Having a hard time convincing family (wife) that HDHR DVR can replace WMC

Help and support for HDHomeRun DVR and HDHomeRun software for Windows 10, Mac, Android, XBox, etc.
gab
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Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2019 10:55 pm

Having a hard time convincing family (wife) that HDHR DVR can replace WMC

Post by gab »

Our family has been using WMC with Comcast for about twelve years, initially using a ATI 650 TV tuner and then switching to HDHR Prime about six years go when Comcast started encrypting all channels. Everybody, and especially my wife, has been totally happy with this setup.
Our WMC PC is currently running Windows 8.1 which I had hoped would get the TV guide for another two years, and we rely on Xbox 360 as extender controlled using a Logitech Harmony.
Sadly, it looks like the TV guide is being dropped on Windows 8.1 very soon, so I decided it was time to switch to HDHR DVR and purchased a Servio and an Xbox One for Christmas.
My main goal is to have a zero-maintenance system, so I don't have to worry that something will go wrong when I am away for business, but I don't want to rent a DVR from Comcast if I can avoid it as I don't like to waste money.

I started setting thing up today and getting a sense of how the new system will be accepted by the family. It is not going as well as I expected it would.
First adding the Servio to our network was easy but somehow the firmware was apparently a prerelease that needed to be updated (my hd homerun page would show a red cross next to the Servio) and clicking on the red cross took me to a page that does not exist (http://my.hdhomerun.com/instructions/firmware-upgrade/). I had to guess that downloading and running the latest version of HDHomeRun setup would resolve the issue. Not a big deal but surprising.

Anyway, the main test came later when I showed the HDHR UI to my wife. She did not look pleased. Her main comment was that she wanted the remote to work like before.
The problem is that the HDHR UI does not seem to properly handle commands sent by the Harmony using the standard Xbox One layout provided by Logitech.
I am not sure how things are supposed to be mapped, but the standard Xbox 360 layout provided by Logitech perfectly reflected the buttons that are on the official Xbox 360 Media remote and it was perfect for WMC.
The must-have: The OK button needs to be handled the same way as the Green/A button (appears to be the case) and the Back button needs to do the same thing as the Red/B button (appears to be a dead button).
Ideally the Record button would also start a recording, etc
Can we have this in the next release of the UI? At least support for the Back button? Thanks!

gab
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Re: Having a hard time convincing family (wife) that HDHR DVR can replace WMC

Post by gab »

Playing with my Harmony remote more, please find a more comprehensive list of issues that need to be addressed in the Xbox One version of the HDHR UI:

Button, Expectation, Current behavior, Severity, Comment
Back, should return to the previous window/screen, does nothing, critical, this is a must-have because having to use the Red (B) key on the remote for that purpose is a major pain because of its location
Record, should record the current television program, does nothing, medium, by the way the circle around the record button showing a program is being recorded is hard to see from far away compared to the big red dot that WMC shows for programs that are being recorded
Info, should display available info (e.g. channel, program, etc), does nothing, high, using the Green (A) button is not intuitive
Enter, should select the desired action (especially validate the change of channel after typing a channel number using the keypad), does nothing, high, using the OK button is unpractical because it is far way from where the numbers are on the remote

Thank you for addressing those issues ASAP.

NedS
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Re: Having a hard time convincing family (wife) that HDHR DVR can replace WMC

Post by NedS »

We do plan on expanding remote control support, and we will take note of what you said here for the WMC/MCE remotes. Thank you for the feedback. Especially for the back button, as I thought thought that was already working. Eventually we should get all of the buttons working, at least the ones that make sense and apply to the HDHomerRun app/DVR.

gab
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Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2019 10:55 pm

Re: Having a hard time convincing family (wife) that HDHR DVR can replace WMC

Post by gab »

@NedS Thank you for your prompt reply. It is good to know that hopefully things will get better over time.

gab
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Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2019 10:55 pm

Re: Having a hard time convincing family (wife) that HDHR DVR can replace WMC

Post by gab »

After further investigation, it turns out that the reason that the Back and Enter buttons on my Harmony remote did not do anything is that they are somehow not mapped to anything in the standard Xbox One layout provided by Logitech. I manually mapped the Back button to Back and the Enter button to OK (since there is no specific Enter command) and things are much better! Sorry for complaining without checking that first.

