Guide Grid ?

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nateb
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Re: Guide Grid ?

Postby nateb » Mon Mar 11, 2019 11:50 am

A traditional grid guide is hardly a vague and undefined feature. Sure, there are extra things you can do like color code programs etc. But, anyone that has ever used a cable box or windows media center knows exactly what a traditional grid guide looks like.
When explaining these things, I'm never really sure what degree of software development knowledge the people I'm talking to have, so for the sake of argument, let's talk about those "extra" things.

First, where do you put the grid guide in the HDHomeRun app? Literally what link brings you to it? Does it replace slice? If so, do you keep live tv running? Can all platforms handle that much data on the screen at once? Do we provide a switch in settings to change or do we incorporate the guide into slice somehow? If we incorporate, how would we do that? If we keep live tv running, do we do it in the background, or do we put the video in a box on the screen somewhere? And which of those would take the most resources? Second, the slice guide loads an image on each show. Is this grid guide going to do this for all rows? If yes, how many rows and columns can we show before weaker devices like FireTV Sticks start breaking? If no, how many shows get images? How many columns? Do we load channel logo images too? Where do those go? Again, how many rows? Oh, and while we're at it, are there any backend limitations we have to either solve or workaround? And now that we've designed and built the guide itself, how do we interact with it. Does selecting an upcoming episode bring up existing windows or are there windows that still need to be developed to interact with this guide? How do I just select a channel on this guide to start watching, rather than accidentally start a recording?

Every time a grid guide is created, these issues have to be decided upon. I agree that we all know what a grid guide looks like. But I also know what a cat looks like. That doesn't mean I'd be able to diagram out the entire skeletal structure of a cat, complete with internal organs and a strong command of how each of those internal organs works together to make the cat live. And that sort of detail is necessary when developing a feature.

JeffRand
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Re: Guide Grid ?

Postby JeffRand » Mon Mar 11, 2019 1:08 pm

I have been a programmer/developer for the past 40+ years, so I realize the complexity. End users are rarely concerned with the details. While you are worried about the details, some of your end users just want to know if you will ever provide something that even remotely resembles a traditional grid guide. Your slice guide does not do that. I for one, would be happy to see a full screen with channel numbers down the left, time across the top and the TEXT names of shows within the grid. You can lose the images as far as I'm concerned. Call me old fashioned. LOL The "extra" things would just be icing on the cake.

Of course you have a lot of other things besides the grid guide to worry about. So, I will be patiently waiting to see what you do.

sanya
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Re: Guide Grid ?

Postby sanya » Mon Mar 11, 2019 4:13 pm

I feel like those design decisions have already been solved by practically every DVR in existence.

It is correct to say that there are multiple ways to approach the implementation of a grid guide, but it's very flexible. A mini guide could replace the current slice view, by flying in from the side of the screen. It could also take up the lower third of the screen. A full guide could be pulled up either from the main menu, or from a button on the mini guide that could be selected, or from long-pressing the center button on a remote. In any case, the exact implementation of it shouldn't prevent the development of it - whether the mini guide is a side or bottom guide isn't going to be a dealbreaker, and neither is what button to pull up a full guide.

Between existing traditional cable boxes, like Xfinity X1 and FiOS One, third party apps like Android TV's Live Channels and ChannelsDVR and WMC and Kodi, and some other services such as DirecTV Now and PS Vue and Fire TV Recast, they all do the same thing in just slightly different ways - but the core function of the grid guide is there. Literally take your pick and copy any of them and it's better than the current app's design.

(Also feature request: can we have an option to long press back or confirm exit from the app when pressing the back button? So many times I've hit back in succession to exit menus but hit it one too many times and lose what I was watching)

nateb
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Re: Guide Grid ?

Postby nateb » Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:05 pm

Literally take your pick and copy any of them and it's better than the current app's design.

