VDR User's Manual
Video Disk Recorder User's Manual
This is a somewhat edited version of the file MANUAL that comes with VDR.
Remote Control Keys
The following remote control keys are used to control the VDR operation. To keep the number of different keys as small as possible, several keys have different meanings in the various modes
|Up||Ch up||Crsr up||Crsr up||Crsr up||Crsr up||Crsr up||Play|
|Down||Ch down||Crsr down||Crsr down||Crsr down||Crsr down||Crsr down||Pause|
|Left||Prev group||-||Page up||Page up||Decrement||Page up||Search back|
|Right||Next group||-||Page down||Page down||Increment||Page down||Search forward|
|Ok||Ch display||Select||Switch||Edit||Accept||Play||Progress disp.|
|Menu||Menu on||Menu off||Menu off||Menu off||Menu off||Menu off||Menu on|
|Back||-||Menu off||VDR menu||VDR menu||Discard||VDR menu||Recordings menu|
|Yellow||-||Pause live||Delete||Delete||Delete||Delete||Skip +60s|
|0..9||Ch select||-||-||-||Numeric inp.||Exec cmd(2)||Editing|
In a numerical input field (like the response to a CAM enquiry) the keys 0..9 are used to enter the data, and the Left key can be used to delete the last entered digit.
If your remote control provides additional keys, they can be used for the following functions:
|Play||resume normal replay|
|Pause||pause replay or live video|
|Schedule||directly access the VDR main menu functions|
|User1...9||additional user defined keys for macro functions|
(defined in keymacros.conf)
Note that in normal viewing mode (no OSD active) the color keys can have user defined functionality, as configured in keymacros.conf. The default assignment is
Red Recordings menu Green Schedule menu Blue Timers menu
- The On/Off button in the Timers menu only works if sorting the timers has been enabled in the Setup menu. Otherwise the Blue button is used to mark a timer for moving.
- See Processing Recordings below.
The VDR menu can be called up with the Menu key of your remote control unit. The Up and Down keys are used to select a specific item. The Left and Right keys can be used to change options, and the numeric keys allow direct input of numeric data. The Ok key confirms any changes (or switches to a channel in the Channels menu). The Back key goes back one level in the menu structure, discarding any changes that might have been made in the current menu.
In the Timers menu, the current timer can be enabled or disabled with the Blue key (this is only possible if the Timers list is sorted, otherwise the Blue key is used to mark a timer in order to move it to another position in the list). Enabled timers are marked with >, timers that are currently recording are marked with #. If a timer has the First day set so that it will start recording only on the given date, it is marked with !. The Blue key toggles through the enabled and disabled states, and for repeating timers that are currently recording also a state that ends this recording prematurely and sets the First day date so that it will record again the next time the timer hits. Ok here opens the Edit timer menu.
Textual options, like channel names or recording file names, can be edited by pressing the Right button (which puts brackets around the current character as in [R]TL), selecting the desired character position with Left and Right, and changing the character with the Up and Down keys. Ok then confirms the changes. The Red key toggles between upper- and lowercase characters, while the Green key switches between insert and overwrite mode. The Yellow key deletes the current character (or the one to the right of the cursor in insert mode).
The Red, Green, Yellow and Blue buttons have special meanings in various menus and are listed at the bottom of the on-screen-display.
At any point in the menu system, pressing the Menu key again will immediately leave the menu system (discarding any pending changes).
The Schedule Menu
The Schedule menu implements VDR's Electronic Program Guide (EPG).
Select Schedule from the VDR menu and you get a list of all upcoming broadcasts on the current channel.
Up and Down can be used to scroll through this list, and pressing Ok displays detailed information about the selected programme. Pressing Ok again (or pressing Back) gets you back into the Schedule menu.
From the Schedule menu, the Green button opens the What's on now? menu, which displays all programmes that are currently running on all channels that broadcast their programme information on the current transponder, or from channels that have been current lately (VDR stores all information it gathers in an internal list). The more channels you have been switching through lately, the longer this list will be. The Yellow button opens the What's on next? menu, which lists all programmes that will start next on all channels.
