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Media Television

Zap2It Labs Discontinuing Free TV Guide Service 569

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the not-a-myth dept.
QuijiboIsAWord writes "Zap2It Labs, which provides free TV listing data for personal use, has long been the main source of program guide information for users in the US and beyond. They've announced via their webpage that, due to abuse of the service, data will no longer be available after September 1st. There is no other direct source, and no option to pay for the service even if the users wanted to. Without a data feed of this type, users will be reduced to scraping websites at best. Is this going to be a killing blow for MythTV?"
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Zap2It Labs Discontinuing Free TV Guide Service

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  • by Khan (19367)
    And I just got my MythTV box update to some nice hardware! ARRRGGGGG!!!!
  • This is troubling (Score:4, Interesting)

    by quanticle (843097) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:04PM (#19585403) Homepage
    I don't use MythTV, and so I was surprised to see that it relies on a private third-party source for TV listings. Isn't there any way to obtain this information in an "open-source" manner?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ajs (35943)

      I don't use MythTV, and so I was surprised to see that it relies on a private third-party source for TV listings. Isn't there any way to obtain this information in an "open-source" manner?

      I can't imagine how that would work. Ultimately, you need information from the studios, and that's going to require a business relationship. TV Guide has such a relationship, as did these folks it seems (or perhaps TV Guide and these folks have a common feed).

      I'm a little shocked that these guys didn't just go commercial, though, and build a MythTV add-on that allows you to subscribe to their product.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      The Zap2It Labs service receives all the data from the networks, typically directly, and aggregates it all into a customizable feed which users set up by signing up for an account and selecting the cable provider or broadcast area of their choice.
      Many different applications, besides just MythTV, use this data. Some people have individually negotiated with their local stations to get the data they need, but that's extremely hit or miss, and about as convenient as attempting to negotiate with your Cable com
    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:20PM (#19585707)
      Not unless someone volunteers to compile the voluminous amount of information themselves, then set up a distribution method.

      This was always MythTV's achilles heel, more than even HDTV. For all the talk about "Unlike Tivo, MythTV can NEVER be shut down or crippled," MythTV always had this dependency on a third party, for profit service. It's possible someone could replace them, but they're going to want SOME form of revenue (and since no one is going to tolerate ads on their MythTV, or pay for the service, this is unlikely).

      • by SEAL (88488) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:29PM (#19585899)
        and since no one is going to tolerate ads on their MythTV, or pay for the service, this is unlikely

        Given the choice between:

        1. paying Comcast's fees, DVR service, etc
        2. paying Tivo or
        3. paying for a subscription to an XML TV Listing service, and keeping my MythTV box

        I'll take #3.

        People will pay for it as long as no free alternatives are out there.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Vengeance_au (318990)
        In Australia, I've been using reliably for over 2 years (it has been around longer) the Oztivo [tuhs.org] TV Guide [tuhs.org] data, which is community created, supported and maintained. It was originally set up by a group of people who imported Tivo devices to Australia, where there is no Tivo data available. This data has been extended so there are now Mythtv and MCE scripts to allow access to the data. I've found the data to be better than some of the Aussie pay-services, purely because the guys who maintain the data are using
    • by SuperBanana (662181) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:22PM (#19585747)

      Isn't there any way to obtain this information in an "open-source" manner?

      The best way to get the information is from the stations and cable operators.

      Unfortunately, MythTV and other PVR users are in the game of cutting out ads; TV programming is purely to sell ad space, and always has been, save when programs were entirely paid for by one company and the show was branded in their name. What motivation do TV stations have to assist people who are purposefully going out of their way to cut out the ads?

    • Re:This is troubling (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Reverend528 (585549) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @05:45PM (#19586991) Homepage

      Isn't there any way to obtain this information in an "open-source" manner?
      The best possible "open source" solution would be to create some sort of wiki for tv listing data.
  • by Palmyst (1065142) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:06PM (#19585435)
    Their website does not explain. Is just using the data in MythTV, "abuse"?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ajs (35943)
      I think the "abuse" they're talking about is programs that are pre-configured to hit their service so that everyone on the Net who tries them out hammers their servers.