The Record and Info buttons are however mapped to Record and Info by default... so those are buttons that are not handled as they should.

Also, the Clear button, which is mapped to Clear by default, does not seem to be handled as it should.

Finally, while there is no hard Subtitle button on my Harmony, there is a way to send the Subtitle command via a soft button, and that would be nice if doing so would toggle closed captioning on and off.

And as a bonus please add support for LiveTV and DVR commands.

So revised table is as follow:

Button, Expectation, Current behavior, Severity, Comment
Record, should record the current television program, does nothing, medium, by the way the circle around the record button showing a program is being recorded is hard to see from far away compared to the big red dot that WMC shows for programs that are being recorded
Info, should display available info (e.g. channel, program, etc), does nothing, high, using the Green (A) button is not intuitive
Clear, should delete the last character entered, does nothing, high, no other obvious way to clear a character using the remote
Subtitle (soft button), should toggle closed captioning on and off, does nothing, low, nice to have feature
LiveTV (soft button), should display the full screen view of live TV and move TV program forward to the end of the pause buffer and resume playing live TV, does nothing, low, nice to have feature
DVR (soft button), should open the recorded TV window where recorded TV programs are listed, does nothing, low, nice to have feature

rykr
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Re: Having a hard time convincing family (wife) that HDHR DVR can replace WMC

Post by rykr »

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neil459
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Re: Having a hard time convincing family (wife) that HDHR DVR can replace WMC

Post by neil459 »

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gab
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Re: Having a hard time convincing family (wife) that HDHR DVR can replace WMC

Post by gab »

An another annoyance is that the screen becomes black while fast-forwarding, making it difficult to skip commercials without going too far. Could we get the same behavior as in WMC? Or could you offer automatic commercial skip?

nickk
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Re: Having a hard time convincing family (wife) that HDHR DVR can replace WMC

Post by nickk »

gab wrote: Sun Dec 29, 2019 5:51 pm An another annoyance is that the screen becomes black while fast-forwarding, making it difficult to skip commercials without going too far. Could we get the same behavior as in WMC? Or could you offer automatic commercial skip?
You shouldn't see a black screen when seeking or fast-forwarding. What platform are you on?

Nick

nickk
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Re: Having a hard time convincing family (wife) that HDHR DVR can replace WMC

Post by nickk »

rykr, neil459 - we are open to constructive feedback were we can discuss ideas and make improvements to the user experience. Please start your own thread and we can help.

Nick

gab
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Re: Having a hard time convincing family (wife) that HDHR DVR can replace WMC

Post by gab »

@nickk We are running the latest client app on an Xbox One wirelessly connected to a Servio which in turn gets its feed from a Prime activated with a Comcast cablecard. We are watching a program (evening news) while it is being recorded (starting a bit later than the scheduled start and catching up with the live feed by skipping commercials).

I should clarify what I mean by the screen going black: it does not go black per say, but the image is jumping by about thirty seconds forward when we press the fast forward button on the remote, and jumping by about ten seconds backward when we press the fast rewind button. We cannot skip forward by less than about thirty seconds, or skip backward by less than about ten seconds. And keeping the button pressed does not do anything. We need to press and release the button to jump about thirty (or ten if going back) per click.

PS: I observe the same behavior on a Windows 10 PC: clicking with a mouse on the fast forward button makes the image jump forward by thirty seconds, and clicking on the fast rewind buton makes the image jump back by ten seconds. You cannot keep the button pressed and then release when you have reached the point you wanted to reach like you can do in WMC.

