×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

MythTV Scheduling Service Reveals Pricing

CowboyNeal posted more than 6 years ago | from the filling-a-void dept.

Television 236

An anonymous reader writes "A group of open source developers have been working behind the scenes to create a new service known as Schedules Direct to provide affordable scheduling data for North American users of MythTV. Today, they've announced an initial pricing plan of $15 for a 3 month block, non-recurring. Details are still fairly light at the moment, but there's a mailing list and a FAQ available on the site — one notable tidbit is that the developers 'expect pricing to drop by the end of the initial term. Our goal is $20/year.' This comes weeks before the planned shutdown of Zap2it Labs' Data Direct service mentioned previously."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

236 comments

$5/mo? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20178887)

Hmmm... that's what I pay for my TiVo.

That's FUCKING ridiculous !! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20179283)

That's FUCKING ridiculous to pay for free information. Who are these bastards and who the hell do they thing they are? Like I or anyone asshat is going to pay for shit like that.

Re:$5/mo? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20179485)

Who wants to pay for mine?

Re:$5/mo? (5, Insightful)

Apogee (134480) | more than 6 years ago | (#20180447)

That's right, it's what you pay for your TiVo.

But:

* Not everybody has access to the services TiVo provides (they're not operating world-wide, and alternatives at least around here (in Switzerland) are nowhere near $5/mo, but are bundled with digital TV)

* Some people prefer an open-source alternative, not only to the PVR itself, but also for the data source

* Screen scraping works. Sort of. Sometimes. As soon as your scraper gets popular, the web site will change its layout to foil scraping attempts, and you can start new. It's an arms race, unfortunately, and there's no real way out of it. The networks and content providers jealously guard their data, and only license it to redistributors.

* Schedules Direct is such a licensing partner. Instead of distributing the data in proprietary format, they use standard XML. That is good.

and, most important of all:

* If you had read TFA (or even the freaking post), they're aiming to drop the price. For now, they have no idea how popular their service will be, but want to make sure they don't create a financial sinkhole. The folks behind this are from the MythTV and XMLTV community, and I'd be surprised if they see this as a get rich quick scheme. They're too realistic for that.

Re:$5/mo? (2, Interesting)

dwandy (907337) | more than 6 years ago | (#20180695)

Screen scraping works. Sort of.
Has anybody ever thought about capturing/OCRing the digital guide itself? My cable-co provides a listing that I can cycle through ... could this be automated and 'scraped' (OCR'd) on a scheduled daily basis? This would always give you seven days of future listings...

Open source business, lol (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20178919)

I guarantee this outfit doesn't last more than a year. Has there ever been a successful OSS business? As if a bunch of commie hippies could run a company in this capitalist environment.

too much (1, Insightful)

tomz16 (992375) | more than 6 years ago | (#20178925)

That is WAY too much for an XML feed, and rivals the cost of DVR service from my cable co.

We've scraped screens before.

Re:too much (1)

allaunjsilverfox2 (882195) | more than 6 years ago | (#20178959)

I'd subscribe at the 20 dollar price point except that I get the info for my channels as part of my monthly bill. (I have dish network.) Other then that this is a great way for them to raise money.

Re:too much (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20178993)

Uh, yeah. That's about the same Comcast charges, and their PVR allows you to record encrypted HD and digital channels, something Myth cannot do.

Re:too much (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | more than 6 years ago | (#20180747)

That's about the same Comcast charges, and their PVR allows you to record encrypted HD and digital channels, something Myth cannot do.
Does it also have 2 TB of storage and let you watch you watch the recordings on any device or transfer them to your iPod? I can do that with MythTV. I couldn't care less about encrypted HD broadcasts or HDTV in general since I don't have an HDTV, but if I did I could receive the broadcast HD channels which is where 99% of the content I'd want to watch is. The only time I ever record any non-broadcast-network TV is during the summer when the networks are in reruns and even then it's just stuff like Food Network or HGTV... not a huge demand for HD there.

Re:too much (2, Interesting)

whmac33 (524094) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179027)

But I wonder how many people will take the time to scrape screens when a easy solution is available for a few bucks.

I'd certainly rather pay a couple bucks and try to keep up the screen scraping code with the guide data websites.

Re:too much (2, Funny)

nickthecook (960608) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179037)

They probably have to buy hardware too, which is why the cost is expected to drop in a few months.

I will happily pay this, considering that the alternative is to do all manual scheduling. I have no idea when or where the shows I watch are on, and that's the way I likes it!

But speaking of alternatives, how is that screen-scraper you're apparently releasing as open-source?

(And speaking of screen scraping, how's MythWeather working for you lately? ;) )

Re:too much (4, Insightful)

Bottlemaster (449635) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179043)

That is WAY too much for an XML feed, and rivals the cost of DVR service from my cable co.
There's a very important difference: your cable company doesn't give you an XML feed. Your cable company's DVR service gives you the information in some format that only your cable-company-approved DVR box can interpret.

