Tasks - enhancement suggestion

Help and support for HDHomeRun DVR and HDHomeRun software for Windows 10, Mac, Android, XBox, etc.
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jimmyv4351
Posts: 33
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 8:45 am

Tasks - enhancement suggestion

Post by jimmyv4351 »

The Tasks tab seems of rather limited usefulness.
I'd like to be able to see "at a glance" the schedule of upcoming recordings.
Is there a way to do this, or, could it be added?

It would also be nice to be able to organize the list.
Currently it seems to keep the order in which the user added each program to the list.
It would be nice to be able to sort this alphabetically, by next scheduled recording date/time, etc.

I'm sure there are many other enhancement requests which add more functionality but I feel these "usability" enhancements would be a minor effort and would help many customers.

signcarver
Expert
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Re: Tasks - enhancement suggestion

Post by signcarver »

The "purpose" of tasks is to manage the tasks as they are in the cloud. The order is the priority, click the hamburger button on the left to move up or down. Keep in mind oneoffs don't have priority and are always considered highest priority.

andyaz50
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Re: Tasks - enhancement suggestion

Post by andyaz50 »

What we have is just not useful for spotting conflicts. What we need is just a simple chronological list of planned upcoming recordings showing the start time, channel, program title, and end time. This must already exist, otherwise, the DVR would not function at all. I would imagine that the file is also a log showing successes and the reason for failures, which would be a welcome inclusion. The format may not be very user-friendly, but if it's human-readable I'd be happy to be able to see it as-is. If the DVR is incapable of conflict management, you should at least try to make that task as easy as possible for the user. Also, I often see pages that fail to display useful information for no discernable reason. For example, a list of recorded episodes includes the episode title, the channel recorded from, and the date recorded, but not the time (unless recorded on the current day). This can make it nearly impossible to determine why another scheduled recording failed.

Thanks,
andyaz

themusj
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Re: Tasks - enhancement suggestion

Post by themusj »

"Conflict management." I have since realized when I brought up that same topic recently that when I mentioned there was none and SiliconDust said there was some, we had a difference in meaning and understanding. If I understand now, "correctly," SiliconDust's conflict management is based more on priority. Basically, through the task's tab, as you move the selected recordings to the top, they take priority over those below them. Sort of like first come first served. If you have five programs to record on a given day, at the same time, and you have four available tuners, the first four would record and the rest would not.

Personally I do not see that as true conflict management, but see conflict management in the format as being discussed above. Basically, if you queue up too many recordings and your tuners are all scheduled to record, you would get a warning message stating all available tuners are in use. I know the log files state something to that affect after the fact when a program fails to record due to overbooking.

I do know this must be a little challenging to program. If you research SiliconDust's DVR competition, some major players have it and some do not. I have looked at programming scripts and I can get a list of movies and manually compare them and their times to tv shows to avoid conflicts. But I cannot get a list of everything in the tasks lists and look for conflicts.

themusj
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Re: Tasks - enhancement suggestion

Post by themusj »

In the link below are some python scripts that use the HDHomeRun DVR API. While I have the movies script working from previous help from the contributor, the tasks list does not. From its description, it appears like it would do a lot of what is being requested in this thread.

tasks.py - A list of your DVR tasks, including the Task (Rule) ID and Series ID

https://github.com/SimpleHacks/HDHomeRun

I personally have spent several days downloading python tools to edit and work on these scripts, but this in a field outside of my programming experience. I have had no real success.

rpcameron
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Re: Tasks - enhancement suggestion

Post by rpcameron »

The problem with proper conflict management is that it requires the DVR to know about all available tuners at all times, and to also be in full control of those tuners.

The direction SD has taken with their DVR (and apps, ecosystem, etc.) is that programs—including SD's own—are to work on a request-based system on-demand. While this is a (questionably) great idea for being a good participant in a mixed environment, it has too many drawbacks to make it a true replacement for the STB experience.

It is SD's choice for how they wish to build out their ecosystem and implement features. However, it is disingenuous to call their task/priority setup as conflict management, as it doesn't actually manage anything. This problem is further exacerbated by their cloud-based rules for the DVR that are only for 4 hours out (as I've been led to believe from users).

