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View Full Version : Slight Rant and question on the second core.


chrgeorgeson
10-18-2010, 11:47 PM
I currently am using Windows 7 with Media Center. IT'S AWESOME!!!! I don't have these slow menu loading problems that a lot of people are having on their TiVo’s.

I am however considering going back to TiVo but only because it's smaller than my PC but it's hard to get rid of a unit that has 2.5 TB of space a BLU-Ray drive 3 tuners (2 of which are HD capable) and is extremely modular.

Christ TiVo is trying to tell people they don't include Wi-Fi NIC's because it's not a feature that everyone has and they would have to charge more for their unit's if it was built in.

Last time I checked Metal was extremely expensive. The new Premier unit is using 1/3 less metal compared to the last Tivo model. This is an incredible cost savings.

It costs my company 3 dollars to buy 3G cards for products we make, hell Apple pays less for that for there iPads I doubt the generic Wifi cards would cost much more and maybe through the cost savings of metal they could throw an extremely useful network standard into there damn units. My freaking Nintendo has one in it and it's cheaper and way more powerful!

OOPS... I digress.


I loved my Tivo when I had it 3 years ago, it was slow though, and it sounds like it still is. However one thing makes me hold hope....Dual Core.

Tivo apparently released a product with only one core lit up! That is a major feature that even smart phones are starting to get!!!!

Again I'll probably get a Tivo soon since we are building a TV Niche in the wall with a foe floor that opens up and holds all my game consoles and STB's. A computer is going to need more air flow then my Tivo would need.



What's the point of this post??? Well In looking around this forum I don't see any potential release dates on when that second core will be lit up? Any ideas?

-Chris

deandashl
10-19-2010, 05:27 AM
I don't know if using less metal, in general, really saves that much money. But, whatever.

I'm not sure if TiVo CAN turn on the second core until they "finish" the HDUI conversion. The UI needs to be programmed for multi-core ability and the old UI was not.

TiVo had 3 years to work on a HD update to the S3 boxes/next generation HDUI. It wouldn't have been Flash based, of course. The TiVo Search beta makes clear that the current UI was in SOME form of development. Leaks of the "blue screen" version were out there years ago. I think TiVo NEVER did ANY serious next generation development besides maybe some basic screen designs. This also explains how undeveloped the HD UI was at Premiere release and how LITTLE has been done since. I think TiVo started the new Flash HD UI only around July of 2009 (remember, testing probably takes months after initial programming) and does NOT seem to be taking it too serious since. Most of TiVo's efforts have been BEHIND the UI. TiVo seems obsessed with cross-platform search capability.

The good news is that TiVo has been working 7 months since the Premiere came out. The BAD news is 7 months has gone by and not much progress has been made.

Truth is, at this rate, well.......just a BIG disappointment. Unless, there is some BIG update coming out. Some rather large, one time deal. I just wouldn't hold my breathe at all.

There REALLY NEEDS to be some heads rolling over this type of stuff.

crxssi
10-19-2010, 07:27 AM
What's the point of this post???

THAT is a good question. Here, I will help:

I currently am using Linux. IT'S AWESOME!!!! I don't have these slow problems that a lot of people are having with their TiVo's or using MS-Windows. Plus it uses much less memory and never has virii. Linux is free, so it costs so much less than metal OR MS-Windows OR TiVo. My phone has 3G and 4G and WiFi and runs Linux. TiVo only has Ethernet but runs Linux.

Well In looking around this forum I don't see any potential release dates on when that second core will be lit up? Any ideas?

Search and read other posts. Nothing has changed. And no, nobody knows. Using a second core might make little to no difference if the UI is not threaded. If it were a magic fix, then TiVo would likely already be using it.

aaronwt
10-19-2010, 08:53 AM
TiVo has always been slow when making updates. And obviously the Premiere is no different.
Although updates that have been coming to the Premiere have been fast when compared to previous TiVos.

chrgeorgeson
10-19-2010, 12:30 PM
THAT is a good question. Here, I will help:

I currently am using Linux. IT'S AWESOME!!!! I don't have these slow problems that a lot of people are having with their TiVo's or using MS-Windows. Plus it uses much less memory and never has virii. Linux is free, so it costs so much less than metal OR MS-Windows OR TiVo. My phone has 3G and 4G and WiFi and runs Linux. TiVo only has Ethernet but runs Linux.



