No AR markers are being received

rowanmoor

Member
Hi,

I have recently got a graded T2 as a way to record HD which my trusted Toppy can't do. So far I am pleasantly surprised though there are some things I am finding backward compared to the Toppy, but many others that are brilliant more advanced than the Toppy.

I very quickly put the custom firmware on and set up a fair few things. I did some test recordings and found that arbookmarks did a great job of adding the ar program start point as a bookmark in a padded recording which is just 1 button click away from the Toppy behaviour so pretty good.

However, then I did some un-padded recordings and they failed with the 'unable to track' problem. I then did some more padded recordings and arbookmarks is not finding any ar markers to set bookmarks from. I have yet to investigate the mht file contents but I presume it is just not picking up the change in information correctly.

Does anyone have any experience of what could cause this? Or more importantly how to fix it?
Feel free to get technical - I am quite IT literate and have a number of Linux boxes I tinker with so I am not fazed by a Telnet session.

I am off on holiday for 5 days next tuesday, so please don't be offended if any responses after the weekend don't get a quick response next week.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
The main question is what services were you recording - some are more reliable for AR than others.

The other possibilities are to try a cold boot, and if that doesn't help try a factory reset.
 
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rowanmoor

Member
Thanks for the advise, Black Hole. Also thanks for your excellent posting for beginners about AR vs padding as it helped me see how everything worked and how it differs from the Toppy - a brilliant guide.

I am testing with BBC1 HD and BBC2 HD as I figured they should be amongst the most reliable.

I'll try the cold boot and then look at the factory reset option if that doesn't work. With the custom firmware, how much is reset with a factory reset. Do all the packages get removed or their settings reset?
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
The custom firmware etc remains untouched. What will happen is that the Humax will start up from its install wizard, which means retuning and setting up all the other Humax user options. If you then reboot, the WebIF will spot the recording schedule has been cleared out and restore the last one it saved. If you are using the channeldel package, all the undesirable services you earmarked as not wanted will also be automatically removed for you.

It would pay to skim through the settings menus to check how you have the user settings configured first.
 
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rowanmoor

Member
Brilliant. That makes a factory reset a very easy task. Thanks. I will see if either of those fix it and report back - but it may be after my holiday.
 

MartinLiddle

Super Moderator
Staff member
I am testing with BBC1 HD and BBC2 HD as I figured they should be amongst the most reliable.
The most common reason for accurate recording not working on a major channel is that not all mutiplexes are being received from the same transmitter. Are you confident that your box is correctly tuned?
 
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rowanmoor

Member
Thanks for the suggestions. I have done a cold boot and factory reset. I am now getting some AR recordings working.

I am sure I am only tuned to one transmitter as where we are there is no measurable signal from any other transmitter. Just a good signal from the one 1.5 miles away.

I am still not getting it as reliably as I would expect. My experience from the Toppy and the bookmarks it sets whenever there is an AR transition is that all the big 5 channels send them all the time, but it is just the timing of them that can be a bit off (especially on Ch5 in the past). What I am seeing at the moment suggests they are not being received on the T2 some of the time. I see the occasional recording not starting at all, and a few recordings never stopping (i.e. they start at the correct time, but are still recording hours later when the program should only have been say 20 minutes and there have been 2 or 3 other programs on that channel since). Interestingly the runaway recordings I had both seemed to stop as soon as pressed the power button to 'turn on' the box.

Another thing I have noticed is that arbookmarks seems to be a bit hit and miss for me at the moment. However, I am not sure if that is entirely down to what it is receiving. I have both auto-shrink and auto-decrypt turned on. I have noticed (from the deleted items folders) that for some files it shrinks and then decrypts, and for others it decrypts and then shrinks. When does arbookmarks do its thing? Is it separate from those 2 processes or is it during the shrink? If during the shrink then I presume it will not put in any bookmarks if the file is not already decrypted. If not during the shrink then I presume if the file is shrunk before the decrypt then it will not work as by the time it is decrypted the EPG packets are no longer there for it to work on.

As arbookmarks is an easy (and safer) test of what it received and when, I want to understand that bit first.

I am off on holiday for a week, so I will resume testing when I get back. Any info or pointers to info anyone can provide will give me something to think about when I get back.
 

