life with the pvr: day five

Yesterday, I lost all my recorded TV programs. Today, they're back. I noticed that only the little red "timer standby" diode was lit, not the "standby" diode. So I pressed the "operate" button on the player itself, and everything was back.

Apparently there are at least four modes of operation: On, Off, Standby, and Timer Standby. And it seems that there are even more possible combinations, like "Timer Standby, but player Off." The manual does not contain a word about this.

I fully understand why people like the TV anytime initiative stress the need for metadata: I now have a list of 13 recordings. They are marked with a thumbnail image of the first frame, generally, this is a commercial. Then they have the date it was recorded, the start and end times, and the preset number (not the channel name I have taken care to type in, but the preset number). "Hmm, what was it we recorded Wednesday at 7 on --er, preset 7, that would be NRK 2?"

It should at the very least be possible to type in titles for the recordings. I mean, you can save 150 hours of stuff in there! Ideally, of course, the PVR should get the titles itself, from metadata in the broadcast.

Fast forwarding is also troublesome. Like with DVD players, the Personal Video Recorder only shows every second, 16th or 32nd frame (or something) when you fast forward. With a VCR, everything moves faster. On digital machines, you see disconnected still frames flash on the screen. Not very good for scanning stuff you haven't seen before.

I wanted to look at a funny scene at the end of a 60 minute long show. Instead of fast forwarding, I used the "next chapter" button. The PVR conveniently inserts chapter markers every 10 minutes. I jumped ahead, 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 minutes. Then i pressed "next" again, assuming it would get the end of the recording. Instead, I got the start of the next. But from there, neither "previous chapter" or "rewind" would get me back to the show I was watching. So I had to start over again. This is just sloppy interface design.

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life with the pvr: day four

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