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Old 03-26-2002, 10:18 AM   #1 (Print)
djrowley
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Remaining recording time?

I've looked and looked but I can't find anything which tells me how much free space there is for new recordings. Yes, some of the programmes are marked as "may be deleted" but I would like a clue whether I've used up half the avaiable disc space, or nearly all.
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Old 03-26-2002, 10:40 AM   #2 (Print)
lisper
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NO!!!! He asked the fabled "recording time left" question. Make it stop Mummy,make it stop !!!

Actually although this is a rather bloody obvious feature to add to something which uses a hard disc, TIVO have decided against it, leading it up to you do 1 of 3 things

1) leave it to TIVO, it will delete things when it requires space
2) as a fun exercise each night, calculate manually your current disk space taking into account the number of programmes, duration, and quality
3) Upgrade to 240gb and not worry about it, apart from the occasional hard disk going bang.

there you go

There are some people on this group who believe you cannot implement this feature but this hasn't stopped Sky + and every operating system since the time began, implementing it. All TIVO needs to do is tell you at this present time how much disk space you have left (regardless of what you have on the todo list)

However saying that, the features in 2.5.5 are fantastic. thanks TIVO

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Old 03-26-2002, 10:42 AM   #3 (Print)
Paj
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Tivo doesn't display this figure anywhere.

The best way is to just let it use up all its free space with suggestions, and when they start to be deleted you know that the disc is full. Then you can add up the time taken by all the remaining suggestions and that is your rough figure.

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Old 03-26-2002, 10:51 AM   #4 (Print)
djrowley
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Quote:
Originally posted by lisper
NO!!!! He asked the fabled "recording time left" question. Make it stop Mummy,make it stop !!!


Pleased to be so pre-diddly-ictable.

David
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Old 03-26-2002, 02:16 PM   #5 (Print)
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If you look in the tivo log files via backdoors, in the log is does say how much free space, and how much has been used. But why bother, just let tivo do its job.

chris

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Old 03-27-2002, 05:35 AM   #6 (Print)
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I have a 2 hour film "Dolores Clayborn" which has sat at the bottom of my Now Playing list for some time. I never intend to watch it but if it gets deleted then I know that I need to reduce what is on disk.

I guess this works only for light users but I use Tivo as an adjunct to a VCR.
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Old 03-27-2002, 07:31 AM   #7 (Print)
MrPhil
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For everyone champing at the bit in the background as to why they really want this feature and their life is not complete without it, heres why it wont work.

Assuming a 40gb Tivo, approx 38gb is available to record programming. Taking a range of available qualities, at FIXED bit rate encoding, the Tivo uses:

276kb/sec at Basic 40 hours
582kb/sec at High 19 hours
790kb/sec at Best 14 hours

If you record a single 30 minute program at basic quality, you use up 485mb, or 0.47gb. How much space is left? 38gb - 0.47 = 37.53gb or roughly 39.5 hours. Or is it? How does Tivo know if the next program you are going to schedule to record is at Basic quality, or high quality which would give you 13.83 hours, not 13.5 hours.

However, thats just the maximum data rate. If you record 30 minutes of a BBC test card, there is virtually no change between one frame and the next, so Tivo just saves a tiny frame which just says "use the last frame again" which takes up hardly any space. This is called Run Length Encoding, where the differences only are stored between the last frame and the next, with key (full) frames at set intervals. So if P is a keyframe, and I a normal frame, the file would look like PIIIIPIIIIPIIIIPIIII. That could result in a file half the size of the maximum possible rate.

Then you find a feature to save disk space.

Called VBR or Variable Bit Rate, what this does is change the comression rate on the fly according to how much is happening on screen. So, at fixed bit rate, 30minutes of the News at best is of the same data rate setting as 30 minutes of the Test card, ie 790k/sec, although remember that the Test card will compress better than the news, since it is not moving, and thus will not use all of that 790k/sec.

However, at variable bit rate, Tivo could drop the data rate of the Test card recording once the key frame is encoded at best quality to a rate equal to that of basic quality, since nothing is actually happening on screen thus all that space is being wasted. This makes the file even smaller, but is dependant on how well the source material compresses.

