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No More TV Listings For MythTV Users

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the elephino-what's-on dept.

Television 346

Ryan Brown writes "As of September 1, the free XML TV guide service at zap2it labs has shut its doors due to misuse issues, as well as internal business issues. Now that Linux users, and most PVR users for that matter, are nearing the end of their last fetched TV guide, what free alternatives exist that can replace this much-needed service?"

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346 comments

That's easy (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532231)

I'll just pay for the service, and create a simple proxy script that grabs the crap through my subscription for however many friends I have that want to use it.

Re:That's easy (4, Informative)

S.O.B. (136083) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532401)

I'll just pay for the service, and create a simple proxy script that grabs the crap through my subscription for however many friends I have that want to use it.

Exactly the attitude that forced Zap2It to stop offering the free service.

In the case of Zap2It there were people reselling the free listings. In your case you want to provide multiple subscriptions and only pay for one. I hope your friends (both of them) appreciate your theft.

Re:That's easy (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532445)

So you're saying Zap2It stopped offering their free service because not enough people were using it?

Meh (2, Interesting)

biafra (4283) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532233)

Not only MythTV users, but people like me using a Replay TV in countries such as Canada are now SOL as well. This sucks, I hope a alternative I can pay for shows up soon.

www.schedulesdirect.org (5, Informative)

stoneymonster (668767) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532265)

It's subscription, run by the mythtv dev's. Right now it's $15 for 3mos, but they are hoping to change that to $20/yr if they get enough sign-ups.

Re:www.schedulesdirect.org (1)

biafra (4283) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532337)

Awesome, thank you! I don't mind $5/mo for listings.

Watch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532235)

TV

Can't. too many ... Issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532967)


I have an issue with the issue made of the issues of chicagoland's tribune issue of whatever issue is at hand. In the next issue of TV Guide, this issue may be an issue. One things is certain. I won't make an issue of the issue.

Incorrect (5, Informative)

FST (766202) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532247)

FTFA:

Also, the Zap2it TV Listings are not being shut down -- there has been some confusion about this in comments on other message boards.
Submitter: did you even bother to read TFA (which is around 3 sentences, at that)?

Re:Incorrect (1)

Deltaspectre (796409) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532349)

Not even that, but Zap2it is still providing service... I assume until your normal account expires and not as of Sept 1.

Re:Incorrect (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 6 years ago | (#20533087)

They provided a couple weeks of data so there's still a week in the database.

Yup, transferring service is on the "to do" list for a lot of people this week, I imagine.

Re:Incorrect (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532399)

Zap2it LABS is shutting down their free XML listing service. Zap2it TV listings are a different service, and something completely different. Just like reading TFA and comprehending it.

Schedules Direct? (5, Informative)

Elgonn (921934) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532251)

http://www.schedulesdirect.org/ [schedulesdirect.org]

Re:Schedules Direct? (0, Troll)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532283)

Uhh, from the blurb (emphasis mine):

Now that Linux users, and most PVR users for that matter, are nearing the end of their last fetched TV guide, what free alternatives exist that can replace this much-needed service?"

From Schedules Direct's website's main page:

The cost of the service is currently US$15/3 months with a 7 day trial. We hope to lower the price by the end of the term, so recurring subscriptions are not yet offered.

What part of that are you confused about? Oh, and congratulate me on my 5000th Slashdot post, thanks.

Re:Schedules Direct? (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532335)

Jeez, and I feel I've wasted too much time here, with my 1378 previous postings.

Erm, gz?

Re:Schedules Direct? (1)

Cid Highwind (9258) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532785)

...and I though 1240 in 9 years was about enough!

I could be stating the obvious, but....... (3, Funny)

fluffybacon (696495) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532257)

Television?

Re:I could be stating the obvious, but....... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532853)

MythTV does not work that way! Good Night!

Re:I could be stating the obvious, but....... (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 6 years ago | (#20533169)

That's what I thought. Honestly, who still watches TV?

