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<  Firmwares, enhancements and upgrades  ~  Do we really need twin buffers?

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Traxmaster
Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2005 2:42 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 31 Mar 2005 Posts: 206
Do you really need twin buffers or just a fix to make sure the single buffer is not purged under certain circumstances like:

a) when a recording starts
b) you playback a recording.

Nigel has spoken to turbosat and here are some comments from a PM.

"I have raised the issue of dual buffers, but I think we need to cover this in more functional detail... the initial response is "how will it actually make much difference?" Not purging timeshift when a recording starts is a fairly clear thing to get a grip on, but you need to clarify exactly why and when dual buffers will do something different from that - the only time we can think of is when using PiP"

I have also asked Darkmatter for valuable comments and he replied as below.

"Under normal viewing conditions the timeshift buffer would record whatever you viewed in the last 1 hour. It would never be purged. If the user changed channels it would simple follow the users viewing.

So far, that?s close to what we have at the moment. The only difference being the buffer is never purged. The big change I would make is when the user starts to timeshift (moves the cursor back in time) that buffer should become locked to that channel. Now when the user changes channel, the timeshift buffer doesn?t follow ? it continues to record the original programme, without interruption.

At this point, a second timeshift buffer could be started. It?s not strictly needed ? most users could quite happily live without the extra buffer. However, the Toppy is dual record capable, so why not! "

Please can you add comments that deal with the desired functionality and its benefits.
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Traxmaster
Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2005 2:52 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 31 Mar 2005 Posts: 206
I also believe we need the discuss how this would work when already recording 2 channels.

If we decide to watch a third and a fourth in PIP, how do we apply buffers to these channels, maybe we don't at all?
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Darkmatter
Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2005 4:23 pm Reply with quote
Forum moderator Joined: 21 Mar 2005 Posts: 1237
I?d also add to my comments, that the Inverto has dual timeshift buffers, and this gives it a perceived market advantage. Whilst the comment I made above holds true (it?s not strictly needed) it?s very difficult to convince a potential buyer that they don?t need the extra feature. Most won?t understand how to use advanced timeshifting until they buy a box and play with it ? by which time it?s too late; the sale is lost.
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Maff
Posted: Wed Jun 15, 2005 4:51 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 16 May 2005 Posts: 162
Traxmaster wrote:
...The big change I would make is when the user starts to timeshift (moves the cursor back in time) that buffer should become locked to that channel. Now when the user changes channel, the timeshift buffer doesn?t follow ? it continues to record the original programme, without interruption.


In this case the timeshift buffer would effectively turn into an on demand recording.

A simplier behaviour to create might be when you try to change channel whilst using your timeshift it warns you and offers to turn it into a recording rather than time shift.

Thatway you still only ever have one timeshift buffer, which would follow the live channel as it does now.
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CaptJ
Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 12:12 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 13 May 2005 Posts: 1 Location: London
I think that if the buffer did not purge the information that would give me everything that is required. If I change the channel while timeshifting then switched back, I would just have that small amount of other channel in the buffer.

My expectation of timeshifting is that it is not the same as recording or as robust, a simple warning in exceptional circumstances (i.e. 2 recordings starting) would suffice.
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rayd
Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 1:34 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 03 Jun 2005 Posts: 377 Location: West London
Darkmatter wrote:
I?d also add to my comments, that the Inverto has dual timeshift buffers, and this gives it a perceived market advantage. Whilst the comment I made above holds true (it?s not strictly needed) it?s very difficult to convince a potential buyer that they don?t need the extra feature. Most won?t understand how to use advanced timeshifting until they buy a box and play with it ? by which time it?s too late; the sale is lost.


The Fusion also had dual buffers - until the second one was removed in the latest firmware update.

The furore that has occurred since then shows how much the two buffers were used. Because of this, I think it highly likely that Fusion will reinstate the second one.

Cheers,

Ray D
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nwhitfield
Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 1:56 pm Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 20 Mar 2005 Posts: 9579
This is partly why I want to be absolutely clear, before pressing for changes, about exactly what people want, and how they anticipate accessing a feature.

You can say "add twin buffers, brand X has them" but it might not necessarily make sense in the context of the Toppy.

I can see that, on original foreign firmware where you even had two channel lists, and could choose which tuner you used, having two buffers makes sense, and is something a user can get a grip on.

But since you can't choose which tuner you use, simply saying that we want two buffers doesn't, in my view, make an awful lot of sense.

There are circumstances in which not purging the viewing buffer, or buffering both tuners at the same time, may clearly be advantageous and desireable.

What we need to work out are what those circumstances are, and explain them clearly. Implementation is best left to the coders, in my view. They might well decide to run two buffers all the time, or they might decide on a different way of achieving the same result.

