[mythtv-users] Alternatives to Supporting schedulesdirect.org

Robert Current robert.current at gmail.com
Wed Aug 8 08:50:12 UTC 2007

Hi Chris,

I just wanted to say thanks!  That is the MOST information I've seen
in one place since the beginning, and explains a lot.

Honestly, cheers to you, I'll probably donate, or subscribe if required.

Obvious issues (for XMLTV list, not here?) are, if one local (like
LUGs) can subscribe and redistribute, and if there is no OSS code, and
no added value, doesn't' that just make schedulesdirect.org a
commercial reseller of TMS data?

Maybe, if said and referenced, it should go to another forum.  But
DAMN, that's what I was looking for.  Chris was a stand up guy,
honest, and said what he knew with no smoke and mirrors.  Respect

On 8/8/07, Chris Petersen <lists at forevermore.net> wrote:
> David Brodbeck wrote:
> > I think that's because currently schedulesdirect.org is the only
> > place offering to sell.  When someone else decides to offer a
> > product, we can talk about whose is best.  Until then, it's kind of
> > moot, isn't it?
> AFAIK, no one will.  It's not like we went straight to TMS to buy the
> data.  We approached several different companies (and at least one
> approached us).  We were basically told my most of them that TMS said it
> would violate their contracts if they offered data to MythTV users
> (FWIW, TitanTV was among them).  The other options were at the highest
> end of the price options suggested by the users in this community (and
> although we appreciate the helpful offers, we thought that the users
> might revolt at the idea of a fixed-rate yearly price with no free trial
> period).
> Aside from TMS, the only other option is GemStar (owns TV Guide), who
> doesn't provide Canadian listings, and wouldn't return any emails or
> phone calls.
> TMS owns the data.  They control who gives data to whom.  They have
> given Schedules Direct what we think is a pretty good deal on what
> "retails" for an absurd amount of money.  Our deal isn't cheap, but it's
> good.  And the more users who sign up, the faster we'll be able to drop
> our prices.  TMS intentionally gave us a good deal; many people there
> felt bad about taking down the Labs service, and they emphasized that
> they wanted to work with a company managed by people from the FOSS
> community, rather than just another for-profit commercial venture.
> If you don't want to pay a Schedules Direct fee, we're not making you.
> We started this company because the user community (you!) asked us to.
> It will cost money because, well, there was no way not to.  We tried as
> hard as we could to find another no-cost service, but there was no
> billion-dollar company stepping up to cover the high monthly fees that
> TMS charges (although we did get a nice donation offer from Google to
> help with startup costs -- I'll post more about that on the website).
> Complaining isn't going to make us go away -- like you said, it's going
> to make YOU go away.  Frankly, we don't expect that every single MythTV
> user will be happy about having to pay for guide data, but we know that
> a LOT of people are happy to pay a little (heck, we've even had people
> offering to pay $10-15/month if it meant money going to people in the
> FOSS community and not some big corp like TiVo -- and that's way over
> any numbers we even thought about considering).
> I really wish that I could share the fee structure so you all could
> understand what we went through to make this happen (I'm still hoping
> that TMS will eventually let us publish that info).
> Some other questions answered:
> OSS?  What code?  This is a data service.  Just like Zap2it Labs, there
> will be an XML file full of listings data.  The data protocols will be
> well-documented and easy for new projects to integrate (remember, MythTV
> is only one player in this game).
> Other grabbers?  The least you "I'll go write my own grabber" people
> should do is go out and see if someone else has already done so.  There
> are already a handful of good "completely free" type grabbers out there
> (hint, go read the gb-pvr forums).  Just remember that when you pay
> nothing, you often get the matching level of service.  Maybe many of you
> don't remember the pre-Zap2it days when you'd have to upgrade xmltv
> every couple of weeks because the grabber broke (not to mention the
> incomplete data).  Not to mention that warm fuzzy feeling you get for
> violating the TOS of whatever website/service you're scraping.
> Why PayPal?  Have you ever tried to charge credit cards online using
> other services?  Most of them require that the business exist for 2+
> years before they'll even talk to you.  PayPal has a well-documented API
> that let us integrate it in a matter of hours (not days/weeks), takes
> anonymous credit cards just fine (no need to create a PayPal account!),
> and is well-respected by plenty of people.  Are we looking at other
> options?  Yes, but the PayPal code is up and running, so that's what we
> announced.  I'd much rather have a working solution that someone people
> dislike than no solution at all.
> Comments like "p at ying 4 d at ta is teh sux0rs" aren't constructive, so
> PLEASE stop bickering.  If you don't want to subscribe, no one is
> forcing you to do so.  If you want to write a new scraper, start a new
> project or move it to the XMLTV list where it belongs.
> Anyway, I'm tired and this email is really long.
> -Chris
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