A true STB replacement needs to known about all tuners, and claim "ownership" of them in order to properly manage conflicts. Also, a true STB replacement needs to be able to function without a constant internet connection. (This latter point is what makes SD's DVR solution a non-starter, but that's my view.)

themusj
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Re: Tasks - enhancement suggestion

Post by themusj »

Thank you for insight into the different approaches to DVR. What may I ask does STB stand for or experience? I assume you are using the HDHomeRun tuners with a different DVR solution. May I also ask what you have found as a viable alternative?

rpcameron
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Re: Tasks - enhancement suggestion

Post by rpcameron »

STB – Set-top box. Think of the DVR provided by your cable company, or from that company that starts with "T" that has become synonymous with DVR.

The best-in-class PC DVR experience is still WMC. Presently I am using Channels as my DVR, as I have found its additional features to be more of a value-add than its limitations take away. (It also does not perform real conflict management, because of the way their software was originally designed, and also because they use SD's HTTP interface for accessing tuners, which suffers the same limitations as SD's DVR.)

In the past, I have used both MythTV and Tvheadend, both paired with Kodi for the frontend. MythTV had some nicer convenience features, but I found it too bloated for my tastes. Tvheadend can be difficult to configure, but it is lean and quite flexible. The only internet access required by any of these DVRs is only for guide access. (And Tvheadend can use the 12 hour guide data broadcast with ATSC OTA, so it can actually function completely offline once it is configured.)

themusj
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Re: Tasks - enhancement suggestion

Post by themusj »

I am sitting here 'investigating" other DVR solutions and it sort of hit me, "Why not add another tuner" as a buffer so to speak. If I added another Quatro, and always kept my goal of recording no more than 4-6 programs / movies at the same time, I should never have a scheduling conflict. Duh right?

But then I remembered you have to add a splitter going to my antenna and I seem to recall that could affect video quality.

Anybody doing this approach and having no noticeable issues in video quality? This solution would it appear solve my main concern and also give me a backup if the first unit died.

rpcameron
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Re: Tasks - enhancement suggestion

Post by rpcameron »

themusj wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 1:44 pm
"Why not add another tuner" as a buffer so to speak.
Because you shouldn't have to spend more money to address a problem that the software should be handling. Granted, because of the software's limitations, the only solutions are to either purchase additional tuners, or use EOLed software that won't be receiving any updates.

NedS
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Re: Tasks - enhancement suggestion

Post by NedS »

rpcameron wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:32 pm
themusj wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 1:44 pm
"Why not add another tuner" as a buffer so to speak.
Because you shouldn't have to spend more money to address a problem that the software should be handling. Granted, because of the software's limitations, the only solutions are to either purchase additional tuners, or use EOLed software that won't be receiving any updates.
It won't matter how good the software is if you physically don't have enough tuners to record all the programs you want to record. The software automatically tries to record re-airings of any missed programs, which is about all that can be done. I would argue that the only thing missing is a good -reporting- system in order to help the user make decisions for the priority ranking, but that still won't allow all recordings to be made if there aren't enough tuners.

At best, it might be possible for the software to know which programs have more than one airing of the same conflicting episode, and be able to sacrifice the first airing of a high priority show, because later that night it will be recorded (or something to that extent). However, that's a really tricky thing to get right.

rpcameron
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Re: Tasks - enhancement suggestion

Post by rpcameron »

NedS wrote:
Sun Aug 02, 2020 6:41 pm
At best, it might be possible for the software to know which programs have more than one airing of the same conflicting episode, and be able to sacrifice the first airing of a high priority show, because later that night it will be recorded (or something to that extent). However, that's a really tricky thing to get right.
This is the exact situation that "conflict management" is meant to account for. The other situation would be if you are watching a live program, and a scheduled recording is set to begin, but there are no free tuners; in this situation the software should ask the user if they wish to:
  • Continue watching the live program and cancel the recording,
  • Switch to the scheduled channel when the recording begins to use the live tuner for the scheduled recording.
  • To cancel/free another tuner doing another task, so both the scheduled recording will happen and the tuner with the live program will be untouched.
I understand that SiliconDust's version of "conflict management" is merely a priority listing of programs that might record. However, that is not what most users expect from the conflict management of a DVR. (At least, that's what I expect by "conflict management", and judging from the comments of other users, I don't feel that I am alone.)

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