I suspect that when it comes down to a feature list, most ordinary buyers will tick the box that says "two tuners." They won't be too fussed about other details on the whole; some of them are happy with two tuner boxes that only record one thing at a time!

What they're more likely to ask is not "does it have two buffers" but things like "if I browse other channels during ads, can I still skip back"

Nigel.

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simonc
Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 2:23 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 12 Apr 2005 Posts: 5642 Location: Cheltenham
I think if it'd warn you before doing anything that will purge the timeshift buffer when you are in timeshift mode (don't care about losing rewind capability) and perhaps give you the option of recording the contents of the buffer from beginning or current viewing point.

The biggest gotcha at the moment is swapping the PIP and main channels over and that must be where the request for 2 buffers is originating from.

I'd have reservations about 2 buffers if it's likely to increase disc noise. I don't want to have to spend another 50 (and invalidate the warranty) on a quiet drive.
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That Bloke
Posted: Thu Jun 16, 2005 11:52 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 16 Jun 2005 Posts: 7
Hi,

bear with me on this one as I do not have a Toppy yet (though I am about to order one).

I would have thought that the way a twin buffer would work would be to, where possible, buffer the last two channels. So, if you are watching BBC1 it would be buffering it as it goes. You then switch to ITV, and it would then start buffering ITV on the second tuner whilst carrying on buffering BBC1 on the first tuner. If you then switched back to BBC1 the buffer would still contain what was recorded whilst you were watching the other channel. ITV would still be buffering on the second tuner.

If at some stage you switch to a third channel (say Channel 4), it would carry on buffering whichever you were last watching and the new channel.

Obviously, a recording would take precedence over the buffering, and a warning should appear if you are changing channel and the previous one will not continue to buffer (this warning should be selectable whether it appears or not).

I think that the times this would be really useful would be for times where you are watching a program, flip over in the adverts intending to go back but get interested in the alternative. In this situation you would be able to go back to the original at the end and watch that from the buffer.

As I say, I do not use a PVR at the moment, but that is what I would imaging the twin buffer functionality to offer. If I have missed the point, please let me know Smile
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Darkmatter
Posted: Fri Jun 17, 2005 12:56 pm Reply with quote
Forum moderator Joined: 21 Mar 2005 Posts: 1237
rayd wrote:
The Fusion also had dual buffers - until the second one was removed in the latest firmware update.

I didn?t realise the Fusion had dual timeshift buffers ? do you know how they work?

I?m interested in hearing how other PVRs handle their buffers, and what the pros and cons are. Traxmaster ? IIRC you own an Inverto too, perhaps you could comment on that - what would you change to make it better?
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Traxmaster
Posted: Fri Jun 17, 2005 1:43 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 31 Mar 2005 Posts: 206
I will report back later exactly how the buffers work on each tuner of the inverto and how you get to select whats on each tuner, which can be tricky.
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Traxmaster
Posted: Tue Jun 21, 2005 2:25 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 31 Mar 2005 Posts: 206
Sorry I have taken a while to get back, but I was waiting for comments from Inverto on how to set each the channel relevant to each tuner.

At present this is difficult to achieve without first putting the current channel into timeslip mode (This is achieved by pausing or rewinding your present viewing). Once you have done this you can change channels without loosing the buffer of the first channel.

A nice feature is a swap key available on the remote that switches between playback, tuner 1 and tuner2.

At first It appeared that when you change channels without pausing that the last channel was always buffered but this is not the case.

Example

You are viewing BBC1
You change to BBC2 and BBC1 is still being buffered on the other tuner.
You Change to ITV1 and this time BBC2 is still being buffered on the other tuner.

This is where I got confused, I change from ITV1 to Channel 4
I expected ITV1 to be buffered on the other tuner but BBC2 is still buffered.

When pause is used on a channel the buffer now appears to go over 60 minutes.

If both tuners are in timeshift mode and you try and change channels a message appears to continue timeshifting or change channel.

You can also record a program from the EPG if the timeshift buffer has the start of the program.

You can also rewind the timeshift buffer and press manual record to start recording at the point.

Playing a recording never purges the timeshift buffer of either tuner.

If you have any more questions please ask away.
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Guest
Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 1:51 pm Reply with quote
I don't have a Topfield yet, still waiting to see how the Inverto works out, but I had a Panasonic TUCTH100 briefly. That has twin buffers and you can control each tuner independently. So if you are on tuner one and you change channel, tuner 1 changes. You need to switch to tuner 2 to change channel there.

I thought I would use the twin buffers frequently in the situation where I am watching say ITV between 9pm and 10pm but want to watch the news on BBC at 10pm. ITV often overruns, but with twin buffers I can just swap tuners and then rewind to the beginning of the news. I can imagine that facility being useful in a number of situations.

PaulB

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