TvPlugin schedule types and scheduling matching series on this channel (1 Viewer)

Anthony Vaughan

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    In the UK an American show, NCIS, has several series being broadcast on the same day. As a consequence, when I choose to record the latest series 'Weekly on this channel' pretty well every episode, of all channels, gets scheduled to record. This made me think that we need another schedule type called 'Matching series on this channel' which schedules all programs with the same 'seriesNum' as the selected program and not being null. To achieve this, the series number needs to be stored in the schedule record and I think the 'directory' field would be a suitable field to use as I can't see that it is used at present. I have changed the code in TvPlugin to make this work and am currently using that code and testing it.
    There are two issues that I think should be resolved:
    a) Does anyone know whether there is a scenario where the directory field is used?
    b) The EPG is notoriously inconsistent and I suspect that the 'seriesNum' field cannot be relied on to always have a value.

    I, long ago, developed an application to extract series information from the description field to populate the seriesNum and episodeNum fields and have written functionality to update these fields manually. This means that I am set up to manage series information and to plug holes in the EPG when series information is missing. But MediaPortal doesn't have this functionality. This is, I think, an issue.

    While I am at it, does anyone have any other ideas for schedule types that might be useful in future because I will probably be able to add them?

    Tony
     
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    CyberSimian

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    Recording a TV series is, I think, an inexact science. :(

    In the UK and some other countries in the world, the broadcast EPG contains unique series and episode ids. These are binary ids and are not human readable. They are not part of the human-readable programme description, and currently MP does not use them.

    The major channels are reasonably reliable in setting correct binary series and episode ids in the EPG, and this would be the preferred way to record a series. These unique ids also allow avoidance of recording episodes that have already been recorded. In fact, WMC remembers these ids for episodes that have already been recorded, watched, and deleted, so WMC does not re-record an episode that no longer resides in the folder for that series.

    The minor channels are less accommodating, and some (I think) don't provide these ids in the EPG.

    So any solution that uses the binary ids would also need to be capable of scheduling a series without using the binary ids (e.g. as MP does now).

    I have not used an internet EPG with MP, but I believe that some internet EPGs do in fact contain binary series and episode ids (Schedules Direct does, I think). I don't know whether MP uses these ids currently.

    I would like to see MP implement all of the cleverness of WMC in this area, but I think that this is probably a major piece of work. I have not looked at the structure of the EPG database, but I suspect that it might need to have several additional columns added to contain the binary series and episode ids, plus (in separate columns) the "deduced" series and episode ids that result from your coded analysis of the programme description (I think that we probably need both types of ids, not one or the other). Once the database structure has been changed, you could implement the use of the deduced ids, with use of the binary ids being deferred until some future update (the columns for the binary ids would be left empty until that additional functionality was implemented).

    -- from CyberSimian in the UK
     

    Anthony Vaughan

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    One of the things that is not clear in the schedule type list is what the schedule is based on. I have tried to make things more clear:

    (see attached)

    This at least lets a user know when a schedule does not match by program name.

    I agree that WMC handled program series far better but I assume they use a more reliable EPG.
     

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    • Record.png
      Record.png
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    framug

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    Hello,

    when I choose to record the latest series 'Weekly on this channel' pretty well every episode, of all channels, gets scheduled to record. This made me think that we need another schedule type called 'Matching series on this channel' which schedules all programs with the same 'seriesNum' as the selected program and not being null.

    I suppose you thought "pretty well every episode, of thls channel" ?
     

    Anthony Vaughan

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    Hello,



    I suppose you thought "pretty well every episode, of thls channel" ?
    That's a good point because instead of saying 'Weekly on this channel' I think it should say 'Weekly every time on this channel'. It is so easy for a user to forget the 'every time' bit.
     

