Feedback wanted on default behaviour for remote buttons

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dteirney Offline
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Post: #1
Some feedback wanted on the desired default behavior for remote buttons. There is a commit ready to go that will set the default behavior for remote buttons and I'd like to get feedback from our PVR users.

Some considerations for choosing the default button behavior:
  • Some users will not have channel groups. We, for example, use MythTV for public channels here in NZ which amounts to about 10 channels of which only 4 have decent prime time viewing. We are probably in the minority though.
  • Some users will have massive numbers of channels, e.g. those with cable subscriptions. Surfing up and down channels is probably not all that useful for finding something decent to watch but probably fine if the desire is to simply have Live TV behave like a simple TV. Many cable channel subscriptions come with smarter boxes which show more useful channel choosers, e.g. with program descriptions etc.
  • Some PVR addons will support time-shift. For those it is possibly desirable to have the existing skipping and pause functionality remain unchanged. My guess is that time shift would probably only be for shortish periods of time, e.g. do something while ads are playing and then go back without worrying about missing start of show. Or replay that thing that just happened because didn't hear or due to some other distraction.
  • Some remotes have dedicated Channel Up / Channel Down buttons
  • Some remotes have a very restricted number of buttons, e.g. the Apple Remote, which doesn't leave much room to play with.
  • Up / Down / Left / Right are often used for Big Skip Backwards, Big Skip Forwards, Small Skip Forwards, Small Skip Backwards. For restricted remotes also Pause and Stop (e.g. Default for Up pauses for the Apple and Wii Remote, and Down stops - or at least it did last time I tried those remotes).
  • A lot of PVR users will be using digital channels as analog gets turned off around the world to free up spectrum for 4G and the like.
  • Most digital channels these days don't support immediate channel change. There is typically always some sort of delay for opening tuner, streaming some data to disk, then stream detection, then wait for first key frame etc. At best a second, at worst >5 seconds.
  • Most PVR users are probably already using a system that needs a remote with a decent number of buttons, e.g. many MythTV users seem to have full blown remotes, e.g. with numbers and Channel Up / Channel Down.
  • Some remotes have a numeric keypad, which can be used for choosing channel directly (although I don't know how it works with channel numbers like 10.3).

https://github.com/xbmc/xbmc/pull/1773 will set the default behavior (when watching LiveTV) to be:
Up - change channel up. I have a Channel Up button which I'd prefer to use. Much easier to explain and remember for others in the household, especially since the MythTV addon supports time shift.
Down - change channel down. I have a Channel Down button which I'd prefer to use. Much easier to explain and remember for others in the household.
Left - change to lower channel group. This conflicts with small skip backwards for us so I'll have to change it.
Right - change to higher channel group. This conflicts with small skip forwards for us so I'll have to change it.

My preference for our remote control would be the following (for our somewhat limited setup). We have a remote with Channel Up and Channel Down buttons.
Up, Right, Down, Left - Unchanged to support time shifting of Live TV (one of the few carrots to move to using XBMC as the TV interface rather than the plain ole TV).
Channel Up - bring up small OSD with channel information for the next up channel. Keep pressing Channel Up until a desirable channel is found and then press OK. Or press channel down to go down to a previous channel (in case we decide to go back to a previously seen channel). If we had channel groups then I could imagine using Left and Right when this OSD was displaying to move between channel groups.
Channel Down - as above but start with next down channel.
Enter/OK - Bring up usual OSD which has a button to go back to the full list of channels with the currently showing channel minimized. Restricted remotes don't have enough buttons to support "Back", they only have "Stop".

What are other peoples preference for their remote controls for Live TV?

