Automatic soft padding running on the TiVo

Discussion in 'TiVo Series 1 - UK' started by sanderton, Oct 8, 2003.

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  1. Oct 8, 2003 #1 of 1197

    sanderton TiVoer since 11/2000

    Jan 4, 2002
    This thread and the software posted in it are now deprecated. The current version of EndPad and support for it are now handled by maxwells_daemon in this thread.

    EndPad is a program which runs in the background on the TiVo and extends the recording time of shows (start and end) by the amount you specify if, and only if, that would not cause a clash with another recording. This means that you need no longer juggle SPs with extra recording time which cause other SPs to be missed.

    A particular bugbear in the UK is BBC 2, which frequently runs 2 mins late, but also has a lot of shows you might wish to record running back to back. Keeping track of which of these shows was the last one, which needed padding, and which was an earlier one, which didn't, was a nightmare, especially as the shows on BBC 2 usually have different season durations, so it keeps changing! EndPad sorts BBC 2 (and ITV 1) out for you.

    I took LJ's noreddot as my inspiration - rather than try to get everything done in advance, this program only actually adds the end padding to the programme being recorded 5 minutes before the end of the recording, and adds start padding just 1 minute before it is due.

    This "just in time" automated approach has many advantages:
    • The recordings remain part of their SP with all other settings completely intact.
    • New recordings and new SPS do not trigger clashes with padding, because the padding is not there until almost the end of the recording
    • Suggestions get padded too (something many have asked for)
    • It can run from, so is completely automated with no user input needed
    In fact, it's as close to TiVo implemented soft padding as I think you are going to get until we get v5 in the UK :)!

    If the full amount of padding cannot be added, EndPad will add as much as it can. End padding on a show has priority over start padding on the next one. Padding you set manually or in a SP has priority over both (although EndPad will try and increase the user set padding to the soft level if it can).

    If you want to see what it is up to, you can view the logs (which are I hope reasonably intelligible) through the Logs module of TiVoWeb.

    Note 1: By default, when EndPad looks at the next recording it takes suggestions as being disposable and deletes them to accommodate end padding if needed. If two back to back suggestions are scheduled, EndPad pads the first one and deletes the second. You can use the -sugeq switch to turn off the deletion of suggestions

    Note 2: if you try and add a recording as it is actually starting and get the clash warning because of EndPad's padding of the previous show, manually stop the current recording before adding the new one. TiVo's built in conflict resolution can result in the whole prior programme being deleted in some circumstances.

    Note 3: EndPad has the ability to alter the recording quality of any suggestions, allowing you to, say record suggestions at Medium while leaving the default at Best, making setting up SPs faster. Use the optional -sugqual switch with values of 0 (Basic), 40 (Medium), 75 (High) or 100 (Best)

    To get the best out of it, your SPs should not set any hard padding themselves. That way TiVo will be able to operate with the lowest number of clashes. The PC based utility I wrote ( has an option to remove all padding from SPs if you have a lot to go through.

    It will work on all TiVos on both sides of the pond, but will not be fully optimal on DirecTivos as it does not attempt to use the second tuner for extending shows. falconx has produced a version which works with dual tuners - unfortunately forum rules mean I can link to it as it's on the database of deals. The thread id is /forum/showthread.php?t=31854

    Copy to the TiVo using binary mode FTP then:

    chmod 755 endpad.tcl

    Run with:

    ./endpad.tcl -s x -e y -sugqual z -sugeq


    x is the number of minutes of start padding to add
    y is the number of end padding to add
    z is the recording quality to change suggestions to (0/40/75/100) (Optional)
    the optional sugeq parameter prevents EndPad cancelling a suggestion by padding another one

    Stop with:

    ./endpad.tcl -stop

    Run from with the -auto flag:

    /var/hack/endpad.tcl -s x -e y -sugqual z -sugeq -auto >> /dev/null &

    This post will always contain the most up to date version and instructions.

    EndPad is entirely free to use, but next time its saves you a verbal beating thanks to a caught ending that would otherwise be missed, please consider an appropriate donation to Cancer Research through this link:

    Please put "EndPad" in the comment.

    Please not that there are restrictions on distribution - read the readme.

    Attached Files:

  2. Oct 8, 2003 #2 of 1197

    cwaring VM Tivo User

    Feb 11, 2002
    Just wanted to say, nice one, Stuart. Pity I can't use it :D Then again, I haven't really needed it so far. Of course, you know what'll happen now, don't you ;) :p :eek: :rolleyes:
  3. Oct 8, 2003 #3 of 1197

    sanderton TiVoer since 11/2000

    Jan 4, 2002
    You don't need TurboNet to run it Carl, a serial cable will work fine.
  4. Oct 9, 2003 #4 of 1197

    groovyclam Member

    Feb 18, 2002
    Can you go even further and add soft padding to the start of a recording ?

    Ideally I would set all my SP's to start/end at scheduled times to avoid overlaps from hard padding *but* have your super utility add 1 minute of soft padding to the start of my SPs and 5 minutes soft padding at the end.