      It seems fair to start charging, but odd that they're just shutting it off. They say they're willing to license to other companies, so presumably they're hoping someone will come along and offer a package to the MythTV folks by licensing the data and re-selling subscriptions.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lijemo (740145)

        "It seems fair to start charging, but odd that they're just shutting it off. They say they're willing to license to other companies,..."

        The infrastructure required to sell to businesses/institutions and the infrastructure required to sell to individuals is completely different.

        In one model, salespeople develop personal relationships with contacts at the customer locations, discuss their needs with them, put together a custom package, and then make a small number of large transactions. Also, in the B2B

    • by ChaosDiscord (4913) * on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:11PM (#19585517) Homepage Journal
      Based on their previous complaints and this message, I think the problem was people were using the free data set, then redistributing it, probably for profit, possibly indirectly (say, selling devices that used Zap2It's free service). Zap2It makes money selling their data set and they were very generously offering it for free to individuals. But you weren't allow to redistribute it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ajayrockrock (110281)
      No. For us, all you had to do was register with labs.zap2it.com and then you can get the listings for private non-commercial use. So we (mythtv users) weren't abusing the system. I imagine that the abuse they are talking about is people signing up for the service and then reselling their data (that they themselves aggregate from other sources).

      --Ajay
    • by tgatliff (311583)
      I am sure they are talking about bandwidth bottlenecks because of updating times. The problem with MythTV in the early days was everyone updating at the same time, in addition to updating multiple times per day. This was resolved later on with a new feature to spread this out. Their response seems dis-ingenious, though, because if they would have just open up their data, an rsync backup server(s) at the university level would have been trivial to setup. Meaning, use the same approach as who OSS binaries
    • by Minwee (522556) <dcr@neverwhen.org> on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:16PM (#19585629) Homepage

      According to a posting on mythtv.org... [mythtv.org]

      Some reasons and other comments given for the scheduled discontinuence, copied from the forum, copied from the mailing list:

      • Continued use of the service to support commercial products, in violation of the agreement.
      • Commercial products continued to grow despite previous appeals that this activity stop.
      • There are significant changes to the supporting data structure forthcoming and we could not devote resources to the continued upkeep and enhancements of the service.
      • Maintenance of the service is impacting our resource pool for other projects.
      • We sought alternative options but were unable to find a solution.
      • We recognize the hardship this creates for the user community. We are open to alternative solutions and would consider proposals that met the needs of the user community and our company.
      • We looked into options to turn this into a paid service however we do not have the infrastructure at this time.
    • by Applekid (993327) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:18PM (#19585679)
      While no longer linked from the front page, this link [tribune.com] still works.

      Basically, the content was provided free provided it remained for non-commercial use. After all, commercial ventures have to pay for those listings and if they could get it for free, nobody would pay.

      I hope they at least tried to weed out the abusers before just cutting the cable.
  • How is MythTV dead? (Score:4, Informative)

    by PolyDwarf (156355) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:06PM (#19585441)

    ... Without a data feed of this type, users will be reduced to scraping websites at best. Is this going to be a killing blow for MythTV?"
    I fail to see how, unless the screenscrapers specifically mentioned don't work. I wrote a scraper for my MythTV box to pull PPV information from somewhere, since it wasn't coming from Zap2it. It's not that hard, really, and took me all of an hour to do.
  • Achilles Heel (Score:4, Interesting)

    by L. VeGas (580015) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:07PM (#19585451) Homepage Journal
    I first became aware of MythTV some years ago from a developer that was excitedly working on the project. With all the effort that was going on at the time, nobody seemed to have a clear-cut idea of a long-term, stable way of getting TV listings. "Scraping web pages" was the only plan.