Luke

Well-Knwοn Мember
Another thing I have noticed is that arbookmarks seems to be a bit hit and miss for me at the moment. However, I am not sure if that is entirely down to what it is receiving. I have both auto-shrink and auto-decrypt turned on. I have noticed (from the deleted items folders) that for some files it shrinks and then decrypts, and for others it decrypts and then shrinks. When does arbookmarks do its thing?
My understanding is that arbookmarks does its thing during auto-decrypt, and that shrinking/cropping/auto-shrinking removes the epg data that arbookmarks needs to work.
If that is correct then I'd expect you to have ar bookmarks created when decryption occurs first but not when decryption is preceded by shrinking.
 

af123

Administrator
Staff member
That's right, and decryption will always run first (before shrink) if the recording is indexed by the time it gets around to looking at it. In general, I'd expect decryption to happen before shrink but it seems that something's going on here.
 

Luke

Well-Knwοn Мember
... In general, I'd expect decryption to happen before shrink ...
I find that surprising.
The folders I have with auto-decrypt and auto-shrink appear to shrink first, and then there is a delay while they are re-indexed before auto-decryption.
Perhaps when shrink occurs before decryption I notice it more due to the extra delay.

Obviously if I use the web-if to move recordings to an auto-decrypt+auto-shrink folder then I'd expect shrink to occur first, but that is not the circumstances I am referring to.
 

MontysEvilTwin

Well-Known Member
rowanmoor said:
arbookmarks seems to be a bit hit and miss for me at the moment
I found arbookmarks to work well with StDef recordings but to have some problems with HiDef. Sometimes it places the end of programme bookmark at the end of the file. This is fine unless you decide to remove it manually: you will end up just adding extra bookmarks. I have also seen the end marker placed well before the end of a programme. More info here. I have not used the arbookmarks package for a while, so this may have been solved by an update to the Stripts package.
 
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rowanmoor

Member
Thanks for the comments. I am back from Holiday now and investigating further.

Before I went I turned off auto-shrink, and all the recording while we were away for bookmarks as I expect. That is good. It certainly seems that the ordering of auto-shrink/auto-decrypt is a bit random. I guess people who use arbookmarks do not have auto-shrink turned on.

I have also noticed one HD recording where the end bookmark went at the end of the file, but I don't know if that was just chance that it was actually signalled then.

Now I can start to check the reliability of the locations of the bookmarks on different channels and test some AR timers to see how accurate and reliable it is. I am particularly noticing the problem with back to back recordings at the moment - they never quite seem to get the whole of both programs in their recordings and need merging/re-splitting afterwards so may want to use AR timers on at least some channels to get round that.
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
I guess people who use arbookmarks do not have auto-shrink turned on.

I hazard a guess that most people don't have auto-shrink turned on, full stop. Shrinking adds another risk factor to the recordings, and if the recording is of the "watch later and delete" variety there is little point. This does not mean there isn't a bug to be fixed somewhere.

Particularly if you are in the habit of recording consecutive programmes from the main channels, you will find AR easier to get along with than auto-padding (for the very reason you have identified).
 
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rowanmoor

Member
OK, I tried a couple more test recordings last night with AR. One on BBC2 HD and one BBC1 HD. Both around 6 -7pm. Both gave a failed to track.

Currently every recording it makes puts in a bookmark at the approximate starting point wiht arbookmarks. But most AR recordings don't seem to work. Does arbookmarks work on the exact same signal as triggers the recording start or is it a slightly different signal?

Is there anything I can do to debug why it is not starting the AR recordings?

I am also noticing the same as MontysEvilTwin with arbookmarks - the start markers are always where I would expect, on SD recordings the end markers are as well, but on HD recordings they are all at the very end of the file.
 

Luke

Well-Knwοn Мember
The most common reason for accurate recording not working on a major channel is that not all mutiplexes are being received from the same transmitter. Are you confident that your box is correctly tuned?
OK, I tried a couple more test recordings last night with AR. One on BBC2 HD and one BBC1 HD. Both around 6 -7pm. Both gave a failed to track.
Are you certain that your box is correctly tuned to just 1 transmitter?

