Sunday 31 October 2010

Time zone change predictably confused my 8320HD

As an experiment, I decided to record the repeat of Elton John: Electric Prom that aired on BBC HD at 1.15am BST this morning. Being an hour-long show, this would cross the time zone change and give a definitive answer as to how the 8320HD would handle this twice-yearly event. As a precaution, I was not simultaneously recording anything else during the scheduled recording. Here's a list of issues I came across:
  • Highlighting the programme on the EPG gave a time span of 01.15 to 01.15 in the information banner below the EPG.
  • Despite pressing the red button several times whilst highlighting the programme to schedule it to record, the red blob refused to appear next to the programme title in the EPG.
  • Going to the recording schedule page, I was then shown 8 copies of the programme to be recorded at once (one for each of my red button presses). I deleted 7 of them (they all had the "right" time of 01.15-02.15 in the list this time) and then waited for the recording itself...
  • The recording seemed to work, although when I selected it to play, the timespan shown on the banner was 00.20-01.25 (possibly wrongly mixing GMT and BST times there?). It could have been Accurate Recording adjusting the times away from their 15-minutes-past-the-hour point I guess. I didn't use the Modify option to pad the programme in case you're wondering.
  • Playback started at the 55-minute point onwards and wouldn't let me rewind before that point! My guess is that this coincided with the original end-point of 01.15 (GMT).
  • To kick the user further in the groin, the transport stream .ts file is - unnecessarily IMHO - encrypted for HD recordings, so I can't export this to VLC and see if the stream is intact or not. VLC seems to be the best at avoiding the 8320HD's "bad playback" issues (I find mplayer quits as soon as it hits a trouble point).
Conclusion: The 8320HD doesn't handle time zone changes at all well and my advice is to try to avoid recording a programme that crosses over a time zone change. Sadly, you won't be able to experiment like this again until Sunday 27th March 2011. Oh, and before you ask, I recorded the Elton John programme from BBC 2 the previous evening as well because I suspected things wouldn't go well (plus I wanted a version I could export, unlike the BBC HD version).

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