ITV4 is driving me mental with bad 'PDC' and 'Series' tagging

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Brucey
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ITV4 is driving me mental with bad 'PDC' and 'Series' tagging

Postby Brucey » 11 Sep 2019, 12:38am

like many other people I don't always watch TV programmes (eg Vuelta coverage on ITV4 freeview) when they are broadcast. For some years I have used a PVR (personal video recorder) to do this, and it can be pretty slick; just set the recorder up with 'series record' and 'PDC' (programme delivery control) set 'ON' and the machine will record all the broadcasts in that series. Easy.

Except it all relies on the broadcaster tagging the broadcasts with the appropriate codes. in the past all the main broadcasters (ITV, C4, BBC etc) were pretty good at making sure that their broadcasts were properly coded, so even if the broadcast time was changed slightly, it would all still work OK. Now, however, something has changed. I've had a few problems with other broadcasters but ITV4 especially seems to be employing folk that don't know how to input the correct codes, either that or there is something weird that means the other broadcasters transmit code that my machine likes and ITV4 doesn't.... In the last few months I have had

- multiple programmes that didn't have codes to start or finish at the correct time (so recordings were partial despite PDC being set 'on') and/or
- multiple programmes that were (eg because of a live sporting event) delayed. The codes for these programmes were certainly changed, but they seem to have been edited badly. The most common problem is then that the tag which sets the broadcast a part of a given series is deleted, which results in no recording at all. Grrrrr!

Often the codes are changed just a coupe of hours before the broadcast, so you can check in the morning that the machine is set to record, but part way through the day the programme is set differently in the programme guide (eg it is no longer part of the series) and the recording fails.

in fact I have only been able to see much of the Vuelta coverage this year because it is usually broadcast a second time the following morning, so I get a second chance to record/view it.

has anyone else had similar problems? To whom should I complain?

cheers
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mattheus
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Re: ITV4 is driving me mental with bad 'PDC' and 'Series' tagging

Postby mattheus » 11 Sep 2019, 9:43am

Vuelta has been ok for this (and the other GTs on ITV4).

The worst offenders for me are the sports broadcasts that get changed on the day - Wimbledon being the classic example (as the match lengths are so unpredictable - come on Tim!). But there are random other dramas, comedies etc on the main channels that suffer from 5-10minute "errors"; haven't seen a sudden decline recently. It's not bad enough for us to dump the tech, it's just irritating in this day and age!

What PVR have you got? We've got a HUMAX (Freeview only, no broadband stuffs), can't remember the model.

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Re: ITV4 is driving me mental with bad 'PDC' and 'Series' tagging

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 11 Sep 2019, 9:45am

Curiously ITV4 seem to have finally got the "on demand" screening under control for the Vuelta. It's usually available on the ITV Hub thingy by 9/9.30ish, often earlier, whereas with earlier tours it's often not been uploaded until 11 or even later.
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Brucey
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Re: ITV4 is driving me mental with bad 'PDC' and 'Series' tagging

Postby Brucey » 11 Sep 2019, 10:33am

mattheus wrote:Vuelta has been ok for this (and the other GTs on ITV4).

What PVR have you got? We've got a HUMAX (Freeview only, no broadband stuffs), can't remember the model.


I've got Sony HXD model(s) (which are bascially licence-built Pioneers). They all do the same thing with timer recordings. I've missed several Vuelta evening broadcasts e.g. at the weekend presumably for the reasons described.

I've heard elsewhere that Humax recorders currently do better than many others with series recording etc. It seems probable to me that there are newer variants to the tags which my older machines won't tolerate for some reason (even though it is all meant to be backwardly compatible). Unfortunately the Pioneer video corporation went bust and Sony have not updated their software for a while.

Nor are they likely to IME; following issues with another (much newer) sony product which they failed to support, (basically they said it was 'obsolete' less than a year after it was bought new, and wouldn't either make it carry on doing the one thing I bought it for or replace it with something else that would.... :roll: ) I have said 'never again' to any Sony AV product.

One of my chums said 'oh that is old tech' when I explained the issues I'd experienced. By today's standards he's right. But there is no reason why it shouldn't work, after all other broadcasters manage to transmit the correct information. Its a bit like saying that we won't bother with paper post any more, after all we have e-mail now...

