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SageTV Software Discussion related to the SageTV application produced by SageTV. Questions, issues, problems, suggestions, etc. relating to the SageTV software application should be posted here. (Check the descriptions of the other forums; all hardware related questions go in the Hardware Support forum, etc. And, post in the customizations forum instead if any customizations are active.)

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  #1  
Old 02-06-2007, 04:41 PM
matrix35 matrix35 is offline
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New SageTV Interface

can anyone close to the sagetv developers confirm or deny new GUI interface overhaul in the works? cuz the GUI is quite outdated and is due for an upgrade
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  #2  
Old 02-06-2007, 05:32 PM
olyar15 olyar15 is offline
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Why is it outdated? Change for the sake of change isn't always a good thing, especially is someone is used to the way it works now. Plus, the SageMC interface is certainly a viable alternative.
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  #3  
Old 02-06-2007, 06:30 PM
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GKusnick GKusnick is offline
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A radical UI overhaul would break existing plugins that modify or extend the standard UI. STVIs have to be able to find the right places to plug into. So for third-party plugin development to flourish, the standard UI has to remain stable from one release to the next, instead of undergoing pointless makeovers with each new release the way many products do.

That said, anyone who finds the standard UI boring is welcome to try their hand at designing a replacement. No need to wait for the Sage devs to do it; you have the tools to do it yourself.
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  #4  
Old 02-06-2007, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matrix35
can anyone close to the sagetv developers confirm or deny new GUI interface overhaul in the works? cuz the GUI is quite outdated and is due for an upgrade
This is the type of things I see in magazine reviews. It's meaningless to the average user. The average user doesn't think: Gee, I've been using this for a year and I know it now--I wish it would change.

The UI is fine.
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  #5  
Old 02-06-2007, 07:50 PM
Oats Oats is offline
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I think added themes would be nice.
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  #6  
Old 02-06-2007, 08:30 PM
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At least add some new screensavers and visualizations!
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  #7  
Old 02-06-2007, 08:48 PM
real_per real_per is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodspike
This is the type of things I see in magazine reviews. It's meaningless to the average user. The average user doesn't think: Gee, I've been using this for a year and I know it now--I wish it would change.

The UI is fine.
I'm a fairly new user. And while i really liked the fairly simple "out-of-the-box" experience of Sagetv, I would haver never purchased it if it hadn't been for SageMC. Excactly because of the dated looks.
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  #8  
Old 02-06-2007, 10:04 PM
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sainswor99 sainswor99 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goodspike
This is the type of things I see in magazine reviews. It's meaningless to the average user. The average user doesn't think: Gee, I've been using this for a year and I know it now--I wish it would change.

The UI is fine.
Depends on your perspective; as a relatively new user (6 months?), there's lots of things I find annoying about the basic UI. And, please, before you post "but SageMC", let me just say that SageMC is nice, but I've got other issues with it. I want to limit this discussion to the stock GUI.

First, I understand that there's a need to maintain the status quo; you build up a user base that's accustomed to the way things are, and changes can alienate them. I also understand (and appreciate) the fact that the Sage team has done an outstanding job of making the interface extensible through STV's, but now they are faced with the never-ending task of impliciitly supporting those STV's.

However, that being said, there are a number of things I find confusing about SageTV; let me stress that THESE ARE BASED SOLELY ON MY EXPERIENCE, and are ONLY MY OPINION:

1. The setup menu is overwhelming. Why are some options under Advanced, and others under Customize? What's the difference between Multimedia and Video/Audio? Some of the decisions seem arbitrary.

2. Why is Help under Setup? Shouldn't it be easily accessible from every screen?

3. Why is Refresh Imported Media under Setup? Why is it not part of the media center?

4. Why are Video Conversions in the Media Center?

5. From an end user perspective, what's the real difference between a video I recorded in Sage vs a video I imported vs the video I download from Google? Aren't they all just videos? Why shouldn't I be able to get to them from the Media Center?

6. Why do I have to create a playlist to randomly play all the music in my Media Center?

I can probably think of more, but I'm sure somebody will have an equally reasonable response to my concerns; besides, its late, and I'm tired.

Just my .02

Stu
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  #9  
Old 02-06-2007, 10:05 PM
flavius flavius is offline
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The OOB sage UI is sub par - and always has been. I spent two years with BTV - because of that.