Actually, your cable company probably gives you that even if you don't pay for the DVR service, so in effect, what they charge for their DVR "service" is rent on the DVR box.

Call me an informed consumer, but I'd much prefer Schedules Direct because it provides a real service in exchange for my money.

Re:too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20179117)

What, exactly, is your point? Your cable co's DVR service comes with the hardware. And how else (and for what reason) would you use this XML feed otherwise than .... programming your DVR? I'd read the licensing agreement if I were you.

Re:too much (4, Interesting)

Doogie5526 (737968) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179155)

Well, with an open system you can do extra stuff. You could set up a web frontend where you can schedule your service. You could have your box email or sms you if it finds something you may like (and respond if you wish to record it). I'm sure there's many other things that I haven't even thought of that are available on an open system (or if your closed system company decides to allow you to do this via their implimentation).

Re:too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20179201)

I see where you're coming from, but I just can't agree with you. My Myth box requires maintenance. Like a car. It's not seamless to set up, nor it is to maintain. Sure it's nice once it's up and running, but it's just not as smooth as the Cable Co's DVR. This is coming from a long-time Myth user. The only motivation behind my using it is that I detested paying the cable company the monthly fee for something that I could accomplish for free. However, now throw this into the mix, and now I have to pay for something that I also need to maintain (it used to be a trade-off). If the cable company DVR quits working, they send a guy with Merchant Marine tatoos and a tool belt out to my place with a new one, no questions asked. If my Myth box goes belly up (which happens on occasion - it's not the most stable piece of software), well, I've got my night planned. And I'm also paying for it.

Re:too much (1)

Doogie5526 (737968) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179407)

That's not a problem with something being open. That's a problem with unstable software / hardware. Unfortunately, that sometime can be associated with OSS (due to the nature of it). Hopefully, MythTV will evolve and become more stable. Just because this is an XML feed, doesn't mean you have to use MythTV (or every part of it). You use it with other DVR software/hardware, parts of MythTV that are reliable, or software you write yourself.

Re:too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20180013)

besides upgrades to the underlying distro (which i choose to do, and dont have to do to keep myth working) all the core functionality is 100% completely stable (i'm running the latest stable). granted earlier releases were not as stabe (been using since .16) but .20 is quite stable.

the only problems i've had is mythweather (which can be solved by going to svn) and the imdb perly which was solved by replacing what came out of the box with what was in svn.

in my experience, the myth software is rock solid, the FE doesnt crash, the BE doesnt crash, nothing.

Re:too much (2, Insightful)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179075)

I think as a permanent price point, $15 for three months is marginal. However, if they keep to their goal of reducing the costs to $20/year, it's not so bad.

I'm pretty sure I'll buy this service, partially because I'd like to avoid the hassles and problems of screen scraping, and partially because I'd like to support this project as I really appreciate them coming up with a solution, even if its not quite as ideal as before.

Anyway, its still 3x cheaper than TiVo.

Re:too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20180453)

This sounds great.
Love mythtv. Thks for the great work.
The only problems is with the listings.
If they manage to charge only 5$ a month for a reliable
service that is controlled by nice people, not by greedy luddites i will happily pay it.
Not that i need to. I live in a democracy and is not yet a slave to the man.

Commercials? (5, Interesting)

mitchskin (226035) | more than 6 years ago | (#20178939)

I'd be willing to pay to get a machine-readable schedule of shows. But I'd certainly be willing to pay more for a machine-readable record of exactly when the commercials were.

Not that that's likely to happen any time soon.

confused.... (3, Insightful)

Doppler00 (534739) | more than 6 years ago | (#20178957)

So you pay for satellite or cable TV, but the television networks are un-willing to provide a few bytes of information in the form of scheduling information for future programming? I mean, do they want people to pay for their content and watch advertisements or not? $5/month for the few kb worth of data you receive is ridiculous as far as I'm concerned. The TV networks should just get together and standardize on some television scheduling format and release the data themselves.

After all, it would be in the best interests of their customers, the viewers.

Re:confused.... (5, Insightful)

GenP (686381) | more than 6 years ago | (#20178983)

Wait, what? I thought the advertisers were the television networks' customers.

Re:confused.... (1)

counterfriction (934292) | more than 6 years ago | (#20180391)

money flows like this:
consumer->provider

who's paying whom here?

Re:confused.... (1)

cserindere (998816) | more than 6 years ago | (#20180775)

As far as I recall, I have never paid a television network. I use an antenna to receive their signal free over the air, so I don't even pay a cable company. The GP is correct. Advertisers pay the networks to gather viewers who will watch their advertisements. Viewers are not customers, they are the product. Programing is simply the bait with which the product is captured. The money flows from customer --> advertiser --> network.

