September 19, 2012

Share

       

How To Use Our New Guide: Guide Filtering

Hi – I’m the director of software development in charge of the revisions to our onscreen guide that launched earlier this year. I’ve noticed a lot of unhappy comments on here, and please know that my team is taking them to heart — and I’ll be addressing them in future posts.

This post is meant to focus on a feature we introduced called “guide filtering.”

I’ve noticed some customer comments such as

“Terrible; absolutely terrible. No matter what I do, when I choose Guide, I only get HD channels.”
“How do I exit the guide? It keeps bringing up this weird looking menu! Very frustrating!!”

There are a few possible reasons why this may be happening but one possibility is this new “guide filtering” feature. This feature was included in the release with the new color scheme. To access the guide filtering feature, open the grid guide application by pressing “Guide” on the remote control.

You should see a screen like the following:

Press “Guide” a second time to bring up the filter menu and you should see:

Use the up and down arrow keys to select the filter you want and press select to confirm. You will be returned to the first screen, with a reduced amount of content in the grid.

The idea behind guide filtering is to make it easier to find specific types of services and programming. For instance if you want to see just your favorite channels you can select a favorites filter.

The filter setting only applies to the grid guide, and it is “sticky”. Sticky means that if you close the grid guide and then open it again you will see the same filtered view you last saw.

Back to the customer comments above:

1. If one family member changes the filter setting, the next family member will also see the filtered view and could be confused. If someone set the HD filter all you will see are HD services in the grid guide.

2. We loaded the “Guide” button to select the grid guide filter. We chose the Guide button to help people discover the filtering feature. If you are used to pressing “Guide” to exit the grid guide application this can be an annoyance. We realized this, which is why pressing “Guide” again while the filter is displayed will dismiss the grid guide application like before.

3. Note also that pressing the “Exit” key on the remote always dismisses applications and is our recommended method of navigation.

Some customers have indicated we should offer an option that only shows the channels you pay for and can watch. We agree!

In fact the screen shot above shows just such an option called “subscribed”. You might be comparing your TV to the screen shot above and asking “where is it?”

Subscribed will be added to a release coming out later this year. The above screen shot is a pre-release one – I wanted you all to see what it will look like.

Thank you for your input and excellent ideas! I’ll address more customer comments and concerns in future posts, right here. If you have any more input, please leave it in the comments on this post. We read all of these and use your input to tailor and prioritize upcoming releases.

+- 20 Comments

  1. Justin's reply

    So this is why service was down yesterday. I’m assuming that the Subscribed menu will be in this new upgrade which I was told about via Online Customer Support Chat.

  2. Scott's reply

    I don’t even have this guide. Where is this available? I’m in SoCal.

  3. Kathy's reply

    I have a minor nit-pick about the new color scheme. The lack of contrast between the white lettering and the light blue background in the onscreen guide cells makes it difficult to read the titles being highlighted.

    I don’t have any problem with titles against the dark gray cell background or against the red background for the already scheduled programs.

    Just me and my old eyes or is anyone else complaining about the same thing? :-)

  4. Ben's reply

    If you guys are serious about fixing this mess, here are the top ten things you need to do because I’m ready to switch providers solely based on the performance of this software (Yes, it’s THAT bad!)

    Top Ten ways to make the guide user friendly:

    1) Auto HD for all channels. Yes, this is likely controlled from the headend on a division by division basis, but it’s needed.

    2) A “real’ Guide Filter option. Allow for addition/subtraction of channels from the guide and scan. You wouldn’t have all the confusion you mention in the blog if you opted for a true guide filter.

    3) Change the orientation of the DVR List screen so you can read the show names. Right now they are almost all cutoff. Then add Folders for the DVR List

    4) Have KEYWORD search that defaults to ALL and nothing else. Why the redundant options for Title, Name, etc. If it searches ALL, then no matter what the person types in, it should find it.

    5) Remove kick to live after watching a recorded show and default back to list

    6) Ability to set list display by title or by date as it currently always defaults to date (SARA did 4 & 5)

    7) Move to a 16×9 GUI and utilize the extra screen real estate (on boxes that support it)

    8) Have a dedicated setting/list for priority. You currently have to go through each and every show to shuffle it in the priority list where a simple click and move list would do.

    9) For Whole Home: Show scheduled recordings among all devices to avoid duplicates

    10) For Whole Home: Use other DVR’s for conflict resolution. If a DVR has a conflict and nothing is scheduled on a connected device, send the recording there. This requires implementation of #8

    Some of these are features that other guide have had for literally a DECADE! Some, like the last for multi-room may not be available yet or require very advanced programming – however, the units can see each others lists, so manipulating them should be possible.

