Catch-Up TV
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2009, 09:31:39 pm »
AThe recommendation is a bit much :)

Agreed - I mentioned it on the off chance that someone like Andrew might like to offer it as a paid service for their customers. I don't think it's appropriate to support on standard LMCE systems as I expect you will need a decent volume to set up a contract with these people.

Maybe Google will offer a free version at some point though... ;-)

Chris

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Re: Restart/Catch-Up TV
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2009, 10:21:59 pm »
Another version of this that would be to have 6 DVB-T tuners and just have them record all six UK mux's (in other countries you might need more or less tuners to achieve this) 24-7. Then the concept of scheduling a timer disappears completely! You would just configure the size of the TV buffer to the number of days you want ie 10 days would keep a rolling buffer 'window'  of 10 days into the past. A 10 day buffer would be about 3Tb for the UK in SD...today a very affordable amount of storage. With this in place you would just browse around the EPG (or search it) and when you found a program you liked say from last 'Tuesday' you'd just select it and press 'Play'...because it would already be in the Media Library. Any programs you wanted to keep beyon the 10 day rolling window could be 'flagged' for keeping and then the system would not delete them as it removed older recordings.

Yes, this is precisely what I was hoping to implement. It sounds like we nearly have it!!! Normally of course for VOD systems over DVB-C/IPTV the recording is done at the headend onto the video server, and the end user never actually holds the physical content, but in the case of LMCE the headend is in your closet!

Chris



Yep... and I really think this is very 'Do-able' indeed... all the hardware and performance is their already. Interestingly the software challenges in my estimation are quite small...and as I said earlier in many ways this approach simplifies the software greatly ;-)

Andrew
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colinjones

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Re: Restart/Catch-Up TV
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2009, 10:31:07 pm »
...
Another version of this that would be to have 6 DVB-T tuners and just have them record all six UK mux's (in other countries you might need more or less tuners to achieve this) 24-7. Then the concept of scheduling a timer disappears completely! You would just configure the size of the TV buffer to the number of days you want ie 10 days would keep a rolling buffer 'window'  of 10 days into the past. A 10 day buffer would be about 3Tb for the UK in SD...today a very affordable amount of storage. With this in place you would just browse around the EPG (or search it) and when you found a program you liked say from last 'Tuesday' you'd just select it and press 'Play'...because it would already be in the Media Library. Any programs you wanted to keep beyon the 10 day rolling window could be 'flagged' for keeping and then the system would not delete them as it removed older recordings.

We have done a lot of performance testing on continuous recording from 6 tuners and so we know that part if no problem whatsoever. In many ways this is pretty simple to implement compared to scheduling timers and all that that entails. From a users point of view its a dream as everything the y could possibly want to watch has already been recorded for them ;-)

All the best

Andrew

I have been pondering about something like that too and think it's a wonderful idea.


Yeah...its an intriguing idea as it makes the need to understand how to record or remember to record TV shows go away. That whole side is invisible to the user and line between live TV and recorded TV disappears completely.

Andrew

I thought you guys were already doing that for customers? I remember you talking about it a bit quite a long time ago, maybe that was just testing and I assumed you were using it in production. Its a great idea for countries that use the muxes in the same way as the UK, ie fully shared amoung providers, but in locations (like AU) where a channel is allocated to 1 provider, and they can mux (or not) other channels... in other words, this proliferates the number of channels needed and therefore DVB tuners... damn! The other angle is there are a lot of HD channels here .... one reason I guess why they didn't use proper mux sharing, and the HD channels obviously will chew threw the hdd space faster... the average SD channel here transmits at around 6Mb/s (which is relatively high compared with most pay/cable services) whilst the average HD channel is at least 13Mb/s, sometimes as high as 15Mb/s .... I still want everything recorded tho :) so maybe I start looking into it anyway.... lots of disks!

Andrew, was thinking about this yesterday, I have a recording of a channel that I know uses muxes, how to I switch between the channels in the recording when using VDR?

colinjones

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Re: Restart/Catch-Up TV
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2009, 10:38:46 pm »
oooh, another thought - in this system, you could make it so that you choose a list of channels that you want to be included in the continuous record, and prioritise them. Then as tuners get picked off for use in instant/scheduled recordings, it will "eat into" the tuners being used for continous recording in reverse priority order. So if you have 6 tuners available, and a list of 5 channels for continuous recording - then you set of a manual/instant recording, it chooses the 6th (available) tuner, naturally. The next recording that you kick off in parallel needs to steal a tuner from the continuous recording set of 5 tuners. It could either automatically steal the 5th as it is the lowest priority, or prompt you...


