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<  Firmwares, enhancements and upgrades  ~  EPG Grid Wish list (& Mock-up)

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Quixotic
Posted: Wed May 11, 2005 6:15 pm Reply with quote
Regular contributor Joined: 28 Apr 2005 Posts: 84
Here's a list of what I regard as the main problems with the EPG grid. I've included possible solutions and created a mock-up showing how they could be implemented.

    1) 3 Hour time span ? The Current 3 Hour time span limits the space available for program names to only five or six letters for a half hour program (especially limiting if the program begins with "The "). Any program less than half an hour is reduced to a cryptic two letters, or even a blank box. This severe truncation of program names results in a cluttered EPG grid that can be difficult to use. A One and a half hour time span (as used by the SKY EPG) would double the space available for program names and greatly improve the readability / usability of the EPG grid.

    2) Only 4 channels shown at a time ? Due to the EPG displaying a quarter screen view of the current channel, there's only enough space left to show the details of four channels. A better compromise would be to remove the quarter screen video and only play the sound of the current channel, freeing up space for more channels in the EPG grid.

    3) Changing channels when moving through the EPG grid ? This is annoying if you want to continue listening to the current channel whilst browsing the EPG, and also has the unfortunate side effect of resetting the timeslip cache on each channel change. This behaviour is necessary because the Topfield only collects EIT information for the channels on the multiplex that it is currently tuned to. There are two solutions to this problem 1.) Make full use of the EIT information transmitted (each multiplex carries full EIT data for all channels, including channels transmitted on other multiplexes) 2.) Cache the EPG data currently collected from each multiplex.


Here's a mock-up that illustrates some of the points above.

[img]http://tinypic.com/51v8lt[/img]
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matt
Posted: Wed May 11, 2005 9:58 pm Reply with quote
Forum moderator Joined: 30 Mar 2005 Posts: 2305 Location: St Ives, Cornwall Transmitter: Redruth
Nice mock up.

Check Jag's EPG and also the following section of this forum

http://www.toppy.org.uk/forum/viewforum.php?f=15

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groovyf
Posted: Wed May 11, 2005 10:47 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 30 Mar 2005 Posts: 433 Location: Halifax, Emley Moor transmitter
That mock-up is similar to the one MS Media Centre Edition has (and one which I really like.. as I use it in a PC-baed PVR in another room.)

PS: matt.. no access to that forum by the looks of it.

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marctwo
Posted: Thu May 12, 2005 9:37 am Reply with quote
Regular contributor Joined: 04 May 2005 Posts: 33
The mockup looks great.

It is certainly a big improvement on the existing EPG. I do have a couple of suggestions though:

1. Allow the user to change the font size and therefore the number of hours shown. It would be good to have the option to still display 3 hours and/or have smaller fonts to still allow meaningful descriptions.

2. Make the EPG transparant. This way you avoid having the small channel window but still allow people to see some of what is happening on the channel they were last watching before switching to the EPG.

3. I really like having the extended info at the bottom of the screen but if you made the optional you could free up even more screen space. With the info off, you could possibly setup the currently selected program to scroll the extended info 'ticker style' within the program block.
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ARW
Posted: Tue May 17, 2005 6:02 pm Reply with quote
Regular contributor Joined: 15 May 2005 Posts: 25 Location: Surrey, UK
Yes, very nice mockup.
Does anyone still have a functioning Pace Twin? Sad
Perhaps a few screen snapshots of its EPG (once fully populated), zoomed to show a range of 1hr, 2hrs and 3hrs etc, covering 10 channels would also be a good example for those clever enough to do the development (or for Topfield itself)?
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chunkywizard
Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 9:59 pm Reply with quote
MyStuff Team Joined: 13 May 2005 Posts: 9319 Location: Sindlesham, Berkshire Tx: Hannington
Hi there,

as one of the few people not using JAGs EPG I would love to see these features in the current EPG (or a TAP). Note, one of the things you asked for is allready in there. You can vary the time displayed on the EPG by using the >> and << keys, this is a really useful (and undocumented) feature. I found it posted in the forum!

Anyway, lets hope someopne reads this post and does some work on this,

Regards

Chunkywizard
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ARW
Posted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 8:02 pm Reply with quote
Regular contributor Joined: 15 May 2005 Posts: 25 Location: Surrey, UK
I tried Jag's EPG, but it was not for me, despite it being obviously well thought out and feature rich. A true matrix/grid-style EPG is what I'm looking for (please, Topfield!). Very Happy

I hope Quixotic won't mind, but I (inexpertly) added a small request of my own: show exactly when timers (& reminders) are due to start and stop, even if they have been extended. Simply underline the channel for the duration of the recording (so recording DIY SOS and World Snooker in the example below).

http://tinypic.com/view.html?pic=69oxfo



I could live without the programme info at the bottom in favour of a greater number of channels shown: more than happy to press "info" to get the details if I'm interested. Leave the sound playing without changing channel while the EPG is on screen, so that I can listen to the news etc while looking around in the EPG.
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Richard46
Posted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 9:01 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 31 Mar 2005 Posts: 1586 Location: Forest Gate East London
Thats what the EPG should look like. I have to say that despite its advantages JAGS EPG is not what I would choose. Great work.

