Bell TV Software Update



  • Bell, the largest TV/phone/Internet provider in Eastern Canada, recently pushed a software update to all HD satellite TV receivers. I don't watch much TV myself, so I may have missed it, but as far as I know, there was no warning or notice that an update was coming - just turned it on one day and the menu had changed colour.



    From what I can tell, this update did exactly three things:

    1. Changed the menu colour scheme.
    2. Supposedly doubled the recording capacity of HD PVRs. I don't have a PVR, so I can't say how well that worked, or what voodoo they came up with to double the compression of what I assume is already compressed video.
    3. Introduced a memory leak, that makes the system run slower and slower over time, until after a few days of runtime, it takes 3-5 seconds to respond to any button press, at which point it usually locks up entirely - the current channel continues to play (visible in the corner of the menu) with sound, but the system won't respond to anything.

    At least when it locks up, it usually manages to reboot itself, but this takes about 3 minutes as well (while users are poking and prodding at it trying to figure out how to get it working again), and then it has to spend 2 minutes re-downloading all channel information, even if it's already done that within the hour.

    Earlier today, it froze again, and rather than wait for it to reboot, I tried pressing the power button on the remote. This did stop the sound and blank out the video, leaving only the frozen menu. The power button on the unit didn't respond either, so I tried holding it for a few seconds. That got it to turn off, but then it wouldn't turn back on. The LED would light up but nothing would happen. Not even a power cycle helped, but it suddenly came back to life about 10 minutes later.

    Bell also dedicated several channels to a looping video that explains all the great new features of the update. Why they need multiple channels for this, again, I have no idea. Some are labelled in English, and some in French, but all of them display the same video which has both English and French text. This video consists of four still images (two English, two French) explaining the increased recording capacity and new menu appearance. I notice also that the menu screenshot in this video shows a 6x5 grid (6 channels, 5 time slots), while mine still shows only the 5x3 grid it's always had, just in a different colour.

    Just to top it all off, the receiver randomly decided to switch to one of these channels in the middle of a show. At first I had no idea what had even happened, since it gave no indication that this was a different channel. This somehow also managed to prevent the "previous channel" button from working, so I had to sloooowly navigate the menu to find the show again. But I sure am glad I missed those plot points to hear about this great new experience!

    Even before this great new update, the menu and UI were already ridiculous. About once a week, when you opened the menu, it'd have to pause and download channel information. (This only took about a minute before the update, vs the 2-3 minutes it takes now.) Why it couldn't download this gradually in the background is beyond me.

    The HD capability is also obviously hacked on to the existing menu system. Consider, if you offer HD and SD versions of the same channel, do you:

    1. List the HD versions where they exist. Provide a setting or button to use the SD versions instead.
    2. Offset the HD versions by a fixed amount of channel numbers, so that e.g. the HD version of channel 123 is channel 1123 or 2123.
    3. Scatter the HD versions all around the gaps in the existing channel list, and tack some on the end as well, with the added bonus that the porno and music channels are now smack in the middle of the list instead of at the end. (We don't even subscribe to porno channels, so I don't know why they're listed.)

    And to indicate a channel is in HD, do you:

    1. Add some kind of icon/background image to the table cell or otherwise change its appearance.
    2. Tack "HD - " on to the beginning of every show's title, trimming 5 characters off the actual, already truncated title.

      You can probably guess which options Bell chose. (Incidentally, the popup window showing the show's name during the show indicates HD by changing the popup's background, adding a large, light "HD" on the left side, which looks great. There's no reason the table cells in the menu couldn't do the exact same.)

    Closed captioning is also ridiculous - it doesn't pass the signal on to the TV at all. Instead, you have to set up the receiver to draw its own. This setting is buried in about 3 levels of menus, rather than being bound to one of the remote's 200 buttons like it is on most TVs. There is a setting to reassign the * key on the remote (why does a TV remote have a * key?) to toggle to the described video version of this channel, but no such option for closed captioing. (This also implies the system has a list of which DV channel corresponds to which "normal" channel - so there's no reason it couldn't also have a list mapping SD <--> HD channels and a button to toggle between those, as described above. Unsurprisingly, the DV channels are also added haphazardly to the list, not offset from the normal versions, just like the HD versions are.)

