How to prioritize HD recordings?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by Televisionary, Aug 31, 2007.

  1. Televisionary

    Televisionary Member

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    Oct 24, 2000
    New...
    I've spent 2 hours reading the S3 manual and searching the forums here, so I apologize if I've missed the answer...

    I want to TiVo tennis. I have matching WishLists like "OPEN" & HD & Sports/Tennis; and "OPEN & Sports/Tennis. I thought that re-ordering the priority of the WLs so the HD versions were ahead of the non-HD WLs would cause the S3 HD TiVo to catch the HD versions, and call the SD versions duplicates. It hasn't worked that way.

    Some of these are on ESPN vs. ESPN-HD, some are on local channels vs. their HD versions. In all cases, the SD versions are taking priority in the To Do list, and the HD versions are reporting they won't be recorded because "The same episode occurs with 28 days..."

    So I need to know... Using WishLists, how to I ensure I get the HD version if it's available, and fall back to the SD version if it isn't? I haven't fooled around with SPs yet, but I fear the same problem with the Season Pass Manager--namely that it ignores my preferences and chooses the SD broadcast over the HD broadcast on the same "channel."

    Thank you very much, because I am complete stumped!

    -T
     
  2. btwyx

    btwyx Substantive Member

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    Jan 16, 2003
    Mountain...
    The broadcasts on "HD" channels actually marked as "HD". If the guide doesn't say it, the HD wishlist won't catch it.

    If you want you can trim out the SD versions of these channels so the wishlists will only find the HD channels.
     
  3. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    7,902
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    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    Season passes are channel specific. If you create a season pass for U.S. Open tennis on ESPN-HD, it will only record from ESPN-HD and no other channel.

    Wishlists (and Suggestions) are the only features that record across multiple channels.

    That said, why do you even need the SD version of ESPN?

    You can remove (uncheck) non-HD versions of channels in Settings -> Channels. If you uncheck those channels on the Series3, wishlists won't record from them.

    As an added bonus, the more channels you remove, the faster your Tivo becomes.
     
  4. Televisionary

    Televisionary Member

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    Oct 24, 2000
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    Yes, I understand, though it also might be ignored in the SPM priorities...

    It's not just ESPN, but any channel, such as the locals, that carries a different program on their SD vs. HD feed.

    Plus, what happens when a given program isn't in HD? Does the local HD channel (for instance) just carry it in 480i? If so, does it make sense to record it in HD or SD? For me, even on a 36" screen (the HDTV arrives in a week) "medium" quality looks terrific!

    The big question for me is, why doesn't the TiVo S3 respect a higher priority for HD WLs vs. SD WLs?

    Thanks!
    -T
     
  5. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    7,902
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    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    The quality settings only apply to analog channels. They are ignored on digital channels. With digital channels, the Tivo records the original digital bitstream from cable and off-air (i.e. 100% original quality).

    Not all programming on locals is in HD. SD content is upconverted to HD resolution on HD channels. That's why you see those black bars on local HD channels -- the network affiliate added those bars to the SD program and they are part of the picture signal.

    If a program isn't specifically identified with a HD flag --which is common on live sporting events -- then the Tivo doesn't know the difference between the SD and HD versions. Furthermore, there is upconverted 480p widescreen content on HD channels that will never be identified with a HD flag.

    When program information is identical for two programs, the Tivo records from the channel with the lowest number. A wishlist like 'OPEN & Sports/Tennis' will find the same program on both the SD and HD channels, but it records from the channel with the lowest number (which in your case, is SD) in your channel list.

    The only way to guarantee that you always get the HD version (if available) is to remove the SD channels from your channel list under Settings -> Channels. That way, the Tivo will always record from the HD channel, regardless of whether the content is shown in HD or upconverted SD. Then you would only need a single 'OPEN & Sports/Tennis' wishlist. The only 'downside' to this approach is that upconverted SD from HD channels requires more disk space -- I've upgraded my box with a 750Gb drive so that is a non-issue.

    My advice is to remove the SD version of every channel from your list that has an HD counterpart. That way, you never have to worry about SD vs HD; you will always get the HD version if available, and the SD version otherwise. The 'HD' wishlist tag is still useful for differentiating between SD and HD movies, documentaries, etc.
     
  6. Televisionary

    Televisionary Member

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    Oct 24, 2000
    New...
    Right, that's what I meant about "medium" quality being pretty good--I'd rather record that on the analog channel and save space instead of recording an up-converted HD feed.

    Here's where I'm stumped, and I think the software's buggy. I have pairs of WishLists like this:

    Code:
    "OPEN" & Sports/Tennis
    "OPEN" & HD & Sports/Tennis
    When I "View Upcoming Episodes" with these two, they each contain what I expect: non-HD and HD respectively. So, whether it's flags or whatnot, the S3 can distinguish between the HD and SD content in this case. My 750G drive is here (though not connected yet), so I switched these two WLs so the HD WL was higher-priority. And I made sure the Season Pass Manager recalculated the To Do list. Even so, the S3 is skipping and will continue to skip the HD versions and prefer the SD. And in Recording History, it says the HD versions are "being skipped because there's an identical episode being recorded within 28 days..." That doesn't make sense to me--there should be a way for users to get HD when they want, automatically. And also, the scheduler should realize when it can't keep a show for two days, and revert to the SD version if possible! Maybe I'm dreaming... :(

    First, thanks for all your help, bkdtv. I may have to do as you say, but I really don't want to. For one, my wife TiVos Oprah, Dr. Phil and other "talking heads" shows and leaves them there for months. Having all that in HD, even with a big drive, is a problem and a waste.

    I'm confused when you say, "the 'HD' wishlist tag is still useful for...movies, documentaries, etc." Why won't the same problem happen with other show types? Thanks.

    I am really amazed the software doesn't handle these conflicts intelligently, rather than to pick the lower-numbered channel! After years of supporting HD, this issue should have come up a lot!

    Thanks again,
    -T
     
  7. bkdtv

    bkdtv New Member

    7,902
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    Jan 9, 2003
    DC Metro Area
    Given that "View Upcoming Episodes" shows the correct results, recording of the SD version does sound like a bug. If you remove the non-HD wishlist, does the Tivo record only the HD episodes?

    The HD wishlist option is a newer feature on the standalone Tivos. It was added in 8.3 last April, IIRC. Hopefully that issue will be addressed in the update this fall.
     
  8. Televisionary

    Televisionary Member

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    Oct 24, 2000
    New...
    Well, I must admit, all is well now. The cable guys had been out to fix S3 #2's cablecards, and for some reason they mucked around with the working S3, which I've been writing about. I had to repeat the Guided Setup, and it was then I re-prioritized the WishLists and noticed the discrepancy.

    Today I spent some time with this good S3, and noticed the WishLists had started working as I wanted them to. I guess leaving it alone for a day got the kinks worked out, because it will tape Oprah and Dr. Phil from the SD local, and Tennis from the HD local, exactly as I wanted. And I added a 750G external eSATA drive for good measure. My wife is in great shape, now I have to get MY S3 set up! :D

    Again, many thanks bkdtv! You helped me think through the problem a few times with an impartial observer, and that helped a lot.

    -T
     

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