I’ve noticed a pattern over time and I’m seeing more of it now, in Shuffle Play.
First, I’m wondering if Infused does what I would think for Shuffle Play: Get a random number from the OS random number generator and use that to pick which file, from a list of files, it’ll play next. I don’t know if Shuffle Play keeps track of what has been played to avoid playing it for a while.
I am often playing from the TV Show section of my library. I’ve ripped a number of older TV shows off the DVDs (yes, DVDs I legitimately bought) onto my media server. While I usually leave these on for what I call BGTV (background TV) while I’m working, I do sometimes notice what’s playing. When I started to see what I thought maybe patterns, I started looking more closely. For instance, when I Shuffle Play a show with 3-5 seasons, it looks like a lot of episodes from the last season tend to play a lot.
Recently I set up a Saturday Morning collection, with a folder filled with the shows I used to see as a kid on Saturday mornings - along with a few other animated shows. Most of these shows lasted just one season. I have 35 folders, one per show, in my collection and I’ve put it on for 3 Saturday mornings now - leaving it on for 3-4 hours each Saturday morning. I started by leaving it just playing without doing anything. But then I noticed, even on the first day I did this, that some shows would play 3 or more episodes in one session. After the 2nd episode of a show, I’d FF through to skip the 3rd one.
So although I may have only played from this list for 12 hours, there are many times an episode has shown up that I’ve fast forwarded through or skipped because between 1-4 episodes of that show have already shown up in that session. Now, after 12 hours or so of Shuffle Playing the collection directory (and that includes videos I’ve just skipped when they came up), out of 35 different folders, it has only played videos from 7 folders. 3 of those folders are within the last 1/3 or 1/4 or so of the list.
While I’m not writing down specifically which shows are showing up, this goes along with my observation that when I Shuffle Play a particular series, it often tends to play more videos from the last season than giving some kind of more even distribution.
I know that “random” often results in two shows from the same folder (out of 35 folders) following each other, but when it’s 35 folders, most with roughly the same number of episodes in them (15-22 or so), and I get episodes from the same range of 22 files playing 3 times in a row and 4 times out of 5 (it played one from a folder, went to another folder, then back for the 3-in-row), it makes me wonder if the RNG is really random, especially when it keeps pulling from the same 7 out of 35 folders over and over.
EDIT/ADDENDUM: I’m working out numbers now. I don’t have final figures, but this pretty much backs up that something is wrong and Shuffle Play is NOT truly random. I forgot that I have some folders with shows like The Flintstones and Looney Tunes. Looney Tunes, itself, is about 25% of my collection. The Flintstones is 10%. Together these two make up 1/3 of the collection, yet not one file from either has been played. When I restarted today, it did include an eighth directory, but still sticks with the same directories. Those 8 directories make up 12.5% of my collection. I’ve tried playing and FF’ing through a number of episodes today to see what I’d get. By now I have to have played at least 50 different files and ALL of those 50 are in 12.5% of the collection.
This is NOT random. I don’t know if the issue is in how Infuse handles random numbers in Shuffle Play or if it’s a problem with the TVOS RNG, but something is wrong.
I’m still experimenting. I’m going to go though and play a number of files, tracking what is played,