    Now, those arecompetitiveres to make it competative and user friendly. One of the other key issues is stability! Right now, many of of face near daily reboots just to make it function properly. It bogs down, has audio drop outs, and various other issues. You can find much more detailed and HONEST info/feedback over at the AVS Forum. Here is a link to the current postings:

    http://www.avsforum.com/t/723830/time-warner-cable-navigator/17130

    I strongly suggest if you honestly want to do what you say and make this interface better that you really start paying attention to things that will actually make it better. Providing instructions for some convoluted implementation of what is supposed to be a guide filter isn’t fixing the problem, it’s explaining it away and writing it off.

    Right now, I’m paying $215 a month for my “Signature Home” service to contend with this monstrosity. So, you’ve put it out via this blog that you care – that’s great. Now, prove it!

  5. SOCALdude's reply

    Some recommendations to help with visibility; 1.darken the blue selected cell background in the grid so the white text is higher contrast. 2. Make the blue text for program titles lighter to contrast with the dark gray backgrounds. 3. Consider adding a brief program description to the channel banner when changing channels (seen on the Motorola boxes running iguide)

  6. Jack's reply

    My recommendation,

    Have both ODN/MDN boxes be able to use the keyboard to search by keywords. If you type in “Pizza”, “Al Pacquino”, or “Chocolate”, have the keyboards, on all boxes, search by keywords as the default.

    While Title Searches are OK when you know the exact name of a movie or show, my family has missed sports shows, because they type in “Football” and the games don’t come up. Because the keyboard is title based, most users don’t know that you have to type in “NFL” for “NFL Football” or “MLB” for Major League Baseball game listings. Making the keyboards able to search by keywords instead of titles only, will allow customers greater flexibility in finding information.

  7. Dis Gruntled's reply

    Everyone I’ve ever spoken to regarding DVRs says the same thing: the beginning and ends of programs are cut off. For that reason, I always pad 2 minutes on each side of a recording. Please, please, please enhance the software such that recording back-to-back programs on the same channel in this manner only takes ONE tuner, not two.

    Plus, if the software has ANYTHING to do with the random “unable to record program because the channel was not available (8)” type problems I FREQUENTLY have (always when recording on 2 channels, usually around midnight and affecting both SDV and non-SDV channels), please let me know and/or correct it!

    Thanks.

  8. Fred's reply

    Please review Ben’s comments above….and actually try to implement something useful with your software. Right now the “new” guide is simply lipstick on a pig.

  9. Jack's reply

    I second what Fred said above,

    I can tell you that Ben has been in the technology business for 20 years. His review is exactly what Navigator’s problems are, and the changes that are so badly needed for this software. I’ve been waiting six years for Navigator to get with modern features and the proper reliability that should be expected, but is lacking. Or even in its most positive light, is woefully inconsistent from division to division.

    TWC, please take this into consideration. If you put the kind of effort into Navigator’s design and reliability that you have shown with your outstanding high speed Internet and Digital Phone services, you could have a good guide. Check out the URL in Ben’s comments about the AVS forums. There is feedback there from fellow computer people and engineers that is honest and direct about Navigator’s problems. The new color scheme is nice, but there is tons more work that needs to be done to get the guide up to reliability standards and feature sets that are consistent with your competitors.

  10. Gary's reply

    Would like to be able to set a program ‘reminder’ so that I get a message that “Your program is starting in 2 minutes on XYZ channe. Press ‘Select’ to tune there now”.

    Would like an auto-tune feture with the above, so that the tuner will automatically change channels for me. Helpful if you’re a fe minutes late getting home and wish to back up to catch the start of your program.

  11. Jack's reply

    Here is some helpful feedback from me, from the AVS Forums that will help users with the Navigator Keyboard in its current form:

    Guide Tips- Working With The TWC Navigator Keyboard

    At this time, only those boxes and subscribers that have Signature Home and Multi-Room (a.k.a Whole House DVR) may have the Advanced Search filters. Eventually legacy boxes will get these filters. However, I would estimate that because 75% or more of TWC’s general population just has the Keyboard, and it is Title Based Only at this time.I will give you some tips on how to search for Titles that aren’t so obvious:

    Remember, you can filter the guide by Title, Rating, or Theme. Theme is my favorite choice and with regards to non-keyboard category searches, the organization works well:

    Title Searches are easy for the specific names of shows and movies and you’re good to go. Use the Theme filter and you can select Movies or type of show. Than use the keyboard to find the name. NOTE HOWEVER THAT IF A SHOW STARTS WITH THE LETTER “A” OR THE WORD “THE”, THE FIRST LETTER IN THE SECOND WORD OF THE SHOW IS HOW YOU BEGIN YOUR SEARCH!