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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Swifty Offline
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Post: #2
For me (Philips Presitgo remote, emulating an MCE remote) the ideal defaults would be;

Up - Activate channel info OSD (or increase one channel if already open) - (then change channel depending on time delay or press of ok depending on settings)
Down - Activate channel info OSD (or decrease one channel if already open) - (then change channel depending on time delay or press of ok depending on settings)

I'm pretty sure da-anda said he was working on Mediaportal style skip steps, that would solve the need for 4 buttons for big/small steps, then we could use;

Left/Right - Skip back/forth with each press decreasing/increasing the last time value, then perform the skip after delay / press of ok (skip steps could be, 15s,30s,1m,3m,5m etc)
OK - Would only need to perform 'enter' functions for OSD's in the above scenario, maybe it could perform something else if no OSD - bring up main menu etc?
(This post was last modified: 2012-11-13 22:40 by Swifty.)
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loggio Offline
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Post: #3
i don't understand why up or down should bring up mini epg as this can already be brought up using the correct keypress, given you map it to a button on the remote.

up or down should stay as is. "change chanel up or down" whilst bringing up OSD info.
If you want to bring up mini epg, then map it to the Guide button (or any other button) on your remote whilst in fullscreenlivetv. Simple.

left and right i think, should timeshift... If timeshift is available.
Channel groups i will never use, and i imagine most won't either... So to give this a popular keymap like left/right over timeshift just doesn't make sense to me.. I believe that should be given a seperate keypress, that can be mapped by the user to their liking.

In other words, the only thing i see that really needs to be changed is the default "left and right" buttons, whilst in fullscreenlivetv.

But then again, this can now easily be changed by the user at any time by editing the keymap.xml anyway...

so i'm not too fussed, i'm just more or less thinking of "new" users that might find this a bit difficult at first to get their head around. Afterall, there is nothing like a perfect "out of the box experience" (if there is such a thing)

lol.

cheers,
Loggio.
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Swifty Offline
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Post: #4
(2012-11-13 22:14)loggio Wrote:  i don't understand why up or down should bring up mini epg as this can already be brought up using the correct keypress, given you map it to a button on the remote.
up or down should stay as is. "change chanel up or down" whilst bringing up OSD info.

Yes, sorry that's what I meant by mini EPG OSD - the channel info (for the single channel) - plus maybe some program info for the channel... like Sky box/most STB's have - not the full guide that comes up on the side of the screen. (I'll re-word my post to make it clearer)

(2012-11-13 22:14)loggio Wrote:  Channel groups i will never use, and i imagine most won't either...

+1 - Never use channel groups at all, so it does seem a bit of a waste to two dedicated buttons which make much more sense to be 'timeshift' for consistency with the rest of XBMC's video playback.
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FutureCow Offline
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Post: #5
Maybe I’m a bit brain washed with WMC, bit this are the things i like:

Up/Down Show mini EPG on the bottom of the screen, with pressing Up or Down again you will scroll to the different channels, with Left and Right you can go further and back in time.

I think it’s logical to use the normal Channel up and Channel down button to change channels. When I’m changing channel I only want to see the EPG data from the new channel and not the channel I’m already watching. With the “info” or “epg” I want to see the full EPG (EPG Timeline)

For the OSD itself, I think it’s a bit too messy. Remove the words: Now Playing and also put the channel number at another place without the (). Also put the SD/HD MPEG2VIDEO 5.1 logo's at the same plase all the time. (at the right side of the screen?) I know that you can choose another skin for another OSD. But it’s nice that the original Confluence is nice and clean.
(This post was last modified: 2012-11-14 01:04 by FutureCow.)
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glenn 1990 Offline
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Post: #6
Yep, I also prefer the arrow buttons for timeshifting instead of channel group switching.
Also It would be handy if I could bring up the channel OSD with the OK/enter button, this is how most Tv's/STB's do it.
For changing the channel group: bring up the channel OSD with the OK butten and then press on the left/right arrow keys.
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da-anda Offline
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Post: #7
Please note that the PR only brings back the already known behavior which got lost after I removed the hardcoded actions and made them configurable. So the PR atm ist just for consistency with current keyboard mapping.

Personally I'd like to see left/right to seek in timeshift (mediaportal style) and up/down to switch channels or bring up the channel osd which I then can cycle through channels with "mini EPG preview". But those features are not available yet and won't make it into Frodo. Also stepback/forward seeking doesn't currently work with my PVR backend (4tr) and I'm not sure if it does for others (besides of ffw and frw). So to me it currently doesn't make sense to change the keymap in Frodo to anything else then the PR does (bring back known behavior, be it good or bad).