Search and read other posts. Nothing has changed. And no, nobody knows. Using a second core might make little to no difference if the UI is not threaded. If it were a magic fix, then TiVo would likely already be using it.

LOL don't be so sensitive.

rainwater
10-19-2010, 01:08 PM
I think people are setting themselves up for disappointment when it comes to enabling the second core. TiVo has never claimed this is going to result in major speed increases in the UI. Will it help? I would imagine but as a user, I am not counting on them enabling the second core at all. It's possible we will never see it enabled and it's also possible the result will not be that noticeable.

EdH
10-19-2010, 01:32 PM
THAT is a good question. Here, I will help:

I currently am using Linux. IT'S AWESOME!!!! I don't have these slow problems that a lot of people are having with their TiVo's or using MS-Windows. Plus it uses much less memory and never has virii. Linux is free, so it costs so much less than metal OR MS-Windows OR TiVo. My phone has 3G and 4G and WiFi and runs Linux. TiVo only has Ethernet but runs Linux.



Care to share? What's your Linux configuration. Video capture card? DVR software? How do you control the cable box? Or are you strictly OTA? Where/how do you get the program guide?

IOW, how do you do it?

Thanks,

Ed

jaywtivo
10-19-2010, 01:35 PM
THAT is a good question. Here, I will help:

I currently am using Linux. IT'S AWESOME!!!! I don't have these slow problems that a lot of people are having with their TiVo's or using MS-Windows. Plus it uses much less memory and never has virii. Linux is free, so it costs so much less than metal OR MS-Windows OR TiVo. My phone has 3G and 4G and WiFi and runs Linux. TiVo only has Ethernet but runs Linux.



Search and read other posts. Nothing has changed. And no, nobody knows. Using a second core might make little to no difference if the UI is not threaded. If it were a magic fix, then TiVo would likely already be using it.

Linux users never change. And its funny how they resent how incredibly awesome Windows Media Center is. They hate that microsoft nailed something. funny.

blackngold75
10-19-2010, 02:28 PM
Linux users never change. And its funny how they resent how incredibly awesome Windows Media Center is. They hate that microsoft nailed something. funny.

I didn't sense any resentment from the poster - just stating the fact that Linux is free. From what I have seen (setups used by people I know) both Linux and Windows7 offer a pretty solid platform for a media center implementation.

chrgeorgeson
10-19-2010, 04:34 PM
I think people are setting themselves up for disappointment when it comes to enabling the second core. TiVo has never claimed this is going to result in major speed increases in the UI. Will it help? I would imagine but as a user, I am not counting on them enabling the second core at all. It's possible we will never see it enabled and it's also possible the result will not be that noticeable.

Your not expecting them to enable the second core? People paid for that core they should light it up! They even said they hoped to have it turned on sometime this year!
And a speed increase would most deffinetly help all around performance. Not twice as much but I don't think anyone claimed that much.

Bob Poniatowski stated:
Yes, the second core is not currently enabled. The software can take advantage of it, but it's not ready to release yet. Still, due to the architecture of that chip you don't get double the performance by enabling the second core, there are too many shared resources on the chip between the two cores. You do see a boost however.

Cheers,
Pony
TiVo, Inc


If I bought an Intel i7 and only 2 cores were lit up I'd be P.O.'d.
I have faith in Tivo, I think they do care about there customers, and I think they are passionate about TV I just think they dropped the ball. I agree that it's nice to see that the Tivo DEVS are working hard on this software I wish they had a blog somewhere talking about the improvments that they are working on.

MS did that with Windows 7 and it was kind of fascinating to hear from the devs.

-Chris

aaronwt
10-19-2010, 05:10 PM
But you did not buy the processor, you bought a TiVo. There are many devices that never use their hardware to it's full potential.

crxssi
10-19-2010, 05:26 PM
Linux users never change. And its funny how they resent how incredibly awesome Windows Media Center is. They hate that microsoft nailed something.

You have no sense of humor. Go back and read the original posting, then read mine. It is hilarious. Here, I will do it (MUCH less humorously) to your post:

Windows users never change. It is funny how they resent how incredibly awesome Linux is and how they stereotype all Linux users. They hate Linux because it is nails speed, efficiency, open source, being easily customizable, multi-platform, non-lockin, and free.

