Thursday, 26 July 2012

Day 2 - Now it's the men's turn

I'll be spending the next few hours looking at the satellite tuner problem on the first PC as we move into the second day of events, this time with 8 men's football matches. I was a bit annoyed that the BBC Olympics HD channels have been "double heading" matches in their EPG/Now and Next slots, so there were several 5 hours 5 minutes slots yesterday with 2 matches in each slot. This is poor on two fronts - one is that you'll have to record both matches together as a single file and then video edit them later and two is that there was a big gap in the middle of the 2 matches where nothing was going on anyway! Never mind the two sets of video edits I'll be doing for that Columbia vs. North Korea farce last night...

It's an earlier start today, so broadcasts begin at 11.50am and it looks like three BBC Olympics HD channels (1-3 again) are in use today. Sadly, I'm not only any closer to finding out why sat tuner 4 on pc1 isn't working, but - unbelievably - sat tuner 4 on pc2 is exhibiting the same symptoms! For the moment, I have removed all transponders from tuner 4 on both PCs and am recording BBC One HD and BBC HD on terrestrial on both PCs, so there is no loss in recordings at all.

Yes, the double failure in an identical way made me suspect the latest drivers for the sat card, so I rolled them back a version and it made no difference. pc2's tuner 4 failure is slightly different though - there's a mix of "Constant FEC", "Bursty FEC" and one transponder even has an "Ok" status!

Anyway, enough of my woes, I did have some success with some coding in preparation for Saturday's first full day. At the moment, I've got recordings triggered by the phrases "Olympic", "Olympics Football" and "Olympics Fencing", which works when there's no sat tuner clashes on Wed-Fri, but Saturday uses 22 of the 24 channels and as I start adding more Olympics phrases, it's highly likely I won't be able double up everything on both PCs.

Hence, I'll be writing code to do the following:
  • Get the satellite EPG for the 24 Olympics HD channels and trim it down to a simple data file per day with a line for each EPG slot (this has been done): channel_number|start_time|end_time|Olympic <sport name>
  • Set the number of tuners to 2 * 3 for the moment. If I get the duff tuners working, this could rise to 2 * 4, so maybe allow that to be a parameter to the program (partially done).
  • Have a hard-coded structure for the transponders (call them 1-6) and which channel numbers are on which transponder (4 per transponder) (done).
  • Hard-code in the 26 sports strings (Olympic <sport name>) and assign a rating of 1-10 to each sport too. The higher the rating, the more you want to double up the sport (i.e. record on two PCs rather than one) (done).
  • Allow for any pre-padding (2 mins) and post-padding (5 mins) in tvheadend, but add 5 seconds before and after in case two slots cushion up to each other after the padding (done).
  • Given all of the above, display a list of sports strings that need to enabled for the day on pc1 and pc2 (ones not listed should be disabled). To calculate this will be tricky - basically, every time slot mentioned in the sports data file has to be recorded somewhere at least once and doubling up will score higher for my favoured sports (but it doesn't guarantee even sports I rated 10 will get double recordings if it's a busy day).
Oh, one tip I did learn when configuring the sat tuners in tvheadend today - you have to leave "Idle scanning" ticked on if you're using the Now and Next (EIT) info like I am. If it's ticked off, it won't get the "Next" info automatically and the idea of using the sports string to insert a scheduled recording automatically falls flat on its face.

Was it just me or were the Team GB men's football team just as rubbish as ever? Maybe it was the ludicrous two noises that accompanied every single replay of tonight's match that put them off! I'm sure I didn't hear that awful noise (especially obvious with my big sub-woofer) for the Team GB women's match yesterday. After 20 minutes and 20 replay noises, I was ready to throw a brick through my plasma! I was almost hoping for no fouls or attempts on goal just to avoid any replays. A quiet swish is all that's needed if you really must have an intro/outro sound effect for replays (do you really need any effects sound during a replay?), but not a loud harsh throbbing noise that's like having your head bashed with a dustbin lid. Get rid of it, BBC!

Day 2 recording size: 387GB (a new record) - grand total so far:  603GB

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