Re:confused.... (2, Insightful)

Wesley Felter (138342) | more than 6 years ago | (#20178995)

So you pay for satellite or cable TV, but the television networks are un-willing to provide a few bytes of information in the form of scheduling information for future programming?

Yeah, I never understood this. My cable box can download guide data from the cable company, but a TiVo/MythTV/whatever can't? I'm not paying again for data that's already available on my cable system.

Re:confused.... (1)

wardk (3037) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179287)

everyone loves selling the same thing to the same person over and over and over.

especially bits. replicating those is pretty easy.

Re:confused.... (4, Insightful)

qbwiz (87077) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179017)

Well, if they're providing the data to someone who's using mythtv, it's quite possible that that person won't be watching the advertising.

Re:confused.... (2, Insightful)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179639)

Well, if they're providing the data to someone who's using mythtv, it's quite possible that that person won't be watching the advertising.

That's quite possible regardless of the hardware in use. I've still got a VHS VCR, and I skip all commercials. I've hardly watched any live TV for about 10 years now. MythTV makes this a bit more likely, but then again, so does any harddisc recorder available today.

Besides, the scheduling information isn't what makes it easy to skip commercials.

The networks normally present their schedule in an ad-laden format (at least TV guides over here are always full of ads). They probably don't want to lose that revenue.

Re:confused.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20179041)

They like to get income from multiple sources, which is why you pay for TV *and* watch advertisements.

Re:confused.... (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179123)

Well it's a bit more complicated than that. The television provider doesn't produce the shows (maybe a few somewhere, I dunno, but not really), they buy them from whatever the networks are that have the shows. Most of those companies don't even produce their own shows, they license them out. This all costs a LOT more money than you would be willing to pay for subscription-supported TV without commercials. Even the subscription channels can't do what they do without ads. Have you seen how many fucking product placements they have in an episode of Weeds?

Not that I watch the ads or anything, and the laws about the number of minutes of them per hour that can be shown should be tightened down again. But you shouldn't just think it's about greed.

Now comcast charging me $50+ for 6mbit when i could get several times that for half the price in South Korea, that's about greed!

Re:confused.... (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179191)

> Now comcast charging me $50+ for 6mbit when i could get several times that for half the price in South Korea, that's about greed!

Isn't that more about cost of living?

Re:confused.... (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179225)

No, you're entitled to cheap bandwidth. It's in the PATRIOT act. Read it.

Re:confused.... (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179319)

Eh? I live in China. What's the patriot act got to do with me?

Re:confused.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20179685)

filthy chink

Re:confused.... (1)

ericartman (955413) | more than 6 years ago | (#20180625)

everything, when they are done with us, guess who's next? We are gonna bring "freedom" to the world, or else!! damnit!

Cartman

Re:confused.... (1)

Doppler00 (534739) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179389)

It's more about a local cable company monopolies. There is literally no competition for anything above 6mbps where most people live, so why would prices go lower? Other companies should be allowed to run cable/fiber freely without government intervention. If they have to run it along poles and lease public land to do it, so be it.

I want my 100mbit/s connection now!

Re:confused.... (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179479)

Hell, there isn't even competition at 6mbit here! The DSL is REALLY slow and you can't get it unbundled from local phone service so the price is actually about the same as cable Internet. The performance isn't even that great, they charge a ridiculous amount of money for an install that they can't even get right the first time or show up to on time (and promise a "rebate" that never shows up), and their CSRs are dicks.

We need either one of two things (both would be best), either the government needs to step in and regulate the quality of servicing and pricing of the companies they are granting monopolies or they need to stop granting the monopolies so that there will be some competition.

Btw, for the idiots further up who were claiming that being able to get 30mbit in South Korea for $40, while I can't buy that speed at ANY price where I live, is about cost of living, then why the fuck is it that there are people with lines twice as fast as mine paying only $40/month who live in California? It might be more "overpriced" to live here (that is return on dollar), but it sure as hell isn't more expensive. There's no reason that Internet access should be.

Re:confused.... (0, Offtopic)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179929)

I get something 8-10 Mb/s for 31K won -- maybe $35, but that's the lowest speed available. Megapass Lite. I guess I could get something for $40, but why would I? Almost everything I download is limited by someone else's bandwidth. The max I've ever seen on a download is 1.2MB/s.

Re:confused.... (0, Offtopic)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 6 years ago | (#20180065)

1.2MB/s = 9.6 Mb/s, so that download is in fact limited by your 8-10 Mb/s connection.

Not that it means you should necessarily pay any more for more bandwitdth - unless you have some urgent NEED to get data faster than 1.2MB/s...

Re:confused.... (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 6 years ago | (#20180107)

Yeah. I don't actually know how fast my connection is rated. I figured it out from the max download. I could have 20Mb/s and not know it. So you're right, but I almost never get 10 in day-to-day use. Itonly happens when I'm downloading from universities in the country. Everywhere else is slower than that.