Readily Available Alternative (2, Funny)

chubs730 (1095151) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532259)

TV Guide Channel? ;)

Why free? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532261)

What's wrong with paying a couple bucks to get the listing data? Someone somewhere had to pay to provide the service. I don't see why everything, everywhere has to be free, free, free.

Oh damnit - I forgot. This is slashdot. Paying for stuff = bad.

Re:Why free? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532295)

Because information wants to be free. Free the info... oh yeah, the info! Ungh... ungh... oh damn, I just came all over my photo of Richard Stallman.
 

I blame education (1, Flamebait)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532555)

Everyone expects everything to be free. Free health care, free food, free education. Tax the rich, they can afford it bla bla bla. Too many have been watching way too many star trek shows where everything is free. Welcome to economics 101....things COSTS MONEY.

Re:I blame education (2, Funny)

Crunchie Frog (791929) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532703)

things COSTS MONEY.
Either things cost money or things costs moneys.
Just which sides of the fences are you on mister?

Re:Why free? (4, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532609)

I pay for it already when i'm forced to watch crumby ads for panty liners and erection problems.

Re:Why free? (2, Insightful)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532707)

You use a TV listing service that forces you to watch ads before you can see the listings?

Re:Why free? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532697)

Because it was previously available for free? Because most people (not people on slashdot, but the population in general) didn't know about *this* service that just expired. So maybe there is another free one not many people know about: that's what the submitter was asking for. And why pay for something that you can legally get free?

Not to mention I'm 90% sure Europe gets *their* TV guide listings for MythTV and the like... for free. It isn't like the buissinesses offering this service are paying for the information... they pay for server fees, and that's about all.

Now... what's wrong with asking if a free alternative exists? He wasn't *demanding* free services, he wasn't complaining about the lack-therof, he wasn't even saying he won't shell out $5/month for the listing. He was saying he'd prefer to not pay an extra $5 a month if he could get the same thing for free.

Re:Why free? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532807)

What's wrong with paying a couple bucks to get the listing data? Someone somewhere had to pay to provide the service. I don't see why everything, everywhere has to be free, free, free.

Oh damnit - I forgot. This is slashdot. Paying for stuff = bad.


This was their entire argument for why everyone who uses a TiVo is stupid. "MythTV is free, what don't you understand?!"

Well, now it's not free and it's also difficult to use which means it's just another irrelevant Linux based project.

Re:Why free? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532945)

"MythTV is free, what don't you understand?!"

Well, now it's not free
The software, itself, remains both gratis and libre. It also retains features (commercial skip, show sharing and archiving) not in many proprietary PVRs.

and it's also difficult to use
The usability of MythTV is at least as good as many proprietary PVRs. There have been articles on both the discoverability of how to use the system and the low number of buttons needed to perform common functions.

Re:Why free? (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532943)

Well, I'm not saying they should have to, but it would be nice if this kind of information was provided by the company pumping data into your cablemodem. At least this way you wouldn't have to worry about getting the right feed. It would automagically be right.

Hell, I might even pay an extra few bucks a month for that.

They're still available for a small charge. (4, Informative)

binaryspiral (784263) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532267)

The service is available for a quarterly charge of $15...

http://www.schedulesdirect.org/ [schedulesdirect.org]

Titan TV (4, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532277)

One option is Titan TV [titantv.com] listings. They are free (add supported) via a Web interface and are designed to work with PVR devices.

Re:Titan TV (4, Informative)

jbr439 (214107) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532469)

The web interface doesn't appear to support Canadian listings. This makes it unusable for a number of people (like me). I'm using Schedules Direct now; and as someone else aptly put it, I can think of worse places to send my money.

Re:Titan TV (1)

vieux schnock (146044) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532577)

I also looked at Titan and my Canadian postal code was considered "wrong". Now, I support SD. It's a great feat from the guys that build it.

Re:Titan TV (2, Interesting)

Perseid (660451) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532677)

TitanTV, as far as I know, doesn't support downloads from the likes of MythTV. Does MythTV support .tvvi files?