(Also feature request: can we have an option to long press back or confirm exit from the app when pressing the back button? So many times I've hit back in succession to exit menus but hit it one too many times and lose what I was watching)
I don't know if it was intentional, but you did a pretty good job demonstrating the vague and undefined nature of this request. You listed half a dozen different apps, and every one of them uses a slightly different style to show off their grid guide, and I'd guess they're all programmed in half a dozen different languages and different ways.

I want to make clear that I'm not arguing against a grid guide. I'm not saying it's too much work. I'm only saying you have to make all those decisions, figure out how they fit into the existing app, and then actually code it, which can undo many early decisions. This isn't an off the cuff decision, and we can't just go grab some code and copy and paste it. I personally think some form of grid guide is probably inevitable at some point. But there's no way on earth I'm going to promise a grid guide before we've even started developing it. And frankly, if I had my way, we'd deliver the whole thing as a surprise one day when no one was expecting it.

dmbmke
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Re: Guide Grid ?

Postby dmbmke » Mon Mar 11, 2019 8:14 pm

Nate, why did you remove my post giving a history of the timeline of the DVR development to someone who did not know it? It isn’t pretty, but I was careful remain relatively neutral.

If you were embarrassed by the lack of progress, I’m disppapinted that you chose to remove the post.

NedS
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Re: Guide Grid ?

Postby NedS » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:11 pm

Nate, why did you remove my post giving a history of the timeline of the DVR development to someone who did not know it? It isn’t pretty, but I was careful remain relatively neutral.

If you were embarrassed by the lack of progress, I’m disppapinted that you chose to remove the post.
I can't see what was previously written, but from what you describe I'm guessing it violated two rules:

* Discussion of third party products that do not utilize HDHomeRun tuners.
* Discussion of patents.

It's not personal or anything, and it's probably not anything to do with the tone either. I know it's hard to discuss these kinds of things without touching on those areas (oh man would I like to rant about a certain... yeah...), but there are some arrangements and precautions that are in place, and that's just the way it is. That's about all I can say.

neil459
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Re: Guide Grid ?

Postby neil459 » Tue Mar 12, 2019 12:39 pm

First, where do you put the grid guide in the HDHomeRun app? Literally what link brings you to it? Does it replace slice?

Do we provide a switch in settings to change or do we incorporate the guide into slice somehow?

If we incorporate, how would we do that?
Two options:
1) Have a preference that decides which one the app uses. I think this is a bad idea because one user at the same home might prefer grid and one might prefer slice.
2) So that leaves two links where "Discover" currently resides; "Discover" and "Guide". Yep, you'll have to make some compromises on font and size to make it work. And it may not conform to your UI standard. But that does not matter if most people will not use your app because there is no grid guide.
If so, do you keep live tv running?

If we keep live tv running, do we do it in the background, or do we put the video in a box on the screen somewhere?

And which of those would take the most resources?
No real questions here. If this is a real DVR, then anytime Live TV is playing and the users clicks away from Live TV then Live TV is paused automatically and buffered until the users comes back or cancels the Live TV. There might be a 3rd possibility of ending when the buffer is full depending on how you implement the buffering. For me the buffering should spill to permanent storage with a time limit set in preferences in case someone walks away and forgets it does not fill up permanent storage.

This also means that you have to implement two ways to escape Live TV; eventually "Pause" or "Cancel." So when escape or its equivalent is activated bring up a dialog that asks the users "Pause" or "Cancel."
Can all platforms handle that much data on the screen at once?
The data on screen is pixels, not data. There can only be a fixed set of pixels on the screen at on time regardless of the data.
Second, the slice guide loads an image on each show. Is this grid guide going to do this for all rows?