    When you see on the left-hand side your movie or show name as you type on the keyboard, press B to navigate to that side and you can find your shows.

    However, if you want to search for Sports, the guide, using the regular (non-advanced keyboard) shows NAMES of Sports. Here is how to make your Sports Searches a little better. Follow these tips if you want to search for specific sports shows using the on-screen keyboard:

    1.) Press the B button to Search
    2.) Press the B button again to Category Search
    3.) Select Sports
    4.) Select desired sport for which you want to see games and times
    5.) Now, using the Keyboard, key in the following to get to your sport faster:

    ****************************************

    1.) Type “MLB” for a list of Major League Baseball games.

    2.) Type “NFL” for a list of Pro Football Games

    3.) Type “College Football” for a list of College Football Games. (You’ll see the listings as you start to type “college” in the Sports/Football category.)

    4.) Type “PGA” for a list of Professional Golf Events.

    5.)Type “NBA for a list of Pro Basketball Games.

    6.) Type “ATP” for a list of Professional Tennis Matches.

    7.) Type “US Open” for US Open Matches. (Under Sports Listings, Tennis Category.)

    8.) Type “Wimbledon” for Wimbledon Coverage. (May also appear under the ATP Tennis listings.)

    9.) Type “MLS” for Major League Soccer Games.

    10.) Type “NHL” for National Hockey Games.

    11.) Type “Nascar” For Auto Racing. (Found Under Sports, “Racing” Category.)

    **Notes A few sports like Horse Racing do not have a specific category at this time and can be found under the Sports Category of “Other” (After going to the sports category and selecting “Other”, find the “Horse Racing” Listings.

    ** The Year of a sport may also appear within a sports category, and will be first on the list when you narrow down your category search. To illustrate, you might go to do a Search for Tennis, (B Search) than B Category Search-Sports-Tennis- and and the left side of the screen might show 2012 US Open Championship as the first item in the category list. This is because the guide system organizes numbered listings before letter listings.

    As you start to key in the words, watch how the results on the left-side of the screen change. If you spend some time in the Sports Category, you can add to this list. Your goal is to type in the name in the Sports Category that the Guide shows on the left-hand side.

    Once you know how the Sports Titles are represented, you won’t get so lost thinking, “Why do I type the word “Football” or the word “Baseball” as the only word on the keyboard and there’s nothing there? TWC’s Navigator Standard Keyboard goes by searching of the Title for each category. Using my above examples should help immensely!

    (Feel free to save and print this information for reference.)

    Jack

  12. Ben's reply

    Thanks for the kind words from the above commenter’s! I merely want the Guide to be the best it can be. I offered basic suggestions that any GUI in this day and age should have. At this point, in my division, it is so bad I am actively looking to other providers because it’s become almost unusable. I cannot justify $200+ a month for a DVR that I have to baby sit. I’ve offered to beta test and work directly with the devs to give honest critiques of where and what should be improved, added or changed. I really hope they do something sooner than later because if either satellite provider gets the HD content that I want, I’m going to make a move. The sad thing is, I really don’t want to switch. I’m happy with the choices in programming. I just thought by being a Signature Home subscriber, I was going to get the advertised “Advanced DVR”. I have the same one everyone else has and a DVR, that doesn’t “R” is worthless to me.

  13. Jeff in Middletucky's reply

    This in no way addresses the RIDICULOUS lag time issue. I mean, seriously? Up to 60 seconds from when I press the up/down/right/left button until the on-screen navigator registers the button push, and actually goes up/down/right/left? UNACCEPTABLE. It’s stuff like this that makes cutting the cord and leaving TWC’s price gouging and amateurish customer service in the dust look ever more desirable.

  14. Jack's reply

    Hey Matt,

    Thanks for blogging and offering to help with the guide! My friends, composed in three different divisions, (Wisconsin, North Carolina, and New York) have noticed a bug with the software that you may want to begin long term testing in the labs.

    My guide is reasonably fast on my SA-8300HDC box. The problem is that following a reboot, the guide will slow down to a snail pace after about 30-45 days of use. My friends with the later and latest Cisco boxes have noticed the same trend. The only way that we can get our boxes back up to normal speed is to do a cold reboot. You guys should work to find a cause for this issue and an update to resolve this.

    Until the slowdown occurs, my box has been stable. My friend in North Carolina has had no problems other than the same slowdown issue I have. My friend in Syracuse, New York has had non-stop issues with his boxes since the Black Guide update. He has been through box swaps, drop-line changes, Component Cables, different model boxes, different field techs, all the way up to level 3 supervisors. Missed recordings are now a daily occurrence for him, stuttering, pixiation. Other customers in the Syracuse New York area have had the exact same issues, but nothing has been done in his node to solve the problem. He is considering switching to Satellite for cable TV service because of his frustration with TWC in the Syracuse New York area.