    But hey, it's black now!



  • @lolwtf said:

    let's just push a new update that obviously hasn't been tested

    What do you mean, not tested? What do you think you are currently doing?



  • Modern TV recording technology seems to be designed to turn us into criminals: I am almost certain it is one of the reasons people turn to piracy. I think it's a conspiracy (because cons+piracy. My reasoning is like a piece of iron.).

    I have a sky+ box. TL;DR: It crashes and the software is generally shit.

    The crashes or glitches happen occasionally and are varied in their symptoms:

    • Video freezes when fast-forwarding.
    • Video freezes while playing at random times.
    • Video skips back to last fast-forward for some recordings, which is usually the previous advert break. If you wanted me to watch your adverts, you should have targeted them better.
    • Freeze may or may not automatically restart the sky+ box. If not, I have to go unplug it. Restarting takes about 5 minutes, so it's slower than my early-rotted laptop from 2009.
    • There is no search for programs. There is an A-Z index of all programs.
    • Sometimes the duration of a program has gone on for 8 hours, for a one hour program.
    • Only two recordings will run at once, or one recording while you watch a program live.
    • The series link only shows the next instance of the program, not every instance that will be recorded this week which will block other programs from recording because of the above.
    • If a crash happened while you were recording something, you will lose the recording and have to view it online. If you download the video into your phone app it will tell you you need an internet connection to start watching the video you have downloaded on your phone.

    This is supposedly better than the virgin equivalent technology.



  • Our Verizon FiOS DVR updated its software last night as soon as we turned it on.  This update deleted everything that had been recorded on the box.  Thanks, Verizon!  More and more I think we should get a TiVO or re-install my MythTV setup...



  • Pfft, try getting a Dish Network DVR.  Randomly decides to stop responding to remote input (similar to yours I think), locks up and crashes if you press buttons too fast in certain menus, and even on a good day takes 1-2 seconds to respond to a button press on the remote.

    Oh, and the rebooting sequence after a crash takes twenty f**king minutes, and double that if it decides it also needs to rescan for all its satellites (which it sometimes randomly decides to do anyway, regardless of whether or not you wanted to actually watch anything in the next half hour).

    I thought about figuring out how to hack it and reprogram it, but that sounded like way too much work.  Instead I just decided to stop paying my bill and let them disconnect me.  Maybe when football season starts I'll give a crap about television again.



  • I have a TIVO .. it just works.



  • I have a 40 EUR DVB-S receiver with an external hard drive hooked up to it. Works like a charm (although I admittedly very rarely record anything).



  •  In Quebec with Videotron (main Bell competitor) we don't have these issues.  Their cable terminal just works, though it also freezes to download the channel information.

     All HD channels are together with same numbers than the SD version +600 (so channel SD 2 becomes HD 602).

     My parents are using Shaw satellite service and I don't think they have much problem except reception during a storm but they live outside of town and nothing cabled will make its way to their place in the foreseeable future.  HD channels all kept together but with no channel number matching, they tagged HD to the name of the station though and not the truncated show description.  Their terminal just takes forever to turn on if they turned it off on an HD channel, turns on in an instant when turned off on a SD channel.  Funny because it's faster to turn it on on a SD channel and then switch to a HD channel than to just turn in on on that HD channel.



  • Can anyone in-the-know give me the explanation of why we have tablets, pcs, and cell phones that respond to touch input so fast, it's basically instant, yet every single blu-ray player, DVR, satellite box, etc. all take entire seconds to respond to a button press on an IR remote?



  • I never thought the day would come when I would say kind things about Comcast, but here we are..

    I've had a Comcast DVR on the west coast, ever since they introduced it (many years ago). It's always had a crappy UI, but at least it's stable, and doesn't have a lot of nasty surprises scattered around like land mines. And it's rock solid.

    There was only one update I remember that caused even one problem (a leak), which they auto-fixed in a week or so. In the meantime, the menu has gotten a little less garish (yay!), but very little of consequence has changed one way or another.