As for me- I could care less about "MS-Windows Media Center". Isn't that why we are TiVo users? Meanwhile, go over to an MS-Windows Media Center forum and post about how wonderful TiVo is and slow/limited WMC is and see what reaction you get....

crxssi
10-19-2010, 05:40 PM
Your not expecting them to enable the second core? [directed at chgerorgeson] People paid for that core they should light it up! They even said they hoped to have it turned on sometime this year! And a speed increase would most deffinetly help all around performance. Not twice as much but I don't think anyone claimed that much.

You didn't pay extra for a dual core processor, it was just the platform they chose. You bought a TiVo, not a CPU. The actual other core might have added $5 to the overall hardware design, or perhaps nothing at all. I expect they will eventually make use of the second core. But I seriously doubt it will happen this year, given the slow rate of development so far.

Enabling the second core won't necessarily do all that much for improving the speed of the user interface unless the UI is properly *threaded*. And we don't even know if the base environment they are using (Flash) is coded to be threaded efficiently (or at all). It is not a matter of just "turning something on". And even then, it won't be some miracle. It might help with preventing unusual slow downs at the OS level (since Linux, itself, has been fully threaded forever) when the system is loaded. But loading on a TiVo usually only occurs when performing a network transfer (or using the UI). "Recording" doesn't use much CPU at all, and housekeeping is mostly done at program guide updating (which is likely when it is not being used) or during a season pass change (which is neither often nor terribly slow).

The UI could benefit tremendously from more efficient coding. The big improvements in performance we have seen so far were all done from fixing bad code design.

deandashl
10-19-2010, 06:14 PM
It sounds like the UI is set up for multi-thread, of course, has it been done well? I've read it before.

The second core is a TRUE second core right? Not a hyper-thread?

IS the second core just plain turned off? Or is it's processing power working with the other core in a "single-core" type mode?

I think that's the REAL question. If the second core is just plain OFF, then that's a lot of processing power sitting on the sidelines. You could be looking at 25% to 40% bump.

BUT if the processing power of the second core IS being used, just not as a second core or thread, then the bump is probably minor.

turbobozz
10-19-2010, 06:26 PM
As for me- I could care less about "MS-Windows Media Center". Isn't that why we are TiVo users? Meanwhile, go over to an MS-Windows Media Center forum and post about how wonderful TiVo is and slow/limited WMC is and see what reaction you get....

Hmm... People can use TiVo and be fans while still having an interest for what else is out there.
I'm a TiVo user because TiVo used to be far and away better than any other DVR solution out there for my purposes.
I have a Premiere, but it was a gift. I would not have bought one to replace my S3.
I'm also a Win7 MC user because there are so many damn xboxen in my house and the centralized recording fits well.

I prefer Win7 MC for most of my TV viewing right now... I enjoy it more than the Premiere.
Win7 MC isn't perfect, but it's pretty good. (I'd be reluctant to say AWESOME!!!!)
Premiere obviously isn't perfect, but I think it is OK... heavy on the potential.
(Unfortunately the value of that potential is dwindling relative to the competition's potential.)

I'd like TiVo to be doing better, but right now it's kinda depressing that the Premiere software is so unfinished and that the hardware already seems so outdated and underpowered.

yunlin12
10-19-2010, 07:23 PM
I'd like TiVo to be doing better, but right now it's kinda depressing that the Premiere software is so unfinished and that the hardware already seems so outdated and underpowered.

I know, when I put an egg on the TivoPXL it takes forever to cook. Turn on the 2nd core and make it burn already! And when I want to crank it up to make some white noise when I go to sleep, it hardly makes a peep. :D

How much underpowered is it really? On SDUI the thing FLIES! On HDUI it mostly sees a 1-2 sec delay if any. Scrolling through the NPL and Tivo Guide is usually much faster than that, with a very small delay. the trick play is responsive, as fast as, if not 100% as smooth as the THD/S3.