    Matt, my major critique is that Navigator is to inconsistent across divisions in reliability and performance to be an effective guide for everyone. As illustrated above, some people have had little to no problems at all, while in other divisions it has been so hideously bad for them, that they are considering switching services.

    My only critique of Navigator here in Milwaukee Wisconsin is the 30-40 day slowdown pattern following a reboot, and the lack of a keyword search function for all the boxes.

    Thanks for your help. Any suggestions you or the team could do would be much appreciated!

    Regards,

    Jack

  15. Ben's reply

    I’ve left this at the Facebook page as well in hopes that someone will listen. A tiny cable op is doing it right. Here are video links to what they use and they also left it open which means DLNA and access to all the features as Moxi intended with the addition of VOD. This is what I expect as a Signature Home customer! Hell, they even provide a user guide. I know for a fact this unit was/is being tested. PLEASE, roll these out for us! The only thing hindering the offerings in my division right now is the terrible DVR. If you want to keep the current guide for non techie subs who don’t care, fine. At least make this available to us high end subs who know what a DVR should be. Hell, if this was available for purchase I’d buy one outright if it would work with your system. I signed up for Signature Home expecting a top level of service and thus far it’s been a failure. I have the same crap everyone else has. Bottom line is trying to get someone to take notice and actually fix the problem. Well, I’m throwing the solution in your lap. Get out of the software business and stick to providing the service. Leave the software up to the pros.

    http://www.buckeyecablesystem.com/gateway/gatewayvideos.html

  16. Jack's reply

    Good Afternoon Matt,

    Here’s more information on the Arris 6-way tuner DVR that Ben talked about above. It blows away every other cable, satellite, and other provider guide out there. It’s from Buckeye Cable a little known company out of Ohio, but MAN, this guide ROCKS! Check out the users manual for it! This is what you guys should be talking about at the next meeting! I guarantee you that criticism of the TWC guide will no longer be an issue if you role this out!

    http://www.buckeyecablesystem.com/gateway/images/documents/GatewayUserGuide.pdf

    It’s a PDF file. I second what Ben said, stick to providing the cable service and let Moxi come in and develop the STB software. It would make everyone happier, and less stress for you guys, the programmers!!! Navigator developments are just too far behind your competitors. Even if for some reason, TWC can’t get the Moxi guide, at least bring the Passport software back. You are losing video customers by the day and I can tell you that it is because of the poor performance of the Navigator software and those old boxes.

    Mr. Britt has talked about going to a cloud based technology in three to five years. That’s a lifetime of waiting for us who need a better guide now! Just bring in a top notch software developer company to do the guide. It will make companies and employers so much happier. Thanks again Matt!

    Jack

  17. Jack's reply

    Dear Matt,

    Thanks in advance. A favor to ask. Could you print out these comments about the guide so that corporate managers can see them and review them at the next meeting about the guide? I echo all the issues that Ben and the other customers have said.

    I would like to even see a change in TWC company policy, where release notes concerning guide updates are published on the website. A concern is that TWC is currently too secretive about when the guide gets updated. Sometimes customers get phone calls or emails, sometimes not. This needs to change. Like the web-browser Firefox, provide release notes for what updates fixed, and what issues/features are being worked on. Doing this will show great care and compassion to your products and services, where communicative feedback directly occurs between the developers and the customers. This will improve the TWC experience for everyone. Thank you.

    Jack

  18. Diana LeMaster's reply

    How can I unselect a show previously selected to record “all episodes”. Such as, The Bachelor was previously selected and now I do not want to record it any more. When I think that I have accomplished my objective, the next showing will record.

  19. McCamy's reply

    I am curious why you no long give the actual run time of movies in the Guide Channel so you can determine if the amount of commercials justify watching? Now if a movie is listed as runnning from 5:00-7:00 it simply states “2 Hours”. I would say most of your viewers can do the math themselves, however it would be nice to know if a movie is 90 minutes which in the aforementioned example would mean 30 minutes of commercials. Thanks. *Don’t get me started on you guys no longer using “star system” for your movies…….

  20. David Bisson's reply

    How do I record old series with the Whole House DVR. The boxes will only let me record new series. I want to record things like “the Closer”

    Thanks

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted to the blog if they follow our guidelines. Our basic rule is simple: It’s OK to disagree, just don’t be disagreeable. Also,

  • Keep it civil and stay on topic.
  • No vulgarity, racial slurs, name calling or personal attacks.
  • No commercial links.

Questions about your Time Warner Cable services will be forwarded to our online Care team. Or you can reach them yourself at twcable.help@twcable.com or on Twitter: @TWC_help

  • (will not be published)


1 + 8 =