Re:confused.... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#20180325)

Almost everything I download is limited by someone else's bandwidth.
If this is the case, you could try downloading from multiple sources at once.

Re:confused.... (0, Offtopic)

Eivind (15695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20180033)

Doubt it. I pay aproximately $40 for 10mbit symetrical (i.e. 10mbit in both direction) if I paid $50, I'd get 25mbit/symetrical.

Norway. Costs of living aproximately 20-30% *higher* than in the US.

Re:confused.... (2, Interesting)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179063)

I mean, do they want people to pay for their content and watch advertisements or not?
As long as it is only a small number of people, they don't care if you don't watch the ads -- there is no way to gather statistics on whether you watch the ads or not, so it is ultimately the advertisers' problem. If a large number of people skip ads, then it would affect pricing for adverts which would make it the cable companies' problem.

So, bearing that in mind, the cable companies want you to pay them as much as possible. They would rather have you rent a DVR service from them for $10/month, than pay much less for programming information.

Re:confused.... (2, Insightful)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179135)

The viewers are not their customers. The advertisers are their customers. The viewers are their PRODUCT. (The shows are the bait.)
but your point still stands... the listings should be provided free, it would be good business. Breadcrumbs leading to the bait, etc.

Re:confused.... (2, Insightful)

ktappe (747125) | more than 6 years ago | (#20180487)

The viewers are not their customers. The advertisers are their customers. The viewers are their PRODUCT. (The shows are the bait.)
So under that analogy, fish have to pay for directions to the worm on the hook?

you are not their customer (1)

wall0159 (881759) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179277)

How many times must it be said? The viewer is the product, their time watching adverts is what is sold to the advertisers.

Re:confused.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20179635)

Their customer is not the viewer. Their customer is the advertiser, to whom they're providing an audience.

Re:confused.... (1)

galorin (837773) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179859)

After all, it would be in the best interests of their customers, the viewers.
The viewers are not the broadcaser's customers. The advertisers are. The viewers provide no revenue to the broadcasters, and if the viewers stop watching advertisements,there goes the incentive for the advertisers to be the customer of said broadcaster, so why make it easy to skip the adverts?

Re:confused.... (1)

garlicbready (846542) | more than 6 years ago | (#20180085)

I believe the data is standardised over the MPEG stream for digital broadcasts
usually they call it EPG (or Eletronic Programming Guide)
I think it's part of the DVB-T / DVB-C / DVB-S standard

you'd probably need a DVB-C or DVB-S Card to pick it up, but I'm not sure if it's possible for encrypted channels, without first decrypting

What I really want to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20179031)

What I really want to know is if they are going to be able to resist the urge to tinker with the feed in a way that requires upgrading to the latest version of MythTV in order to use it.


It was hard enough to set things up in the first place, I finally have things where I want them, and if I have to scrap it all and start over just to get a program feed I may have to cry...

Re:What I really want to know (1)

whmac33 (524094) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179057)

since it's XML older versions should just ignore any new tags added as long as they keep to the same basic format.

Re:What I really want to know (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20179185)

MythTV doesn't grab the data XMLTV dose and passes it to MythTV.

Re:What I really want to know (1)

forevermore (582201) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179375)

Well, considering that the data URL will have to change, there's not much that we (devs or schedules direct, of which I am both) can do about this.

5bux a month? (2, Interesting)

CrAlt (3208) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179045)

My cable co charges $7.50 a month for DVR service. I'll pay the extra $2.50 not to have to deal with building my own. And if it brakes they give me a new one.

Re:5bux a month? (3, Funny)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179175)

And if it brakes they give me a new one.

Naw, if it brakes you should probably take it to Meineke...

Re:5bux a month? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20179333)

And if it brakes they give me a new one.

Will they include a dictionary with it?

Site scraping works. (5, Interesting)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179055)

Whilst a pay service might work well the fact is that site scraping can be very effective and provide very good results.

Australian users have never really had guide data available to them, so we have basically relied on either IceTV [icetv.com.au], a (very well done) for-pay data source, or ozTivo [tuhs.org]. Recently Australian users have had a new resource, Shepherd [whuffy.com].

Shepherd is basically a bunch of scripts that are automatically updated and designed to read quite a few websites and data sources (including IceTV and ozTivo) and provides the best quality data I've seen so far. The set up is relatively easy, if you can get MythTv set up you can certainly get Shepherd set up, and doesn't require ongoing maintenance, once you get it working the script will keep itself up to date.

The TLDR version: Site Scraping can and does work well.

Re:Site scraping works. (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179173)

How many different cable providers does Australia have, though?

Where I live, if I drive for 20 minutes in any direction (less if I drive west), I am in a new zone.