    Looks like five years later, it's still the only plan.
  • by kalpol (714519) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:07PM (#19585459) Homepage
    This was an invaluable service - makes me wonder who's putting the pressure on them :(
    • by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:17PM (#19585665) Homepage
      Tribune put new management in Zap2it. They have been unresponsiveand treated the Data Direct service like a redheaded stepchild for a year now. The data has been bad, with long outages on it from time to time for a while now. Many of us that have used myth and other xmltv systems have tried to pay for a subscription for a couple of years now and they refuse.

      it's the new management, they hate that OSS people are getting access to the data and want to stop it.
    • They were probably getting pressure from other companies.

      I had Dish Network and signed up for one of their International channels, SET (Sony Entertainment Television). A few months ago they all of a sudden dropped the listing. It wasn't showing up in my Myth box, and the option to include the data wasn't even on their site anymore. It just disappeared. I checked Dish's site and sure enough the SET listings [zap2it.com] are there and the source is even from Zap2It! So I'm assuming that Sony told Zap2It to remove the
      • by Bryan Ischo (893) *
        > Hopefully someone picks up the slack, I'd pay a few bucks a month to keep using Myth without the scraping.

        That is such a funny thing to hear from a MythTV user. I cannot even count the number of times I heard the MythTV crowd say things like "TiVo SUCKS because you have to pay for the guide data! That stuff should be free! I would cut my own legs off before I'd pay for guide data because paying for guide data is THE BIGGEST EVIL IN THE WORLD!!!!" ... etc.

        Now that the "free" guide data is gone, all t
    • by ivan256 (17499)
      Whichever company sends them their bandwidth bill I'd guess...

      Some smart financial type there probably realized they were paying for it, but it wasn't generating any revenue. Goodwill of the OSS community is nice and all, but you can't spend it, or pay your bills with it.

      Cue the people calling them "haters" any minute now though.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Etherized (1038092)

        That's a good thought, but I think you miss the mark. Data Direct was created as a response to the various screen scrapers that existed before it - scrapers which had to pull down and parse entire HTML documents instead of simply using compact, per-user xml feeds. This service was intended to reduce total bandwidth use, and as far as I'm aware it succeeded at doing so.

        It's possible that there has been a shift in management and that this history lesson was forgotten, but if their intention is to save ban

  • Misuse? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cerberus7 (66071) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:09PM (#19585499)
    How, exactly, does one go about "misusing" TV schedule listings? Is this really because Zap2It was making all other forms of TV listings obsolete while not making any money at it? The announcement is quite vague. Does anybody have details on what's going on?
  • TitanTV (Score:4, Informative)

    by rlp (11898) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:09PM (#19585501)
    I use a Windows based PVR that works with the Web site titantv.com Clicking on the 'record' button on the Web site sends a small file that a helper app converts to a Windows scheduler entry. I can't believe it would be that hard to adapt to Linux.

    The Titan TV web site includes advertising and also does tracking. While personally, I don't care if anyone knows I watch StarGate and Myth Busters, privacy issues may be a concern for some.
    • Or, use the MythWeb plugin. I have my own website of my PVR which I can instruct to record things. It's also secured so it's private and not in the hands of anyone else. And it doesn't have adverts.
    • I had the same thought- Snapstream or TitanTV ought to come out with a *paid* MythTV plugin at this point. It's not like they don't already have the listings.
  • Going, going, gone? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by scribblej (195445) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:13PM (#19585559)
    I've been a Zap2it subscriber for at least three years for my MythTV.

    At first, they made me fill out a big online survey as "payment" for the service. The first time it was about 30 questions.

    The third time (this is like every 3-6 months) they only asked one question.

    For the last year, the survey has been "click here to renew."

    What's with that? I'm willing to give up some personal time and info to pay for this service, and they can't even think of a way to leverage that?