It is concievable that you could record 80 hours of that Test Card on a 40 hour Tivo using VBR! So how much space is left now according to the "space available" screen? 0 hours or -40 hours? The way in which Tivo market the players as 40hours means "you will get 40hours at basic at worst", not "you will get 40 hours at basic full stop".
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Old 03-27-2002, 07:57 AM   #8 (Print)
Matthew Finlayson
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And that, of course, is purely looking at it in terms of bit-rate. There are other problems with defining a measure of "free space".

Most of the time, I'd be extremely disappointed if my Tivo was less than "90% full" (for some meaning of that term). That's because it's set to record suggestions and I expect it to keep itself full with those. The only time that hard-disk space will be genuinely empty is immediately after I delete something. So the amount of "free space" isn't very meaningful.

Instead, you could choose to look at the amount of space which is either completely free or is occupied by suggestions. Is that a reasonable measure of "free space"?

Well not really. That doesn't take into account the fact that my Tivo is booked to record 3-4 hours of stuff this evening. I would expect any genuine measure of "free space" to take that into account as well....

And then you start to try to take wish lists into account as well and my brain starts to dissolve.
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Old 03-27-2002, 08:35 AM   #9 (Print)
iankb
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Lightbulb Percentage disk spaces would be useful ...

To say that any indication of freespace is useless is just being overly pedantic.

Given the inability to accurately estimate disk usage, I think most people would still find the following three figures of use:

1) % of diskspace used by scheduled recordings,

2) % of diskspace used by TiVo's suggestions,

3) % of diskpace free.

Total diskspace would be that available for recordings, excluding the live buffer, database and software.

I think that this would give people an idea of whether they are likely to lose previous suggestions, or lose scheduled recordings, when new programs are scheduled. It would also indicate whether the TiVo is finding suggestions to record or not.

It would certainly indicate to me when I needed to review all my recordings so that I can delete some, or bump up their save periods.

Ian.
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Old 03-27-2002, 08:40 AM   #10 (Print)
gimble
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Maybe I'm in a minority but I would at least like to know how much I have recorded. From that I could get a rough idea of how much space is left.

I don't use suggestions (for me it is a pointless feature) and I want to watch everything that I record on Tivo. So I like to know when the Tivo is likely to fill up and start deleting stored programs. I generally add/delete season passes or less interesting stored programs to keep up with how much TV I actually watch.

I record everything at High (the lowest quality that I find watchable) so surely it cannot be that difficult to predict roughly how much recording time is left. Also Tivo knows what quality each program in the TO DO list is going to be recorded in so could at least give a guestimate of how long before it is going to have to delete stored programs.
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Old 03-27-2002, 09:59 AM   #11 (Print)
doubledrat
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I would find a % free to be very useful, and it wouldn't be at all hard to implement. For reasons already discussed, an absolute value of how many mins free would be a guess at best. Mind you, if tivo were to take the amount of minutes in used programmes, and give a guesstimate, that too would be useful.

e.g.

% free 2%
% suggestions 10%
% now playing 88% (19hrs 45mins)

possible space for recordings based on current recording trends 2hrs 41 mins

(displayed as a pie chart too would be nice )

so, if you mix high and medium recordings and use vbr, there's a good chance that your now playing used time will reflect those habits, and tivo's guess at how much recording time you have free might be quite accurate.

at the moment, I use the amount of hours dedicated to suggestions as an indication of how much free space I have.

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Old 03-27-2002, 10:18 AM   #12 (Print)
iankb
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Quote:
Originally posted by doubledrat
... at the moment, I use the amount of hours dedicated to suggestions as an indication of how much free space I have.


The problem is that it doesn't update as you delete programs - well, not until it has managed to find and record a few more suggestions.

Ian.
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Old 03-27-2002, 10:20 AM   #13 (Print)
lisper
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I think most people are just asking for a rough % of how much space is left, perhaps a nice pie chart as previously mentioned (similar to Windows, on drive properties). We're not asking for an exact science using prediction technology of what bit rate/movement is on the next recorded programme.

My PC doesn't know what I'm likely to install/deinstall that day, but its still quite happy to tell me how much space I've used, and how much is left.

Of course, for people who let their TIVO off the leash to record suggestions then this is not going to be useful because there TIVO may be full most of the time. However for those of us who pick programmes on the suggestions, wishlists or Inside TIVO/Channel Highlights(on its return), it would be nice to have an indicator. I'm not prepared to let my 2.5.5 TIVO record suggestions until it stops suggesting stuff on the disney and trouble channels !!

