Sunday, December 02, 2012

The Week in Entertainment

TV: Although my DVR keeps recording The Good Wife and claiming it's recording The Mentalist, and its production company doesn't put it on On Demand, CBS makes the episodes available for a couple of weeks, so I did get to watch it. It was an interesting story, and Red John got about a minute and a half, which is nice. Modern Family was quite funny, especially Cam in his Cats makeup and costume being carried down from the tree by the firefighter - and Lily's "I can't live like this!" cracked me up, as did Haley finding the gold bracelet. Friday at my sister's we watched "The Wedding of River Song", which baffled my sibs, and then - because it came on - A Knight's Tale, which was laughable. From the crowd at the jousting match singing "We Will Rock You" through Jocelyn's bizarre hair and clothes to the extremely predictable plot (and, by the way, if they were going to keep on saying the horse was getting past it, why didn't they ever keep one of the horses he won?)...

Read: Some more by Thomas Love Peacock - Maid Marian, which is a Robin Hood story, and two weirdly funny novels filled with take-offs on the philosophical debates of the day (early 19th century) - Nightmare Abbey, and Crotchet Castle. I'm partway through Gyll Grange (the last one is a mid-century novel but still very amusing).


At 8:30 PM, December 11, 2012 Blogger Barry Leiba had this to say...

Sunday nights are tricky, because programming is often delayed because of Sunday afternoon sports. When I record anything on Sunday evening, I always tell the TiVo to record an extra hour on the end. So far, that's always been enough, but a few times just barely so.

At 8:42 PM, December 11, 2012 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

Yeah. I finally figured that out. Too bad the machines aren't smart enough to know that "record series" doesn't mean "record this time period" - and since it does know the difference between new and re-run episodes, you'd think that wouldn't be too hard to do.

At 8:42 PM, December 11, 2012 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

Or maybe you wouldn't since you actually work with computers!

At 12:33 PM, December 12, 2012 Blogger Barry Leiba had this to say...

Oh, no, the machines do know that. The problem is that all they have to work with is the schedule that they're given. "The Mentalist" is scheduled to be aired at 10 p.m. on CBS, and "The Good Wife" at 9 p.m.

The problem is that when the football game runs over its time by, say, 40 minutes, they dynamically push everything else 40 minutes later to accommodate it. But (1) they don't know that in advance, so they can't schedule TGW and TM for 9:40 and 10:40, respectively, in advance; (2) when the run-over happens they don't change the published schedule; and (3) even if they did, the DVR probably isn't going to check and download the updated schedule in time, because it only checks for schedule updates once a day.

A nicely designed system (suppose it's TiVo, for ease of discussion) would have the content distributors (such as CBS) pushing schedule updates in real time so TiVo would have the updated schedule as it happened, and would have the DVRs send their recording information to TiVo so that it could be compared to the updated schedule. TiVo could then push the necessary updates to each DVR, changing the start and stop times ever 5 minutes, say, as necessary to make sure programs weren't missed.

I'm not sure how that would scale up to millions of DVRs, recording all the different programs. The normal "DVR phone home" check, as things are now, is randomized throughout the day. But if the football game runs over, TiVo might have to push updates to millions of DVRs at the same moment, if a lot of people have scheduled recording for the programs that follow.

'tain't easy.


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