    Anthony Vaughan

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    The major channels are reasonably reliable in setting correct binary series and episode ids in the EPG, and this would be the preferred way to record a series. These unique ids also allow avoidance of recording episodes that have already been recorded. In fact, WMC remembers these ids for episodes that have already been recorded, watched, and deleted, so WMC does not re-record an episode that no longer resides in the folder for that series.
    This isn't quite true for MP because programs are not joined to schedules by id. The code looks for matching programs by channel (when relevant), program name (when relevant) and/or start and end times. I would probably have modeled it differently by having a schedule sub-record for each matching program, matching by id. That approach would have allowed much greater control over schedules.
    The thing is that, for me, almost all of the available schedule types are not relevant to my needs. For example, I never record programs by time slot. I always schedule recordings by program name. Therefore, I would only use:
    a) Once;
    b) Every time on this channel;
    c) Every time on every channel (though I've never used this in practice);
    d) Weekly every time on this channel;

    And now 'Matching series on this channel'.

    Also, when you choose to record a program, the top option is Record (meaning record only once). Therefore, I don't understand why the Advanced Record option includes Once in the list when it is already the first choice of the previous menu.

    Are there any options for scheduling recordings you would like to have that don't exist at present?
     

    framug

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    That's a good point because instead of saying 'Weekly on this channel' I think it should say 'Weekly every time on this channel'. It is so easy for a user to forget the 'every time' bit.
    Well, you're nitpicking (google translate) a bit there. ;)
    You are already in "advanced record".
    If you want to schedule only one time, you can go to TVGuide, and press a simple record for saturday and/or sunday.

    For your EPG story, normally (depending on country), seasons and episodes are in xmltv files but not mandatory.
    And this is decoded by xmltv MP plugin in accordance with DTD syntax.
    However, sometimes, xmltv file is not complete.
    That's why, you can use DVB EPG to fill holes (wich can be filled by more yhan one tuner, now).
    But I found that,the most of time, unfortunately, seasons and episodes are not in DVB informations (can also depend on country). :(
     

    Anthony Vaughan

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    I have not used an internet EPG with MP, but I believe that some internet EPGs do in fact contain binary series and episode ids (Schedules Direct does, I think). I don't know whether MP uses these ids currently.
    Just to be clear, when you use the standard MP EPG, the series information is most often stored at the end of the description field in the form '(S10 Ep 6)'; though this bit has several formats. The code I wrote for my own app extrapolates that data to seriesNum and episodeNum so I have access to most of the series information I need.

    When the description field does not hold series information, the series information is usually stored in episodeNum; in the form '17/26'.

    I think this lack of certainty regarding series information makes it difficult for MP to reproduce what WMC did though I have been able to arrive at a half-way house using my app.
     

    framug

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    In fact, WMC remembers these ids for episodes that have already been recorded, watched, and deleted, so WMC does not re-record an episode that no longer resides in the folder for that series.

    Same for MP ;)

    zz1.png
     

    Anthony Vaughan

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    Well, you're nitpicking (google translate) a bit there. ;)
    You are already in "advanced record".
    If you want to schedule only one time, you can go to TVGuide, and press a simple record for saturday and/or sunday.

    For your EPG story, normally (depending on country), seasons and episodes are in xmltv files but not mandatory.
    And this is decoded by xmltv MP plugin in accordance with DTD syntax.
    However, sometimes, xmltv file is not complete.
    That's why, you can use DVB EPG to fill holes (wich can be filled by more yhan one tuner, now).
    But I found that,the most of time, unfortunately, seasons and episodes are not in DVB informations (can also depend on country). :(
    I don't think I am nitpicking because I had assumed that 'Weekly on this channel' meant Weekly, at the selected program's time, on this channel when it really means Weekly every time on the program's day on this channel; by program name. This means that when a program has a different episode, maybe for a different series, at another time on the same day on the same channel (which happens a lot in the UK), then selecting 'Weekly on this channel' will end up recording both of these programs weekly when I bet 99% of users would expect the program they selected would be recorded weekly.
    When you choose to record a program you are shown a menu with Record at the top and Advanced Record next in the list. When you press Record the selected program is recorded Once. I am only saying that I can't see why the Once option is available when you select Advanced Record because that option was already available earlier by clicking Record. It just seems to me that Advanced Record should only show advanced options:).
     
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