So, to recap, at any given point, TIVO knows how much disk space it has used and how much disk space it has left. Thats all I want to know as a simple chart. Maybe with TIVOnet you can get at this info via a web interface and display a chart ?

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Old 03-27-2002, 10:27 AM   #14 (Print)
MrPhil
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Total diskspace would be that available for recordings, excluding the live buffer, database and software.


For the reasons I have already stated, an amount of free space in minutes is not feasable, and to list the available space as Mb or Gb would only serve to confuse the issue. Tivo is a consumer device. With that in mind how on earth are they expected to explain to the average Joe the corelation between the amount of free space shown and how long they can record for, when clearly such a corelation is so difficult to define?

Quote:
I record everything at High (the lowest quality that I find watchable) so surely it cannot be that difficult to predict roughly how much recording time is left. Also Tivo knows what quality each program in the TO DO list is going to be recorded in so could at least give a guestimate of how long before it is going to have to delete stored programs.


Obviously if you only record at a single quality using fixed bit rate, then a very simple equation can give you how much space is free: (total space-(bit rate*total seconds)), but thats just you. If such a feature is to work it must be implemented well for all, not just a minority. Tivo already tells you how long a recording will be kept for based on what is scheduled. If it lasts longer than the shown date, there was sufficient space for it to continue without deleting the recording.



Quote:
I think that this would give people an idea of whether they are likely to lose previous suggestions, or lose scheduled recordings, when new programs are scheduled. It would also indicate whether the TiVo is finding suggestions to record or not.


Tivo already overcomes this; if it records a suggestion you want, choose the save until option to keep it, if you dont want to watch it, let Tivo record over it. When youu schedule new recordings, Tivo looks at what is scheduled and indicates that some programs may be deleted early.

Tivo already performs a commendable job at space managment. Can anyone really say that adding the amount of physical free space would make it 'consumer' friendly?
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Old 03-27-2002, 10:48 AM   #15 (Print)
ctyeweeds
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Maybe with TIVOnet you can get at this info via a web interface and display a chart ?


With Tivonet you can telnet your Tivo and grep User /var/log/tvlog to find out the recording space left. This is what my 120gb Tivo says at the moment. I don't think it tells you how much is suggestions though so it's not very useful as most Tivos will be full all the time like mine.

Mar 27 16:41:08 (none) Recorder[136]: User recording 107602304 free 929152

I think TivoWeb has a plugin for displaying it better. I agree that some sort of percentage bar would be good enough for most people and easy to implement.
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Old 03-27-2002, 10:50 AM   #16 (Print)
iankb
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrPhil
Tivo already performs a commendable job at space managment. Can anyone really say that adding the amount of physical free space would make it 'consumer' friendly?


You seem to totally miss the point. Some people want to know whether particular programs in Now Showing are likely to get overwritten by new scheduled recordings and/or TiVo's suggestions. Simple percentages will at least give them peace of mind, or the urge to to perform some selective deletions.

I do not think that the TiVo overwriting a program that I want to watch can be considered a 'commendable job'.

Ian.
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Old 03-27-2002, 11:00 AM   #17 (Print)
sanderton
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Quote:
Originally posted by iankb




I do not think that the TiVo overwriting a program that I want to watch can be considered a 'commendable job'.

Ian.
--

TiVo does warn you:

If a programme gets a yellow blob with an exclamation mark, that's TiVo telling you it's about to get wiped; if you haven't watched it yet, hit Keep Longer.
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Old 03-27-2002, 11:23 AM   #18 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally posted by sanderton
If a programme gets a yellow blob with an exclamation mark, that's TiVo telling you it's about to get wiped; if you haven't watched it yet, hit Keep Longer.


Nearly all of my programs have yellow blobs. I just want a quicker way of knowing when I need to go through the tedious exercise of selecting, re-saving and deleting.

At the moment, I selectively delete scheduled recordings when I realise that the number of recorded suggestions is very low. However, this assumes that the TiVo has filled up my disk with suggestions, which is not always the case - especially when I have just watched and deleted a few programs.

I don't understand why the request for simple percentages is such an issue. It would be very simple to calculate, and a lot of users would find it very helpful.

Ian
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Old 03-27-2002, 11:36 AM   #19 (Print)
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Before everybody spends ages thinking up reasons for and against this feature as well as ways to implement it, I suggest that you check out these links (on the US forum):

Frequently made suggestions

which includes:

The Free Space Indicator Thread
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Old 03-27-2002, 12:12 PM   #20 (Print)
sanderton
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And if you can read right the way through that thread and not see why TiVo haven't dared put a remaining time indicator in....

