[kwlug-disc] Schedules direct: What do you think about them?

Chris Irwin chris at chrisirwin.ca
Sun Mar 8 00:52:52 EST 2009

On Sat, 2009-03-07 at 21:31 -0800, Raul Suarez wrote:
> I was finaly able to set up MythTv at home with a PVR-150.
> I'm happy, everything works except the TV listings as I don't have a Schedules Direct account yet.
> I didn't mind the $20 dollars too much although I find it to be a steep price just for the listings.
> What threw me off was the kind of information they request to sign up for the listings. They ask for full Address. THat information is not Optional.
> Is anyone using Schedules Direct? I was searching and as far as I can tell it is the only source that can be used with MythTV (Other than screen scraping).
> So, is anyone of you using them? What do you think about them?

I signed up for them as soon as they started taking subscribers as I had
used whatever the free service was before that (zap2it Labs). My
subscription ended in January. I was very happy with them and only
stopped using them as I don't have television anymore since I moved ;)

I didn't mind the fee as they seemed to be rather honest with the users
during their start-up phase. There are some notes in the FAQ regarding:

Q: Why are you charging for something that you used to provide for free?
A: "I think that you have us confused with the Zap2it Labs project,
which used to offer a data service similar to the one available to
Schedules Direct members. Tribune Media Services tried to keep Zap2it
Labs running for free, but was eventually required to shut it because
commercial entities were abusing the free service. 
"The only relationship Schedules Direct has to Zap2it Labs is that we
license data from Tribune Media Services, which ran Zap2it Labs while it
existed. We have to charge a membership fee because Tribune charges us a
licensing fee and we do not have enough large donors to pay for it
without financial help from our members, through their donations and
membership fees."

Q: Why don't you just tell us how much profit you'll be making from our
membership fees?
A: "There will be no profit made from your membership fees. We're
registered as a nonprofit corporation, and intend to file for federal
nonprofit status in the upcoming weeks (it's a lengthy process that can
take up to a year to complete). No one on the board of directors is paid
for his work on the board, either (much to the contrary -- this endeavor
has cost some of us quite a bit of money), and our few paid
employees/contractors are paid well below market rates.
"Also, as much as we would like to share the details about how much
we're paying for the data you use, we're contractually bound to keep
that information confidential."

Chris Irwin <chris at chrisirwin.ca>
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