As mentioned, I'm already working on the Mediaportal style seek steps that I personally 'd like to have as default for PVR and video playback. Up/down should only jump chapters in video mode (currently you never know if it will jump to a chapter or do a big seek). But this is nothing for Frodo.
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apnar Offline
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Post: #8
I think it's important to have consistency across XBMC. The up/down/left/right should do the same thing regardless if I'm watching Live TV, a prerecorded PVR show, a local file in the library, or a DVD. If I walk in the room with the TV on I should be able to control the stream without needing to know where it comes from.

Me personally I like the up/down as big skips and left/right as small skips and think that channel up/down should be the physical channel up/down buttons as I'd expect most PVR users to have fuller remotes. But again I think consistency is more important than the actual functions picked especially for the WAF.
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rosssiuk Offline
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Post: #9
My vote is for up/down big skips, left/right small skips and the remote's channel up/down button for channel changes as described by dteirney.

apnar hit the nail on the head;

(2012-11-14 15:49)apnar Wrote:  I think it's important to have consistency across XBMC.
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da-anda Offline
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Post: #10
I'm also for consistency, but up/down is also not consistent yet. If video has chapters it jumps chapters, if not it performs big jumps. In music playback left/right is seeking like in video, but up/down changes rating instead of big jumps (which could be useful for audio books f.e.). So my personal aim would be:

up/down context sensitive:
- switch chapters in video playback
- rating up/down in music
- channel up/down in PVR (at least on remote with limited keys)

left/right consistent:
media portal style skipping/seeking all over the place

Also the up/down mapping should depend on the remote. On remotes with only a few buttons it should perform channel switches - on remotes with dedicated channel buttons it could be used for something else.
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loggio Offline
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Post: #11
Why would anyone want to do "big skips" on time shifted tv?? Unless you've paused the tv for 2 hours and want to skip to the start lol... In which case any normal person would have pushed record.

Large skip for tv is useless and not needed.
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Swifty Offline
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Post: #12
I think thats the point; the whole large skip/small skip niff naff isn't needed any more if we had Mediaportal style skipping, where each press increments the skip value is sensible steps - so you just have two buttons for all skipping needs..
(This post was last modified: 2012-11-14 22:57 by Swifty.)
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apnar Offline
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Post: #13
(2012-11-14 21:46)loggio Wrote:  Large skip for tv is useless and not needed.

I'd tend to agree with this, yet I find myself using it almost daily. I think some of it has to do with semi-frequent crashes and having to find my spot again in a show, but I also find myself skipping over halftime in a recorded football game or things like that. I'm not familiar with Mediaportal type skipping but it sounds like it may help in those situations just as well.

It may just be me but I never want to change a channel up or down. With the time it takes to actually change a channel combined with the vast number of channels it's all but useless. If I didn't already have buttons labeled channel up/down on my remote I'd be completely happy without having a button to do it and always going through the EPG. I can see the argument for getting rid of up/down as skip skips but I think channel up/down isn't the right thing to replace it with as it's so rarely used.
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loggio Offline
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Post: #14
apnar... you're talking about watching a recorded TV show... In which case large skips and small skips act just like watching any other media on XBMC and will never change... this is the functionality you WANT in this instance.

On the other hand we're talking about watching the live tv stream, and scanning through the buffer in order to rewind/fast-forward LIVE TV. this functionality is called Timeshift.

They're utilized quite differently by the user, and simply put you will never want to make a LARGE skip backward while watching live tv. Most people "pause" live tv to go to the toilet during an ad break. then when they get back, they can fast faward past the ads. At least, that's all i've ever used it for.

Cheers,
Loggio.
(This post was last modified: 2012-11-15 03:42 by loggio.)
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apnar Offline
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Post: #15
I was actually talking about both. I've had use cases where I'll be watching a football game live, pause it to go grab some food, come back and continue. When I reach half time I'll do a couple large skips and get closer to live. Or if I forget to pause a show and get called away I'll do a large skip back to find where I left off.

I'm not saying it's common, but it's much more common then I ever use channel up/down.
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