I'm with the "if my TiVo isn't always full it's not working right" party!
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Old 03-27-2002, 12:24 PM   #21 (Print)
Tim Browse
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Originally posted by MrPhil


For the reasons I have already stated, an amount of free space in minutes is not feasable, and to list the available space as Mb or Gb would only serve to confuse the issue.



Oh fer crying out loud! Of course it's feasible. Just give an indication of how many minutes can be guaranteed to be recorded at your default viewing quality. How simple is that?

So VBR might mean it's slightly too low. Don't care. So it might not be accurate 4 hours later. Don't care.

People just want to know when to review their recordings. e.g. I'm going away for 3 days. Should I delete some recordings or not? I can look at the To do list to see what's coming up, but without adding up the lengths of all the programs in Now Playing, it doesn't help me make a decision.


Quote:
Tivo is a consumer device. With that in mind how on earth are they expected to explain to the average Joe the corelation between the amount of free space shown and how long they can record for, when clearly such a corelation is so difficult to define?


Tell them it's the guaranteed recording length, but that Tivo might do some clever stuff to let you record more.


Quote:
If such a feature is to work it must be implemented well for all, not just a minority.


*cough* padding *cough* first-run *cough*

Quote:
Tivo already tells you how long a recording will be kept for based on what is scheduled.


Really? Mine just seems to add 2 days on to the recording date.

Quote:
Tivo already performs a commendable job at space managment. Can anyone really say that adding the amount of physical free space would make it 'consumer' friendly?


How can I put it: Y-E-S-!

Ponder the words of Voltaire:

"The best is the enemy of the good."

As a software engineer, I have found this to be true.

Tim
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Old 03-27-2002, 02:06 PM   #22 (Print)
iankb
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Quote:
Originally posted by sanderton
And if you can read right the way through that thread and not see why TiVo haven't dared put a remaining time indicator in....

I'm with the "if my TiVo isn't always full it's not working right" party!


And you can also see that over 70% of the poll said that it was important to them. Enough said

Ian.
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Old 03-28-2002, 02:57 AM   #23 (Print)
MrPhil
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tim Browse


Oh fer crying out loud! Of course it's feasible. Just give an indication of how many minutes can be guaranteed to be recorded at your default viewing quality. How simple is that?

So VBR might mean it's slightly too low. Don't care. So it might not be accurate 4 hours later. Don't care.

People just want to know when to review their recordings. e.g. I'm going away for 3 days. Should I delete some recordings or not? I can look at the To do list to see what's coming up, but without adding up the lengths of all the programs in Now Playing, it doesn't help me make a decision.


Sorry, obviously this is not clear enough. When you schedule a recording, Tivo WILL tell you if that recording is going to cause a space issue, and WILL tell you what programs are going to be deleted early, thus negating the need to 'add up' the programs in Now Playing.

Quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tivo is a consumer device. With that in mind how on earth are they expected to explain to the average Joe the corelation between the amount of free space shown and how long they can record for, when clearly such a corelation is so difficult to define?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Tell them it's the guaranteed recording length, but that Tivo might do some clever stuff to let you record more.


Had you read the WHOLE thread, you would see that I said this in response to the suggestion that Tivo should display the amount of free physical space, as it is displayed in a majority of operating systems. '38797312k free' is meaningless to more than the majority. Even those with a technical background wont be able to make much sense from it, given that the user will not know how much space a recording will use.

Quote:
*cough* padding *cough* first-run *cough*


I dont see any problem with padding, and first run as a feature works perfectly provided it is supplied with correct data, something that currently does not happen. Besides, this is being discussed elsewhere.

Quote:
How can I put it: Y-E-S-!


Every day I see non-technically minded people struggle to use computer software supplied by the largest vendors. The mere fact that a simple function such as printing can cause so many issues is ludicris. If Tivo is to become a mainstream product, and by mainstream I mean at least half as popular are the VCR is, it needs to be as uncomplicated as possible. Remember its the simplist of things which are the most popular.

