Feature #1349

Provide guided configuration (or at least clueful warnings) for initial tuner/EPG setup

Added by Richard Lloyd almost 8 years ago. Updated over 6 years ago.

User Interface
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If you'd never used tvheadend's Web UI before, it can be very daunting to work out what the initial flow is to get to the point where you're merrily recording programmes either via the (wonderful!) Automatic Recorder feature or manually picking programmes out of the EPG to record.

Experienced users know that it's broadly something like this (I'm missing out having multiple configs or tagging channels - does anyone do either of those?):

Step 1:

  • If no TV tuners are detected at all, warn the user that they cannot use tvheadend for recording and that they should obtain and install a TV tuner card (or install the appropriate drivers for one) before proceeding. Yes, it's obvious to you and me, but the end-user may not have realised that tvheadend really requires a working TV tuner card or perhaps they just thought everything was plug-and-play and didn't install the TV card's drivers first.
  • If no multiplexes are tuned in across any of the tuners, warn the user that they must tune in at least one multiplex before they can record anything (and link to the Configuration -> TV Adapters section). Instructions for this (minus bracketed text) would be displayed something like this:

"Go to Configuration -> TV Adapters -> choose adapter (possibly renaming it...I did), select multiplexes and add one or more manually (note here: UK terrestrial multiplexes are badly broken in tvheadend's terrestrial DB - the UK is now 100% digital and tvheadend has pre-digital frequencies!) or automatically (for satellite, use Add DVB Network by location...). For satellite, the user should tick "autodetect muxes" (perhaps warn user if that's not the case and they've got only one sat mux configured so far)"

Step 2

It's not obvious at all at this point that you have to allocate channels from each tuner to the Channels list. This is either done automatically with "Map DVB services to channels..." or manually in the Configuration -> TV Adapters -> Selected Tuner -> Services tab by editing the Channel name column (usually to match the Service name column) and making sure it is ticked as Enabled too. Again, the end-user should be warned that if one of more multiplexes have been tuned in and no channel names have been assigned, they will need to do one of the two actions above. To be honest, the auto-map "overwhelms" the channel list hugely, so I bet most users would just want to add their channels manually (I know I do).

At this point, I'll put a side-note about the fact that 99% of users will configure all the tuners identically on the same card - it's extremely rare that someone would want, say, one terrestrial tuner on a twin-tuner card configured to a different set of multiplexes or channels to the second tuner on the same card. Hence, there really should be a way to tie such tuners together by default (with an option to turn it off) so that any action done on one tuner is mirrored on all the other tuners on the same card. This would make config soooo much easier - no need for the clumsy "copy selected multiplexes to another tuner" for one thing! Perhaps this should be a separate feature request?

Step 3

Assigning channel numbers - if there are any channels that don't have a channel number assigned, this deserves a warning too.
It appears you can either now use the SID for a channel number ( that any use at all?), get the EPG Grabber to do some channel mapping (I think, I never ticked that option on!) or assign the numbers manually (that's what I do).

Step 4

Configure the EPG Grabber - I would have this unconfigured by default and warn if one isn't configured yet if one or more channels have actually been set up properly (i.e. with a channel number and name in the Channels tab). Also warn if the EPG Grabber has been run one or more times and yet the EPG remains completely empty.

Step 5

Configuration > Digital Video Recorder. Again, I'd leave the recording system path empty by default and complain if one or more channels are setup and it hasn't had a path entered yet. BTW, both "Remove all unsafe chars from filename" and "Replace whitespace in title with ''" should be ticked on by default, IMHO.

You might argue that another route to do the above is some sort of configuration wizard that perhaps has a bunch of config tabs that you have to complete one at a
time (but can do Back, Back etc. if something needs changing earlier on) and you can't go to the next tab until all the previous ones are correctly completed. It's a pity that setting up tvheadend is quite difficult if you're a newbie to the world of TV tuner cards and EPGs and something like these suggestions might help the less technical user get tvheadend up and running.



Updated by Adam Sutton almost 8 years ago

  • Category changed from 11 to General
  • Assignee deleted (Hein Rigolo)

I think the experiences of people will vary greatly and we ultimately have to try and pick a happy middle ground. Personally I came to TVH without any experience whatsoever about DVB or using TV playback on the PC.

I found TVH so trivial to setup I was almost shocked, I was sure it was supposed to be more difficult, mainly because of having read some of the MythTV setup guides and all the associated comments about not getting it working.

TVH setup is far from perfect and indeed there are some areas that do need some work. But some of your points are not strictly true, though clearly you've give it a lot of thought.

1. Yes a TV card is required for most, but it is NOT a hard requirement for using TVH. Lots of people use it purely for IPTV reception. Also while I have myself seen people think they can magically receive TV signals on their PC without any special kit (or an IPTV feed), I also have to wonder how these people manage to get dressed in the morning, let alone turn on their PCs to ask such questions :p

2. Lots of improvements are scheduled for the DVB code that will greatly simplify setup, especially in multi tuner setups.

3. Some improvements are being made to the channel setup, including use of XMLTV channel lineup files to ease setup. Though currently there are a limited number of pre-defined files in existence, but maybe we can get a TVH community set together once support to process them is complete.

4. EPG configuration is such that by default ALL OTA grabbers are enabled, since this would seem the most user friendly approach. Especially for those people lucky enough to receive a decent OTA feed. Otherwise its yet another thing they MUST configure before having a working system.

We will try and improve things as we go along, but there will be limits to what we can achieve with a small team. So any help in defining such things or possibly putting together a better user guide etc.. would be greatly appreciated.



Updated by Walter Purcaro almost 8 years ago

Maybe a welcome popup could be shown on first run. :)


Updated by Adam Sutton over 6 years ago

  • Category changed from General to User Interface

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