If no, how many shows get images? How many columns? Do we load channel logo images too? Where do those go? Again, how many rows?
No graphics, the grid guide is for people that want information not pretty pictures. My guess is that the Grid Guide would take less resources not more. Almost all of the information that you need to create the Grid view is already being downloaded to the device for the Slice view. Its just different pixels.
If yes, how many rows and columns can we show before weaker devices like FireTV Sticks start breaking?
It might be that you have to detect the type of devices and limit the functionality on some. My guess is that Grid Guide is less resource intensive than Slice.
Oh, and while we're at it, are there any backend limitations we have to either solve or workaround?
Don't know.
And now that we've designed and built the guide itself, how do we interact with it. Does selecting an upcoming episode bring up existing windows or are there windows that still need to be developed to interact with this guide?

How do I just select a channel on this guide to start watching, rather than accidentally start a recording?
After selecting it goes to the record view and the user selects "Record" or "Watch Now." I believe this exists today although the UI is terrible so I would have to say both. If accidentally selecting record is a problem for user then they can use the slice view.

For me, and I hope it's just me, these basic questions seem to indicate a bias against a Grid Guide.

As another poster said, the basics of a Grid Guide have been set for years, as has the operation of a DVR. Regardless, please post more questions as I would be happy to answer them.

JeffRand
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Re: Guide Grid ?

Postby JeffRand » Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:49 pm

I'm pretty sure Nate's questions were rhetorical. I think it is pretty easy to read between the lines.

nateb
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Re: Guide Grid ?

Postby nateb » Tue Mar 12, 2019 2:07 pm


For me, and I hope it's just me, these basic questions seem to indicate a bias against a Grid Guide.
Not a bias against grid guide. A bias against change at all. The point of the questions was to demonstrate how any kind of new feature requires a lot of thought and probably a lot of code. The primary goal was to head off people who are convinced such and such is easy and we're just not doing it because we like annoying our users or something. Normally, I don't bring this kind of stuff up, because like @JeffRand said, users don't really care about complexity issues. But I wanted people to see that the reason we don't just flip a switch and turn on something like a grid guide isn't because we just absolutely love angry forum comments.

My own personal preference would probably make some sort of grid guide the second big project we worked on, behind a project to improve recording control and conflict resolution, because I consider that area to genuinely be more problematic for people, and just like with grid, I'm sure I can come up with a huge series of questions and problems for how to do that. Maybe even more, because I already know there are backend conflicts that we'd have to deal in conflict management and reporting that don't exist with a grid.

neil459
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Re: Guide Grid ?

Postby neil459 » Tue Mar 12, 2019 3:33 pm

. . . .
My own personal preference would probably make some sort of grid guide the second big project we worked on, behind a project to improve recording control and conflict resolution, because I consider that area to genuinely be more problematic for people, . . . .
On that we agree.
. . . .
I'm sure I can come up with a huge series of questions and problems for how to do that. Maybe even more, because I already know there are backend conflicts that we'd have to deal in conflict management and reporting that don't exist with a grid.
I assume you meant, "...don't exist with slice."

Don't see this! A Grid Guide is just a different way of displaying the Slice view; more compact, with more information, and without the resource heavy graphics. So you're saying you have designed the access API to only work with or be optimized for slice view. As a software program manager, developer, and CTO for decades I won't comment on that except to say that it that if these problems really exist then it sounds to me that the data access APIs are as badly designed as the UI and don't follow best design practices for MVC.

nickk
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Re: Guide Grid ?

Postby nickk » Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:16 pm

We are in a UI feature freeze at the moment. There won't be any discussion on the matter until we get past the feature freeze.

Nick

nateb
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Re: Guide Grid ?

Postby nateb » Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:36 pm


I assume you meant, "...don't exist with slice."
No, I meant don't exist with a grid. Perhaps I was unclear. I was saying of the two projects, there would be more backend work for recording conflict resolution than for a grid. As you say, for a grid the backend is perfectly fine because they're ultimately all the same calls.

nickk
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Re: Guide Grid ?

Postby nickk » Tue Mar 12, 2019 5:11 pm

The topic will be unlocked once we are out of the UI feature freeze.

Nick


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