Inside the What's on now/next? menus the Green button toggles between the Now and Next display, and the Yellow button takes you to the Schedule menu of the current channel in the list.
The Red button allows you to instantly program a timer to record the selected programme. You will get into the Edit Timer menu in which everything has already been filled in, and you can make any modifications you may want to apply. Note that the Start and Stop time are offset by the MarginStart and MarginStop parameters (see Setup) in order to make sure the entire programme is recorded in case it doesn't exactly adhere to its published start/stop times. Of course, no guarantee can be given that the default margin values will be sufficient, so in case this recording is really important you may want to add an extra margin ;-)
The Blue button can be pressed to switch to the channel with the selected programme.
The following markers in these menus give additional information about the status of the events:
t there is a timer defined for this event which covers only part of the event T there is a timer defined for this event which covers the entire event V this event has a VPS time that's different than its start time * this event is currently running (the validity of this marker depends on whether there is currently a DVB card receiving the transponder this channel is on).
Selecting a Channel
There are four ways to select a channel:
- With no On Screen Menu displayed press the Up or Down key to switch to the next higher or lower channel.
- Press the Menu button to bring up the On Screen Menu, select Channels and browse through the list with the Up and Down key; to switch to the selected channel press Ok.
- Directly type in the channel number with the numeric keys (0..9); if no key is pressed for about one second, the digits collected so far will define the channel number.
- From the Now, Next and Event menus (accessible through the Schedule menu) by pressing the Blue button.
Pressing the 0 key in normal viewing mode toggles between the current and the previous channel. A channel is considered previous if it has been selected for at least 3 seconds.
After switching to a different channel the channel number and name, as well as the current time are displayed at the top of the screen. If available, the current/next information will be displayed below this line. This display automatically goes away after about five seconds, or if any key is pressed. To bring up the channel display without switching channels you can press the Ok button.
Selecting language specific audio track
If the current channel provides different audio tracks (typically for different languages), the Green button in the VDR menu can be pressed to toggle between these. There can be two different audio PIDs per channel, assuming that typically a channel broadcasts a country specific language plus the movie's original soundtrack. Recordings made form such channels will contain both audio tracks, and when replaying the desired audio track can be selected the same way.
In this "audio" menu, can be selected with the cursor keys Left/Right the left or right audio channel of a stereo signal. This can be used meaningfully with two-channel audio, like descriptions of hearing film or multilingual transmissions.
Switching through channel groups
If the channels.conf file contains group separators you can switch through these groups by pressing the Left and Right key while no menu is being displayed. The channel display will show the name of the group, and if you press the Ok button while the group name is being displayed, you will switch to the first channel of that group.
Channel groups can be whatever you decide them to be. You can either group your channels by Bouquet, by language, genre or whatever your preferences may be.
You can start recording the current channel by pressing the Red button in the VDR menu. This will create a timer event named @channelname that starts at the current time and by default records for 3 hours. If you want to modify the recording time you need to edit the timer. Stop instant recording by pressing the Menu button and selecting Stop Recording, or by disabling the timer. The default priority, lifetime and recording time can be defined in the Setup/Recording menu.
Pausing live video
If you want to pause the live programme you are just watching, simply press Menu/Yellow or Pause on your remote control. VDR will start an instant recording of the current channel (just as if you had pressed Menu/Red or Record) and immediately begin replaying that recording. Replay will be put into pause mode, so you can attend to whatever it was that disturbed your live viewing session. Once you're back, simply press the Up or Play button and you'll be watching the current channel in time shift mode, right from the point where you left off. The instant recording VDR has started will use the parameters for Pause priority and Pause lifetime as defined in the Setup/Recording menu. Recording time will be the same as for any other instant recording, so by default it will record 3 hours (which should be enough for any normal broadcast).
Replaying a Recording
All recordings are listed in the Recordings menu. Browse through the list with the Up and Down button and press Ok (or the Red button) to start playback. New recordings are marked with an '*'. If the Setup parameter RecordingDirs has been set and there are recordings from repeating timers organized in a subdirectory structure, only the directory is displayed and it can be opened by pressing Ok (or the Red button). A directory entry displays the total number of recordings within that directory (and any possible subdirectory thereof) as well as the total number of new recordings (as opposed to a recording's entry, which displays the date and time of the recording).
