MySky Series Link Redux

My initial impressions were that the “series link” feature of MySky (the most important feature, in some ways) didn’t work right. I set Gilmore Girls to be recorded on Tuesday, then it was next recorded Monday the next week (not Tuesday as I originally posted), missing Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. This also happened with Shortland Street, the only other program I have set to record that is on more than once a week.

I thought that maybe it only worked for weekly programs. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case. After that first week, both Gilmore Girls and Shortland Street have recorded every day without problem (and without me changing anything). Weekly programs have also recorded fine. More impressive, Boston Legal isn’t on this week, but resumes next week, and MySky managed to find it even with the larger-than-normal break.

I am at somewhat of a loss to explain the initial problem. This is of concern, since I still have some distrust for the feature, which isn’t how it’s meant to work (I should just trust that it’ll get everything). It’s possible that there was an update that fixed it – since updates occur silently (unless you watch the many version numbers hidden away in the status) there’s no way to know (this is somewhat of a negative, in my opinion, since users don’t find out that things are fixed).

It’s also possible that this is a ‘first week’ bug. Maybe if I set something else to record that’s on weekly, it’ll skip a week after the first one, and then work fine. I’ll try this at some point.

Since I don’t know exactly how the feature is implemented, I suppose it’s also possible that there was some problem with the data that week, which caused the problem, which is now fixed. I like this answer the least, since that means that it could happen again, once I do trust it enough not to check.

Interestingly, it seems that it looks for programs of the same name and channel, and doesn’t know anything more. Charmed is on TV 3 on Tuesday night (new episodes) and Saturday afternoon (repeats), and (unless I set it to record, which I don’t recall) the series link is picking up both. I’m not sure if this is a feature (I like the program, so want all episodes) or not (it should ask if I want all episodes or episodes of a season).

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by John Porter on February 24, 2006 at 6:12 pm

    The series link feature depends on a human at Sky identifying episodes of a series and identifying them as such. So the potential for future errors is high, until they can automate it.

    As an example, 3rd Rock at 6pm mon-fri has series link available. 3rd Rock at 7am tue-sat (also on Sky 1) does not have it available.

    Yet the Desperate Housewives series link includes the repeat showing on saturday!

  2. Do you have an authorative source for this? I believe that a human might be identifying which programs are part of a series, but I would be astonished if someone has to manually identify each episode. It seems much more likely that it looks for programs of the same name on the same channel.

    That doesn’t explain 3rd Rock, but perhaps it’s a different heuristic or there’s more to it.

    (They were putting this together for at least four years! Surely they’ve managed to get past doing everything manually…)

  3. Posted by John Porter on February 28, 2006 at 4:35 pm

    It is definitely NOT just looking for program name on the same channel. The series link for Desperate Housewives picks up the saturday rebroadcast, but Invasion does not! (Or is it the other way around?) I wonder what happens for The Simpsons on Sky 1. There are about 2 dozen episodes per week.

    See my comment elsewhere on this site, including an email from Sky. It does shed some light.

  4. Thanks for the email in comments on another post about the series link feature.

    I am apalled that they are doing this manually. Any competent software engineer could create a system that would automatically fill in series fields (series name/id, season number, episode number) given the name of the program and the episode title (which are definitely there, since they are displayed in the guide).

    I did a new post about this, but the problem with repeats is that they are not including enough information. It’s not enough to just have an id for the series, they need to identify each episode (ideally the season as well). If they did that, then they could make the choice whether to record repeats or not, and ensure that duplicates aren’t ever recorded.

    I set The Simpsons to record as a test a while back, and it did record all the episodes (I quickly took it off as it sucks through almost all the space in a week).

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