An Australian friend of mine, Matt, just picked up a TiVo and he’s blogged his first impressions. It sounds like they have some of the same guide data issues we have in the states, with repeats not always being so flagged. Though it is odd that other guides, like IceTV and even Yahoo7 get it right – especially when Yahoo7 is the online scheduling partner for TiVo Australia. So hopefully they can sort that out in time.
Australian networks are far, far worse than US networks when it comes to sticking to their published schedules, so padding and conflict resolution are even more important. Matt has an interesting idea that I think could be a nice upgrade for TiVo. Currently, when two programs air back to back on the same channel and both have been padded, one of three things happens. 1. The two programs are seen as a conflict and use both tuners to record the same channel simultaneously for the overlapping period. 2. If the second tuner is busy with a higher priority task and if Overlap Protection is on, and the overlap is within the clipping allowance, one of the two programs is clipped. So you’ll have two recordings and odds are one of them will have a bit of the other show in it. Which is tolerable, but not ideal. 3. If the second tuner is in use and Overlap Protection is off, or the overlap exceeds the clipping limit, the lower priority program is not recorded.
Matt suggests an alternative. If two recordings on the same channel overlap, take the output of the encoder, or the raw signal if it is a digital channel, and write two separate streams to the disc – one for each recording. The exact same data shared between the shows – maybe even just write it to the disk once, with both shows pointing at the same sectors. This way you would get both recordings with all the padding requested, without using two tuners. If this is possible given TiVo’s hardware, and I think it would be, I think this is an idea worth looking into for TiVo.
Hopefully as he gets more time with the unit he’ll blog some more under his TiVo tag. Maybe he’d be interested in contributing some posts to Gizmo Lovers.