Currently every recording it makes puts in a bookmark at the approximate starting point with arbookmarks. But most AR recordings don't seem to work. Does arbookmarks work on the exact same signal as triggers the recording start or is it a slightly different signal?
There is nothing to mark on AR recordings. arbookmarks work by using the same data that the AR recording process uses to start and stop. An AR recording will not have anything to mark as it only records 1 programme at a time and therefore does not include the end of the previous programme, nor does it include the start of the next programme.

But most AR recordings don't seem to work.
Are you sure that it is not all AR recordings that end up with no AR bookmarks?
 
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rowanmoor

Member
I am fairly certain that I can't be tuned to multiple transmitters as no other box (analogue or digital) has ever been able to pick up any other transmitter, but is there an easy way to check the channels it is tuned to to make sure?

I don't think I made myself quite clear on the rest, sorry. I don't expect arbookmarks to do anything on an AR recording (though I can't get that far to see if it did). I am comparing all my padded recordings (most of them) which all get bookmarks placed by arbookmarks at the program start which would imply it is picking up the signals correctly to the fact that I can't get any AR recordings to record anything - they all get the 'could not track' message as it never started the actual recording. I did have one or 2 work a week or so ago but they tended to start and not stop.

If arbookmarks works off exactly the same eit data as the firmware uses to start/stop the ar recordings then I can't see why one would always work and one seems to always not work. It leaves only a few options that I can think of (it isn't really the exact same data, firmware corruption of some sort, tuning issues as you have suggested confusing it, or some other factor stopping the firmware actually checking to start the recording).
 

Ezra Pound

Well-Known Member
Go to Web-If >> Diagnostics >> Channel Information to display the info. shown HERE, the 'Network' column entries should all be the same
 

MontysEvilTwin

Well-Known Member
@Rowanmoor: is your box set up with padding as default and are you using the custom firmware to change particular programmes to AR? I used to do this, but I found that while it was fine for one-off recordings, I got fail to track errors with some series linked programmes. In particular, I could not get The Bridge on BBC Four HD (two adjacent episodes series linked) to record this way, but AR recording of this programme was fine if the box was set up for AR by default. I never got to the bottom of this, but I have found that AR works well when set up as the default on the box. Using the custom firmware to change some programmes to padding on an AR box seems to be OK. I think the ARbookmarks thing is a red herring, this has its own quirks and you can't use it to extrapolate to the actual recording behaviour.
 
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rowanmoor

Member
OK, I have checked the tuning and all MUXs show the network as London and all the channels tie up with the expected ones from our local repeater so it is certainly all tuned into the same transmitter.

MontysEvilTwin - I do indeed have it set to put in padding as default (as I don't trust it yet) and then set individual programs to AR in Web-If. Though all my tests so far have been one off recordings. I will try switching it the other way round and see if that makes a difference. Interesting comments about arbookmarks having it's own quirks etc. I will bear that in mind.

I did have one (out of 2) test recordings sort of work yesterday. It started, but then didn't stop an hour later but carried on to record 3 programs before finishing at about the point I would have expected a flag at the end of the 3rd. I don't know if that was because it picked up an AR marker at the end there or some other reason. The other test recording that day did not track. Interestingly arbookmarks did not place any bookmarks in there, but as you say that could be other quirks. I may check if any of the TS analysis programs I have lying about will show me the eit data so see what is in there in that recording.

One other thought I had... I have used the Renumber package to swap the HD & SD channels around. Could that be affecting it in the same way that different transmitters can? I have been doing most testing with the BBC as I trust their signals more, but I may try some non-HD channels to see if they are more reliable.

I am wondering about doing a back-to-basics test and put on the standard firmware for a few test recordings. If I do and then put back the custom firmware, will all the settings/packages etc be retained or is it (as I expect) a complete wipe of all but the previously recorded programs?
 

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
I am wondering about doing a back-to-basics test and put on the standard firmware for a few test recordings. If I do and then put back the custom firmware, will all the settings/packages etc be retained or is it (as I expect) a complete wipe of all but the previously recorded programs?
If all you do is load the standard firmware on top, the CF will go dormant but the support structures will remain on disk. Reloading the CF (USB element) will then be as if nothing happened.

No effect has ever been noted on the performance of the standard operations by interference from the CF. Sometimes a "restore factory defaults" operation (through the menus) has been observed to cure AR problems.
 
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