I like recording programs from cable via my tv card in my pc for later viewing. However, I can't tell you how many times the scheduling was off a bit and I ended up missing the very beginning or the very end of the show. I assume the time the cable company uses is encoded in the feed somewhere(?). If so, is there a way to synchronize my computer's clock with this time? Or am I making it too hard? Can I count on the cable company to use accurate time and just synchronize my time with an internet time server? I assume the local cable company doesn't really control the time of the programming anyway, since they get it via satellite broadcast before piping it to me(right?).
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I would have thought it depends on the software you use to obtain the recording.
Over here, broadcasters use a system called PDC "Program Delivery Control" which if set by the recorder means that the recording starts at the same time as the program.
So if your recording software has such a function and the broadcaster also sends the appropiate signal then all will be well.
You could, technically, sync your PC clock to the broadcaster but the broadcaster would have to send out such a signal at a pre-determined time over the internet and your clock would then link to that signal. Just the way that MS do it if you care to use it.
You can synchronize your computer clock with one of the NIST atomic clock servers, http://tf.nist.gov/service/time-servers.html, but that still won't guarantee that the network in question will broadcast the show at the correct time. Set your scheduled recordings to start a minute or two before the desired time and to record for a couple minutes more than the expected duration."Shut up Wesley!" -- Captain Jean-Luc Picard
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Why not just setting the start time 5 minutes before and the end time 5 minutes later and then cut the unneeded parts ???
I wish it were as easy as recording 5 minutes early and 5 minutes late, but often programs I want to watch are back to back. I've noticed that it's safer to end on time or even a bit early than to start on time or late. That being said, I start my recordings 40 seconds early and still occasionally miss the beginning.
EDIT: My recording software (VirtualVCR) doesn't have any built in scheduling; that part is all home-brew by me . It probably wouldn't work for anyone elses computer though; it's so sloppy (I'm using the TVPI files from Titan TV). I was hoping there's a third party tool somewhere to extract the PDC information from the feed on demand.
The bigger problem is that the stations do not start and stop on time. IMHO it is deliberate by them.