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Thread: guide data/tv schedule website idea

  1. #1

    guide data/tv schedule website idea

    hmm here's a crazy idea, how about we make a tv schedule website??


    I say this because I think we need to seriously rethink how we work with guide data. Even with sat extraction the guide data isn't that great, ie missing alot of season info, movie info etc, the kind of information that could be extracted from IMDB and TVTome for example.

    Now we can automate that into the sat grab but you've still got a couple of problems, eg reliability + legality. No offense to Jaidev because he's pretty committed (except this week of all weeks, doh!) but even still, having some basic guide data to fall back on would be awesome.

    Considering that most of what I (u 2?) record is season stuff or movies then it's probably not that difficult. I've been thinking of a website whereby people could (visually) see a guide data schedule (much akin to sky's site although ideally alot better) and make changes to it (password protected/moderated, etc). eg incorporating season information, genre's, etc.

    The biggest critique here is that the user base is to0 small,however I disagree, (1) you can extrapolate alot of information from past data, eg season programs and (2) you can gather (layer?) the information from existing sources eg saturn, tvnz, sky, etc. and (3) you can offer the format in xmltv as well to encourage mythtv,freevo users to participate.


    It'd be real nice to have layers of data on top of time blocks. eg tv1 6:00-7:00. so for example u could (optionally) have saturn's data as one layer, sky's data as another, user entered data as another, etc. the top layer (which would be the data to be exported) would be a combination of these layers based on various rules and conditions. ie do we have this data from this source, has it been verified, is this the last episode in the season, etc etc.

    The idea situation would be to have it entirely user driven, that would be legal then (a point to argue with some of you here I am sure!!).

    I know Bruce Simpson ( is thinking something along these lines for an xml tv schedule (probably alot simpler in concept tho), he has mentioned it briefly on his site but knowing him he'll be months or years before he gets it complete.

    just ideas, constructive criticism and ideas please

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2004

    I'd be glad to help


    I think this is a great idea and I'd be more than willing to help out - e.g. keying or uploading listing data (I'm just into Channels 1,2 & 3 - no sky) from Listener for example. Presumably a slice would be autogenerated from the site snapshot at regular and defined intervals ?

    Great idea

    Rgds Halfdan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Cheviot, North Canterbury
    Timmy, I think that's a great idea, I write (among other things) web applications for a living so maybe I can help, like you though I don't have a lot of free time.. Another thought I had was the possibility of a "Tivo Club" with a small annual sub to fund some basic things like a permanent website and emulator (eg just a random thought


  4. #4
    > Presumably a slice would be autogenerated from the site snapshot at regular and defined intervals ?

    The site would most likely be seperate from the tivo emulator and slice maker which would be autogenerating your guide slices. Makes no difference if it is networked and live does it? mmm webservice

    Seperating it from Tivo probably isn't a bad idea either. Think about why we are using second hand Tivo's in the first place dude.

    > I write (among other things) web applications for a living so maybe I can help,

    Mate, if only I knew what to code. Actually I haven't had a whole lot of success with ASP.NET to date. Nor much experience with dotNet either to tell truth. Personally for the kind of office app development I do MS Access is much more suitable as the development time is much faster. (rant coming on...) I hate Access for example with the way it uses absolute positioning for forms but it's still fast and you can store the tables on another database (ie SQL Server) if u need to centralise or scale up. Maybe you can code faster in .NET if you know what your doing (I don't yet) but it seems like you have to do alot of the database/UI grunt work yourself. Databinding is one thing I really appreciate with Access

    anyway... I reckon building database driven webservices in .NET is simple enough I just have reservations about using ASP.NET for building a full fledged (ideally visual) interface. I'm not sure how to handle time-series data and display it in a way that is going to be easy (dream... slick~~) and intuative for users to work with.


    A full fledged 3d interface would be the ****. I had a look at SVG ( the other day but it's only (primarily) 2d based. You could probably do 2d quite nice with it tho but it doesn't seem that well suited for interactivity.

    just the possiblity for showing alot more information at once by using 3d is really worth thinking about. I thought this SVG Project was kind of interesting. It's 2d but it's time based so could be adapted for our purposes.

    ... somewhere closer to reality

    probably Flash would be better suited but that isn't an area of my expertise either. Even a pretty standard/simple interface like sky ala tables or DOM/CSS for example would suffice, showing one or two time periods per channel. Not a huge fan on sky's 2hr time period tho, great for finding something on right now as you can read some of the programme info at that view on the same page (eg times/titles in sky's case). For us tho we would be better off showing like a week or two at a time. Unfortunately even for one channel thats quite alot of data so you can't show (much if any) text at that level. Just very small color coded time blocks

    The color codes for example could represent various types of programme info or completeness of programme info. Mousing over a time blocks could provide a more detailed view (eg individual record view) and a click on a block could show the actual data for editing (again possibly in some way still in view with the two week data). Also some linear navigation and the ability for full edit view and ideally showing past data for that time block so you could not only enter new data but pull thru old data by defining rules and conditions. The linear mode would be useful for those entering in one at a time from the Listener err memory

    Last edited by timmy; 15-05-2004 at 05:46 PM.

  5. #5
    more rambles..

    also handling users activities is a whole other issue (presumably u will need to moderate users and contributions to some extent). hehe, god it's starting to sound like a mini content mangement system almost

    anyone heard of anyone else stupid enough to do this or are we just complete suckers in this country? Anyone seen any nice tv schedule interfaces online?

    alright, time to do something non computer related. drink beer


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    I'm all for the idea - the majority of the stuff I do is MySQL and PHP based.

    As some of you may already know, I'm already getting listing data from a couple of sources. This data is being stored in a MySQL database.

    If there are a few ppl keen then let me know and I can arrange access to the database.

    Only problem I have at the moment is the ability to create a slice with the data

  7. #7
    likewise i have a database for my listings. The problem isn't so much a centralised public database as it is the ability to update and keep track of the data in the database. For that you need some sort of interface. Just having a database accessible doesn't mean much if you can't interact with it easily, ie via a web browser for example.

    A simple layout like nzoom/tvnz for example might even suffice, ie show one day (eg monday) and one channel per page with vertical scrolling. You can put two or three weeks (ie three mondays) side by side to get a comparison with the previous or future data.

    Dunno, the reason I thought it'd be good to show a couple of weeks at a time is so you would'nt lose site of the woods from the trees so to speak. back to drinking

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Wellington, NZ
    I can help with keying in data... no good with programming though

  9. #9
    If you are looking at using .Net to create an application then maybe you should consider the WebZinc ( .net component - it makes it quite simple to extract stuff from webpages and it is quite easy to modify the code when the design or layout of the webpages change.

    You can also create an XML based script for extracting the data which can be modified for a site change without having to modify the actual application that uses it.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Auckland, NZ

    Thumbs up

    nice idea.. the simpler the better for a start I reckon..
    along the lines of a wiki.. with user voted 'trust' levels

    the guide data from the 'other local' website seems quite credible..
    Is there a reason we're not using it? It would seem to be a good basis to start the wiki on, as all thats missing really is TV1/2 data.

    I grabbed 7 days worth of data and opened it in TV Guide For Windows
    seems to work a treat.. a few holes, but pretty darn good.
    US Series 1 Philips TiVo
    200Gb HDD 8Mb Cache, Turbonet
    Slices: Sky Digital, Auckland
    Hacks: TyServer, Manual Record & TivoTitle, TiVoX 1.5

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