Friday, 21 August 2009

The problem with Digital TV

The problem with Australian Digital TV or at least, using a media center in Australia is:

  • The standard def and high def channels are almost the same, but not quite. The high def channels have subtly different programs such as special documentaries.

  • The EIT is a mess - spelling mistakes, program name changes (series premire, season finale, double episode etc), and not starting/finishing on time.


The consequence of (1) is that you can't just go and say 'record all' - you've then got to go edit that rule to say 'only on this channel', otherwise you'll end up with 2 recordings of the same program, one standard def, one high def. You wouldn't actually want to delete one of the channels, because the differences can be interesting.

The EIT issue is more serious - instead of being able to say 'record all occurances of "Program 1" only on this channel' you need to change this to not be so exact on the program name and use "%Program 1%" so that you catch episodes named 'Program 1 - season finale'. I've seen some programs use the subtitle in the name - so EVERY episode has a different name - Come on! This is what the description is for - instead of:
Name: 'Program 1 - the one where Mr X falls over'

it's supposed to be:
Name: 'Program 1'
Description: 'The one where Mr X falls over'

The starting and finishing on time may be the most frustrating though, since right now I have MythTV configured to start recording 10 minutes early and finish recording 10 minutes after the scheduled finish time. And I still miss the end of some programs!

I can understand that these issues may be planned incompetence rather than innocent mistakes to force you to watch live TV and to pay more attention to the TV guide, but I just don't have time for it.

Once you get a media center it changes how you watch TV - if I have downtime, I can just browse the recordings to find something I'm in the mood for.

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