Padding is the term used to describe the amount of extra recording time the PVR automatically adds to your timer at the beginning (pre-padding) and end (post-padding). You can use padding to make sure that you record the whole program in case it starts early or finishes later than the advertised time on the EPG when the timer was created.

To set the global padding options, go to Menu->Settings->Recording, and set Timer Record Padding [Front] (i.e. pre-padding) and [Rear] (i.e. post-padding).

There is an order of priority when it comes to timers and their padding. It goes like this1

  1. The actual time and duration of the timer (which does not include padding)
  2. The timer's pre-padding (taken from the global pre-padding setting)
  3. The timer's post-padding (taken from the global post-padding setting)

or, in other words…
…the post-padding is considered the least important of the three, and will be sacrificed if it clashes with the pre-padding of another timer, or the 'base' timer itself, and…
…the pre-padding will be sacrificed if it clashes with the 'base' timer.

Considering that shows almost never start early, and shows often run late, and the priorities I've given above, I would recommend you have only a 1 minute pre-padding and a very generous post-padding (say 30 mins), because the generous post padding will be sacrificed if it clashes with another timer (or its pre-padding) commencing. You don't want to miss the end of a show, so make sure you only put a 1 minute pre-padding. That's my advice for Topfield PVRs. I'm sure other people will have other ideas.

The amount of pre- padding depends on the likelihood of a program starting early. Normally this is highly unlikely. However after 11.00 pm at night through to about 7.00 am in the morning I have found 15 minutes to be the absolute minimum.

Padding and SmartEPG TMS

If you use SmartEPG TMS TAP to manage your recordings, the system padding is set to zero for pre- and post- padding. You can separately set the pre- and post padding for each search item (you are not limited to 30 minutes). So you can have a few minutes for programs on networks that provide reliable EPG data (usually SBS and ABC) and up to say an hour for commercial networks.

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