Trying to understand SchedulesDirect

Trying to understand SchedulesDirect

Postby Starbuck » Mon Jul 13, 2009 10:36 am

Please correct me if any of this is wrong. I want to get a better grasp of the big picture of this TV listing ecosystem and the role SD plays.

I've read that SD provides access to data acquired from DataDirect. DD is a commercial offering from Tribune Media Services. TMS used to provide the data for free through Zap2it Labs but that service was shutdown due to abuse. So now SD provides access to that same source, reselling the data according to the terms of the TMS license. SD provides the data for a nominal subscription fee, and only for open source, personal use, non-commercial applications.

OK so far?

What's the value-add which SD provides compared to the service provided by DataDirect?
Is the DD data originally in some format other than XML?
Is it in a different schema?
Is the data enhanced in some way?

As I understand it, SD picked up where Zap2it left of with MythTV, and maybe other services. So is SD doing what Z2L tried to do, which is to rein-in the free access and ensure that there is some compensation to the upline for the data/services that they provide? It seems like this is good for everyone - Z2L doesn't lose their bandwidth but they still get some compensation. SD gets some funding for OSS projects in exchange for providing data/bandwidth. But is that the complete SD offering?

It looks like SD is the standard source for XmlTV grabbers. Is that hardcoded or an option? Does any other NPO or commercial entity provide similar services to SD? I'm not looking for a way around SD, again just trying to understand the ecosystem here.

I'll probably start another thread for this, but does SD recommend commercial interests go to DD for their own license? Or do you provide your value-add services for businesses that make commercial use of the data as long as the software operating on that data is open sourced? I'm considering a server-based application for which I'd gladly purchase subscriptions for each of our registered end-users, and I'd publish the source too. But to make a long story short, I can't lose my house to provide free services to the public. I'd need to get compensation for the value-add we provide (through subscriptions and maybe advertising) while still trying to support the open source model and contributing to SD as an NPO.

Thanks for your time.
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Re: Trying to understand SchedulesDirect

Postby rmeden » Mon Jul 13, 2009 11:37 am

re: Intro/Summary

By George, I think he's got it! :)

Tribune is not in the retail business. They were not interested in collecting small payments from lots of people, and the customer service needed for such a system. That's why Tribune wasn't interested in replacing Z2L with their own service.

The data differences between DD and Z2L are basically version changes (Z2L was old). For the most part it is the same.

re: XMLTV SF Project
There are many XMLTV grabbers all over the world. In addition to tv_grab_na_dd, there is also a tv_grab_na_dtv that I think scrapes DirectTV. As the current lead of the XMLTV SF project, I have stated that if a legal grabber shows up I would not prevent competition with SD. There is another commercial service in the SF project for Europe. There are also other (non-perl) grabbers that output XMLTV format, some of questionable legality.

re: Commercial use.
The SD-TMS contract prevents SD from commercial licensing, but Tribune has solutions available. If someone comes to SD with a commercial issue, we send them to Tribune. If they choose Tribune's DD service, the code change to a SD client would be minimal. Tribune is also working on a SD like solution for low-volume commercial use. Check with them, they're a great bunch of guys.

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Re: Trying to understand SchedulesDirect

Postby Starbuck » Wed Jul 15, 2009 2:41 pm

Great info - thanks Robert. I've contacted TMS and will let you know how things go.

Regards and Thanks for your ongoing efforts in these areas.
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