From Virgin Media's official TiVo forum:
When we decided to partner with
TiVo for our next generation TV service, we realised the quality of
metadata (programme information) would be a key element to the success
of the product. Quite simply, the features that make TiVo so great
require better, more detailed schedule data than any other products on
the market today.
So, we selected TiVo's long term
partner, Tribune Media Services (TMS), as our provider of metadata. TMS
has a really deep understanding of how metadata drives key parts of the
TiVo service and the importance of getting it right.
But as you'd expect with the
launch of any new product, we've had some unexpected challenges along
the way which we have been working hard to resolve. I'd like to explain
two of these and what we've done to fix them.
aware there have been some occurrences where a series has not recorded
when a Series Link is set to NEW only. (It's worth pointing out right
now that no other product attempts to offer such flexibility with a
Series Link.) One of the key pieces of information TiVo uses to decide
if a programme is NEW is something called the 'Original Air Date'
(forever now referred to as the OAD!). The OAD is set as the first date
that a particular episode of a programme was aired in the UK. TiVo
describes a programme as NEW if it airs within 28 days of the OAD.
This situation threw up two
issues. The first was caused by another feature of TiVo, the Episode
Guide. To ensure the Episode Guide was as detailed as possible, we had
to merge parts of TMS' US database with the one for the UK. To do this,
we picked a historic date whereby the US OAD would take precedence over
that of the UK. However, some US shows were inadvertently affected when
there was a long gap between the US and the UK airing. As time has gone
on, the number of shows that could be affected by this has reduced
The second was in relation to
channels broadcast in Northern Ireland. That is, Virgin Media provides
the RTE and TG4 channels to customers in N.I. However, some US shows are
shown on both the Irish channels and on UK channels. Sometimes the
'Irish' airing is well in advance of the 'UK' airing. If that date
difference is more than 28 days, TiVo would not apply a NEW tag to the
'UK' airing. TMS have been working hard to make sure their systems take
this situation into account and any shows aired since July 1st should no
longer suffer from this problem. Just as a tip and to ensure you don't
miss any shows, you can also select 'NEW & reruns'.
discovered there are some challenges around 'Non-episodic programme
information'. TiVo loves to know specific information about each and
every programme, however some UK broadcasters aren't used to providing
this for all shows.
This has lead us to use generic 'series information' for some shows and this causes the following issues:
1) all showings of a programme will be recorded regardless of the Series Link setting and
2) when a Catch-Up TV show is available in the reverse EPG, TiVo
doesn't always know which episode to play. We're working with TMS and
our channel providers to increase the amount of episodic information in
So in summary, I hope this helps
to clarify how we are dealing with some of the challenges we are
facing. We're working closely with TMS to improve our operational
compliance processes to ensure other mistakes don't slip through. We
really appreciate your feedback and please continue to use the Survey
Monkey link to report any problems so that we can resolve these as
quickly as possible. We're also working on a better way for you to
report issues directly to us and I'll be in touch once it's up and
Director, Digital Entertainment Technical Operations, Virgin Media.