Re:Titan TV (2, Interesting)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 6 years ago | (#20533111)

If it becomes necessary, yes it will.

You'd think the TV stations would do this free (4, Insightful)

The_Fire_Horse (552422) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532279)

Why wouldnt the TV stations provide this for free - it is the ultimate free advertising pushed straight to the customer.

Instead they treat the listings like corporate bloody secrets - would you PAY to get junk mail posted to your letterbox?

Myriad options exist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532287)

Torrents, Democracy, youtube, vimeo, revver...to name a few.

Re:Myriad options exist (1)

chris234 (59958) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532345)

None of which are schedule providers. Try again.

MythTV already has alternatives. WTF!? (0, Redundant)

urbanriot (924981) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532305)

MythTV already has an alternative with Schedules Direct - http://www.mythtv.org/ [mythtv.org] . How did this make front page?

Re:MythTV already has alternatives. WTF!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532435)

because the submitter asked for FREE alternatives

Re:MythTV already has alternatives. WTF!? (1)

urbanriot (924981) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532515)

Oops, good point. I need to RTFM :/

because the submitter asked for FREE alternatives

Easy (-1, Troll)

istartedi (132515) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532309)

what free alternatives exist that can replace this much-needed service?"

Easy. Get up and walk off some of those calories.

Re:Easy (1)

BlueStrat (756137) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532613)

what free alternatives exist that can replace this much-needed service?"

Easy. Get up and walk off some of those calories.


You mean there's a free listing service he can sign up with that's within walking distance!?!? Cool!

How to get the TV listings the Linux way (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532313)

1. Locate each TV channel's listings webpage,
2. Write up a bash script full of wget calls and parse all that incoming HTML with awk,
3. ????
4. Profit!!

Re:How to get the TV listings the Linux way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532663)

I understand your post was meant to be funny, but I don't think it's such a bad idea. Only one person has to do the work, and it could be distributed with mythtv.

Re:How to get the TV listings the Linux way (2, Informative)

thc69 (98798) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532865)

Actually, the first thing I thought of was to just write a script to parse the data from any of a million web listings services like http://tvlistings.zap2it.com/tvlistings [zap2it.com] or http://www.tvguide.com/Listings [tvguide.com] or any of the others...I think it's so easy that even _I_ could do it.

Pay for SchedulesDirect--they're good people (3, Interesting)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532317)

Suck it up and use Schedules Direct [schedulesdirect.org] just like everyone [linux.com] else [slashdot.org] . It isn't free. The opening cost is $15/3 month (with a 7 day trial). However, compiling schedules is not free. SD purchases them Tribune Media Services. But SD is a nonprofit company & they are free/open source friendly, having been formed by people involved with MythTV, XMLTV, and MacProgramGuide. I can think of worse places to send my money.

Free/open source PVRs are more functional than most proprietary competitors & the software itself will always be not only gratis, but free as in speech. If you want the cheapest possible service, you'll do better to get something with a lifetime subscription to guide content. But I prefer my freedom to a full pocketbook.

It'd be nice if the guide data would eventually become free/open. But who's going to provide it?

If you don't like SD, I guess you can try their competitor [ctpvr.com] (if they ever release something for Linux). Or screen scrape for no cost.

Re:Pay for SchedulesDirect--they're good people (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532471)

$5 a month is a lot to spend just to see what's on.

Re:Pay for SchedulesDirect--they're good people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532511)

But this service isn't "just to see what's on." It is to provide robust listings for automated scheduling and program guides.

If you just want to see what's on, check for free on your content provider's guide channel or on any one of the numerous websites that provide this info. Or flip channels.

Re:Pay for SchedulesDirect--they're good people (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532513)

Then look in your TV Guide, comes free with your paper (if you get one).

Re:Pay for SchedulesDirect--they're good people (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532505)

However, compiling schedules is not free.
About that... why not? It's in the channel's best interest if people know what it's showing so they know to watch it and not a competitor. Why don't they each make their listings available in a standard format so that all you need to do is know the address where each one is published.

