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TiVo Problem Wizard

Your TiVo is missing the end of programmes.

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This happens mainly on the terrestrial channels, BBC1 being one of the worst offenders. This is not a fault with TiVo as such, but is due to the TV broadcasters not sticking to their schedules, or their schedules not being accurate enough. You can add start or end padding to a programme in the recording options to make it start recording early, or finish late.
Some people ask why TiVo does not use PDC like VCR's. PDC is Programme Delivery Control, a system whereby broadcasters send special signals which indicate when a programme as about to start or end. It only applies to terrestrial broadcasts so even if supported it would not work with any digital set-top boxes.

Ted Malone from TiVo has explained the issues surrounding using PDC with TiVo: "I thought I would jump in and set the record straight from TiVo's side on the subject of PDC. Rest assured that we are (and were) completely aware of PDC throughout the design of the UK recorder. Unlike a VCR, the TiVo recorder is constantly running. When it's not recording a programme, it is recording the last 30 minutes of the channel you currently have tuned. In order to use PDC, you have to re-tune to other RF channels to see if upcoming events are going to start on time or not. Tuning away from the current channel to do this would cause us the lose our 30-minute cache. You basically wouldn't be able to use any of the TiVo features on live tv (pause, etc.) because we would constantly be tuning away to see what the PDC codes were doing on other channels with upcoming recordings.

You will note in the PDC FAQ that the wording softens for show start times. The VCR "should" start the recording early. The reason the wording softens is that if you program your VCR to record one programme, immediately followed by another, you could have a problem. If the first program runs over and/or the second program starts early, you could have a problem. This is particularly true with TiVo since it is always recording.

For the problem of show overruns, it's a bit different. If we were tuned to an RF channel and recording a programme, we could monitor the PDC code for that show to see if it were going to run over. At this point, we run into a slight limitation of the current TiVo architecture which is just currently being fixed in our US version and wont be available in the UK until sometime next year. This problem is that the entire architecture relies on a routine called the Scheduler. It handles all events that are scheduled to occur (recordings, etc.).

Our early architecture was entirely EPG based, and depended on recording conflicts that only occurred when a recording was being scheduled. Our design philosophy was that a conflict around recording should always be handled by the user. For instance, if you try to record two shows at the same time, we ask you which one you want, and offer to un-schedule the conflicting programme. In the case of show overruns, this conflict can occur while a recording is happening, and the viewer may not be there to handle an impending conflict. We had no internal mechanism to handle this conflict. Would you rather record the end of this show, or tune away to start recording another one?"


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