Some channels - particularly in the UK - only broadcast at certain times of day, sharing their available multiplex/transponder bandwidth with other channels. When a channel is off-air, NPVR shows a blank screen that can make the application appear unresponsive.

The TimeSharer plugin compensates for this, and can ensure that an off-air channel has content available 24 hours a day.

For example, the BBC's children's channels CBBC and CBeebies are only active during the day. In the evening their bandwidth is used by BBC Three and BBC Four instead. TimeSharer can be used to ensure that CBBC and CBeebies show their correct content during the day, but also allows them to broadcast something else (eg BBC Three and BBC Four) if you happened to tune into them when they were off-air. This is actually similar to the way GBPVR worked, although there are now no restrictions on what alternate channel's content is used (ie, you could have both of them displaying BBC News out of hours).

Downloading and Installing

The latest version of the TimeSharer plugin is v2.11.07.13, released on July 13th, 2011.

Download: TimeSharer.zip (14 KB, 277 downloads)

Extract the zip's contents into C:\Users\Public\NPVR (or equivalent).

Requirements

This plugin requires at least NPVR v2.0.3.

Configuration

The zip file contains an example configuration file called TimeSharer-Sample.xml. Rename this to TimeSharer.xml before use.

TimeSharer.xml is used to define a list of channels that the plugin should control. Each channel can have one or more mappings, which define a period of time between 00:00 and 24:00 (midnight to midnight) and the content to show during that time.

<TimeShares>

  <Channel name="BBC Three">
    <Mapping start="00:00" end="05:30">BBC Three</Mapping>
    <Mapping start="05:30" end="19:00">BBC News</Mapping>
    <Mapping start="19:00" end="24:00">BBC Three</Mapping>
  </Channel>

</TimeShares>

In this example, the first mapping ensures BBC Three content is shown between midnight and 05:30. Between 05:30 and 19:00 (when the channel would normally be off-air) we want BBC News to be shown instead. Finally, from 19:00 until midnight, we make sure it's properly BBC Three again.

Note:

  • The full 24 hour period must be defined from 00:00 to 24:00
  • Channel names are case sensitive and must match what NPVR uses in its EPG
  • When remapping, the alternative channel selected must be available across all tuners that contain the original

The last point is particularly important. If you had, for example, two tuners of different types (terrestrial and satellite) that both contained "BBC Three", you couldn't remap that channel to show content from "CBS Action" if it only existed on one of them.

How does TimeSharer work?

NPVR stores tuning information in its npvr.db3 database. However, nextpvr.exe - the application used for Live TV - loads a separate cache of this data into its own memory space. TimeSharer simply changes this local cache, based on the configuration settings in its XML file. This means that it can override the tuning information for a given channel, ensuring that it has content at all times. However, because the original database remains unchanged, scheduled recordings remain unaffected and the correct tuning information continues to exist at all times for the recording process, nrecord.exe.

Support

The plugin is discussed here: http://forums.gbpvr.com/showthread.php?50253-TimeSharer-A-plugin-to-control-non-broadcasting-channels

Un-installation

To remove TimeSharer, simply delete the TimeSharer directory from within /Plugins.

Source Code

The source code for the TimeSharer plugin is available on request by sending a PM to imilne.

Author(s)

Developed by imilne.

History

2011-07-13 : v2.11.07.13

  • Initial public release

Page last modified on September 09, 2011, at 05:02 PM