    Let's hear it for stability. I still have a program on my DVR from 2006 (!).



  • @Master Chief said:

    Can anyone in-the-know give me the explanation of why we have tablets, pcs, and cell phones that respond to touch input so fast, it's basically instant,
     

    You have a tablet or phone that responds instantly? Every one I've ever used had a split-second delay between touch and response.  At least it did for native navigation. Angry Birds works just fine. So that might be chalked up to "Android and Blackberry suck".

    I want to know why in the fuck I can't have a full duplex voice conversation without a 2 second mespeak to themhear lag.  Say what you will about landlines, but it was nice to not have to pretend I was on a fucking satellite walky talky.

    @Every fucking cell phone conversation I've ever had said:


    Me: So how was the game the other day

    Them:  [long 2 second pause] It went well. Dragnor gained a level and...

    Me: No I mean that Shadowrunner, not D&D

    Them: [2 seconds over me talking]  ... then Ragnarok lost a level to a... [their voice cuts out as mine kills the duplex]... [long 2 second pause]... oh, the D&D game went well.  

    [They pause a half second to think of something to so. I take it as the end of their sentence]

    Me: Did Molly like the new dice... [I stop talking when I hear]

    Them: [At the same time] Molly brought some new dice... [their voice gets cut off by my duplex]

    [Both of us pause, unable to hear the other over the duplex, and we have to effectively do some psychic squelch algorithm]

    Me: You go ahead [hoping They aren't saying 'you go ahead' at the same time]

     

    And frog forbid I accidentally make a background noise too loud, like breathing or being within 1 mile of traffic-- because that will trigger the duplex also.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Lorne Kates said:

    You have a tablet or phone that responds instantly?
    Dunno about MC, but I certainly do (Android if you're interested.)

    @Lorne Kates said:

    I want to know why in the fuck I can't have a full duplex voice conversation without a 2 second mespeak to themhear lag. 
    Get a decent carrier with decent equipment? Can't say I've ever had this problem either.



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    stuff

    You've never had a cellphone conversation that is essentially instant? Maybe your ears have added lag or something?



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    You have a tablet or phone that responds instantly? Every one I've ever used had a split-second delay between touch and response.  At least it did for native navigation. Angry Birds works just fine. So that might be chalked up to "Android and Blackberry suck".

    Angry Birds on Android doesn't have any problem. But even so, a split second delay feels instant compared to multiple second delays.

    @Lorne Kates said:

    @Every fucking cell phone conversation I've ever had said:
    ...

    I think this is a problem with how physics works when you're too far north, eh? Or possibly inferior infrastructure.



  • @PJH said:

    Get a decent carrier with decent equipment?
     

    I live in North America. Do you have a different, viable solution?


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Lorne Kates said:

    @PJH said:

    Get a decent carrier with decent equipment?
     

    I live in North America. Do you have a different, viable solution?

    Move continents. HTH, HAND, etc. I presume Bell, Telus and Rogers are all much of a muchness?



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    Do you have a different, viable solution?
     

    Be someone else? Because apparently you're the only one in the world who observes this.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Shoreline said:

    Only two recordings will run at once, or one recording while you watch a program live.

    That's not really a WTF or glitch per se, unless the box is advertised as having more than two tuners: that's the behavior you get with a two-tuner box. When I had FIOS, I had a 3-tuner box, so I could record 3 programs, or I could record 2 and watch something live.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @Master Chief said:

    Can anyone in-the-know give me the explanation of why we have tablets, pcs, and cell phones that respond to touch input so fast, it's basically instant, yet every single blu-ray player, DVR, satellite box, etc. all take entire seconds to respond to a button press on an IR remote?

    Because they're made as cheaply as possible, with slow CPUs, I assume. I recently replaced an old Magnavox DVD player (that was probably 5 years old and probably cost $100 or so) with a new Magnavox I bought for like $30 at Wal-Mart. The old one was horribly slow like you say. The new one, though, is much faster, and actually responsive. I have no idea how you would be able to discern this before getting it home and turning it on, though.

    You have to also assume, although this goes without saying, that their programmers are, as a whole, lazy and/or incompetent, as are the QA people...or it wouldn't be like this.