Actually, come to think of it, I think VDR already does this and priorities doesn't it? OK, strike these remarks :)

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Re: Restart/Catch-Up TV
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2009, 11:53:49 am »
...
Another version of this that would be to have 6 DVB-T tuners and just have them record all six UK mux's (in other countries you might need more or less tuners to achieve this) 24-7. Then the concept of scheduling a timer disappears completely! You would just configure the size of the TV buffer to the number of days you want ie 10 days would keep a rolling buffer 'window'  of 10 days into the past. A 10 day buffer would be about 3Tb for the UK in SD...today a very affordable amount of storage. With this in place you would just browse around the EPG (or search it) and when you found a program you liked say from last 'Tuesday' you'd just select it and press 'Play'...because it would already be in the Media Library. Any programs you wanted to keep beyon the 10 day rolling window could be 'flagged' for keeping and then the system would not delete them as it removed older recordings.

We have done a lot of performance testing on continuous recording from 6 tuners and so we know that part if no problem whatsoever. In many ways this is pretty simple to implement compared to scheduling timers and all that that entails. From a users point of view its a dream as everything the y could possibly want to watch has already been recorded for them ;-)

All the best

Andrew

I have been pondering about something like that too and think it's a wonderful idea.


Yeah...its an intriguing idea as it makes the need to understand how to record or remember to record TV shows go away. That whole side is invisible to the user and line between live TV and recorded TV disappears completely.

Andrew

I thought you guys were already doing that for customers? I remember you talking about it a bit quite a long time ago, maybe that was just testing and I assumed you were using it in production. Its a great idea for countries that use the muxes in the same way as the UK, ie fully shared amoung providers, but in locations (like AU) where a channel is allocated to 1 provider, and they can mux (or not) other channels... in other words, this proliferates the number of channels needed and therefore DVB tuners... damn! The other angle is there are a lot of HD channels here .... one reason I guess why they didn't use proper mux sharing, and the HD channels obviously will chew threw the hdd space faster... the average SD channel here transmits at around 6Mb/s (which is relatively high compared with most pay/cable services) whilst the average HD channel is at least 13Mb/s, sometimes as high as 15Mb/s .... I still want everything recorded tho :) so maybe I start looking into it anyway.... lots of disks!

Andrew, was thinking about this yesterday, I have a recording of a channel that I know uses muxes, how to I switch between the channels in the recording when using VDR?

Well we have tested pretty much all the component parts to do this and shown it to customers...the reaction was always positive as even with PVR's and good EPG's many people still struggle with setting recordings etc. This removes all that completely. We are looking at 'glueing' all the pieces together and doing a trial 5-10 customers later in the summer.

With regard to MUX's and channel allocation I know the UK is more harmonised from that point of view and we have looked at how this might work in other markets fpr partners in locations like Oz/Brazil for example. To scale it up for operation in locations where there are more single operator MUX's and more HD just requires more tuners and these will be located in separate 'backend' expansion chassis (we have experimented with chassis with 12 DVB-T twin Tuners successfully). If you need more Tuners add another chassis etc. For DVB-S the issue is the amount of power the S/S2 cards draw from the bus...3-4 tuners per chassis is about the limit currently with 'standard' motherboards but are looking at working around the power issue with an expansion chassis that has a separate power supply. This idea of multiple backends is where we're going for sure.

To answer your question regarding MUX's... When vdr tunes a tuner to MUX-A so that it can deliver channel-1 to the screen or record it - that tuner is then 'in use' The recording of Channel-1 on MUX-A only contains the data stream for that channel. Other users can request any of the other Channels on MUX-A and record/watch those at will without limitation - 10 MD's can watch the same or different channels simultaneously from that MUX. Other users might request channels on other MUX's and as long as you have enough tuners to cover all of the MUX's there is no limitation on watching/recording any of those channels.

All the best

Andrew
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colinjones

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Re: Restart/Catch-Up TV
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2009, 10:53:37 pm »
oh?! I thought the whole advantage was the VDR would/could record all channels in the same MUX so that you only needed a small number of tuners to be able to capture all the TV channels in the UK because so many are on the same mux?