Re:Site scraping works. (4, Informative)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179343)

Australia, as far as I know, only has one major cable provider (Foxtel) but that is only available in the capital cities. Outside capital cities there is one major commercial satellite television provider (Austar) a bunch of smaller commercial satellite providers (SelectTV etc.). There is also free to air satellite television (Aurora) that services all areas that are too remote to have proper over the air FTA, this map here [aurorasatellite.com.au] shows some areas where it is possible to get service, however there are in actual fact many more areas that are transmitted on Aurora for people who live in places that make it impossible to get the over the air broadcasts they would otherwise be able to. That about covers the bulk of the sat services available to most Australians. Next there are the FTA stations, these are basically broken up into capital city zones and regional zones, so there is a Melbourne schedule and a Regional Victoria schedule for example. This doesn't fully reflect the situation though because many regional broadcasters deviate slightly from the major network schedules, especially in the larger states such as Queensland or Western Australia. An example of this is that the Townsville/Mackay/Cairns television schedule differs slightly from the Rockhampton Schedule. So yes we have many many different providers and it is all a very complex system, and it is indeed possible to drive 20 minutes in one direction and have your television schedule ever so slightly screwed. Screen scraping will always be a game of cat and mouse, however a bunch of scripts like Shepherd will always work faster then the television sites can change their designs, and they would all have to make their script breaking changes simultaneously to even take down a persons data for even a day.

Re:Site scraping works. (1)

cserindere (998816) | more than 6 years ago | (#20180807)

You build it and I will try it out to see if it works and stays maintained. Until then, since I have neither the time nor the talent to create a screen scraper myself, I will pay for the data because I sure don't want to go without it.

Ok... (1)

sethstorm (512897) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179089)

This is supposed to be an improvement over TiVO and others by *how*?

Re:Ok... (1)

Nyeerrmm (940927) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179139)

Because it allows us to continue to use our MythTV systems without having to rely on screen-scraping.

You may like TiVo, it certainly looks nice, easy to use. But I enjoy having my Myth box because it can do so many more things, even if it is an order of magnitude more difficult to set up (but not necessarily to use). Same as I appreciate OS-X, but I think I'll stick with linux not for the price and commodity hardware, but for the customizability and the ability to tinker. Same reason as I bought my Buffalo router recently to reflash to Open-WRT, its harder but its interesting and inherently more powerful than the stock D-link I used before.

So, this isn't to try and start a conflict, just to explain that I enjoy my mythbox, and I appreciate a new service to keep it working well. You may enjoy your TiVo, as well you should, I just don't think its for me right now, and I'm sure others feel the same.

Re:Ok... (1)

martinde (137088) | more than 6 years ago | (#20180783)

The list is pretty big... You control the hardware, so you can put as much disk space in it as you like. There is automatic commercial detection and skipping. As of 0.20, there is support for archiving shows to DVD. That's just the beginning of the list, mythtv does a lot more than just TV afterall.

Interesting app but a "not so simple" one! (-1, Troll)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179101)

MythTV, though a very ambitious and interesting application, is quite difficult to get installed and working. I gave up! But I will try again next year when I have different hardware.

Why on earth won't Linux developers create a script of some sort that analyzes the system and takes care of ALL dependencies? MythTV from its screenshots looks wonderful and fully capable...getting it installed and remaining sane afterwards is almost impossible at least in my opinion.

The other day, while installing an app from a tarball I failed at the make command. I then installed what make wanted but got some warning in the process. I did not give it much thought. It was just a warning. Then I got the shock of my life...my Joomla powered site "hanged" followed by the keyboard and mouse becoming unresponsive. On rebooting, I could not get into run level 3!

I am not so much of a Joe User after all all the versions I installed were >= to versions that were required for a trouble free system.

Guys, in the Linux world, we still have a long way to go. As mentioned above about MythTV, I'll try again next year.

Re:Interesting app but a "not so simple" one! (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179131)

Check out knoppmyth. I set it up a little over a year ago, and all I had to do was tweak the remote buttons.

Re:Interesting app but a "not so simple" one! (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179141)

You could use a modern distro that has package management facilities. Then it's a matter of one command or a few clicks (if you prefer GUI)

Re:Interesting app but a "not so simple" one! (1, Redundant)

shermozle (126249) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179197)

Wait a second, you're complaining that it's not so easy to install, but you're compiling it from source? WTF? Install it from binary packages ferkrissakes!

The Debian and Ubuntu packages Just Work for me.

Re:Interesting app but a "not so simple" one! (2, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179229)

Myth isn't an application, it's an appliance operating system that happens to borrow a lot of Linux code. Seriously. Unless you like pain, don't screw around with installing it, just get one of the "Myth-based appliance" distros (Knoppmyth or the Red Hat one if you swing that way), and dedicate a box to it. You'll be happier.

Re:Interesting app but a "not so simple" one! (1)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179657)

Why do we keep getting comments like these?