    Or perhaps management doesn't care about quality and doesn't give the workers time/resources? Who knows. All I know is I ditched cable a couple months ago, and I mainly use my Wii for Netflix and Hulu Plus streaming, and it mostly works--I suppose in the fall I'll have to start torrenting the new seasons of shows I want to watch, and teach my wife how to do it....but mostly I don't miss cable at all.



  • @suid said:

    I never thought the day would come when I would say kind things about Comcast, but here we are..

    I've had a Comcast DVR on the west coast, ever since they introduced it (many years ago). It's always had a crappy UI, but at least it's stable, and doesn't have a lot of nasty surprises scattered around like land mines. And it's rock solid.

    There was only one update I remember that caused even one problem (a leak),

    A leak!? What the fuck was it leaking? Is it... gasoline powered?



  • @blakeyrat said:

    What the fuck was it leaking? Is it... gasoline powered?

    There are certainly days when I suspect that, yes..



  • @suid said:

    I never thought the day would come when I would say kind things about Comcast, but here we are.. I've had a Comcast DVR on the west coast, ever since they introduced it (many years ago). It's always had a crappy UI, but at least it's stable, and doesn't have a lot of nasty surprises scattered around like land mines. And it's rock solid. There was only one update I remember that caused even one problem (a leak), which they auto-fixed in a week or so. In the meantime, the menu has gotten a little less garish (yay!), but very little of consequence has changed one way or another. Let's hear it for stability. I still have a program on my DVR from 2006 (!).

    Sounds like a Motorola box, similar to what Shaw (used to) run. I've had a Motorola DCT36XX for about 5 years now, and up until I cancelled cable last year, it was pretty rock solid, though ugly as sin, as well.



  • @dookdook said:

    Pfft, try getting a Dish Network DVR.  Randomly decides to stop responding to remote input (similar to yours I think), locks up and crashes if you press buttons too fast in certain menus, and even on a good day takes 1-2 seconds to respond to a button press on the remote.

    Oh, and the rebooting sequence after a crash takes twenty f**king minutes, and double that if it decides it also needs to rescan for all its satellites (which it sometimes randomly decides to do anyway, regardless of whether or not you wanted to actually watch anything in the next half hour).

    I thought about figuring out how to hack it and reprogram it, but that sounded like way too much work.  Instead I just decided to stop paying my bill and let them disconnect me.  Maybe when football season starts I'll give a crap about television again.

     

     

    I have an old "DishDVR 625" that works fine. I've only ever had it lock up once or twice (I've had it for about 5 years now). Rebooting it takes about a minute, or two if you count scanning for the satellites. The best part is I can open it up and connect the hard drive to my computer to get access to the (unencrypted) video (It's just MPEG TS video stored on an ext3 filesystem). The only problems I've ever had with it were the IDE cable came loose once, and another time the fan was blocked, and it decided to overheat and shut down during a firmware upgrade. Formatting the hard drive fixed that.

     

    P.S.: I have determined that the thing runs Linux.

     



  • @Master Chief said:

    Can anyone in-the-know give me the explanation of why we have tablets, pcs, and cell phones that respond to touch input so fast, it's basically instant, yet every single blu-ray player, DVR, satellite box, etc. all take entire seconds to respond to a button press on an IR remote?

    Infrared has longer wavelengths, which means it has further to travel. When you hit a touchscreen, the signal doesn't have very far to go, but with IR remotes it may take up to a second for the signal to reach the appliance. (It also depends on how humid it is--water vapor slows down the infrared even more.)



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Infrared has longer wavelengths, which means it has further to travel. When you hit a touchscreen, the signal doesn't have very far to go, but with IR remotes it may take up to a second for the signal to reach the appliance. (It also depends on how humid it is--water vapor slows down the infrared even more.)

    Oh, come on, far too obvious, even for this site...


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @Hmmmm said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Infrared has longer wavelengths, which means it has further to travel. When you hit a touchscreen, the signal doesn't have very far to go, but with IR remotes it may take up to a second for the signal to reach the appliance. (It also depends on how humid it is--water vapor slows down the infrared even more.)