How outdated is it? It has more IPTV features than my PS3 and XBox 360.

moyekj
10-19-2010, 07:32 PM
<snip>the trick play is responsive, as fast as, if not 100% as smooth as the THD/S3. I wish! Unfortunately 30 sec skip freezes on the frame you first skip from with multiple quick presses unlike the S3 units that respond instantly to 30 sec skips (I'm talking about the original skip, not the scan that comes enabled by default on Premiere units). Hence multiple 30 sec skips works much better on my S3 compared to Premiere.

crxssi
10-19-2010, 07:33 PM
It sounds like the UI is set up for multi-thread, of course, has it been done well? I've read it before.

I haven't read anything authoritative that affirms that the UI it is set up for multi-threaded. And even if it is, there are different levels of such.

The second core is a TRUE second core right? Not a hyper-thread?

Yes, it is a true second core. But there are various ways to implement cores in different chips.

IS the second core just plain turned off? Or is it's processing power working with the other core in a "single-core" type mode?

The Linux kernel that TiVo is using is apparently not compiled as multiprocessing (which is really strange, since just about every Linux kernel from every distro for many years has been multiprocessing by default). I don't know if the second core is actually turned "off", or is just being ignored/unused. It really doesn't matter (except from an electricity usage standpoint, and even that is probably very minor.... idle/ignored second core vs. off second core on this type of chip is probably not even a watt.)

If the second core is just plain OFF, then that's a lot of processing power sitting on the sidelines. You could be looking at 25% to 40% bump.

Yes and no. Having the second core available could bring *more* than 50% additional CPU power to the table. But that doesn't mean it will be used by anything significantly. Again, if the UI is not threaded, then the other core will sit idle 99% of the time waiting for something to do. The OS, itself (Linux) will happily do other stuff that it can on the other CPU, even if the UI is trapped in a single thread mode. But that probably won't amount to any perceived increase in performance to the end user... which is all that really matters. It might mean less "slowdowns", but to a non-threaded or minimially threaded UI, it would never increase the speed beyond the "normal baseline", it would just help it from being slowed down during other loads (like network transfer, or a tuning change in the background).

Dan203
10-19-2010, 07:40 PM
Writing a user interface for multiple threads is very difficult. Most commercial apps that are optimized for multiple cores use the extra cores for worker threads not for the UI itself. UIs can not be easily threaded because they are highly dependent on user input and maintaining sync between threads while dealing with user input is very, very difficult.

In the case of the Premiere UI I could see them pushing some of the image loading off on a worker thread, and maybe doing some of the data indexing/searching in a separate thread, but most of the UI will still need to run in a single thread and will only run on one core. Pushing some of that other stuff on to the second core might make the UI feel a little more snappy, but I think they'll get a much better result by focusing on optimizing the code they already have then worrying about threading too much.

Dan

crxssi
10-19-2010, 07:50 PM
Writing a user interface for multiple threads is very difficult. Most commercial apps that are optimized for multiple cores use the extra cores for worker threads not for the UI itself. UIs can not be easily threaded because they are highly dependent on user input and maintaining sync between threads while dealing with user input is very, very difficult.

In the case of the Premiere UI I could see them pushing some of the image loading to a worker thread that runs on the second core, and maybe doing some of the data indexing/searching in a separate thread, but most of the UI will still need to run in a single thread and will only run on one core. Pushing some of that other stuff on to the second core might make the UI feel more snappy, but I think they'll get a much better result by focusing on optimizing the code they already have then worrying about threading too much.

Totally agreed. It doesn't matter if the "main" part of the UI is threaded or not, if enough parts of it can be made to be threaded and help out. And that is some complex stuff, indeed. It is FAR easier to throw a faster CPU at it (which can't happen on the TiVo) or to optimize the code to find places to improve it (which is what TiVo seemingly is busy doing).

I get tired of people asking when the second core will be "turned on" as if that will magically make some type of huge difference, when the problem is far more complicated than that. Hopefully threads like this will help to clear up the confusion.

deandashl
10-19-2010, 09:42 PM
Seems to me the best thing to do is BOTH.

Optimize code, of course. There seems plenty to do. But that only goes so far.

Also do some off-loading of duties to the second core. Using multi-threading in gaming IS complicated, using multiple cores to print a screen is incredibly complicated; but there are MUCH more simple designs and tasks that CAN be put on the second core, "reasonably" easily. Start with Season Pass runs, grid guide organization(I'm not referring to the actual guide ON the screen), MRV, Pandora, searches, etc.

I've read before that the new UI is programmed with multi-thread, how well is always arguable, of course. I still don't think they can "throw the switch" until they complete the dump of the old UI. I still think that's the first task.