Richard
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xandertarr
Posted: Sat Jun 25, 2005 8:44 am Reply with quote
Regular contributor Joined: 24 Apr 2005 Posts: 36 Location: Plymouth, UK
I agree, if only the EPG functioned like that it would solve a large niggle that I have with the toppy.

Another function which I dont believe is available in Improbox (or any other TAP) is the ability to browse what is on currently and next on other channels to the one currently selected. (similar in functionality to the now and next banner on sky digiboxes)

I have been considering this for some time, and was considering building a TAP to achieve this myself, but it would require (as far as I believe) caching the EPG like JAG's EPG does.

I'm not sure what other people think, but how about taking something like JAG's EPG and splitting it into two - one component to provide the back-end functionality and another to provide the user-interface. We could therefore get the possibility of different people building different interfaces, eg. someone building a grid-view like above and also using the data to provide a now and next service like described above.

My thoughts on how to actually achieve this (e.g. two seperate interoperating TAPs) was originally worrying me, but since I saw TSR Commander which has the ability to dynamically find and call methods in other TAP's could I guess be used.

What do others think of this?
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nwhitfield
Posted: Sat Jun 25, 2005 9:35 am Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 20 Mar 2005 Posts: 9579
Jag's EPG does let you see what's on next on all the channels...

Nigel.

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xandertarr
Posted: Sat Jun 25, 2005 2:20 pm Reply with quote
Regular contributor Joined: 24 Apr 2005 Posts: 36 Location: Plymouth, UK
Yes I know it does, but only taking up the full screen. I was hoping for something like I had on my past boxes, and with sky etc, for example Improbox but with the ability to browse through the channels. For example, it is handy when you are watching one program which is about to finish to then be able to select your next viewing preference.
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Kris
Posted: Tue Jul 12, 2005 4:28 pm Reply with quote
Regular contributor Joined: 12 Jul 2005 Posts: 25 Location: Hitchin, Herts
ooooo how much would I like to see this

I really wish I'd concentrated more at University, I'd be able to write my own Wink
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benhinman
Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 12:41 pm Reply with quote
Regular contributor Joined: 19 May 2005 Posts: 44
I have not looked at the API properly to be honest - but is the above mock-up actually possible??

The Media Center look is simply the best around, but even the Sky EPG is still 10 times ahead of anything and everything freeview based. On freeview, we simply want our favorite list all on 1 screen with at least 1 hours programming information at a glance.

Go look at the iPlayer+ (same style as the above mock-up)... it's always the same with freeview boxes, they get one bit right and then mess up another bit. In this case, the epg is awesome - but u can't actually record anything (its not a pvr). the toppy's problem is that the software is something you expect to see from a first year computer science degree student.

If this look and feel is actually possible (i.e. exactly what I see there) from TAPS, I will cancel my Inverto order, sell my mac, buy a pc and a toppy - and finally develop it Wink
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ARW
Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 6:00 pm Reply with quote
Regular contributor Joined: 15 May 2005 Posts: 25 Location: Surrey, UK
Personally, I don't mind about the look (colours, icons, etc -- a two colour clear functional grid is enough), but I really hope the feel is possible, i.e.
- time left-to-right and zoomable;
- channels top-to-bottom and full screen: no channel changing or PIP, displaying ~10 channels at once in the order/filtering of the currently selected favourites list;
- an accurate indication of when timers will start and stop on a given channel, even if extended by the timer_extend TAP or similar;
- the ability to set timers and view programme information by navigating to the appropriate cell and pressing the appropriate button;
- preferably a hot-key to jump straight from the EPG to the timers list (and back), but I think this one will require a Topfield EPG implementation rather than a TAP-implementation since navigation by TAP seems to involve simulating key-press events...

Sorry... I guess I'm not easy to please Smile
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djhomeless
Posted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 7:23 am Reply with quote
Regular contributor Joined: 05 Jul 2005 Posts: 46 Location: London
I too wanted tolike Jag's EPG but didn't.

The thing that I miss the most from Sky is getting a proper show info as you scroll horizontally, and vertically. i think the mockup above is better, but still doesn't have enough space for show info (but that just may be me).

Another thing I miss from Sky is using the << >> arrow keys to scroll to nearby channels, without loading the full EPG, and without changing the channel.

Oh, one last gripe, I really hate the channel status view that shows by default. It is far too teachie. Meaning, if I was in some sort of debug mode, sure I would love to know which MUX the channel was transmitting on, and the signal strength and such, but in normal viewing I could care less. Sorry to play the Sky card yet again, but all I want to see is Channel Name, Program Name, Time, and show description.

I'm not sure if the last bit is a limitation of Freeview, or the Toppy, but it is one of the few things that really drive me batty.

My 2 cents,

Geoffrey
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