    Oh, come on, far too obvious, even for this site...


    Yeah, everybody knows that IR is slow because air is a poor conductor, so the electromagnetic waves are slowed down by the high resistance.



  • @joe.edwards said:

    Yeah, everybody knows that IR is slow because air is a poor conductor, so the electromagnetic waves are slowed down by the high resistance.
     

    IR is slow because there's so much metal in the world these days. Back in the olden days, people built houses out of all natural and wholesome wood. Now we're so obsessed with pollution spewing metal that has to be raped from the land. We spread it all over the place. And as we all know, metal is magnetic. So when those electromagnetic waves try to fly around, they're being dragged down by the metal we put everywhere.



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    @joe.edwards said:

    Yeah, everybody knows that IR is slow because air is a poor conductor, so the electromagnetic waves are slowed down by the high resistance.
     

    IR is slow because there's so much metal in the world these days. Back in the olden days, people built houses out of all natural and wholesome wood. Now we're so obsessed with pollution spewing metal that has to be raped from the land. We spread it all over the place. And as we all know, metal is magnetic. So when those electromagnetic waves try to fly around, they're being dragged down by the metal we put everywhere.

    No you idiot, IR is "slow" because it was vaccinated at a child.



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    Them:  [long 2 second pause]

    My daughter is serving in Afghanistan; I'm in Minnesota (in the USA) and we Skype occasionally -- and even half a world away, and over the internets, there isn't even a one-second delay usually. Unless you're talking to someone freaking far away, there shouldn't be a 2 second delay


    Reminds me of something my father pointed out -- if you're watching a baseball game on TV, the sound of the guy hitting the bat -- being converted to an electronic signal, sent over the air/cable and into your living room, converted back to sound and transmitted to your ears -- allows you to hear the crack of the bat faster than someone who is sitting in the stands watching the game in person.



  • @DrPepper said:

    Reminds me of something my father pointed out -- if you're watching a baseball game on TV, the sound of the guy hitting the bat -- being converted to an electronic signal, sent over the air/cable and into your living room, converted back to sound and transmitted to your ears -- allows you to hear the crack of the bat faster than someone who is sitting in the stands watching the game in person.

    Please tell us more about how you don't understand how TV works.



  • @DrPepper said:

    @Lorne Kates said:
    Them:  [long 2 second pause]

    My daughter is serving in Afghanistan; I'm in Minnesota (in the USA) and we Skype occasionally -- and even half a world away, and over the internets, there isn't even a one-second delay usually. Unless you're talking to someone freaking far away, there shouldn't be a 2 second delay
     

    1) The 2 seconds may be an exaggeration. But not by much. It's long and noticable.

    2) All cell service in Canada sucks

    3) Admittedly, almost all the calls I make on my cell are to 800 numbers (car assistance, need to make an appointment while at work, etc). And just about all those call centres use the cheapest, shittiest, laggiest VOIP-to-overseas call centre they can. So that may be confounding things.

    @DrPepper said:



    Reminds me of something my father pointed out -- if you're watching a baseball game on TV, the sound of the guy hitting the bat -- being converted to an electronic signal, sent over the air/cable and into your living room, converted back to sound and transmitted to your ears -- allows you to hear the crack of the bat faster than someone who is sitting in the stands watching the game in person.

     WTF? Unless your in a seat closer to the batter than the camera. And all TV is on a 7 second delay for when the pitcher drops an F-bomb, so you're wrong on two counts.

    Much cooler:  you're at an outdoor concert. A huge one. The music is awesome, and sounds great. Except the vocals, because they're being drowned out by the instruments. And besides the higher-toned vocals don't travel well over the air over long distances.

    So someone comes up with an app. They pipe the vocals from the mixing board over a broadcast to your smartphone, and into your ears. You get a much better mix of the vocals, and still hear the massively loud music.

    Except that the over-the-air broadcast is much faster than the music coming from the speakers. So the app plugs into your GPS, does the math, and delys the vocals enough to sync up with the instruments.

    Last I checked, it was [url="http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20928005.400-sensational-festival-music-from-your-cellphone.html"]in development[/url]. I don't know if it was ever released or not.