If the setup parameter Use episode name was turned on when a recording took place, VDR adds the Episode name (which is usually the name of the episode in case of a series) to the recording's name. The Recordings menu then displays all recordings of a repeating timer in chronological order, since these are usually the individual episodes of a series, which you may want to view in the order in which they were broadcast.
Playback can be stopped via the VDR menu by selecting Stop replaying, or by pressing the Blue button outside the menu. A previously stopped playback session can be resumed by pressing the Blue button in the VDR menu.
The configuration file reccmds.conf can be used to define system commands that can be applied to the recording that is currently highlighted in the Recordings menu. The Red button in the Recordings menu opens the Recording commands menu if there are commands defined in the file reccmds.conf. Pressing one of the keys 1..9 in the Recordings menu executes the corresponding command from reccmds.conf (see also Executing system commands below).
The following keys have the listed meaning in Replay mode:
|Up||Resumes normal replay from any pause, forward or backward mode.|
|Down||Halts playback at the current position. Press again to continue playback.|
|Blue||Stops playback and stores the current position, so that playback can be resumed later at that point.|
|Left||Runs playback forward or backward at a higher speed; press again to resume normal speed. If in Pause mode, runs forward or backward at a slower speed; press again to return to pause mode. Pressing and holding down the button performs the function until the button is released again. If Multi Speed Mode has been enabled in the Setup menu, the function of these buttons changes in a way that gives you three fast and slow speeds, through which you can switch by pressing the respective button several times.|
|Red||Jump to a specific location. Enter the time you want to jump to and then press Left or Right to jump relative to the current position, Up to jump to an absolute position, and Down to jump and pause at an absolute position.|
|Green||Skips about 60 seconds back or forward. Pressing and holding down the button performs the function until the button is released again.|
|Ok||Brings up the replay progress display, which shows the date, time and title of the recording, a progress bar and the current and total time of the recording. Press Ok again to turn off the progress display.|
|Back||Stops replaying and brings up the Recordings menu. This can be used to easily delete a recording after watching it, or to switch to a different recording.|
Editing a Recording
While in Replay mode, the following keys can be used to manipulate editing marks
|0||Toggles an editing mark. If the mark indicator shows a red triangle, the current mark is deleted. Otherwise a new mark is set at the current position.|
|4, 6||Move an editing mark back and forward. You need to first jump to an editing mark for this to work.|
|7, 9||Jump back and forward between editing marks. Replay goes into still mode after jumping to a mark.|
|8||Positions replay at a point 3 seconds before the current or next start mark and starts replay.|
|2||Start the actual cutting process.|
Editing marks are represented by black, vertical lines in the progress display. A small black triangle at the top of the mark means that this is a start mark, and a triangle at the bottom means that this is an end mark. The cutting process will save all video data between start and end marks into a new file (the original recording remains untouched). The new file will have the same name as the original recording, preceeded with a '%' character (imagine the '%' somehow looking like a pair of scissors ;-). Red bars in the progress display indicate which video sequences will be saved by the cutting process.
The video sequences to be saved by the cutting process are determined by an even/odd algorithm. This means that every odd numbered editing mark (i.e. 1, 3, 5,...) represents a start mark, while every even numbered mark (2, 4, 6,...) is an end mark. Inserting or toggling a mark on or off automatically adjusts the sequence to the right side of that mark.
Use the keys described under Replay Control to position to, e.g., the beginning and end of commercial breaks and press the '0' key to set the necessary editing marks. After that you may want to use the '7' and '9' keys to jump to each mark and maybe use the '4' and '6' keys to fine tune them. Once all marks are in place, press '2' to start the actual cutting process, which will run as a background process. When replaying the edited version of the recording you can use the '8' key to jump to a point just before the next cut and have a look at the resulting sequence.
Currently editing marks can only be set at I-frames, which typically is every 12th frame. So editing can be done with a resolution of roughly half a second. A start mark marks the first frame of a resulting video sequence, and an end mark marks the last frame of that sequence.