Re:Pay for SchedulesDirect--they're good people (1)

Noksagt (69097) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532607)

If getting immediate total cooperation from everybody in a decentralized system at once was easy, we'd save a lot more than $5/month for our cable listings. Tribune Media Systems [tribune.com] and Gemstar [gemstartvguide.com] , who are the only two companies to compile the listings have a financial incentives to continue charging for the service. Their services fulfill the needs of a very large percentage of the customers of the cable channels. The channels won't take an action that costs them money & reaps little return. Even if there would be a greater return, not every station would make the switch & some would get it wrong.

Easy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532375)

http://www.tvguide.com/listings/default.aspx [tvguide.com]

Edit it for your location. It's not embedded into MythTV?

So what. It gives you what you need.

Forgive my ignorance, but.... (1)

313373_bot (766001) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532389)

from where was zap2it getting its guide information? Isn't it possible to fetch it directly from, say, the tv networks themselves? If not, why?

<rant>
As far as I see it, digital tv has been a trojan horse for anti-consumer abuse: broadcast flag, encryption now this? How long until they completely forbid recording (or make it a "premium service" - read paid, DRM'd privilege?)
</rant>

Re:Forgive my ignorance, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532585)

digital tv has been a trojan horse for anti-consumer abuse: broadcast flag, encryption now this?

How is a company no longer giving away something it cost them to produce anti-consumer abuse? Even if compiling the data for every zip code & TV service (there's OTA, Cable, FIOS, and 3 satellite providers in my zip code alone) were free, bandwidth to supply every MythTV/ReplayTV/etc box in the world isn't.

Making foolish generalizations hurts the cause. Get a grip before begining you rant next time.

Re:Forgive my ignorance, but.... (0, Offtopic)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532733)

Its anti-consumer abuse to make a law forcing companies to produce products with a broadcast flag. The fact that the government got involved doesn't make it any less abusive.

Re:Forgive my ignorance, but.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20533129)

The grandparent AC criticized the characterization of the removal of the gratis guide data as consumer abuse.

He did not, as parent tries to counter, defend the broadcast flag.

Zap2It = megacorporation subsidiary (2, Informative)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532601)

zap2it is a subsidiary of Tribune Media Services, a subsidiary of the Tribune Corporation. Tribune owns the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and New York Newsday among many other print outlets. In TV they own 23 major market stations including KTLA Los Angeles and WGN Chicago. Fourteen of their 23 stations are CW affiliates.

TMS is a syndicator of news and information feeds, such as TV listings, which they supply to many, many clients who don't want to spend the time and energy to try and compile reasonably correct information for the hundreds and hundreds of different channels, as well as the hundreds of different cable and satellite line-ups around the country.

Re:Forgive my ignorance, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532817)

As long as somebody somewhere is getting this guide information from somewhere (without stringent licensing conditions), why not set up a BitTorrent RSS feed, so that it can be spread about freely? It doesn't even matter if there are multiple versions for the same day, so long as the content is mainly the same.

By the way, this is a peculiarly US problem - in most other places the schedule information is free, and is often broadcast along with the TV signal.

XMLTV (4, Informative)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532391)

As long as there are TV listings in the world, there is the means to rip them. One example is XMLTV [xmltv.org] . This rips listings from certain sites and produces an XML schedule file that you can feed into MythTV. I assume that once a free service disappears that you'll see scripts for XMLTV that do pretty much the same.

Re:XMLTV (1)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532427)

Might want to check their wiki [xmltv.org] next time; the North American grabber USED Zap2it.

Re:XMLTV (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532441)

Yes, but there's nothing to stop them writing a new one. The grabber can point to any url. I'm sure there are literally hundreds of TV listings sources to choose from.

Re:XMLTV (4, Informative)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532493)

I'm sure there are literally hundreds of TV listings sources to choose from.

Name even two whose terms of service allow schedule scraping...

