[mythtv-users] Supporting schedulesdirect.org

Jeff Wormsley daworm at comcast.net
Wed Aug 8 12:48:45 UTC 2007

Michael T. Dean wrote:
> OK, so you're saying there are two types of people in the world:
> cheapskates (whose time is worth less than their money) and lazy people
> who pay for everything.  I really thought I was a person who chose the
> best solution regardless of cost (and that's how I ended up using MythTV
> and never bought a TiVo, MCE, or any other for-pay system).  I guess,
> though, I'm a cheapskate (who happened to spend thousands of dollars on
> his MythTV system over the last 4 years).

You read too much into what I was saying.  All I was saying was that 
there were people who's natural inclinations lead one way or the other. 
  There are varying degrees of that, not just the extremes of 
"cheapskate" and "lazy".  I happen to be one of those people who happen 
to look at a problem and try to find ways to solve it for less money. 
The time I spend may have a "cost", but that "cost" doesn't come out of 
my bank account, and is "spent" during my "free" time when I wouldn't be 
earning anything else, anyway.

As for listings, until we see the pricing, it may well turn out to be a 
wasted effort to get this data for free versus paying for it.  It may 
not.  But my first thoughts without that information is to plan on 
finding ways to avoid paying for it, and I doubt I'm the only one.

> And, when only non-time costs (i.e.
> hardware and subscription costs) are compared to a TiVo (all of which
> generally have very low hardware costs), my Myth boxes are egregiously
> expensive.

(See above about time costs.)  With the exception of my A-Tech case (an 
admitted splurge), most of my MythTV system is recycled from other 
machines, and as such has zero cost to me.  The other exceptions are an 
A-180 card I purchased to get QAM data, and a firewire card to hook up 
to my cable box (my recycled motherboard had no firewire ports), and a 
transcoder box I purchased for my original 1080i TV, no longer used 
since my new TV has VGA input.  Not all that expensive, perhaps $250 
total.  My file server and such I would have with or without MythTV.

> So, I can't wait until I see the "screen-scrape to get image names/OCR
> to get data" solutions people are forced to come up with as this "arms
> race" escalates.  Talk about fragile systems...  And you're saying
> that's a better solution than paying a reasonable fee for the data?

No, I'm not saying it is better.  I said at the very beginning that 
there is a point where it is better to go ahead and pay for the data, 
and if it comes down to having to OCR images, that would probably be 
that point.  But the "arms race" isn't to that point yet.  What would 
have been better was not to have an "arms race" in the first place, and 
TMS could have easily avoided that.  That they didn't is the number one 
source of frustration.  The guys at SchedulesDirect aren't to blame for 
that, and I'm not blaming them for it.  They have the bad fortune of 
being the first point of contact, though, as it will be to them that 
people have to send there money.

>>   If running Zap2It was such a PITA, then let SchedulesDirect take over 
>> that function, but they should have given them a free license to the 
>> data, for the reasons given above.  It would be worth it to them.
> Oh, I see.  You personally are entitled to this data--that every TiVo 
> and cable/satellite STB user has been paying to receive.  I didn't
> realize you had this entitlement.

Did I say "entitled"?  No, I said it would be worth the cost of the data 
to avoid the hassles of the "arms race".  That doesn't imply "entitled", 
it implies a fair and equitable trade.

That said, the data is out there, freely available, just in a form that 
is less than ideal.  I either have to spend time a) reading the web 
sites myself and entering the data by hand, b) running (and possibly 
maintaining) a script or application to read that data, or c) paying 
SchedulesDirect for it.  I suppose there is also d) do without the data 
and effectively drop MythTV altogether, but that's not an option I'm all 
that interested in.  Just because you think that option c) is the best 
possible option doesn't mean the rest of the country thinks so.  The 
guys in Australia and Europe have worked this way for years, and so did 
North America before Zap2It came along, so what's wrong if some of us 
would rather go back to that than spend x dollars a month?  What skin is 
it off your back if we would rather not spend even more money than we've 
already got tied up in our systems, and already spend on overpriced 
cable or satellite subscriptions (where we pay for that schedule data 
already), for those that don't stick to OTA?

Sheesh, what started as a simple statement of opinion that a pay service 
is disappointing sure lead to a lot of uproar.  You pay for your data, 
and I'll not for as long as I can, and we'll both be happier for it.


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