[mythtv-users] tv guide line-up free

Robert Current robert.current at gmail.com
Wed Sep 5 00:51:14 UTC 2007

> "David Shay" <david at shay.net> writes:
> On 9/4/07, Robert Current <robert.current at gmail.com> wrote:
> <Snip irrelevant stuff>
> > TitanTV offers free XML listing data to download, IF you have a
> > partner product (Adaptec, ATi, Hauppauge, etc...).  Anyone willing to
> > work on it should find it is actually a more obvious source of data
> > than scrapers, for testing you can pull listings even without the
> > accounts by just tweaking the URL for the XML data:
> > Line ups for zip:
> Interesting stuff.  I will admit to having played around with this
> myself in the past (as well as with the Yahoo and MSN ones.....)
> Here's the catch.  See that nice little string after UUID.  TitanTV
> could disable that UUID in about 2 minutes if they felt like it.

Yes…  It's an example I've seen 3 other places, so I posted it here.
And yes, they could disable that UUID.  However, it does show that XML
data is out there somewhere.  Which is as far as I looked, because I
really didn't have any motivation to dig further.

> Also, let's not confuse these XML-generating URL's with the remote
> scheduling service that ties in with the web-site that TitanTV runs.

I haven't seen any reference to if that is true or not.  I thought I
saw somewhere that the UUID is what you are given after registering
with TitanTV.  And the scheduling services are actually in the XML
somehow, either as flags on some of the shows to indicate you told it
remotely to record that, or as some extra data at the end of the
downloaded XML?  It was on another forum, I don't remember, could be
the GB-PVR forum, I don't remember.

But, I don't think that means the data on those links isn't at all
representative of what registered users of TitanTV pull down.

> They are VERY different things.  These URL's are meant for approved
> partner products, of which I'm assuming you are not, since I sincerely
> doubt you got that UUID directly from Titan.

Well, define approved partner?  I looked at the terms of use on
TitanTV's website, and it seems I might be?  I own a PVR-150 from
Hauppauge, they provided me the access codes to obtain a login.  When
I registered, the TOS, Terms of Service, Terms of Use, whatever you
want to call it said exactly this:

"TITANTV.COM shall be used only in a non-commercial manner.
TITANTV.COM is a free service for consumers and is provided for your
personal, non-commercial home use only. If you are interested in a
commercial application of TITANTV.COM, please contact business
development at (319) 365-5597 for more information"

My use is personal home use, I am a registered account user that was
part of what I was allowed by purchasing a partner hardware product,
and I don't see any reason that using their data to operate a in home
private use  PVR with that partner hardware violates the TOS.

> In fact, I know you
> didn't, since I've seen that specific UUID before.

Yes, I'm not giving out my own private UUID :-)  I'm giving out the
UUID I saw posted on several other forums…

> The remote
> scheduling service does nothing like this at all, in fact it has
> nothing to do with listings data at all.  All it does is basically
> generate a local manual recording to GBPVR.  Could we do that in Myth?
>  Sure.  Would we want to?  I don't think so.  Look at all the lost
> flexibility -- no recurring programs, no duplicate detection, etc.

Ok, now this is a legitimate point.  Your opinion is that FREE data
isn't worth the trade off in flexibility for recurring programs.  I'm
not 100% sure that is true, or if everyone would agree.

First, the cost factor.  To some people $5/month isn't even worth
having a discussion about.  But, as we can all see by now, for some
people, it is worth talking about, it keeps coming up, over and over.
So, it is an issue, even if it isn't to you (the plural you general,
not specific).  What some people will do to skip that $5/month (or
$20/year) is really up to them, not me or you.

Second, the issue of duplicate detection.  I'm not 100% sure they
don't have a way to do duplicate detection, is there no unique
identifier in the data?  Are the listing subtitles and descriptions
inconsistent causing an issue with this?  I honestly don't know, but I
personally doubt that's a huge issue for a lot of people.

Third, the remote recording.  It is in no way a loss of flexibility.
You are not prevented from setting up recurring recordings in any way,
you just can't do it from the TitanTV website.  It's misleading to say
you loose that ability.  You don't.  You only GAIN the ability to
schedule a 1 time recording from a website, which doesn't require you
to open up your LAN to outside web access.

The only way you can do remote recording with MythTV now is  in
MythWeb, that is to open up a webserver to the outside world from your
home LAN, something not everyone is willing to do because of security
risks and setup hassle.

Once you set up the one time recording in TitanTV, it is easy to turn
that into a recurring recording schedule from with MythTV.  You loose
no flexibility what so ever.  In fact, you gain the chance to do a "oh
shucks, I forgot, I need this tonight" one time recording when your
not at home.  That's not a loss…  That's a benefit.

And as for the issue of cost, and TitanTV's risks…  For one, TitanTV
keeps track of how many times you login, trying to get you coming
back, they even have contests, with prizes, all to get you coming back
and logging in.  I'm cool with that, I don't mind logging in and
looking around once in a while.

If they have a problem, they could easily set up a "login once a week
or your service will be canceled" policy.  Sure, that's not going to
make everyone happy, but I'm quite positive some people will do that
before they will pay $5/month for listing data.

> Same issue applies with the Yahoo and MSN URLs.  Sure they generate
> XML, that makes them great in one sense.  Get's past most of the
> screen-scraping problems. Trouble is you are effectively violating the
> TOS of something.  For instance, the Yahoo Go-TV application that you
> reverse-engineered to determine those URL's, etc.  The MSN website
> that you reverse-engineered to determine those URL's, etc.  A TOS is
> violated somewhere along the line for every single one of these that I
> have seen.

See above for most of that.  But, the trouble I see you get into when
you don't offer options is that you get people who want options.  I
don't see the harm in adding another Direct Data source, IF someone is
willing to code it, and IF people are willing to use it.  The whole
TitanTV thing seems to be a much better alternative than
screen-scraping.  For some reason (who knows) there are people putting
energy into screen-scraping, why not into TitanTV instead?  It makes
more sense…

If they shut off the data, they shut off the data…  That isn't my
choice, your choice, or anyone here's choice.  For now, it's there,
it's free, and at least possible that it will work.  Further, it might
even be possible for TitanTV to make an advertising buck or two off
the whole thing.

I don't know about Yahoo, MSN, or any others.  But if they allow
registered users to sign up, get XML data downloads, are partnered
with hardware vendors that I want to support, and the TOS agreement is
as clear as TitanTV's, then why not try them also?

The ONLY two legitimate reasons to not try an alternative I know of
are this: not to do it that I see is if it is clearly illegal, which
isn't the case here IMHO (and which hasn't stopped screen scraping
anyway).  Or, second, if no one has time or is willing to work on it…
The second option seems to be the case…  And I'll agree to that…  But
the other excuses seem like FUD to me.

> Sorry, didn't mean to confuse this debate with facts.

No worries, this was the first actual discussion I've seen of
alternate listing sources that didn't drop instantly into a "your
stupid if you don't pay $5" level discussion.  :-)

PS: Micheal Dean, go back and read your old posts if you don't
understand why people think your pushy on this...  Going back several
weeks.  I'd rather not mud sling, but it seems pretty clear you come
across as anti-anything that isn't Schedules Direct, and talk down to
anyone not willing to pay them $5.

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