The Plan

My PVR application, modestly dubbed ZTV (don’t ask) will provide extensive functionality geared towards a single objective: record Angel and Firefly with minimal intervention on my part.

Well, it will let you record other shows, but it will work better with those 🙂

As I pointed out in the Software piece, there are already packages that claim to do this. There are even 3rd party applications, like Snapstream or Showshifter, that are better solutions but they still are not perfect. Snapstream is not designed to be used using a remote and a TV screen. The UI (user interface) is very nice, but usable only on a computer monitor. It’s not a flaw, the application is designed to work this way. Showshifter is better in this regard, but again the EPG uses a display paradigm that is not proper for a low resolution television screen.

I’ve already said that I’m not going to buy a TiVo (I’m in Canada) and I’m not planning to buy a PC with XP Media Center Edition this winter.

But these last two examples are what I’m aiming to. Complete UIs designed with a remote and a TV in mind. Appliances. No confusing features between the user and the viewing experience.

Following these ideas, ZWTV is composed by many small modules, designed to perform a single action, reliably and with minimal intervention. The capture module, for example, is a background application that runs silently and with minimal impact on the global performance. It tunes into a channel, prepares an output file named “Show name (Date)” and start recording for a predefined duration. That’s it. No funky option, no user interface, nothing. It’s called capture module for a reason, because it just captures.

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