We HAVE software to manage all dependancies, they are called package managers and almost every distro has one. You can use apt, portage, yum or whatever and I guarentee that anything that is stable and complete enough for "Joe User" to be bothered using is in there. MythTV for example is in at least Debian, Ubuntu universe, Gentoo and I'd confidently conjecture most of the other ones too. You either type the name of the piece of software, or click on something in your graphical package manager and you get it installed, simple. Face it, package managers are the standard way software is installed in Linux, if your doing it any other way either you're using alpha software that Mr J User should not use, you don't know how to use a package manager (point and click nowdays), you're an expert with special requirements or you've got one of those stupid hangups that only geeks seem to get.

Joe User CAN install MythTV, the fact that you can't, really doesn't reflect on anything but yourself.

Re:Interesting app but a "not so simple" one! (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179975)

Two words, man ... Myth Buntu. Oh, wait, it's just one ... Mythbuntu. Either that or install ubuntu-minimal then apt-get install the frontend and / or backend.

MOD PARENT DOWN (1)

imroy (755) | more than 6 years ago | (#20180047)

Please mod the parent down. If it's not a troll, it sure sounds like one.

First it appeals to "Linux developers" as if "Linux" was developed by one company or group. Then it goes on to complain about compiling stuff from source! Hey, we've had these things called package managers for over a decade now. Debian has APT, there's YUM and a few others for various distros. If you want to compile stuff from source instead of just installing some binary packages [debian-multimedia.org], that's your problem. Don't go blaming the mythical "Linux developers" for your own stupid mistakes.

Re:Interesting app but a "not so simple" one! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20180419)

"Why on earth won't Linux developers create a script of some sort that analyzes the system and takes care of ALL dependencies? MythTV from its screenshots looks wonderful and fully capable...getting it installed and remaining sane afterwards is almost impossible at least in my opinion."

Because thats the boring and hard part of application development and often the difference between hobby work and professional applications. The later ones comes with a price tag, but also with proper installation, documentation and support other then an IRC channel kicking you for beeing annoying.

Gentlemen[1], start your screen scrapers (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20179153)

But before you do, let me just fill you in on how the Australian experience went, and why paying may not be such a bad thing.

Historically, there's been no XMLTV guide data source for Australians. So there have been a litany of screen scrapers that downloaded guide web pages, massaged them into XMLTV format, and passed them on to MythTV and friends.

The only problem is, the program guides are controlled by the TV networks, and the TV networks hate us. Ouch, but true. They've made the leap of logic that, if we had program guide data on our DVRs, we can skip the commercials.[2] So they've been arguing that they own the copyright to the guide data[3] and any unauthorised use of it (i.e. screen scraping) is a breach of their terms.

The only commercial company to publish guide data for DVRs is IceTV [icetv.com.au] and they've been a lawsuit magnet from abovementioned TV networks. Not many people would pay a monthly subscription to something that could be killed at any time.

Meanwhile, in screen scraping land, it's been a game of cat-and-mouse. Find a web site that publishes guide data. Write a screen scraper (or wait for someone else to). In a few months, notice that nothing's been scheduled for a few days - the screen scraper has broken because they've (intentionally) changed the format to deter this. Find another web site. Repeat.

They did all sorts of things to deter us. Obfuscation through JavaScript. Only allowing n page views per hour. After they converted all the guide details to GIFs, we gave up. Most people have moved to IceTV or ozTiVo [tuhs.org].

The ozTiVo guide is an interesting idea. It's essentially a wiki that people manually fill in with guide data. Then you can use its XMLTV interface to get guide data out. You're reliant on other people to fill it in, and (due to above copyright issue in Australia) a lot of program details are generic or omitted. But it's workable. This is a model which other people may be interested in setting up.

Fortunately for IceTV, in the last few days, it won its court case [smh.com.au] and is now happily legit.

So, to sum up, we in Australia are actually happy to pay for quality guide data. Because we know the alternatives. If someone wants to set up a screen scraper, good luck to you - we fought the good fight and lost, but maybe you won't.

--

[1] Ladies too!
[2] No, I don't know how they came up with that either.
[3] In Australia, this has historically been a grey area.

Re:Gentlemen[1], start your screen scrapers (3, Informative)

Frogbert (589961) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179409)

The situation is quite a bit better now, as I said my above post Shepherd [whuffy.com] combines a number of scrapers together and as such is very resilient. It gets data from multiple sources so even if one or two change the way they do things you still get data, some scripts are even starting to use TOR now to get around sites refresh limits.

Re:Gentlemen[1], start your screen scrapers (1)

ricebowl (999467) | more than 6 years ago | (#20180755)

[T]hey've been arguing that they own the copyright to the guide data

The data itself, i.e. the XML feeds, or just the schedule? I can't see the legality of either of those claims, personally (though of course this comes with the obligatory IANAL, or, indeed, even Australian). As I understand it one cannot copyright facts (the schedule itself) so how they could copyright either the feeds or the schedule is beyond me.

Why use TV (1)

Zangief (461457) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179267)

When you have youtube! [youtube.com]

Re:Why use TV (1)

Other1 (154501) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179547)

because youtube looks like ass...