An edited recording (indicated by the '%' character) will never be deleted automatically in case the disk runs full (no matter what lifetime it has).
Programming the Timer
Use the Timer menu to maintain your list of timer controlled recordings. The parameters in the Edit Timer menu have the following meanings
|Active||Defines whether the timer will be processed (set it to no to temporarily disable a timer).|
|Channel||The channel to be recorded (as defined in the Channels list). Any changes made in the Channels list (like renaming or reordering channels) will be automatically reflected in the timers settings.|
|Day||The day on which this timer shall start. This can be either a day of month (1..31), which allows programming a single shot timer that hits once and is deleted after it ends. Single shot timers can be programmed up to one month into the future. Another option here are repeating timers which are defined by listing the days of the week on which they shall record. For example, a timer that shall record every monday and wednesday would have a Day setting of M-W----.|
|Start||The start time of the timer in hh:mm as 24 hour (military) time.|
|Stop||The stop time of the timer.|
|VPS||Defines whether the timer shall use VPS (if available). If this option is set to yes, the start time must exactly match the programme's VPS time, otherwise nothing will be recorded. If VPS is used, the stop time has no real meaning. However, it must be different than the start time, and should correspond to the actual stop time of the programme, just in case there is no real VPS data available at the time of recording, so VDR has to fall back to normal timer recording.|
|Priority||The Priority (0..99) is used to decide which timer shall be started in case there are two or more timers with the exact same start time. The first timer in the list with the highest Priority will be used. This value is also stored with the recording and is later used to decide which recording to remove from disk in order to free space for a new recording. If the disk is full and a new recording needs more space, an existing recording with the lowest Priority (and which has exceeded its guaranteed Lifetime) will be removed. If all available DVB cards are currently occupied, a timer with a higher priority will interrupt the timer with the lowest priority in order to start recording.|
|Lifetime||The number of days (0..99) a recording made through this timer is guaranteed to remain on disk before it is automatically removed to free up space for a new recording. Note that setting this parameter to very high values for all recordings may soon fill up the entire disk and cause new recordings to fail due to low disk space. The special value 99 means that this recording will live forever, and a value of 0 means that this recording can be deleted any time if a recording with a higher priority needs disk space.|
|File||The name under which a recording created through this timer will be stored on disk (the actual name will also contain the date and time, so it is possible to have a repeating timer store all its recordings under the same name; they will be distinguishable by their date and time). If the file name contains the special character ~, the recording will be stored in a hierarchical directory structure. For instance, a file name of Sci-Fi~Star Trek~Voyager will result in a directory structure /video/Sci-Fi/Star_Trek/Voyager. The ~ character has been chosen for this since the file system's directory delimiter / may be part of a regular programme name. Repeating timers create recordings that contain the Episode name information from the EPG data in their file name. Typically (on tv stations that care about their viewers) this contains the episode title of a series. The episode name is appended to the timer's file name, separated by a ~ character, so that it results in all recordings of this timer being collected in a common subdirectory. If this field is left blank, the channel name will be used to form the name of the recording.|
|First day||The date of the first day when this timer shall start recording (only available for repeating timers).|
A timer can also be programmed by pressing the Red button on the Schedule, Now, Next or Event menus.
Select Setup from the VDR menu to enter the setup menu. From there you can modify the following system parameters (note that boolean values will be displayed as no and yes in the Setup menu, while in the setup file they are stored as '0' and '1', respectively):
OSD (On Screen Display)
|Language||English||Defines the language used to display the OSD texts.|
|Skin||ST:TNG Panels||Defines the skin used to display the OSD menus.|
|Theme||Default||Defines the theme to use with the current skin.|
|Left||54||The left offset of the OSD. The valid range is left=0...672|
|Top||45||The top offset of the OSD. The valid range is top=0...567.|
|Width||624||The width of the OSD. The valid range is width=480...672 and must be a multiple of 8|
|Height||486||The height of the OSD. The valid range is height=324...567.|
|Message time||1||The time (in seconds) how long an informational message shall be displayed on the OSD. The valid range is 1...60.|
|Use small font||1||Defines whether the small font shall be used.
