Live TV Buffer

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by MikeekiM, Dec 29, 2011.

  1. MikeekiM

    MikeekiM Palindromer

    Jun 25, 2002
    SF Bay Area


    Hi All,

    Question for you... what is the official name that TiVo calls its live tv buffer?

    The reason I ask is because we have a similar product and there is a lot of controversy over whether regular, average, everyday people who are non-technical even know what the word "buffer" means...

    I looked on the TiVo site to find it...and I can't find the word "buffer" referenced to save my life... Even their support site gives me zero hits on the keyword "buffer"...
  2. JosephB

    JosephB Member

    Nov 19, 2010
    Atlanta, GA
    I've never really seen it referred to as anything. Usually the manual just talks about "pausing live TV" or rewinding Live TV or catching up, etc.

    DirecTV has referred to it as a buffer, though, when they introduced dual live buffers in their in-house DVRs a while back.
  3. news4me2

    news4me2 Member

    Jul 10, 2010
  4. Series3Sub

    Series3Sub Well-Known Member

    Mar 14, 2010
    Regardless of the brand or service, I've never heard anyone refer to it other than "buffer." That terms seems to do just fine with the engineers who make or design the DVR's, as well.
  5. steve614

    steve614 what ru lookin at?

    May 1, 2006
    Dallas, TX


    I've heard it referred to as "trick play", but I don't know if that is the official term or not.
  6. scandia101

    scandia101 Just the facts ma'am

    Oct 20, 2007
    MN, greater...
    'Trick play' is a reference to what you can do with it, but not it by itself.
  7. Worf

    Worf Well-Known Member

    Sep 15, 2000
    Or just avoid the need to describe the buffer altogether. Describe what the buffer enables you to do without needing to refer to it specifically.

    E.g., "You can pause live TV. Just hit pause. You can pause up to 30 minutes this way." Or "Hit rewind to see up to the last 30 minutes of TV". Or for dual buffer units, "Each tuner can be rewound up to 30 minutes" or "you can individually pause each channel up to 30 minutes".

    No need to refer to a buffer or anything.

    Don't describe the technology behind it, describe what you can do with the technology - I don't care if it's a 30 minute buffer, a 30 minute video tape, or whatever. Just tell me what I can do. I don't need to know the details of what's happening.
  8. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

    Aug 31, 2003
    Trick play is the ability to FF, pause, and RW. It's true on "live" TV, this requires a buffer, but the term is not limited to live broadcasts. It applies to recordings, as well.
  9. lrhorer

    lrhorer Active Member

    Aug 31, 2003
    That's just silly. If one understands the underlying process, then knowing the abilities is a matter of trivial deduction. An accurate description of what can and cannot be done is voluminous, and confusing to anyone who does not understand the underlying process. The simple statement, "The DVR buffers a 30 minute window of material starting with any change of channel" implies all the ins and outs of the situation, including the fact one can only rewind 5 minutes if one changed the channel five minutes ago, one cannot change the channel and go back and watch the last 30 minutes before the channel was changed, one cannot rewind more than 30 minutes, etc., etc.
  10. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    I don't know that there is an "official" name, but around here, unless specifically comparing hard drive specs, if someone says "cache", they almost certainly mean what you refer to as the live tv buffer.
  11. Worf

    Worf Well-Known Member

    Sep 15, 2000
    The problem is, people don't care about the underlying technology. It's what separates the techies of a group from the users. Just like 99% of the people on the road don't understand (or care) how their car works, do people need to understand how their TiVos or DVRs work?

    And your statement, whilst correct, doesn't really answer any question I have. If it's two tuners, do they share one buffer? Or does each tuner have it's own buffer? Does changing the channel (in the second case) clear both buffers? And does "material" cover streaming content?

    In fact, it can be downright dangerous, because people get confused easily - "well, my SuperBrand PVR does this (clear both buffers on channel change). Why doesn't TiVo? TiVo is STUPID and USELESS because it has a buffer that doesn't do this!" (An exaggeration, yes, but people do believe everything with X feature (e.g., a buffer) must behave identically because it's the same thing).

    Divorcing the need to explain how something works, from how to use it and why it benefits the user is how user documentation works. Now, if you want to go into details about it later on for the few in the audience still reading, go right ahead. You can call it "The technology behind TiVo".

    And no, people don't care to learn how things work - especially if it's peripheral to what they want. I want to watch TV - and I need to go to the bathroom. I hit pause. Does it pause forever? Why are you talking to me about buffers?"

    Sad, but true. And yes, my way is more wordy, but answers their question just as well without them having to think about it. And if things work differently, it's explained away without having the user make assumptions based on previous experience.

    My parents have only recently learned about trick plays on the cable DVR. All they've used it up to now was a very fancy VCR because the UI was geared in that fashion and because of previous experience with VCRs and how they work.

    Especially important for TV, by the way - it's TV - you should just turn it on and tune it to something. Or why cable and satellite seem to be doing OK despite many "cutting the cord".

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