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Freeview+ Accurate Recording/Series Link

delback

Active Member
I currently have an old PVR that doesn't support the Freeview+ features, but am thinking of updating. A couple of questions about Freeview+:

1. How reliable is Accurate Recording on Freeview+? I remember all too well how unreliable PDC was on VCRs. Can I rely on Accurate Recording to actually work, or are the broadcasters still as slapdash as they were in the days of PDC?

2. What about Series Link? Again, I presume this depends on the broadcasters bothering to send out the correct metadata. How reliable is it on Freeview+?

(I'm on the Crystal Palace transmitter, if that is relevant).
 

grahamlthompson

In memoriam
The mainstream channels (apart from Channel 5) are very reliable. Series recording requires the broadcaster to specify two codes known as crids (Content Reference Identifiers). The series crid is common to all the episodes of a series, the programme crid should match for all repeats of the same episode to avoid double recording. Again CH5 are rubbish at this.

The BBC have a habit of only having a series crid for daily news programmes and ITV can't get them right for the This Morning show split by the news. It should be coded as a split event, it isn't.

Humax Freeview+ boxes can be set to show the codes in the programme info box.
 

Rodders53

Distinguished Member
The recordings are triggered by the broadcasters playout automation systems and result in the same issues on Freeview, freesat and analogue (PDC) as far as I know.

All the broadcasters get it wrong on occasion, but the benefits usually outweigh the cons in my view - just as it did with PDC.

Channel 5 for me seems to be pretty much OK at the moment - although they do get it wrong from time to time. {'so OK that it's even automatically recording a mid-day repeat of Big Bro due to a recording clash on Tuesday nights (darn, now I've admitted to recording BB - perhaps they'll assume it's for swmbo?)}

Channel 4 have a tendency to cut off the very end of programmes, especially when recording them one after the next (they seem to trigger the start of the following programme much too early?) which can be frustrating but there's usually the catch up repeats if desperate ;)
 

delback

Active Member
Thanks for the replies.

All the broadcasters get it wrong on occasion, but the benefits usually outweigh the cons in my view - just as it did with PDC.
My memory of PDC was that the cons outweighed the benefits. The BBC used to regularly drop the PDC signal for a few minutes in the middle of programmes, resulting in a gap. At least ITV didn't even bother to try, which in some respects meant you knew what was going to happen. I seem to recall that C4 were pretty good at getting PDC right. After trying it out for a while, we decided to go back to timers with padding.

So, if Accurate Recording can't be relied on, I'll just stick with padding the timers. If there is live sport preceding the programme (especially snooker!) I know to pad for at least a couple of hours. The only time this strategy seems to fail is when some major news event crops up - which is thankfully fairly rare.
 

grahamlthompson

In memoriam
The recordings are triggered by the broadcasters playout automation systems and result in the same issues on Freeview, freesat and analogue (PDC) as far as I know.

All the broadcasters get it wrong on occasion, but the benefits usually outweigh the cons in my view - just as it did with PDC.

Channel 5 for me seems to be pretty much OK at the moment - although they do get it wrong from time to time. {'so OK that it's even automatically recording a mid-day repeat of Big Bro due to a recording clash on Tuesday nights (darn, now I've admitted to recording BB - perhaps they'll assume it's for swmbo?)}

Channel 4 have a tendency to cut off the very end of programmes, especially when recording them one after the next (they seem to trigger the start of the following programme much too early?) which can be frustrating but there's usually the catch up repeats if desperate ;)

The problem with Channel 5 series recording is that they use the same series recording crid for the same series on different channels.

As a result you may wish to record the lunchtime edition of neighbours every lunchtime and may have other series recordings at the same time as the day early showing on one of the other 5 channels.

As a result when setting a series recording from the lunchtime edition, it records the first one, then it looks for the next episode. It finds it in the epg that in my case clashes with an existing series recording. Despite reporting this the muppets at CH 5 seem unable to grasp this simple concept.

As a result the only way to record the lunchtime edition every day (for my better half) is to go back to vcr technology, set a daily weekday repeating manual recording pattern. This is on a Freesat+ pvr (Freeview+ is the same).

Some Freesat+ pvrs don't even let you set manual recording timers.

Not sure about Freeview+ ones but Humax ones do.
 

Rodders53

Distinguished Member
My memory of PDC was that the cons outweighed the benefits. The BBC used to regularly drop the PDC signal for a few minutes in the middle of programmes, resulting in a gap.
I don't recall that problem, ever, in all my dealings with PDC issues... it sounds more like a machine issue with poor teletext reception? [FYI I worked for the BBC, for a time in the area where we logged the PDC codes off air and talked to the public on issues.]

Many problems were down to some VCR manufacturers assuming that "how C4 did it is the correct and only way" rather than reading and understanding the specification. When the BBC implemented their PDC system in accordance with the spec. the dodgy implementations of PDC in recorders threw up all sorts of errors and oddities.

My advice is to 'suck it and see' with any new PVR you get. Any errors are hardly life-threatening and - as I said before - repeats and iPlayer-type catch up facilities should cover anything important that goes wrong. After a while you'll be able to make a decision based on your perception and experience rather than 'hearsay'?

IIRC the lunchtime Neighbours on BBC was frequently a 'problem' as it was printed in Radio Times (and all other listings) to start at 13:30 but in fact was always in the playout schedules at 13:27-ish... sometimes Playout staff forgot to manually alter the code (for PDC it was the 'time' that was transmitted) and then other machines didn't like an 'early start' (even though it's in the spec.).

The digital equivalent to PDC (as Graham has explained) uses 'unique' codes - which was how PDC was meant to work ... until VideoPlus+ recorders meant they had to alter things to make it compatible - so is likely to be a bit better than your early PDC experiences?
 

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