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    Much cooler:  you're at an outdoor concert. A huge one. The music is awesome, and sounds great. Except the vocals, because they're being drowned out by the instruments. And besides the higher-toned vocals don't travel well over the air over long distances.

    So someone comes up with an app. They pipe the vocals from the mixing board over a broadcast to your smartphone, and into your ears. You get a much better mix of the vocals, and still hear the massively loud music.

    Except that the over-the-air broadcast is much faster than the music coming from the speakers. So the app plugs into your GPS, does the math, and delys the vocals enough to sync up with the instruments.

    Last I checked, it was in development. I don't know if it was ever released or not.

    Concerts are for: smoking weed, drinking about a gallon of beer, getting into a fist fight with security and then picking up some skanks that were rejected by the band in the parking lot.

    Concerts are not for: listening to the vocals. You tool.



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    Say what you will about landlines, but it was nice to not have to pretend I was on a fucking satellite walky talky.
    Old POTS lines have a quaint analog feel too them; you can actually hear the other party breathing if you both have landlines, cell phones automatically squelch low level sounds. You never have to say "are you still there" on a landline because you can practically hear them listening.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @Lorne Kates said:

    Much cooler:  you're at an outdoor concert. A huge one. The music is awesome, and sounds great. Except the vocals, because they're being drowned out by the instruments. And besides the higher-toned vocals don't travel well over the air over long distances.

    So someone comes up with an app. They pipe the vocals from the mixing board over a broadcast to your smartphone, and into your ears. You get a much better mix of the vocals, and still hear the massively loud music.

    Except that the over-the-air broadcast is much faster than the music coming from the speakers. So the app plugs into your GPS, does the math, and delys the vocals enough to sync up with the instruments.

    Last I checked, it was in development. I don't know if it was ever released or not.

    Concerts are for: smoking weed, drinking about a gallon of beer, getting into a fist fight with security and then picking up some skanks that were rejected by the band in the parking lot.

    Concerts are not for: listening to the vocals. You tool.

    Protip: wear earplugs at concerts, you will be able to hear everything (though the bass end will still be ~6-10 db (depending on the brand/etc of earpulgs) louder); you will be able to hear: the music, the vocals, and even what that asshole 3 people over is yelling to his friend who can't hear him is saying. n.b. if you need to communicate with someone else you will have to remember to yell as you will hear yourself much louder than anything else and won't automatically yell.


    Also you will hear sound transmitting trough you body much louder (this explains some of the bass boost) someone lightly brushes against your back, you will hear it, someone drops a lighter you will hear it hit the ground; the sound will transmit through the ground through your legs and up to your ears. Ordinarily the effect is to subtle to notice, but you will hear it when wearing -30 db ear plugs!


    Yes i went to one to many concerts without earplugs; now i won't go to one without them, i don't want to lose anymore of my hearing! n.b. after ~10 minutes your ears adjust and you forget your even wearing earplugs (until you take them out.)



  • @DrPepper said:

    ... Unless you're talking to someone freaking far away, there shouldn't be a 2 second delay ...
    The delay is due to the time it takes a cell phone to digitize and compress the audio data. All voice chat programs be it skype, google, mumble, ventrillo, teamspeak or whatever have an encoding/decoding delay; some delay less than others but its still there, analog landlines have minimum delay since they only have the speed of light electric propagation delay (which is hardly noticeable unless your bouncing a signal off a satellite or a celestial body like the moon.)


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @DrPepper said:

    @Lorne Kates said:
    Them:  [long 2 second pause]

    My daughter is serving in Afghanistan; I'm in Minnesota (in the USA) and we Skype occasionally -- and even half a world away, and over the internets, there isn't even a one-second delay usually.
    You're not using Rogers for your internet though.



  • @esoterik said:

    Yes i went to one to many concerts without earplugs; now i won't go to one without them, i don't want to lose anymore of my hearing! n.b. after ~10 minutes your ears adjust and you forget your even wearing earplugs (until you take them out.)
     

    This is correct.



