PVR Timer Scheduling Enhancement Proposal

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dteirney Offline
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Post: #1
The Timer scheduling API needs some enhancements to better support PVR backends that apply logic to record based on show scheduling in the EPG rather than using fixed timeslots on a channel.

Looking for feedback from dushmaniac about feasibility and other PVR addon authors to see if this approach would help or hinder their implementations.

1) Let the PVR Addon define a set of scheduling options that the user can choose from. For MythTV this set of options might look something like the following (the simple options straight from the MythWeb frontend for scheduling). Perhaps it would be a drop down or vertical set of radio buttons in the UI.
  • Record only this showing
  • Record this program in this timeslot every day
  • Record this program in this timeslot every week
  • Find and record one showing of this title
  • Find and record one showing of this title each day
  • Find and record one showing of this title each week
  • Record at any time on this channel
  • Record at this time on any channel

2) Let the PVR Addon pass back the appropriate scheduling option already set so it can be displayed in the list of Timers / Schedules.

3) Consider using "Recording Schedules" to describe this functionality rather than "Recording Timers".

Use MythTV for recording TV? Try the integrated MythTV support in XBMC Media Center. Now with commercial skip support built-in and integration with the Movie database!
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margro Offline
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Post: #2
ad 1)
For the MediaPortal TVServer backend it matches nicely with the currently missing options so this would be a welcome addition.

ad 2) ok.
ad 3) agreed. I think most backends except for VDR use the name "Schedule" instead of "Timer"

Don't know all possible options for 4TheRecord as backend right now (not near my HTPC and haven't used 4TheRecord for a while), but I guess that we might need to add some additional options...
Some 4TheRecord users that can check this list and extend it?

Developer of the MediaPortal PVR addon and the Argus-TV PVR-addon. Unofficial XBMC Windows builds with PVR (Dharma, Eden and Frodo).
http://www.scintilla.utwente.nl/~marcelg/xbmc
(This post was last modified: 2011-11-07 22:27 by margro.)
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tsp42 Offline
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Post: #3
Good suggestion although both the list of recording schedules and the actual dialogue to choose the different options would have to be highly customizable. A solution could be just to add hooks like in the current context menu so the addon could manage the display. In addition I would suggest that the current timers is split up into upcoming recordings and Recording Schedules. The former could then be used in the EPG.
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Robotica Offline
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Post: #4
tsp42 Wrote:Good suggestion although both the list of recording schedules and the actual dialogue to choose the different options would have to be highly customizable. A solution could be just to add hooks like in the current context menu so the addon could manage the display. In addition I would suggest that the current timers is split up into upcoming recordings and Recording Schedules. The former could then be used in the EPG.

I completely agree with more customizable dialogues.. This would give all sort of Addons more option to integrate in XBMC's GUI and improve the user experience. Not only for PVR related functions but also to all online and streaming solutions..
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Jezz_X Offline
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Post: #5
tsp42 Wrote:Good suggestion although both the list of recording schedules and the actual dialogue to choose the different options would have to be highly customizable. A solution could be just to add hooks like in the current context menu so the addon could manage the display. In addition I would suggest that the current timers is split up into upcoming recordings and Recording Schedules. The former could then be used in the EPG.

Robotica Wrote:I completely agree with more customizable dialogues.. This would give all sort of Addons more option to integrate in XBMC's GUI and improve the user experience. Not only for PVR related functions but also to all online and streaming solutions..
Well this is getting off topic but a while ago when jmarshall was discussing the changes that would be nice to the skinning engine for eden I suggested to make it easier for everyone that xbmc itself should build all the non main dialogs from a set group of controls and textures.

Basically the Skinner would make ONE xml that would contain a example of pretty much every control including a new background and all the colors and textures defined in it. (kind of like defaults.xml) and xbmc would use a inbuilt template to build all the non essential dialogs that people rarely open

This would basically save people nearly half the work in making a skin and also allow all the addons and other things to build whatever they want using things themed to the current skin.

