Forum > Content > General > Bad scheduling consequences on NatGeo (and other channels)
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Old 2017-04-17 , 08:45
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Optimist Optimist is offline
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Unhappy Bad scheduling consequences on NatGeo (and other channels)

Some will know that I've already been having problems with NatGeo. This is not an attack on them, they've delivered well in the past and there are many channels that cause periodic scheduling problems who could learn from this study.

I will try to keep this short enough.
My examples relate to last night's broadcasts (Sun. 16 April).
I wanted to record the 181 back-to-back series "The Story Of God" and "Origins: The Journey Of Humankind", followed by the near back-to-back 101's "John Oliver" show.
The first 181 series started 4 minutes late (not a problem for me).
It ended, and their next scheduled series started 7 minutes late.
That second series ended 6 minutes late.
(This morning I have just finished recording another series from 181, not related except to mention that the scheduling is still running 3 minutes late.)

The second & third series don't repeat. From next week the first series will be replaced by "Genius", which is going to be of popular interest.

Can we rely on Catch Up?
Maybe... IMO it has been improving, but not enough so for me to put my trust in it.
Certainly in this case both of last night's 181 series were immediately there (one on CU, the other on CU+) but the 2nd series' synopsis is completely wrong again.
And not everyone has an Explora, or wants to use online options, or has the bandwidth needed to spare, or wants to watch content before it expires.

1. I had to manually intervene so as not to miss the few seconds near the end of the first series caused by changing recordings (can sometimes be critical), and...
2. ...also to keep all the content for each series separate. Else if I watch the second series first, I can't delete it as it has the end of the first series on it.
3. The original scheduled recording for the second series had to be cancelled to allow the first recording to overrun.
4. I was watching the 104 movie at the time, so had to first mark my place in that in the buffer (not simple to do with live TV, one has to rewind first), and...
5. ...also use the EPG when I was ready to begin the new recording as a change to that channel would have lost part of the movie from the buffer, and...
6. ...also do so in time - difficult, unless one knows that one can press "181" in the EPG to get there quicker - else it takes too long, because the channel doesn't place any filler material between programs. I managed to only lose the first couple of seconds of the second series, which fortunately had no meaningful content in this case.
7. Things went better later, as 181 caught up enough to prevent a problem with the start of the third series wanted on 101, but it was still something that had to be monitored and manually dealt with.

Why does this happen??
Many of us do understand that uncontrollable problems can and occasionally will occur with live broadcast TV, but this is clearly not the case in incidents like this. I can only think of 3 possibilities;
1. Lack of planning care.
2. Carelessness (relates to the first point).
3. Late changes to advertising requirements, then being given priority over end customers' (the real bosses) needs.

I'm not looking for feedback, just to influence firmly for much needed change but it would certainly be welcome anyway.
(May not be here to respond to anything contributed.)

Last edited by Optimist; 2017-04-17 at 17:40. . Reason: Final small post improvements, added a new point 3 to the consequences
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Old 2017-04-21 , 18:05
MC Trisan MC Trisan is offline
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We'll also escalate this issue to Nat Geo. I see what you're saying about the start times, these should always match the EPG.
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Old 2017-04-23 , 10:51
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Optimist Optimist is offline
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Thanks Trisan, much appreciated.

I'm not prepared to worry about all of this possibly reoccurring tonight, will be using a single MR for both 181 series and have 101 in the buffer if it looks necessary.
However, depending on wide circumstances it may messily force us to keep the MR for longer than planned and may interfere with our live broadcast viewing plans.

Just as important as the EPG accuracy, NatGeo needs to have some content between programs running for 2 or 3 minutes.
A good example is the Discovery channels, and I find their accuracy is usually spot on. If they can do it...
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Old 2017-04-23 , 18:52
RNDM RNDM is offline
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Where is the 'like' button??
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Old 2017-04-24 , 08:11
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Follow up for the record;

The first series arrived on CU in good time.
The second series arrived on CU+ in good time, though as is now usual the content is correct but it has next week's title and synopsis.

I had success with my efforts, but it was on the edge again.
Had been monitoring the scheduling accuracy for a few hours beforehand and was impressed to see it was accurate, right up to the start of Genius.
Then the wheels fell off again - it ended about 4 minutes late, and the second one ended about that late as well. 5 minutes after it was scheduled to end my John Oliver show recording was due to start - so only just made it, and "luck" would seem to be the main reason why.

My involvement in this headache ends here.
I'll just add that 101 did far worse last night, maybe I'll make a thread for that...

Last edited by Optimist; 2017-04-24 at 08:27. . Reason: Accuracy of info reporting re John Oliver
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Old 2017-04-24 , 08:17
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Mad Cat Mad Cat is offline
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Originally Posted by RNDM View Post
Where is the 'like' button??
Above the first post on the right is a Rate this thread option.
Explora x 2
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Old 2017-04-24 , 17:46
MC Trisan MC Trisan is offline
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National Geographic acknowledges the problem and apologises for the inconvenience caused, they are working on a solution to provide us exact start times for all their programming, though I can't confirm exactly when this will be put in place. Thanks for reporting.
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