I wonder how many people would pay $5 for youtube if it were available with better encoding/higher resolutions

Re:Why use TV (1)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179883)

YouTube looks like ass (as already mentioned).
Some of the content on YouTube is good. Most of it is crap (just like TV). People have favorite TV shows, and will watch them when they are on. There is no equivalent for YouTube. You can watch a good clip several times, but after that, it's back to hunting for something good.
You can't watch YouTube from the couch. Every couple of minutes, you have to go find another video.

Solution: An old ReplayTV = Free data (3, Interesting)

maybenot (1036554) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179391)

I finally gave up on MythTV. Just never worked quite right. I bought a ReplayTV 3000 (similar to tivo) used for $10, popped a 80gig i had lying around, downloaded the replay TV software to the new hard drive and booted it up. Works great and the wife loves it. To download the TV shows it hooks into the phone line, in this case Vonage and dials up a local number to download the show info / tvguide. All the replay 1000, 2000, and 3000 devices all have a lifetime subscription. When I got it running,, the messagges inbox had mail from 1999 the lasttime it was used so im not worried about replaytv shutting me off. If they did, i paid $10 for the unit. Big whoop. MythFV was fun, but this old unit always works,, gets free lisitings and i dont have to mess with the software.

Makes BeyondTV an economical alternative (4, Interesting)

steve-san (550197) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179463)

If you're willing to use a Windows box for DVR, I'll eagerly suggest BeyondTV.

I had tried all the free alternatives -- MythTV, GB-PVR, Mediaportal... none of them were particularly friendly to work with or stable, for that matter. And what good is a DVR if it crashes before it can record your shows??

IMO, the Zap2ItLabs discontinuation was one of the best sales pitches for BeyondTV. One-time software purchase, and no subscription fees. It works flawlessly with my HDHomeRun dual tuner (also highly recommended), and even came with a "free" RF remote (looks like they're still running that special at snapstream.com).

Yeah, there's no capturing encrypted signals, but I have the MOST basic cable package anyway, just to get all the major networks, plus Discovery & a few others.
Many folks (even Comcast's cable monkeys) don't realize that the cableco's must (according to FCC) transmit the rock-bottom basic cable package *in the clear* (so no special cable box is needed); you get this digital signal when you order the most basic analog package. So for 18 bucks a month, I can receive/record all the major network digital HD goodness I can stand, with commercial skipping in BeyondTV. Place shifting? No problem. It's my MPEG2 file...

My one little way of giving the Finger To The Man.

To those complaining about installing MythTV (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179525)

and you're compiling from source... don't. Don't compile from source then complain that installing it is difficult. Use a modern distro and install via packaged binaries - which can usually be done with one command (or a few clicks).

Re:To those complaining about installing MythTV (2, Interesting)

nagora (177841) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179989)

and you're compiling from source... don't.

Actually, installing from source under Gentoo is probably the single easiest way to install MythTV. I've had less trouble with Gentoo than with binary installs, although they were a year or two ago now so things might have picked up.

TWW

This sounds good, but I'm lazy (3, Interesting)

davmoo (63521) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179599)

I really do hope this succeeds.

My biggest problem with the MythTV route was reliable scheduling information. I don't want to have to bother with the tedium of tweaking screen scraper scripts every other day. I gave up on the homemade TV box a long time ago and went with a TiVo. I bought in on one of their deals that with a three year commitment, the box was free. I like the TiVo method...tell it which programs I want at the start of the season, and then I can forget about it.

If there were a *reliable* alternative for scheduling information that I didn't have to tweak every time I turned around, even if there is a fee, I'd be tempted to try MythTV again.

But until then, my TiVo is my best friend.

Re:This sounds good, but I'm lazy (1)

whoop (194) | more than 6 years ago | (#20180521)

Zap2It has provided very good listing for the last 3 years, at least for those in the US. You could have been enjoying the benefits of MythTV for all this time.

I got a Tivo when they first came out, approximately December 1998. I haven't watched live TV or commercials since. That first generation Tivo kept chugging along without skipping a beat. I tried MythTV a couple years ago, and it's been a wonderful run. I used the KnoppMyth distribution. It provides a very easy setup for a dedicated box. In fact, now it's far easier than back when I first started using it. There is a lot more hardware auto-detected and everything. And not once did I ever have to tweak any scripts to get the TV guide data.

I'm sure these guys will have the data in a format that's just as easy to automatically download and import into Myth and we'll be able to continue working with ease. Don't be so scared. Give Myth a good try, it's light years more fun than Tivo.

Re:This sounds good, but I'm lazy (1)

davmoo (63521) | more than 6 years ago | (#20180609)

You know you're addicted to TiVo or MythTV when you go to the house of a non-enlightened friend, and during a commercial you keep looking for the "skip" button, forgetting that its live TV.

