At the risk of sounding like an infomercial…”Has this ever happened to you?” You set your Comcast DVR to record only new episodes of your favorite TV series, but it winds up recording every…single…showing, including all repeats? The problem is especially bad with a show like Project Runway, which Bravo seems to run on a continuous loop, clogging my DVR and requiring constant deleting. So I called Comcast to find out what the problem is. Turns out there are two main reasons, and neither of them are really excusable.
The first concerns the cable provider’s Interactive Programming Guide (IPG), the TV listing you interact with as a Comcast subscriber. It’s called the i-Guide and it was developed by Comcast and Gemstar-TV Guide.
Networks provide all the data about each show for the i-Guide to Gemstar-TV Guide — things like episode synopses and whether each airing is new or a repeat. But sometimes networks forget to provide this information, which means your DVR can’t differentiate between what’s new and what’s old. “[The networks] are not malicious, not irresponsible, they just haven’t provided this data historically,” Todd Walker, Comcast senior vice president of product management, told me. Walker said that when a network is alerted to the missing data, they are generally quick to fix it. (A Bravo spokesperson assured me that it provides all the correct data to its cable partners.)