PPS: I observe what basically looks like the same behavior using the latest Android client app on a phone running Android 10: touching the fast forward button with my finger, a message "fast forward" is displayed and the image jumps forward. If I press fast rewind, a message "rewind" is displayed and the image jumps back. What I would like is the image to go fast while my finger is on the button, and then stops when I take my finger off the button. In other words I don't want the fast forward and rewind buttons to act as skip/jump n seconds buttons. I want them to be "speed things up" buttons.

nickk
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Re: Having a hard time convincing family (wife) that HDHR DVR can replace WMC

Post by nickk »

Not something you do for ad-breaks, but you can hold the FF key down (or remote button or controller stick right) and have it advance forward quickly. Useful when you want to skip a long way into a recording. You can't do this with the mouse however as a mouse click registers as one click regardless of how long you hold it down for.

To skip an ad-break tap the FF button (right arrow, right stick, etc) as many times as needed to get past an ad-break and back to the show, then press the RW button once or twice to back up slightly so you don't miss anything from your show.

Some channels even say "back in 60s" on the screen for the first ad-break of the show - tap FF twice and you are back watching.

It is a bit of a mindset change from a sticky FF approach but once you get used to it you won't want to the old way.

Nick

Bobstr
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Re: Having a hard time convincing family (wife) that HDHR DVR can replace WMC

Post by Bobstr »

Gab - A year or tow ago, we did the transition similar to what you're going through.

Yes, there are many differences between how WMC and HDHR DVR work. It's the nature of the business that things change over time, and that change is particularly jarring when a beloved product (WMC) dies and has to be replaced with something that has a completely different schema.

My wife was a bit similar in the desire to 'keep things the same', but was able to get used to the transition. I helped the wife by reading the 'how to' docs and summarizing the commands in a single page cheat sheet for her. I also use a harmony remote (the 650 that was made for WMC use) - and changed the mapping in it to match the keys to work with HDHR. An example of that is that I changed 'guide' and 'exit' mapping to the 'esc' key (brings up the record engine 'recorded TV' screen), and the pause/play buttons to 'space bar'. I don't recall having to make any other changes. right now, if you use the WMC commands like 'stop' playing a recording or live TV, it will work, but it shows an old command popup window for a moment or two - if you see that, you'll need to remap those buttons to the correct keyboard commands ('esc' for the stop button for example) per the HDHR W10 and other docs.

HDHR is quite a tradeoff, when compared against WMC, but WMC is dead and there are benefits to HDHR that you don't have with WMC. It will just take some extra support of your wife to get her through the transition (when my wife realized it was inevitable that we had to transition, she was much easier to work with...).

Good luck.

gab
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Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2019 10:55 pm

Re: Having a hard time convincing family (wife) that HDHR DVR can replace WMC

Post by gab »

Thanks @nickk. Wife has agreed to try to change her mindset to fast forward commercials.

I created a custom activity on the Logitech Harmony remote to turn on TV, Receiver, Xbox One and directly start the HDHomeRun app by sending the OneGuide command at the end of the startup sequence (after associating the OneGuide command to the HDHomeRun app rather than OneGuide in the settings of the Xbox One). I really don't see the point of OneGuide now that Microsoft has decided to never add built-in DVR on the Xbox One.

But we really need better WMC/MCE remote control support within the HDHomeRun app!

So we agreed to keep HDHR DVR on trial for one month, and I postponed upgrading our WMC PC running Windows 8.1 to Windows 10 as initially planned so we can try switching back to WMC with EPG123 if HDHR DVR fails the trial.

I am also wondering if picking the Xbox One as the client device was the right choice or if I should have gone for the Nvidia Shield instead. What is the preferred client device for HDHR DVR? And if I had picked the Nvidia Shield it looks like we could have used Android TV Live Channels directly connected to our Prime? I am seeking feedback on the combo Android TV Live Channels + Prime...

gab
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Joined: Fri Dec 27, 2019 10:55 pm

Re: Having a hard time convincing family (wife) that HDHR DVR can replace WMC

Post by gab »

@Bobstr

Thank you for your encouragement! Our Logitech Harmony is also a 650 (great remote!), and I will look into remapping further buttons as you did... but I think that it would make more sense for the HDHR DVR app developers to properly handle WMC/MCE commands in the first place so that users of non-programmable remotes such as the Talon remote often mentioned in this forum can also benefit.

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