Re:XMLTV (2, Insightful)

Jafafa Hots (580169) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532573)

Terms of service? Fuck terms of service. Using a PVR at all is probably against someone's terms of service. The NFL for example.

Re:XMLTV (0, Flamebait)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532575)

Bah terms of service. If they didn't want people stealing it, they shouldn't make it available.

Re:XMLTV (2, Informative)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532749)

The law states that they cannot own the copyright to the tv listings so therefore they cannot stop me from redistributing it anymore then someone could force me into slavery through their terms of service. Sucks to be them, but they should think of new ways to make money off non-copyrightable content.

Re:XMLTV (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532857)

Despite the fact that they do not own (or claim) copyright, they can certainly take civil action against you & can also take actions to prevent you from using their services.

Re:XMLTV (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532871)

Despite the fact that they do not own (or claim) copyright, they can certainly take civil action against you

In the absence of contract and consideration? Um, yeeeah. Good luck with that civil action. Maybe Jack Thompson will take the case.

Re:XMLTV (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 6 years ago | (#20533029)

Yeah, if they knew you were doing it.

I don't know why anyone would announce where they were getting the listings from. Write a scrapper that, each day, goes out to whatever site is used and pages through the farthest-away day, inserting random delays like real users.

You only need to collect the cable channels once, or once for each time zone. Local is a bit trickier, it would be best to find the 'biggest' cable provider you can. (Cable providers between major cities often include both cities' local channels.)

There's really no way to detect it, barring tricks like randomly giving out slightly wrong data to different IPs and sees which one ends up in the end result.

The whole concept is just idiotic anyway. Television networks should provide free listings of their shows, which they do anyway on their websites. If they'd just spend a damn week making some sort of RSS format or something, it'd all be over. (Or use the XML format xap2it was using.)

And cable and sat providers would lump all feeds from their various stations into a single one. And I suspect in most major cities someone would set up a website listing the dozen or so URLs that the broadcast channels use, or even put them together for you in one file.

It's not like it would be a lot of damn bandwidth. You don't need to check them more than once a day. Hell, once a week is enough for PVRs, if there are two weeks of data.

Re:XMLTV (1)

dami99 (1014687) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532911)

Might want to read the "article" next time. "the Zap2it TV Listings are not being shut down"

No more listings for US users you mean... (4, Informative)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532455)

There are Mythtv users outside of the US. In the UK the listings are carrying on as normal.

Re:No more listings for US users you mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532605)

I doubt this is a problem outside the US. In most sane countries, TV broadcasters want to make it easy for people to watch them.

In the US, broadcasters view TV viewers as nothing more than a source of income. And, yes, in the US, broadcasters view getting up to use the bathroom during commercials to be stealing. (Jamie Kellner, specifically.)

Re:No more listings for US users you mean... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532763)

Dammit, don't hit Enter on the stupid captcha text field.

The concept that got left out was that in the US, customers are simply income sources that must be milked for every cent. This is why you have to pay $0.10 per text message and they expect you to pay $2.50/month for custom ringtones.

This is why the iPhone's new customer ring feature costs $0.99/per song - assuming it was purchased through the iTunes music store (so really $1.98), and the publisher will allow you to make it into a ringtone in the first place!

So of course you're expected to pay for TV listings in the US. It lets people know when shows will be on, and since some people MIGHT be willing to pay for it, they'll charge for it. Even my cable provider charges me for their TV listings, and even then they only allow it to be used through their own cable box. (It's an extra fee, something like $4/month.) Yes - that's right - US cable subscribers already pay for a channel listing, and they STILL have to pay extra to use it in a meaningful way.

The BBC makes it nice and easy (4, Informative)

l-ascorbic (200822) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532793)

...even though it's their commercial, for profit arm: http://xmltv.radiotimes.com/xmltv/ [radiotimes.com]

Stupid question (but I genuinely don't know) (1)

funkatron (912521) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532483)

Can't you just get the tv listings off the air/cable/whatever? Perhaps things are set up differently in the US but in the UK listings are broadcast with digital tv (I haven't checked tuner card compatibility but I've never seen a set top box that doesn't support them).