    Well done for doing what you have done so far.
  5. Oct 9, 2003 #5 of 1197

    tivo_boj Tivo is getting old

    Feb 10, 2001
    This is superb if it works. Just the thing we have been looking for. All we need now is a simalar programme which checks x minutes before a programme starts to see if any thing else is recording, if not start the sceduled recording early. Combined we would have as close as possible soft padding.

    Have just loaded it up and await tonight to see the outcome. I will post my findings.
  6. Oct 9, 2003 #6 of 1197

    Dibblah Don't ReMember

    Jun 9, 2002
    Wow. Very nice!


  7. Oct 9, 2003 #7 of 1197

    pahunt Active Member

    Apr 7, 2003
    Thanks very much for all your hard work, it's much appreciated :D
  8. Oct 9, 2003 #8 of 1197

    sanderton TiVoer since 11/2000

    Jan 4, 2002
    Easy to do, and will be in a future version, but I want to be sure this one is running and stable first.

    My main concern with it as it stands is long term stability - I know from other stuff I run that sometimes these things just stop and need restarting.
  9. Oct 9, 2003 #9 of 1197

    gregh New Member

    Oct 24, 2002
    >> I know from other stuff I run that sometimes these things just stop and need restarting.

    I've seen this done on other unix boxes where you check for a process running and if it's not there start it!
  10. Oct 9, 2003 #10 of 1197

    mas 274GB, Oct 2000-2011

    Jan 12, 2002
    That should keep the other half and my son happy !

    Can't wait to try it

    Can I go home from work now - oh - its only just gone 9am damm!


  11. Oct 9, 2003 #11 of 1197

    groovyclam Member

    Feb 18, 2002
    I'm trying to get a bash via serial on my TiVo

    I have the right lead for a serial connection and manage to get the prompt to put in the "factory" password.

    I then get to the menu where I enter "B" to boot but then I get no bash - just nothing. Hitting return causes nothing to happen ( the TiVo *has* booted all the way )

    Is there no bash run in the default UK version init scripts - or do I have to rip the harddrive out and put it in my PC to put a bash in the init script first ?

    If I have to rip the disk out I will cry! ( Although I suppose my TiVo is due for a backup )
  12. Oct 9, 2003 #12 of 1197

    sanderton TiVoer since 11/2000

    Jan 4, 2002
    Yes, that was the conclusion I was coming to as a safety net - a cron job every couple of hours looking for the process ID and running it if it's not there.
  13. Oct 9, 2003 #13 of 1197

    sanderton TiVoer since 11/2000

    Jan 4, 2002
    I think you have to pull the disk - they took out the ability to get a bash prompt on an unmodded TiVo with 2.5.5. Mr Tickle is the bash over serial in the the UK guru. Have you checked the link in his sig?
  14. Oct 9, 2003 #14 of 1197

    groovyclam Member

    Feb 18, 2002
    Oh that was really useful of them wasn't it! Well done TiVo.

    In that case I will wait until you have perfected your super script and rip my disk out then.

    You realise you have made something that is worth all the hassle of opening my TiVo again!
  15. Oct 9, 2003 #15 of 1197

    leejordan Member

    Apr 22, 2002
    London, UK
    This sounds absolutely fantastic! I can't wait to get home and try it out.

    I agree with the above quote about adding some front end padding as well. This might help those of us with NTL/Telewest cable boxes that have trouble changing channels sometimes exactly on the hour.

  16. Oct 9, 2003 #16 of 1197

    Adder New Member

    Oct 26, 2002
    Well done Stuart!

    I've had this running overnight and it added 2 minutes of much needed padding to thr World Rally Championship Omnibus on Channel 4!

    I run some consecutive recordings each morning and they all seem to be fine as well!

    I'd like to support also the request for front padding as well.

    It's top stuff! :D
  17. Oct 9, 2003 #17 of 1197

    burriko New Member

    Jun 14, 2002
    nice work sanderton!

    one quick question though before i try it. what does this do to recordings that already have hard padding set? say i have this program running with soft padding set to 2 minutes, and then i schedule a recording and set tivo to pad the end by 5 mins. would this prog remove the 5 mins that i added and set it 2 mins, or would it add 2 mins to the 5 mins that is already set.

  18. Oct 9, 2003 #18 of 1197

    sanderton TiVoer since 11/2000

    Jan 4, 2002
    As it stands it will remove the 5 mins and insert 2 mins. Which is a good point!
  19. Oct 9, 2003 #19 of 1197

    groovyclam Member

    Feb 18, 2002
    Another question:

    If I am recording something which finishes at ( for example ) 2pm and your super util soft pads it for 5 mins -> 2:05


    TiVo has a suggestion to record starting at 2pm what will happen:

    1) Your softpad takes priority and my scheduled recording runs until 2:05 and the suggestion is discarded or...

    2) TiVo stops recording my scheduled recording at 2pm exactly and changes channel to record the suggestion ( which itself will then be padded )

    I would prefer it if TiVo did option [1]
  20. Oct 9, 2003 #20 of 1197
    Dapper Dan

    Dapper Dan Gold Member

    Feb 21, 2002
    Sussex, UK
    Sounds much better than softpad. I look forward to trying this out, and startpad when it's ready.

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