  • @Lorne Kates said:

    @Master Chief said:

    Can anyone in-the-know give me the explanation of why we have tablets, pcs, and cell phones that respond to touch input so fast, it's basically instant,
     

    You have a tablet or phone that responds instantly? Every one I've ever used had a split-second delay between touch and response.  At least it did for native navigation. Angry Birds works just fine. So that might be chalked up to "Android and Blackberry suck".


    iPhones are the only phones I've seen that don't have any noticeable delay in reacting to inputs. The smoothness of the UI is impressive. However my understanding is that they owe this to a couple of "cheats"; primarily, the UI thread runs in maximum priority, blocking out everything else to make sure it looks smooth. If you scroll through a long list you'll see that Android is a little less smooth, but it fetches the items as you scroll, so the list appears seamless; iOS on the other hand scrolls smoothly, but if you go far enough, you'll see rows that aren't populated until you remove your finger.

    I also notice Android won't drag something until you move your finger about a half centimetre, while iOS has a much smaller radius; the net effect is that Android appears to have a slight lag before something will move (the time it takes for your finger to move far enough), while on iOS the movement begins almost instantly (but is more likely to happen when you were only trying to tap).

    It probably also helps that the only iProducts I've used were in-store demos, so they probably don't have a lot of background services running, taking up CPU power (and since they have external power, they can keep the CPU at full speed all the time, though I don't know if they actually do). (This does also mean that what I've said about iOS may not be 100% accurate or may not apply to the most recent versions.) These differences would explain why Angry Birds runs perfectly smoothly - its UI thread is probably quite high priority (a laggy UI in a physics game would be a major issue) and it doesn't need to wait for your finger to travel a certain distance to distinguish taps from drags, because it can safely assume all interactions are drags (as you'd have no reason to tap the birds).



    But don't get me wrong, Android and Blackberry (and iOS) do suck, and my Android devices do love to freeze up for several seconds at a time.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @Master Chief said:
    Can anyone in-the-know give me the explanation of why we have tablets, pcs, and cell phones that respond to touch input so fast, it's basically instant, yet every single blu-ray player, DVR, satellite box, etc. all take entire seconds to respond to a button press on an IR remote?

    Infrared has longer wavelengths, which means it has further to travel. When you hit a touchscreen, the signal doesn't have very far to go, but with IR remotes it may take up to a second for the signal to reach the appliance. (It also depends on how humid it is--water vapor slows down the infrared even more.)


    Then why isn't it any faster when I hold the remote an inch from the receiver? For that matter, if the slow-moving IR light is the problem, why don't they use the same technology laser pointers use? Those are cheap, and those red dots can move across an entire room in the blink of an eye. You'd be able to use the remote to tease cats without getting up, too - now the functionality of the remote is doubled!


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @lolwtf said:

    Then why isn't it any faster when I hold the remote an inch from the receiver? For that matter, if the slow-moving IR light is the problem, why don't they use the same technology laser pointers use?

    Wow, you got one!



  • @joe.edwards said:

    @lolwtf said:
    Then why isn't it any faster when I hold the remote an inch from the receiver? For that matter, if the slow-moving IR light is the problem, why don't they use the same technology laser pointers use?

    Wow, you got one!
     

    No, I believe it's you that's been had.



  • @dookdook said:

    Pfft, try getting a Dish Network DVR.  Randomly decides to stop responding to remote input (similar to yours I think), locks up and crashes if you press buttons too fast in certain menus, and even on a good day takes 1-2 seconds to respond to a button press on the remote.
    I haven't had any of those problems with my Dish Network DVR.  It works pretty well . . .  unless you want to record something.

    • Mine is actually two DVRs, which means you can record two different channels at the same time.  Great.  Except, the output of each DVR is tied to a specific TV.  When you select a program to record there's no way to assign it to DVR #1 or #2, that's completely random.

    • There's a menu item you can select to assign a recording to either DVR #1 or #2 but it's a lie.  It doesn't actually do anything.

    • You can't watch a program on one channel while recording a program on another channel.  Hey, Great!  I'm unable to do something that a VCR from 1983 could do.

    • You could watch a program on one channel while recording a program on another channel if you could assign a recording to a specific DVR.  But you can't.  If you're watching TV #1 and the program you've selected to record gets ramdomly assigned to DVR #1 then the only thing you can watch on TV #1 is the program you are recording.