Re:Stupid question (but I genuinely don't know) (2, Informative)

gigne (990887) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532717)

yeah, you can get the listing directly from the stream. A friend of mine wrote a whole load of scripts to parse the data out into an xml based TV guide. It didn't take him long to do so I guess it s pretty trivial.

Re:Stupid question (but I genuinely don't know) (1)

Constantine XVI (880691) | more than 6 years ago | (#20533135)

Unless you have a station(s) that show "DTV Program" every 30 minutes

We collect our own (3, Informative)

Skapare (16644) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532523)

For local broadcasters, we can collect our own. Many broadcasters may be willing to provide their schedules for free. Someone in each city would have to be the "point person" to encourage the stations to provide them in a usable form with no distribution restriction. Then they would be submit them to central databases (can be more than one) where they would be merged and others can then download in bulk. The national networks might be harder to get them from.

Re:We collect our own (2, Insightful)

Cylix (55374) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532735)

Local broadcasters already submit them to a central authority.... well... self proclaimed central authority. (that's another rant for another time). Many broadcasters already provide their listings on the web as well.

The national stuff is easy as they already have to send their schedules to many local broadcasters and cable co. Format access can be as easy as an ftp, http or email. Up until recently buena vista had a lovely dial-a-fax option to send a show format to your desired fax line.

There are essentially two ways to automate this process. Propose an information exchange standard for all to follow. In a show listing you can merely tag it with the episode number and that can be used to retrieve the show description from a database. The big guys don't want this as there is already a huge industry around guide data.

Broadcasters provide the skeleton schedule and the central db fills in the meat.

As an exchange of benefit, make this guide data available for the broadcaster. Create tools to manage the data, export and whatnot. (Trust me, you'll save them several thousand dollars if they are purchasing the service from tribune for ATSC EPG data)

If you need to fund the op, at a reduced rate you can sale the guide data to cable ops and third party application designers.

The system in place is a great deal more manual then one would believe. A little work to integrate this whole process with their respect schedule managers would go over well with pretty much everybody.

I always toyed with the idea, but it's really a lot of hassle. I suppose I probably should have started my own guide data company a while ago. Oh well ;)

This bends my brain banana (-1, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532639)

Why the fuck would anyone want to pay for TV listings? is it so esstential to your life that you need to fork out for this shit?

Re:This bends my brain banana (4, Informative)

Quarters (18322) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532765)

People have been paying for TV listings (TV Guide) for decades. Having to do it for PVRs doesn't seem that outrageous to me.

Re:This bends my brain banana (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532767)

have you ever used a DVR ? do you have any idea how fscking awesome they are ? imagine watching just the content you want, when you want. NGC and DSC channels are loaded with educational TV shows. Do you know how powerful this is when you have a child ? Its the perfect "filter" . My kids dont watch unsupervised trash tv. They watch educational shows when I want them to, without trashy commericals. you really have no clue WTF you are talking about. a home built PVR is a responsible parents godsend. and dont tell me you are here today on slashdot during the one day out of the year you come in from wandering the desert. give me a fscking break already.

Re:This bends my brain banana (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532829)

Many of these people seldom watch 'real time' television. Their PVR 'looks up' the schedule and automatically grabs the show at that time. It's waiting for them on disk when _they_ want to view it.

It isn't like the old days of rotating the 13 position channel knob round and round anymore.

Essential to life? (1)

phorm (591458) | more than 6 years ago | (#20533025)

No, it's a convenience. Convenience often comes at a cost, especially when somebody else has to do work or pay to bring you that convenience.

Re:This bends my brain banana (1)

grommit (97148) | more than 6 years ago | (#20533043)

So I don't have to check the paper tv listings every day/week to schedule my Myth box to record the few shows a week that I watch. I tell it which shows I want it to record and it does all the work of finding out what time they play and recording them accordingly. While I enjoy tinkering with my computers, my time is valuable enough to me to not have to spend it on repetitive tasks such as telling my myth box exactly which channels and what times to record.

mimic a Tivo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532739)


sniff a tivo (or similar eg cablebox) network stream ?