I think you lost business because of that.
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  #10  
Old 02-07-2007, 06:31 AM
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jds23....well said.

simply put-If sage wants to attract new users, an updated UI is needed. SageMC is great and without it i would not be using sage, period. The standards UI did not pass the WAF and I'm assuming I am not alone.
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  #11  
Old 02-07-2007, 08:47 AM
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motobarsteward motobarsteward is offline
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Unless the 'new' interface is identical in every way to MCE16x9 then I say stick with what we have. As has already been pointed out, the strenght of sage is its UI congurability. If we start changing the base UI then every other UI based on the origonal will get broken. Maybe the standard sage installer should also load the MCE 16x9 interface as well!
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  #12  
Old 02-07-2007, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motobarsteward
Unless the 'new' interface is identical in every way to MCE16x9 then I say stick with what we have. As has already been pointed out, the strenght of sage is its UI congurability. If we start changing the base UI then every other UI based on the origonal will get broken. Maybe the standard sage installer should also load the MCE 16x9 interface as well!
Although I certainly agree with the idea of choosing an interface as an option, I'm not certain that simple imitation of a competing product is the best road to take. I think many of us that have issues with the current UI want something different than other PVR's as well.
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  #13  
Old 02-07-2007, 10:45 AM
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nielm nielm is offline
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Just to give you an idea of what you are asking for here...
There are about 100,000 lines in the STV file defining about 32,000 user interface elements (studio widgets).

If we consider 1 user interface element=1 line of code (it could be considered to be more than that, some UI elements are simple, some are complex), and the average rate for designing, implementing, debugging and testing lines of code is 10 per day (studies vary from 5-20, but its the right order of magnitude), then the standard STV is the result of 15 man-years of work!

Ok, This is a back of the envelope figure, and completely inaccurate (show me a software metric that is!) but even if you divide it by 10, it is a lot and it does give an idea of how much work has gone into the UI, and how much work would be needed to do a complete redesign.
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  #14  
Old 02-07-2007, 10:53 AM
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jbarr jbarr is offline
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This is an interesting debate. Could the UI be improved/updated/enhanced? Absolutely! But please keep in mind that one key feature of SageTV (that got me to buy it) is that it is very configurable and customizable. With the various Plugins, I now have things configured how I want and like them. This is a huge departure from many other PC-based and standalone DVR implementations.

Elements like animated menus, glassy graphics, and cute sound effects are nice, and will attract many users, but it's really just eye candy. You see, to me, the "function" of SageTV is far more important than its "form". Obviously, you need to strike a balance between form and function, but coming from the ReplayTV and MOXI "standalone" DVR worlds, I actually find SageTV refreshing. Not because of its cool look (yes, I do believe the UI can be improved) but for what SageTV can do for the user. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I believe that SageTV is now what ReplayTV could have been if the company had actually just given its customers what they asked for. Further, the MOXI DVR's features are dictated by what the cable provider decides. SageTV has freed me to customize things to do what I want.

Admittedly, "out of the box" SageTV has some limitations and has an overall "plainness" in feel compared to other solutions, and this might put off some people. But then again, I believe (and some may debate this) that SageTV is realistically not curerntly geared to the "Windwos Media Center Masses" but to the "techie" who really wants to have a DVR system that does what he wants without the restrictions imposed by "the industry". Yes, improving the UI could certainly broaden the reach, and I too would really love to see some UI improvements or enhancements. In fact, I can easily see the current implementation simply with different/enhanced "skins" or "themes" that would slicken it up a bit and make it more pleaseing an appealing to use. But I would also caution simply making an update for sake of an update. Please don't do anything that would affect the function that makes SageTV what is is.
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  #15  
Old 02-07-2007, 11:03 AM
kpsmith kpsmith is offline
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My vote is we need an updated UI

Even if its just graphical updates it'll help. First impressions go a long way and I'm sure that many many people have not tried sage out because of the way it looks out. Many others have probably installed it and walked away from it based on first impressions.
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  #16  
Old 02-07-2007, 11:15 AM
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stanger89 stanger89 is offline
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Maybe a good excercise would be for someone to start a thread to collect specific things that could be changed.
Honestly, the "interface is old", "interface is layed out bad" comments don't really help anything, like some of us long time users, I'm sure the interface makes perfect sense to the developers, and as such, it's really hard to figure out how to do things better.
Not to pick on anyone, but Stu's post is a good example of both helpful suggestions and "useless" complaints:

Quote:
Originally Posted by sainswor99
1. The setup menu is overwhelming. Why are some options under Advanced, and others under Customize? What's the difference between Multimedia and Video/Audio? Some of the decisions seem arbitrary.
How should it be layed out? Under what heading should media library and recording directories be placed? What about playback/decoder configuration?

