Pi video recorder with MiniDVBLinux

Program Overview

VDRadmin-am greets you with an overview of the currently running programs (Figure 6). To the far left in the main menu, there are four options that include What's on now, Playing Today, Timeline and Channels.

Figure 6: The additional web interface VDRadmin-am gives you a helpful overview of TV programs that are currently showing.

In the current view What's on now?, you will see the programs running on each channel along with a short summary. There are six symbols sitting to the left of each box. These have the following functions:

  • Television – change to this channel.
  • Magnifying glass – search for this show after repeats.
  • Info – Open more information about this show.
  • EPG edits – Here you can change the title so that you can do things later like find the program again more easily.
  • Record – record this program.
  • IMDB – if available, open the current program's page in the Internet Movie Database.

The Playing Today? view shows a very long list to display programs channel by channel, up to the time that each program ends. This is not a very intuitive view, so use the Timeline for an easier interface (Figure 7). Type the time into the entry field in order to get an overview of the programs on each channel for that time of day.

Figure 7: The VDRadmin-am interface's Timeline gives you a quick overview of what programs are currently playing on TV.

At first glance, the Channels section looks like the What's on Now? view. However, this is actually where you look to find the programs that the current broadcast station is playing for the rest of the week. The What's on Now? view on the other hand gives you the entire schedule for all channels today.

Setting up the Timer

The Timer gives you two possible choices for scheduling recordings. The simpler choice requires you to search through one of the program views for a program and then click on it. The program will then appear as a popup window with information about the program. The information is flanked on the left hand side by the symbols described above.

You'll see a red dot, the recording symbol, amongst these. Click on this dot to open the Set new timer dialog. The VDR system automatically transmits all data like the channel, program name and also start and end times. By default the software begins recording 10 minutes before the beginning of the program and stops 10 minutes after the program ends. This offset acts as a buffer in order to account for any changes in broadcast times. Imagine if the last five minutes of a murder mystery went unrecorded for instance! These buffer values can be modified under Configuration | Timer. You can also tick the relevant day of the week for weekly shows in the Day to record line. This VDR will now automatically record the program.

If the remote control is hiding under one of the cushions on your couch, you will find a virtual remote under the Remote control menu option. The Television option displays the luxury version of this software remote control. This view also lets you see the television image and the list of channels (Figure 8). However the interface crunches the television image here into a 4:3 format, making everybody's head look unnaturally elongated.

Figure 8: If necessary, the Raspberry Pi videorecorder can be controlled via the web interface and the current TV image can be streamed to a PC.

At the upper edge of the display screen the system shows the remaining recording capacity. The capacity is represented in GBytes, as well as hours and minutes. The virtual video recorder uses a bit rate consistent with HD recordings.

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