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Re: ITV4 is driving me mental with bad 'PDC' and 'Series' tagging

Postby mjr » 11 Sep 2019, 11:38am

Programme Delivery Control is dead. It relied on teletext which UK broadcasters no longer send except for subtitles on some channels.

The similar European "Video Program System" is still available on some channels but not UK ones.

In theory, the Freesat "Accurate Recording" system uses DVB-SI (digital video broadcasting service information) and should be usable by all recorders but few seem to make it easy. It's not available on mine (openpli 6). I have an autotimer search which sets timers on matching programme names with defined "overrun" margins and ITV4 has to be set to at least 4 minutes else show ends get snipped often. When events overrun and shows are delayed at short notice, it doesn't record.

Series tagging should work but is a shambles. Entirely the broadcasters at fault, as far as I can tell.
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mattheus
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Re: ITV4 is driving me mental with bad 'PDC' and 'Series' tagging

Postby mattheus » 11 Sep 2019, 12:06pm

Does anyone remember keying in a long series of digits, printed in the Radio Times below your favourite programme?

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Psamathe
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Re: ITV4 is driving me mental with bad 'PDC' and 'Series' tagging

Postby Psamathe » 11 Sep 2019, 12:22pm

I've noticed a lot of problems with "series tagging" across a lot of channels. The issues I've noticed (on Freeview Humax Fox-TV PVR) is that when you record a film split by one of those 5 min silly "news"/celeb reports in the middle, it sets itself to record both parts AND both parts of the repeat at 3:00am AND both parts of the repeat the following week, etc. This is a more recent issue as some time ago it would just record the 2 parts of the film and that would be the end of it (automatically removed from the recording schedule.

I've been unsure if it's a Humax s/w upgrade that might have been the cause or a change to the PDC system that has not been updated on the Humax or just bad program setup by the broadcaster.

Another trivial change I've noticed (Freeview or Humax or broadcaster) is that previously set a recording for BBC1 standard definition and it would offer an option for changing to record the HD broadcast (most BBC programs are on both SD and HD). Does nt seem to happen any more.

Ian

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Re: ITV4 is driving me mental with bad 'PDC' and 'Series' tagging

Postby Brucey » 11 Sep 2019, 12:54pm

mjr wrote:Programme Delivery Control is dead.


yes, with freeview (DVB) the system is different but in the Sony and Pioneer manuals/dialogue boxes it refers to it as PDC, and few know the 'correct' name for the new version either, so 'PDC' is how I have referred to it too.


In theory, the Freesat "Accurate Recording" system uses DVB-SI (digital video broadcasting service information) and should be usable by all recorders but few seem to make it easy. It's not available on mine (openpli 6). I have an autotimer search which sets timers on matching programme names with defined "overrun" margins and ITV4 has to be set to at least 4 minutes else show ends get snipped often. When events overrun and shows are delayed at short notice, it doesn't record.

Series tagging should work but is a shambles. Entirely the broadcasters at fault, as far as I can tell.


that is interesting. I suspect you are right about the broadcasters being at fault, but that doesn't explain why different recorders do different things...?

cheers
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Brucey
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Re: ITV4 is driving me mental with bad 'PDC' and 'Series' tagging

Postby Brucey » 11 Sep 2019, 1:09pm

Psamathe wrote:I've noticed a lot of problems with "series tagging" across a lot of channels. The issues I've noticed (on Freeview Humax Fox-TV PVR) is that when you record a film split by one of those 5 min silly "news"/celeb reports in the middle, it sets itself to record both parts AND both parts of the repeat at 3:00am AND both parts of the repeat the following week, etc. This is a more recent issue as some time ago it would just record the 2 parts of the film and that would be the end of it (automatically removed from the recording schedule.


It seems to me that different recorders handle this differently. If I'm recording a film which is in two parts, I normally just set the timer manually to cover the whole film in one go (otherwise I just get a recording with large chunks missing if I rely on PDC).

Some channels seem pretty reliable, for example Film4's PDC tags seem to work with my recorder with 99% reliability.

Series recording also doesn't work perfectly with some recorders if there are immediately consecutive episodes from the same series; if the PDC settings are 'normal' (which is not quite the same thing as 'correct'....) then the second programme/recording should 'start' about 15s ahead of time. Unfortunately it takes about 30s for my machine to work out that there is a second episode in the same series immediately, so the first part of the second episode is always missing. That is if it records at all.... :roll: By contrast consecutive or overlapping manual timer recordings are executed with minimal delay.