|Channel info position||bottom||The position of the channel info window in the OSD (either 'bottom' or 'top').|
|Info on channel switch||yes||Turns the display of the current/next information on or off when switching the channel. The information is always displayed when pressing the Ok button in normal viewing mode.|
|Sort timers||yes||Turns sorting the timers in the Timers menu on/off. Timers are sorted by ascending start times, with the first one being the next timer that will start.|
|Recording directories||yes||Turns displaying the Recordings menu as a hierarchical directory structure on or off.|
EPG (Electronic Program Guide)
|EPG scan timeout||5||The time (in hours) of user inactivity after which the DVB card in a single card system starts scanning channels to keep the EPG up-to-date. A value of '0' completely turns off scanning on both single and multiple card systems.|
|EPG bugfix level||2||Some TV stations transmit weirdly formatted EPG data. VDR attempts to fix these bugs up to the given level:
Note that after changing the setting of this parameter any EPG data that has already been received will remain in its existing format - only newly received data will be fixed accordingly. Restart VDR if you want to make sure all data is fixed.
|EPG linger time||0||The time (in minutes) within which old EPG information shall still be displayed in the Schedule menu.|
|Set system time||no||Defines whether the system time will be set according to the time received from the DVB data stream. Note that this works only if VDR is running under a user id that has permisson to set the system time. You also need to set the option Use time from transponder to a channel that you trust to transmit a reliable time base (not all channels seem to have access to a correct time base...).|
|Use time from transponder||0||The frequency of the transponder that shall be used to set the system time. The Setup menu will offer the full list of channels, even if several of them are on the same transponder. Also, when selecting a channel, saving the Setup and opening the Setup menu again, there may be a different channel listed here, since the first one in channels.conf that is on the given transponder will be taken. Note that in order to set the system time from the transponder data the option Set system time must also be enabled.|
|Preferred languages||0||Some tv stations broadcast their EPG data in various different languages. This option allows you to define which language(s) you prefer in such cases. By default, or if none of the preferred languages is broadcast, any language will be accepted and the EPG data will be displayed in the first language received from the data stream. If this option is set to a non-zero value, the menu page will contain that many Preferred language options which allow you to select the individual preferred languages. If an actual EPG data record is received in different languages, the preferred languages are checked in the given order to decide which one to take.|
|Scan||The Red button in the Setup/EPG menu can be used to force an EPG scan on a single DVB card system. If pressed, and the primary DVB device is currently not recording or replaying, it will loop through the transponders once and then switch back to the original channel. Any user activity during the EPG scan will also stop the scan and bring back the original channel.|
|Primary DVB interface||1||Defines the primary DVB interface (i.e. the one that will display the menus and will react on input through the remote control). Valid values range from '1' to the number of installed DVB cards. If more than one DVB card is installed and a recording is to be started, the program will try to use a free DVB card that is different from the primary DVB interface, so that the viewer will be disturbed as little as possible.|
|Video format||4:3||The video format (or aspect ratio) of the tv set in use (4:3 or 16:9).|
|Update channels||4||Controls the automatic channel update function.
|SLOF||11700||The switching frequency (in MHz) between low and high LOF|
|Low LNB frequency||9750||The LNB's low and high local oscillator frequencies (in MHz, these have no meaning for DVB-C receivers)|
|High LNB frequency||10600|
|Use DiSEqC||no||Generally turns DiSEqC support on or off.|
|CICAM DVBn m||Defines the Conditional Access capabilities of the DVB card 'n'. Each DVB card can provide up to two CICAM methods ('m' = [1, 2]).