Ha (1, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532801)

Does this really surprise anyone?

I dabbled with MythTV a few years ago. I was quite surprised then that the Zap2It service was free, and I'm quite amazed it lasted as long as it did. At a certain point, if MythTV got bigger, they would have HAD to do this.

Now other posters have pointed out that ReplayTV in some countries used this, and some companies were taking these listings and reselling them for profit.

If you want to be open source, this data has to come from somewhere. Maybe someone will write scripts to scrape Yahoo TV or TV Guide or something else. If you just move to another guide service, they will end up dong the same thing. Maybe they'll put ads in it (and we all know how well putting ads all though things fares with /.ers).

So I say... ha. I've been expecting this. It was inevitable. Meanwhile I've had a TiVo for maybe 3 years now. I love it. I now have a Series 3. And I've said that I love it in /. discussions and there are always those people who say "But MythTV is free!" I realize there are benefits to the MythTV way (multiple front ends, multiple media formats, etc). But now the free guide data is gone. You could pay someone for it (or Zap2It). But if your setup isn't that complex, wouldn't a TiVo fit the bill? It may cost a hair more, but they won't pull guide data on you. Plus for that small monthly fee you get software updates and suggestions (which is very valuable to me).

Free ride, in this small case, is over. I hope people enjoyed it, but at some level people had to see this would happen.

Too bad though. As I remember, they had excellent quality data.

Re:Ha (0, Redundant)

satoshi1 (794000) | more than 6 years ago | (#20533027)

Paying for the listings is cheaper than paying for a Tivo. Especially if you already have some old hardware to stick MythTV on or something.

Genetic algorithms (2, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532813)

You start with random recording schedules and breed them off one another based on user provided success metrics.

In about 15 to 20 years you should have developed a sufficiently agile show selection expert system that you won't need any steeekin' TV guides.

Or something.

Wow, good going Slashdot (3, Interesting)

PolyDwarf (156355) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532839)

Here goes some karma...

Reading through the comments, I'm struck by one thing, really.. The utter deviation of the posters, versus the "normal" mode of Slashdot.

Why is it an utter crime to want to get free tv listings? Why is it considered mandated that you must pay money to get them, where before they were free? Is it because it is the ScheduleDirect people? Or is it because it's "only" 5 dollars? Or is it because the word "Free" is bad? Seriously, tell me. I can download Linux for free, but I guess that's bad? I can read Slashdot for free, but I guess that's bad?

The ScheduleDirect people are offering a paid service. More power to them. I have a little nagging doubt in my head that they will degrade other methods of program acquisition (EIT, direct inserts into the database from a scraper, etc), to "facilitate" SD (otherwise known as rope people into using their paid-for service, and nothing else). Those fears may or may not be unfounded, but why shouldn't I be worried and looking for alternatives?

Why shouldn't people want to find out about any free listings that are out there, just like has been offered for years from the Zap2It people?

Re:Wow, good going Slashdot (4, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532925)

I assume it's because they are sick of people asking. Google is GREAT for finding things that exist. The fact that you -can't- find this on Google is a huge hint that it doesn't exist. Let's not forget that the last service to provide this for free closed down because of all the abusers, even after they were asked not to abuse the system. What other service in their right mind would take their place?

I admit, I think $5/mo for TV listings is a lot. TV Guide provided that service, plus interviews and articles, for less. (At least, last I checked.) There's free TV listings in the paper each week. (Again, last I checked.) And you can always look stuff up on tvguide.com and other sites for free, they just don't provide an easy-to-use feed for automated abuse. Err, use. I don't even pay that much for services that do a -lot- more work.

Some day, TV will get on the ball and start providing the service people want, instead of trying to force things down our throats. Europe has tv-via-satellite that seems to work very well, except it's not HD. The HD over-the-air works well, if you aren't stuck in a valley like I am and can't receive any signals without a ton of equipment.