Second core utilization and optimization is a more long-term effort. But could have very nice speed rewards.

chrgeorgeson
10-19-2010, 10:20 PM
You have no sense of humor. Go back and read the original posting, then read mine. It is hilarious. Here, I will do it (MUCH less humorously) to your post:

Windows users never change. It is funny how they resent how incredibly awesome Linux is and how they stereotype all Linux users. They hate Linux because it is nails speed, efficiency, open source, being easily customizable, multi-platform, non-lockin, and free.

As for me- I could care less about "MS-Windows Media Center". Isn't that why we are TiVo users? Meanwhile, go over to an MS-Windows Media Center forum and post about how wonderful TiVo is and slow/limited WMC is and see what reaction you get....

OOOOOOOOOOooooooohhhhhhhh that is "hilarious"!!!!!! Thanks for pointing that out to us stupid piddly windows folk.:up:


Now what I said is "hilarious".;)


Also you're correct in the fact that a lot of people don't use there hardware to the fullest. A CPU is not something that anyone would usually cut down on.


Look at Palm with the Pre. That worked out well for them.
Today they just announced that they have a 1 GHz Proc instead of the crappy 500mhz (Clocked speed) proc they were using. People are saying that the specs were what the Pre should have been years ago.

I think you and i will have to agree to disagree on this topic and that's okay. It seems like you are upset about some of the things I'm saying and if that is the case I'm sorry.
I understand that the UI will have to be threaded properly, but I doubt that when the engineers were planning on creating the next gen Tivo they said. "Let's buy hardware that we won't utilize to the fullest."
Maybe you feel that way as well, I don't know but I think it's wrong that they released a product that isn't up to par with the claims on there website. When I think "... the most advanced DVR ever built..." I think quick and speedy. Not slow, and unresponsive.

-Chris

tomhorsley
10-19-2010, 10:24 PM
With the possible exception of realtime video scaling in software (if, for instance they ever provide picture in picture), I think it is highly unlikely that using the 2nd core would provide any difference in speed. 99% of the problems appear to be I/O bound or caused by doing all the software with a hideously inappropriate platform like flash.

yunlin12
10-19-2010, 11:16 PM
I wish! Unfortunately 30 sec skip freezes on the frame you first skip from with multiple quick presses unlike the S3 units that respond instantly to 30 sec skips (I'm talking about the original skip, not the scan that comes enabled by default on Premiere units). Hence multiple 30 sec skips works much better on my S3 compared to Premiere.

That's what I meant, it's not as smooth, but I don't feel that it's necessarily slower. I did a test, on both my Tivo PXL and Tivo HD, I played a Fox show recorded in HD, hit the 30 skip as fast as I can for 10 consecutive times. On the TivoPXL it did not show intermediate screens, but resumed playing as soon as I finished hitting the skip the 10th time. On the Tivo HD it shows a frame every time I hit skip, and playback also resume immediately after I finished my 10th click. So to me TivoPXL is working as fast as possible. Also since TivoHD has to show intermediate frames, I feel that it's actually slowing me down by doing so. I think I may actually prefer the TivoPXL behavior.

crxssi
10-19-2010, 11:17 PM
but I doubt that when the engineers were planning on creating the next gen Tivo they said. "Let's buy hardware that we won't utilize to the fullest."

Actually, they just bought into what the current platform was for that vendor (Broadcom, I believe). I don't think they went into it thinking they weren't ever going to use the second core. But I also don't think they went into it thinking they would be using it any time soon, either. Kindof a- "well, this is what is available, it will give us room to grow later." Like buying a house with some extra room you don't need right now, but might need later.

Maybe you feel that way as well, I don't know but I think it's wrong that they released a product that isn't up to par with the claims on there website. When I think "... the most advanced DVR ever built..." I think quick and speedy. Not slow, and unresponsive.

Don't get me wrong. If you see my other posts, you know I have no blind love of TiVo and I can be just as critical as anyone else about the TiVo Premiere's poor performance and incomplete nature. TiVo's claims/hype that the Premiere is "revolutionary" is insulting. It might be "revolutionary" compared to a series 1 or certain cable boxes. But it is not when compared to the TiVo HD/Series 3 or some of the other platforms out there.