    Added extra bonus:

    • Most channels are available in both Standard and High-Def.  So I locked out all the non-HD channels so I don't have to scroll through so many channels.  Then, if you're watching TV #1, all recordings that were made on DVR #2 are just listed as "Locked Event" and you have to go through each one, entering your security code to unlock it so you can see what it is.  Or I can solve the problem by unlocking all the non-HD channels and then have to scroll throgh 200 channels that I'm never going to look at.

    Who the fuck thought this is a good idea?

     



  • @lolwtf said:

    For that matter, if the slow-moving IR light is the problem, why don't they use the same technology laser pointers use?

    Do you want eye-searing lasers blasting all over the place? You may enjoy scorch marks on your walls, but some of us do not.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @lolwtf said:
    For that matter, if the slow-moving IR light is the problem, why don't they use the same technology laser pointers use?

    Do you want eye-searing lasers blasting all over the place? You may enjoy scorch marks on your walls, but some of us do not.

    You mean you WANT vision?

    Weirdo.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Do you want eye-searing lasers blasting all over the place?
    Ha ha! Yes! YES! Fire up the eye-searing lasers! Bwahahahaha!

    Does anyone have some spare sharks?



  • Sounds like your Bell box might be related to our Austar Foxtel Foxstar just pick one already you fools Mystar PVR.

    When we first got it, it had all kinds of weird bugs - my favourites were that for the first few months, one of the advertised features, being able to watch FTA TV and record it and so on, didn't work at all; and all the recordings would randomly disappear from the Planner and would reappear after a few restarts (this was fixed by adding an "Initializing Recordings" step to the boot process).

    Now, five years on and a replacement box later, it will need to be restarted once every couple of days, which takes about 5 to 10 minutes. When it restarts, there's a good chance that some or none of the local free to air channels will be missing from the channel list, which means another restart is required, after which you might lose more channels or get the one you want and lose another one. Granted, it could just be our shitty antenna causing this problem, but I don't see why it's not showing the channels at all when they send through a code to it that said "look for these FTA channels from these towers", along with the fact that the TV itself receives the channels without complaint. We have many incidences of recordings consisting solely of a black screen for the entire duration of the recording along with others recording something earlier or later than what we actually wanted and recorded something unwanted as a result. Or the recordings will fail with no real reason for them to do so.

    The other day, it had a fit after the channel was changed and flickered between the last frame shown on the channel it was on and the first frame it received on the channel it had just been switched to. A third frame was added to the mix when another channel was switched to, and so on. Putting it in standby and taking it out again didn't fix anything so yay happy mega restart time. The newer HD PVR thing has its own share of problems as well apparently.

    Prior to this irksome device we had the same dumb decoder which was superseded by newer, faster models, yet it operated fine without any of this weirdness for about eight years.

    Austar's owner\parent company\whatever relationship status they're in this week Foxtel uses the same PVRs as Sky do in the UK with a different name. No idea what they're like as us Austar customers are denied them.

    It must be said though: the Mystar is made by the French, which basically sums up why it's so awful. Not that it's an excuse, mind.



  • @Master Chief said:

    Can anyone in-the-know give me the explanation of why we have tablets, pcs, and cell phones that respond to touch input so fast, it's basically instant, yet every single blu-ray player, DVR, satellite box, etc. all take entire seconds to respond to a button press on an IR remote?
    It's mostly due to digital compression, it is the downside to all those hundred of channels on a limited bandwidth


  • Winner of the 2016 Presidential Election

    @serguey123 said:

    @Master Chief said:
    Can anyone in-the-know give me the explanation of why we have tablets, pcs, and cell phones that respond to touch input so fast, it's basically instant, yet every single blu-ray player, DVR, satellite box, etc. all take entire seconds to respond to a button press on an IR remote?
    It's mostly due to digital compression, it is the downside to all those hundred of channels on a limited bandwidth

    Don't forget encryption. HDCP, CSS, etc. The PS3 goes so far as to encrypt data streams from one internal component to another within the same system.


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