Just saying it's bad doesn't do much, how do the developers (who most likely find it perfectly logical) evaluate fixing it?

Quote:
2. Why is Help under Setup? Shouldn't it be easily accessible from every screen?
"Help should be accessible from any screen", that's a useful suggestiong, something the devs can evaluate easilly.

Quote:
3. Why is Refresh Imported Media under Setup? Why is it not part of the media center?
Again, good suggestion, something easy to evaluate for change.

Quote:
4. Why are Video Conversions in the Media Center?
Where would be a better place for it?

Quote:
5. From an end user perspective, what's the real difference between a video I recorded in Sage vs a video I imported vs the video I download from Google? Aren't they all just videos? Why shouldn't I be able to get to them from the Media Center?

6. Why do I have to create a playlist to randomly play all the music in my Media Center?

I can probably think of more, but I'm sure somebody will have an equally reasonable response to my concerns; besides, its late, and I'm tired.
I specifically didn't answer the questions, not because I'm trying to be a jerk, but because I've seen these threads before, and the questions get answered, and the issue is dropped (also because I think you understand how Sage works and were posing them more as rhetorical questions).

The end result is that the issues are never corrected, and we rehash this discussion over and over again. I think it would more valuable to try and get to the root of the confusing UI "quirks" and come up with suggestions/solutions, rather than just rehashing the same explanations again.

While I find the Sage UI perfectly acceptable and am quite content with it, I've seen enough comments about the UI to understand that it is a handicap for Sage and that updating the UI (while painful for us STVi devs) would probably be a good thing overall for Sage. Sadly, far to many people seem to write off Sage based simply on it's UI without ever knowing all the cool stuff under the hood.
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  #17  
Old 02-07-2007, 11:51 AM
stevech stevech is offline
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I vote for a new UI and add my opinion that the old UI is of/by/for nerds. That's a small market.

Just ask my family members who've accidentally selected STANDBY from the main menu in full screen mode and can't get back.
And so on.
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  #18  
Old 02-07-2007, 11:52 AM
ybrew ybrew is offline
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OK, not a sage newbie, but I've been happy with pretty much stock out of the box setup.

I am running the webbrowser but nothing else.

What's so good about SAGEMC and how easy is it to setup?
Is there a dummies guide for it?
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  #19  
Old 02-07-2007, 12:33 PM
matrix35 matrix35 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nielm
Just to give you an idea of what you are asking for here...
There are about 100,000 lines in the STV file defining about 32,000 user interface elements (studio widgets).
well maybe my original wording wasn't correct. I didn't mean to change all the widgets and controls in the UI.. maybe UI overhaul isn't what i really meant. I was only implying on the look and feel, i.e. eye candy.

Don't get me wrong SageMC is a positive step in regards of eye candy, but I believe things could be better. And I don't believe its SageMC's fault: Sage's core doesn't give STV developers tools to add 'spunk' into their theme... correct me if i'm wrong, but animations , fade-in fade-out are all done manually. right?

I was corrupted by the new look and feel of vista MCE. When you look at their screen, you feel the icons and selection bar are dynamic and living. The background is in continuous movement, no win3.1 icons, subtly rounded corners, nice transparencies, gradients and animations everywhere... in other words 'spunk'

I agree with everyone concerned with STVi functionnality, keep the functionnality and STVi compatibility as they are, but more can be done to add eye candy to the default STV and eye candy tools for STV developpers.

I'm not part of Sage developer team, and I don't know how much work is needed to add more eye candy. But I believe it'll add more appeal for first timers than DVB-S support especially for the MAC crowd.
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  #20  
Old 02-07-2007, 01:05 PM
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Goodspike Goodspike is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sainswor99
Depends on your perspective; as a relatively new user (6 months?), there's lots of things I find annoying about the basic UI. And, please, before you post "but SageMC", let me just say that SageMC is nice, but I've got other issues with it. I want to limit this discussion to the stock GUI.u
I'm not saying it's perfect, just that it doesn't need a major overhaul.

One thing I always complain about is that in full screen, there's no button to quit the program, only a button to sleep, which is pointless if you're using SageService.

It could use some tweaking, but that doesn't mean a major overhaul.
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