No, some day, someone will see the light and provide TV over the 'net, with an electronic guide that mythtv or other programs can use. (AT&T, ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?) Maybe they'll even have TV-on-demand and eliminate the need for a DVR altogether... If I could stream TV shows any time I wanted, instead of having to know ahead of time, I'd be willing to pay for that. (More than I already pay for HD & DVR cable, I mean.)

We seem to have hit a phase where companies are trying to force us to want what they want to sell us, instead of trying to sell us what we want. It's backfiring left and right and they're soon going to have to open their eyes.

Re:Wow, good going Slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20533069)

It perfectly rational and reasonable to obtain goods and services for as low a cost as possible (preferable zero). It is also perfectly reasonable for providers of goods and services to attempt to maximize their profits. They problem is assigning a moral scale here. Neither buyers nor sellers are inherently morally superior to one other. Justifying self interest with moral arguments is silly hypocrisy.

Re:Wow, good going Slashdot (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20533075)

Here goes some karma...
No, but it is nice that you've fished for "insightful" mods by prefacing your statement with this.

Why is it an utter crime to want to get free tv listings?
It isn't a crime. Nobody said it was. They just said that payment for a service provided by F/OSS devs is reasonable.

Seriously, tell me. I can download Linux for free, but I guess that's bad? I can read Slashdot for free, but I guess that's bad?
Nice strawman. You can also read tv schedules online for free too (or at least in the same fake "ad supported" free that you read Slashdot).

I have a little nagging doubt in my head that they will degrade other methods of program acquisition (EIT, direct inserts into the database from a scraper, etc), to "facilitate" SD (otherwise known as rope people into using their paid-for service, and nothing else). Those fears may or may not be unfounded, but why shouldn't I be worried and looking for alternatives?
Given the reputations of those involved with SD, this is somewhat insulting. That being said, the reason you have nothing to fear is that the code to process XMLTV listings already exists & is open source.

There are more pragmatic reasons too--multiple F/OSS projects are collaborating on providing SD & even more will be encouraging their users to get their listings from SD.

Why shouldn't people want to find out about any free listings that are out there, just like has been offered for years from the Zap2It people?
They can want whatever they wish! But they aren't going to get it soon. Only two companies compile guide data & they sell it to other businesses. Some of these businesses (like SD) charge at least enough to pay for what it costs them to provide the listings. Others put it on the web & use ads to pay for it. Payment must come from somewhere. Z2It was free because they were a subsidary of Tribune.

If the data comes from one of the two "mother" listings, it will cost money. Period. No one will give you a free lunch. (Or you can violate TOS by scraping it.)

If it doesn't come from these "mother" sources, someone would have to form a third listing generation service (but this would cost significant setup & operating $$$ that they'd want to pass on).

Will start using SD (1)

Braedley (887013) | more than 6 years ago | (#20532855)

Once I install the new version of MythTV. Knowing that the price should come down in the next couple of months only gives me more reason to do so.

fp 5hIt (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532903)

Is wiped off and a dead man walking. it has to be fun were taken over there are about 700 may also want have their moments resound as fitting operating systems, Themselvxes to be a The longest or influence, the culture of abuse Duty to be a big To the politically conversation and at my freelance I see the same Downward spiral. In pro-homosexual And excifting; AT&T and Berkeley I don't want to Users of NetBSD

american users (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20532933)

aren't there mythtv users in europe and elsewhere?

Microsoft MCE's listings are still free... (2, Insightful)

g2racer (258096) | more than 6 years ago | (#20533003)

This is one of the reasons why I opted to go Windows XP Media Center Edition (MCE) 2005 when I built out my PVR earlier this month.

Re:Microsoft MCE's listings are still free... (1)

rsmith-mac (639075) | more than 6 years ago | (#20533153)

Which begs the question: How long until somebody does the Evil thing(with a capital E) and just starts scraping and copying Microsoft's listings?
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