[mythtv-users] Cannot scan for channels: pay for MythTV ?

Michael T. Dean mtdean at thirdcontact.com
Mon May 10 13:41:47 UTC 2010

On 05/10/2010 07:39 AM, MarcT wrote:
>> As I've written, I'm considering using Schedules Direct this time
>> around once the system works.  I've never used that service in the years
>> before with and we were satisfied with the usefulness of MythTV as is.
>> I'm curious: has MythTV became in the meanwhile an indirect paid-for
>> product which enforces the use of a paid subscription Schedules
>> Direct ?
> No, you do not have to get a SD subscription. You can use any other channel
> listing service you want that is currently supported, or write your own
> interface and use one that is not supported.
> SD is only for those in specific regions, generally US only. I saw posts
> about possibly expanding the service to other countries but, looking at the
> site, that doesn't seem to have happened yet.
> SD was brought about because zap2it ended their free service. SD instead
> worked an arrangement out with Zap2it to buy the listings and uses a
> subscription to pay for the service to the users. The more users who get the
> service the cheaper it should become, is my understanding.

Or, put another way, MythTV *is* (and always has been) a product which 
relies on the availability of good-quality program listings data.  There 
is no way to receive this information in the US other than through a 
Schedules Direct subscription or manual effort as all other solutions 
are in violation of copyright law, provider terms of service, or some 
other law or usage requirement.  This has /absolutely/ nothing to do 
with MythTV or MythTV developers or "MythTV's evil plan for world 

As there is a very low-cost means of obtaining this required information 
completely legally and according to ToS, I have absolutely no intention 
of spending my time to help you save $20/year--in doing something that 
will likely require you also set up some grabber that infringes the 
copyright/terms-of-service of some entity (or entities).

MythTV (the software) *is* (and always has been) Free (you get the 
source code and are allowed to do whatever you want with it as long as 
you make any changes available to the community***).  MythTV (your 
system) is *not* free (of charge)--as a matter of fact, had I never 
started using MythTV, I likely would have saved well over $1000 
(potentially several thousand) in TV costs over the years.  MythTV is a 
luxury DVR.  If you can't afford the $20/yr for Schedules Direct, you 
really shouldn't be using MythTV--get yourself a much cheaper solution 
(for example, Windows MCE).

And, most importantly, the $20/yr for Schedules Direct is a negligible 
expense compared to the cost of setting up and maintaining a MythTV 
system.  For that $20/yr membership to Schedules Direct, you are given 
free access to the same program listings data that TiVo users pay $XX/mo 
to receive--that cable companies charge an additional $6-10/mo to 
distribute (for PVR users).  The Schedules Direct membership is /much/ 
cheaper than any other non-infringing source of that information, so if 
you have the opportunity to use SD data ( 
http://www.schedulesdirect.org/approvedsoftware ), you probably should.

IMHO, the ease of configuration of analog channels itself was worth the 
$20.  Besides, after your 7-day free trial, you'll realize just how 
great Schedules Direct data is--and that it's a bargain at $20/year.  
It's the best $20/yr I spend (I just renewed my membership, again, on 
Friday).  https://www.schedulesdirect.org/signup

The above is my opinion.  I am not trying to speak for anyone else or 
for the project.  I am not affiliated with Schedules Direct in any way, 
other than being a paid member.


***I am not a lawyer.  Please see a lawyer to discuss what you can and 
can not do with GPL-licensed software.

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