It may not look as perfect as a custom made one but it would be good enough for the once a month they even get opened

So maybe one of you coders could put some effort into working towards that
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dteirney Offline
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Post: #6
tsp42 Wrote:Good suggestion although both the list of recording schedules and the actual dialogue to choose the different options would have to be highly customizable. A solution could be just to add hooks like in the current context menu so the addon could manage the display.

As Jezz mentions above, a custom dialog may not fit in with the theme that the user is using.

Based on what I've seen of the current API and what was needed for MythTV I think we could come up with a solution that doesn't need lots of customization. Yes, some of the content for options within the dialog needs to be customisable (hence the starting of this thread) but most of the bits each backend needs are similar and already present in the API.

Most PVR backends conceptually do very similar things so we should be able to get a "Schedule" solution that is simple but still flexible enough for what most backends need to be given to cater for the most common things people need it to do. Yes, there are all sorts of weird combinations of scheduling settings that different backends can support. However, based on how we've used our PVR at home for the last 5 years there aren't very many times that those very complex settings have needed to be used.

Use MythTV for recording TV? Try the integrated MythTV support in XBMC Media Center. Now with commercial skip support built-in and integration with the Movie database!
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dteirney Offline
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Post: #7
tsp42 Wrote:In addition I would suggest that the current timers is split up into upcoming recordings and Recording Schedules. The former could then be used in the EPG.

Great idea. Could also provide a listing of the Upcoming Recordings as well. That is one area that we used a lot in MythWeb to double check that things were indeed going to record and that there weren't any conflicts with tuners across channels. Traversing an EPG to check what is going to record can be painfully slow.

Use MythTV for recording TV? Try the integrated MythTV support in XBMC Media Center. Now with commercial skip support built-in and integration with the Movie database!
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tsp42 Offline
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Post: #8
dteirney Wrote:As Jezz mentions above, a custom dialog may not fit in with the theme that the user is using.

Based on what I've seen of the current API and what was needed for MythTV I think we could come up with a solution that doesn't need lots of customization. Yes, some of the content for options within the dialog needs to be customisable (hence the starting of this thread) but most of the bits each backend needs are similar and already present in the API.

Most PVR backends conceptually do very similar things so we should be able to get a "Schedule" solution that is simple but still flexible enough for what most backends need to be given to cater for the most common things people need it to do. Yes, there are all sorts of weird combinations of scheduling settings that different backends can support. However, based on how we've used our PVR at home for the last 5 years there aren't very many times that those very complex settings have needed to be used.
Yes it is a problem with custom themes. I hope that Jezz_X suggestion gets implemented post-eden.

What about adding an optional "Advanced" button to the dialog that calls a addon defined function to handle the more backend specific options (that I agree is rarely used.) and add a void* member to the PVR_TIMER struct and related classes to store the additional options in (handled by the addon).
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tsp42 Offline
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Post: #9
hmm I'm trying to implement a custom recording rules dialog for my mythTV plugin and discovered that the current PVR timer dialog uses the CGUIDialogSettings class. This could be a way to provide additional backend specific settings if the PVR API added functions to add extra controls to the timer dialog. In this way the addon would not have to provide a new xml file for the dialog so the problems with the different skins would be avoided.

Libcmyth MythTV addon for xbmc-pvr [source] [forum thread]
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adamsutton Offline
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Post: #10
This seems to be a more detailed suggestion of the many suggestions about a series link feature? Something that is a must for an UK user used to using a sky+ box (or most other OTS PVR boxes).

I've been looking into this myself trying to find out where the limitations are and most of them reside in the EPG data. Many of the suggested modes you've listed are what I think would need to be used as potential fall back mechanisms for a series link in the event that data isn't sufficient to explicitly select the required next episode.

Providing these options to the user would certainly be useful Smile

One major thing that is lacking in the current EPG data, at least that which I'm using. Is unique identifiers for a given show (say 24, Merlin, Star Trek TNG, etc...). This means that matching an episode from that show doesn't require string matching of the title (which has obvious problems).

I cannot speak for other locations, but I know that for the UK there are definitely sources of data (which I'm currently in discussions with) that will provide such identifiers and make matching shows much easier. I think this needs to be built into the XBMC EPG data in some way (with the possibility that the ID is not available, for sources that don't support it and thus fallback to title matching would be required).
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