Quite a lot of broadcasters have never transmitted series or PDC tags; back to the dark ages then, manual timer settings (with a generous extension) only.

To my immense irritation I've also had occasional problems with BBC channels in the last few months, which never used to happen.

So does anyone know who to mither at?

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Re: ITV4 is driving me mental with bad 'PDC' and 'Series' tagging

Postby mjr » 11 Sep 2019, 2:36pm

Brucey wrote:So does anyone know who to mither at?

Everyone! If broadcasters send the correct Service Information signals, it'd fix it. If your recorder gets a firmware update with better fallback methods (which is probably why some recorders cope better than others), it'd fix it. Probably others involved in the chain could also fix it. We don't really care who fixes it as long as it's fixed, do we? :)
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Re: ITV4 is driving me mental with bad 'PDC' and 'Series' tagging

Postby Postboxer » 11 Sep 2019, 9:23pm

For the cycling highlights, how about manually setting it to record the right channel all evening every night, then deleting it once watched, assuming you're only ever going to be a few days behind at the most.

I've also got an old Humax box which seems to have been ok so far. I did have Virgin Media for a year and unless I missed a setting somewhere, other than being able to add buffers onto the beginning and ends of programmes, their V6 box didn't appear to adjust any recording times. It does appear that there are channels and perhaps also programmes that are worse than others but I can't remember any issues recently.

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Re: ITV4 is driving me mental with bad 'PDC' and 'Series' tagging

Postby Brucey » 11 Sep 2019, 9:37pm

its the weekends that seem to cause most problems. For some reason the series tag didn't work sunday evening so I didn't see the highlights until the following day. There are all kinds of strategies that would have worked in hindsight; setting the timers manually is always an option (and with some broadcasters you would have to do that), but with ITV4 you shouldn't have to.

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Re: ITV4 is driving me mental with bad 'PDC' and 'Series' tagging

Postby Brucey » 12 Sep 2019, 11:52am

FWIW weeks ago I set the timer to (series) record 'the protectors' (on ITV4). In the last two weeks I have seen one whole episode and about a dozen that were truncated by bad PDC tags. Last night was a new low ebb; the recording lasted sixteen minutes (instead of about thirty) and missed both the start and the finish of the show.... :roll:

Yesterday the Vuelta coverage did record OK though.

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Psamathe
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Re: ITV4 is driving me mental with bad 'PDC' and 'Series' tagging

Postby Psamathe » 12 Sep 2019, 2:43pm

A bit off-topic but one thing that drives me mad with my Humax is that whenever you do a retune it always deletes out every schedules recording & reminder (irrespective as to any being affected by any changes).

So I end-up having to write down the schedule and re-program everything again after the retune ... except I normally can't do it all because I always leave "The Sky At Night" in the schedule (record the series) but it's only once a month and hard to remember when so in the schedule it works but lose the schedule and there's a 3 out of 4 chance you can't add it back in because you've retuned on a week it isn't broadcast!

Ian

Brucey
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Re: ITV4 is driving me mental with bad 'PDC' and 'Series' tagging

Postby Brucey » 12 Sep 2019, 6:41pm

Psamathe wrote:A bit off-topic but one thing that drives me mad with my Humax is that whenever you do a retune it always deletes out every schedules recording & reminder (irrespective as to any being affected by any changes).

So I end-up having to write down the schedule and re-program everything again after the retune ... except I normally can't do it all because I always leave "The Sky At Night" in the schedule (record the series) but it's only once a month and hard to remember when so in the schedule it works but lose the schedule and there's a 3 out of 4 chance you can't add it back in because you've retuned on a week it isn't broadcast!


My Sony/Pioneer does the same thing with retunes. However 'new channels' (which is how extant channels are seen when they are broadcast on different frequencies) are in there, just with weird channel numbers, often in the range 800-900. I am happy to put up with weird channel numbers instead of the schlep of retuning, for a fair while at least.

When retuning, I have resorted to either taking a photo of the timer screen or using the TV to save a screenshot (some TVs have this feature).. Monthly series recordings are a problem; probably I'd set a weekly timer to manually record in the correct slot, just in case I forgot to set the series timer later on.

The other thing you can do is delay the retune until it suits you, i.e. in a week in which the monthly series can be reset from the EPG.

cheers
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