[mythtv-users] I signed up for SD

Andrew Gallatin gallatin at cs.duke.edu
Mon Sep 10 13:46:27 UTC 2007

I've always been annoyed at the SD / TMS thing.  I dislike monthly
fees, and utterly hate the idea of giving TMS money because I strongly
dislike them as a corporation (a family member worked for a local
paper the Tribune purchased; this is saying enough).  I thought paying
$5/mo for 6 channels worth of guide data (OTA only) was a poor value.
I strongly disliked being called a criminal when I asked some scraping
related questions.  

This spurred me to find out if going without SD was a viable option
for me, and how hard it would be to get Myth to use data from a
perfect scraper.  Perhaps my experiences will help others decide that
SD is for them, regardless of how distasteful it seems.

To simulate the output of an hypothetical perfect scraper, I used a
"perfect" xml file, grabbed with xmltv's DD grabber prior to z2l
demise and paired down somewhat and modified to reflect the new
leading 00 program id format.  I considered this the perfect scraper
output file; I'd be lucky if I could find or write a scraper that
could provide something as good.

The first thing I noticed was that if I wanted to avoid re-scanning
for channels, I needed to map the channel id's provided by an xml file
to the xmltvid's that were found when I originally set myth up.  Not a
big deal for 6 channels, but this was a hurdle.  This would not
be fun for somebody with a 200+ channel sat/dig. cable lineup.

The next thing I noticed was even if I had a DD program id (required
to maintain the 3.5 year recording history started when using Z2L)
mythfilldatabase --file wouldn't take it.  After a little hacking, I
"fixed" mythfilldatabase to accept a DD program id from an xml file,
rather than consing together its own out of thin air.  Now I could
import some guide data, but I couldn't import the original air date.
This was a important to me, as I record syndicated reruns, and like
them properly sorted.  I could probably figure it out, but at this
point I decided it just wasn't worth a few more hours of work just on
Myth, not to mention however long it would take to write or modify a
scraper to grab the data that I wanted.  So I signed up for SD,
despite my moral qualms about giving the Tribune any money.

I think that if SD folds and MythTV is forced back to its scraping
roots, the synergies of having many people work on the same thing
openly will lead to us having guide data nearly as good as is provided
by DD/SD.  I'm not saying I hope they fold, but I'm not nearly as
nervous about it as I was when I heard about Z2L's demise.

FWIW, the Myth SD transition was utterly painless (or would have been
if I hadn't put so much effort into trying to avoid it :).


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