I can't think of a single instance in my own house where I've watched live TV in the last three years, with the exception of NASA and an occasional spur-of-the-moment PBS show.

And I do intend to give MythTV another look this winter. Although I *love* my TiVo, its obvious that for their newer machines they are not interested in supporting their customers who use satellite receivers instead of cable. From what I can tell, Series 3 boxes don't even have the option of satellite. So I'm hoping this new schedule service also covers satellite.

Meh... it misses the point. At least for me. (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179679)

I was going to choose mythtv over Tivo so that I _wouldn't_ have to deal with any additional ongoing charges over and above my regular cable bill. My cable company already has listings on its website... I wonder how difficult it would be to make changes to mythtv so that it could scrape my cable providers tv listings.

Re:Meh... it misses the point. At least for me. (1)

Baumi (148744) | more than 6 years ago | (#20180301)

I wonder how difficult it would be to make changes to mythtv so that it could scrape my cable providers tv listings.
You wouldn't need to make any changes to mythtv - all you'd need to do is change one of the existing xmltv screen scrapers to do just that. The xmltv scraper is a seperate tool that's not part of mythtv, so you wouldn't even need to update it when mythtv changes.

The downside: You'd need to update it whenever you cable company changes its web site. No such hassle with the paid service.

More than PVRs (1)

AndrewNeo (979708) | more than 6 years ago | (#20179709)

Now, I use Vista Media Center (I know, I know, and it's not the point of this post) for watching TV on my Hauppage NTSC/ATSC dual-tuner, so I don't have to worry about losing my guide data for that. However, I use Zap2It's data for other purposes. Namely, I have an e-mail bot written so where if you send it a message (in my case, usually a text message) with the channel number and a time, it will tell you which show is on. Some times when I'm out and don't have access to a TV guide (like out at dinner) and I want to know when a show is on, I can guess a few random times. Unfortunately, with the loss of Zap2It's data, XMLTV is rather useless for me and I'll either be unable to use my tool or have to find a new data source.

EIT FTW! (1)

drb_chimaera (879110) | more than 6 years ago | (#20180281)

I've actually just finished building a MythTV box on Ubuntu and for the most part found it *very* simple to install and configure. Except for the TV card, which was a bit of an arse but I knew that going in but deemed it worthwhile (and besides, the proceedure was well documented) (Hauppauge PCI dual DVB-T tuner) :)

Thankfully here in the UK we have a few options as far as guide data goes - including EIT (Event Information Table) data embedded in the freeview transport streams themselves gives pretty complete data for 7 days into the future - combine that with Myth's smart scheduling capabilities for series-link and MythWeb for remote access and its pretty much covered

Getting Myth working was a lot more work than getting Windows MCE going was, but the outcome is *infinitely* more satisfying - in terms of capabilits and functionality it's lightyears ahead - as well as TV PVR I use it as a DVD jukebox and playing all manner of downloaded videos - it quite simply rocks.

Thank God for the BBC! (4, Informative)

HuskyDog (143220) | more than 6 years ago | (#20180287)

Here in the UK we don't have any of these problems of TV listing availability and complicated html parsing scripts which break every week. The BBC have a special web page just for XMLTV downloads [radiotimes.com], and it doesn't just cover BBC channels, but practically every channel you can receive in the UK (check the channels.dat file for a full list). The only restriction is that the data can only be used for private non-commercial purposes.

Of course, most of this is probably being paid for from our TV license fees which I know many Americans regard as being a terrible communist plot (some funding may come from the cover price of the Radio Times magazine).

Re:Thank God for the BBC! (1)

LordSnooty (853791) | more than 6 years ago | (#20180531)

Radio Times is published by the commercial arm and so shouldn't receive any licence fee money. The reason why they make this data available? They're just nice. Also they like to involve developers wherever they can. http://backstage.bbc.co.uk/ [bbc.co.uk]

I'll give it a shot (4, Insightful)

DeanFox (729620) | more than 6 years ago | (#20180769)


I'll sign up for the $15. Their announcement was honest and direct. They expect a $20 a year cost but they need to "over-charge" the first quarter to help guarantee coverage of their start-up costs. I understand that. I've started a business before. It's a gamble. It's a gamble for me too to support them.

For me, it's only $15 to "see what will happen" and to support the community. If the cost drops to $20 a year like they anticipate I'll gladly pay a reliable data feed. 5 cents a day to "stick-it" to the cable companies and the advertisers and at the same time supporting the OSS community? It's a no brainer.

If the costs stay at $5 a month then I'll need to re-think my cable needs. But still, if I'm going to pay $5 for Tivo with commercials, why not $5 for MythTV without commercials? Either way, I'll pay the $15 to get started and to see what happens. I've spent that much buying a friend and I coffee at Starbucks. I'll continue to support them if the cost drops to $20 a year. That's cheep for the return I'm getting.

-[d]-
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...