If you truly want this feature, I suggest you buy a hard disk based recorder, designed as a VCR replacement, which Tivo is not. Tivo is a device to take control of of how you watch TV providing you with as close as possible to TV-On-Demand. It is not intended that the hard disk will be empty until you fill it. If you dont record stuff Tivo will.
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Old 03-28-2002, 03:33 AM   #24 (Print)
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If its Wednesday and your free space was showing as 10 hours worth, but you had asked TiVo to record 15 hours of programmes on Thursday - what use is the free space indicator on Wednesday?

Maybe you want to make sure its at least 15 hours to cope with the next day - but then how do you know you set 15 hours worth, you have to go and add everything up in the ToDo list?!

Then after ensuring you have enough free space, on Wednesday night a guide data change occurs. This adds a new five hour special that matches a Wishlist you set up. Now you suddenly need another five hours but you don't realise.

Ok so exagerated somewhat - but hopefully you get the point that it is a bit of a can of worms and not as simple and useful as some make out.

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Old 03-28-2002, 03:48 AM   #25 (Print)
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Quote:
Originally posted by GarySargent
... that it is a bit of a can of worms and not as simple and useful as some make out.


Which is why simple percentages can still be helpful, without the need to imply that particular recordings will fit into a particular space.

Given the impossibility of getting it totally accurate, I do not see why a helpful and simple compromise could not be implemented. We only seem to be considering the two extremes - perfection or naught.

Ian.
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Old 03-28-2002, 03:53 AM   #26 (Print)
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As it happens I have a degree in Computer Science, so I can't be considered "normal", but leaving that aside...

All I wanted was a %age full bar. A clue, an indication, an idea about how much of the available disk I have used now. Do I have half of it left, or only 5%? Or have I only used 20%?

Is this really too difficult for "ordinary users" to understand? I would certainly have put in such a facility if I were writing the app.

David
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Old 03-28-2002, 04:04 AM   #27 (Print)
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Is this really too difficult for "ordinary users" to understand? I would certainly have put in such a facility if I were writing the app.


Im afraid it is. Only 5 years ago my grandparents were afraid of using a home telephone because it was complicated. My parents struggle to use their mobile phones for anything other than calls. I would hazard a guess that the majority of individuals on this site are well educated in technology in some form, but the kind of people I am talking about are those who wouldnt even know to look for this site, let alone use it for help.

Incidently, the small point that a couple of people feel the need to point out their professions and/or education sort of implies the complexity on it own!

Phil.
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Old 03-28-2002, 04:08 AM   #28 (Print)
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If its Wednesday and your free space was showing as 10 hours worth, but you had asked TiVo to record 15 hours of programmes on Thursday - what use is the free space indicator on Wednesday?

Maybe you want to make sure its at least 15 hours to cope with the next day - but then how do you know you set 15 hours worth, you have to go and add everything up in the ToDo list?!


All very true for the people who have 80 season passes etc - but for those of us that just record the same few shows every day, which is likely what the 'Mainstream' would have we know how much we have set to record every day.

I only record what I actually like, so have less than 20 SP's (and about 6 of them are shows that have now ended), so I know exactly how many hours of TV will be recorded on any given day. Every day I have to go into now playing and scroll through the list thinking "that shows an hour, that 45mins, that 30 mins, another hour) - true it only takes a few seconds to work out how much space I've got, but a simple "2 hours free" would save me that time - even if it were hidden away in a sys info menu, where people who would be confused by it arent likely to look. I could then decide to watch something, or leave it till later - depending on space free.
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Old 03-28-2002, 04:14 AM   #29 (Print)
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If its not so simple, why does Sky + have it and many peoples reaction is what a good feature !!

People are complicating the issue, by saying take into account huge amounts of suggestions and proposed recordings.

Simple feature graph with how much space has currently been taken, and how much you have left like Sky +, XBOX, PC, anything in history with a hard disc.

Anyway its not going to happen. The hard core of TIVO owners believe its not required, with their automatic suggestion record, 100 seasons passes and 300 wishlists. The more general user who uses TIVO as a digital VCR with the occasional suggestion etc will be ignored.

I still think its needed, but thats just my experiance after having used countless items of consumer technology.

Mat

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Old 03-28-2002, 04:15 AM   #30 (Print)
sanderton
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Isn't the solution for this kind of thing not a time remaning indicator, but a continously adjusted "This recording will be deleted on.." variable on the programme's screen - you'd then just look through that.

Presumably TiVo maintains such a list internally to figure out when it's deleting things, so it could just display it?
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