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Issues Scheduling Cablecast When Daylight Savings Time Changes

Time is an Illusion. Lunchtime Doubly So

This is embarrassing, but Cablecast has a long standing bug that seems to be impacting people more and more. This short story is that the database that powers Cablecast does not store date values in such a way that supports Daylight Savings Time. In short, scheduling programming during or over Daylight Savings Time changes is likely to create an unpredictable schedule and should be avoided. For best results, leave your schedule on default source from 1:00 am to 3:00 am during Daylight Savings Time changes, which this year occurs on March 12th and November 5th.

The Nitty Gritty Details

The DST bug is not new in Cablecast. In fact, Cablecast has never properly supported DST. Before versions 6.0, the user interface was rendered on the server meaning that all times were always rendered in server time. The server rendering of the user interface was not time zone aware; therefore, it would just show a normal looking 24 hour schedule even on days where DST would start or end.

In Cablecast 6.0, the schedule moved to being created in the users web browser. This included new libraries and user interface functions that unlike the Cablecast backend, were DST aware. This creates a problem because the UI can allow you to schedule things in the extra hour that is present in the fall when DST "falls back". The new user interface also doesn't show the missing hour when DST "springs forward" in March.

This is wonderful except for the fact that Cablecast's database is still ignorantly unaware of DST. In fact, it is actually unable to differentiate between non DST values and DST values. This leads to an issue where when the schedule submits values that are valid in DST. The database will store them and then return them as a different time because the database is unable to store the required level of precision for DST. This leads to scheduling something at 3:00 am but having it saved as 2:00 am in the database. There is currently no workaround for this except to leave the schedule on a live default source.

To re-iterate this bug is not new, it just exposes itself in a more frustrating way now that the Cablecast schedule is capable of understanding the difference between DST and non DST. As our customers continue to provide a better experience for their viewers by scheduling more important, original, and local content at all times of the day, this bug has made itself more apparent. We are sorry for not identifying this issue sooner and addressing it quicker. We plan to have it addressed for the fall of 2017 when Cablecast schedules all over the country will once again "fall back", except in Arizona.

 

 

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