In the setup.conf file the value consists of the card number, followed by a list of decryption method values (defined in ca.conf). For instance CaCaps = 3 101 102 would define that card number 3 is able to decrypt Premiere World and the ORF.
|Margin at start||2||Defines how many minutes before the official start time of a broadcast VDR shall start recording, and how long after the official end time it shall stop recording. These margins are added automatically to timers that are created from the EPG data.|
|Margin at stop||10|
|Primary limit||0||The minimum priority a timer must have to be allowed to use the primary DVB interface, or to force another timer with higher priority to use the primary DVB interface. This is mainly useful for recordings that should take place only when there is nothing else to do, but should never keep the user from viewing stuff on the primary interface. On systems with only one DVB card, timers with a priority below PrimaryLimit will never execute.|
|Default priority||50||The default Priority and Lifetime values used when creating a new timer event. A Lifetime value of 99 means that this recording will never be deleted automatically.|
|Pause priority||10||The Priority and Lifetime values used when pausing live video.|
|Use episode name||yes||Repeating timers use the EPG's 'Episode name' information to create recording file names in a hierarchical structure (for instance to gather all episodes of a series in a common subdirectory). This parameter can be used to control this.
|Use VPS||0||Defines whether a timer that is created from an EPG entry (by pressing the Record (red) button in the Schedules or What's on now/next? menu) will automatically use VPS if the event it is created for has a VPS time.|
|VPS margin||120||Defines how many seconds before a VPS controlled timer is scheduled to start, VDR will make sure that one of the DVB devices is tuned to the transponder that timer shall record from. This is necessary for the Running Status information that is broadcast in the EPG data to be seen by VDR.|
|Mark instant recording||yes||Defines whether an instant recording (started by pressing the Red button in the VDR menu) will be marked with a '@' character to make it distinguishable from timer recordings in the Recordings menu.|
|Name instant recording||TITLE EPISODE||Defines how to name an instant recording. If the keywords TITLE and/or EPISODE are present, they will be replaced with the title and episode information from the EPG data at the time of recording (if that data is available). If this parameter is empty, the channel name will be used by default.|
|Instant rec. time||180||Defines the duration of an instant recording in minutes. Default is 180 minutes (3 hours). The stop time of an instant recording can be modified at any time by editing the respective timer in the Timers menu.|
|Record Dolby Digital||yes||Turns recording of the Dolby Digital audio channels on or off. This may be useful if you don't have the equipment to replay Dolby Digital audio and want to save disk space.|
|Max. video file size||2000||The maximum size of a single recorded video file in MB. The valid range is 100...2000. Default is 2000, but you may want to use smaller values if you are planning on archiving a recording to CD.|
|Split edited files||no||During the actual editing process VDR writes the result into files that may grow up to MaxVideoFileSize. If you prefer to have each marked sequence stored in a separate file (named 001.vdr, 002.vdr, ...) you can set this option to 'yes'.|
|Multi speed mode||no||Defines the function of the Left and Right keys in replay mode. If set to 'no', one speed will be used, while if set to 'yes' there will be three speeds for fast and slow search, respectively.|
|Show replay mode||no||Turns displaying the current replay mode on or off.|
|Resume ID||0||Defines an additional ID that can be used in a multi user environment, so that every user has his/her own resume files for each recording. The valid range is 0...99, with 0 resulting in a file named 'resume.vdr', and any other value resulting in 'resume.n.vdr'.|
|Min. event timeout||30||If the command line option '-s' has been set, VDR will automatically shutdown the computer if the next timer event is at least MinEventTimeout minutes in the future, and the user has been inactive for at least MinUserInactivity minutes. Setting MinUserInactivity to 0 disables the automatic shutdown, while still retaining the possibility to manually shutdown the computer.|
|Min. user inactivity||120|
|SVDRP timeout||300||The time (in seconds) of inactivity on an open SVDRP connection after which the connection is automatically closed. Default is 300, a value of 0 means no timeout.|
|Zap Timeout||3||The time (in seconds) until a channel counts as previous for switching with '0'|
Executing system commands
The VDR menu option Commands allows you to execute any system commands defined in the configuration file commands.conf (see vdr(5) for details). The Commands option will only be present in the VDR menu if a valid commands.conf file containing at least one command definition has been found at program start.
This feature can be used to do virtually anything, like checking for new mail, displaying the CPU temperature - you name it! All you need to do is enter the necessary command definition into commands.conf and implement the actual command that will be called. Such a command can typically be a shell script or a Perl program. Anything that command writes to stdout will be displayed on a result screen after executing the command. This screen will use a 'fixed' font so that you can generate formatted output. In order to avoid error messages going to stderr, command definitions should redirect stderr to stdout (see vdr(5)).