  • The main listings (Score:4, Informative)

    by DaveWick79 (939388) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:13PM (#19585561)
    It doesn't appear that this will affect their main listings on their website, just the programs that tap into their database.
    I've always just setup an easy shortcut to their web page to get listings, so I really don't think this will affect my usage in the least.
  • by ChaosDiscord (4913) * on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:14PM (#19585583) Homepage Journal
    This will be the killing blow for MythTV and other open source DVRs? I think not. MythTV predates Zap2It and managed to do okay. Yes, it relied on screen scraping, but it worked. Furthermore, I know I'm perfectly prepared to pay a small monthly fee for a good data source. Maybe $5 a month? Since a company offering such a service doesn't need to recoup costs for selling hardware below cost (as Tivo does), such a price should be feasible. Since Zap2It was free, there wasn't much incentive for someone to offer the service, but now there is. I'm hoping the free market will see the opportunity and we can work something else.
  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:15PM (#19585597)
    What's wrong with just "scraping" web pages (I assume that means writing code which automatically downloads the webpages and captures the data of interest, rather than requiring a human to do it. I do this all the time with Perl code.)?

    There's multiple sites out there with TV listings: Yahoo TV, Zap2It, MeeTV (the one I use), etc. Just write perl scripts to capture the listing information from these sites, and modify MythTV to allow the user to choose any service he wishes. Of course, some of these sites may (stupidly) screw with their HTML in order to throw off these scripts, but that's easily worked around with regular updates. So we just need to have a "myth-scripts" distribution site where your Myth box automatically checks for updates to the perl scripts every day and downloads them if necessary, just like we already do with many other things.

    No, it's not quite as reliable and efficient as a static interface to this data, but if these companies are stupid enough to remove static interfaces, thinking we're just going to go back to doing everything manually and looking at all the ads, this seems like a reasonable solution. There's no way of preventing automated scripts from downloading webpages.
    • by garcia (6573)
      No, it's not quite as reliable and efficient as a static interface to this data, but if these companies are stupid enough to remove static interfaces, thinking we're just going to go back to doing everything manually and looking at all the ads, this seems like a reasonable solution.

      That's exactly the problem. Scraping relies on the format remaining mostly unchanged. I had to write a scraper to compile data for work. Because of the way the site was designed, I had to make 600+ queries to the site to get a
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MS-06FZ (832329)

      What's wrong with just "scraping" web pages (I assume that means writing code which automatically downloads the webpages and captures the data of interest, rather than requiring a human to do it. I do this all the time with Perl code.)?

      There's multiple sites out there with TV listings: Yahoo TV, Zap2It, MeeTV (the one I use), etc. Just write perl scripts to capture the listing information from these sites, and modify MythTV to allow the user to choose any service he wishes. Of course, some of these sites may (stupidly) screw with their HTML in order to throw off these scripts, but that's easily worked around with regular updates. So we just need to have a "myth-scripts" distribution site where your Myth box automatically checks for updates to the perl scripts every day and downloads them if necessary, just like we already do with many other things.

      No, it's not quite as reliable and efficient as a static interface to this data, but if these companies are stupid enough to remove static interfaces, thinking we're just going to go back to doing everything manually and looking at all the ads, this seems like a reasonable solution. There's no way of preventing automated scripts from downloading webpages.

      They can't prevent it - but if they decide they don't like you doing it, they can come up with all kinds of ways to make it hard.

      For instance, they could replace their nice little HTML table with some flash code - that's not going to be impossible for you to read with scripts, but it'll be a lot harder.
      Another option would be to use images instead of text - possibly even breaking up the images into smaller images, to make it harder for automated tools to pull it and OCR it.
      They could load their page with b

  • Just wondering if Big Money got to them. Whenever a free alternative to a lucrative pay service disappears, one wonders if the competition just bought them out (secret deal) and killed the competing product.

    Then it's just a question of who is benefiting from this the most?

  • by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedyNO@SPAMtpno-co.org> on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:15PM (#19585625) Homepage
    Me thinks that someone doesn't quite grasp the strength of OSS: That strength not just being free. Ultimately, it's the dissemination of data. Which is precisely why this problem is uniquely suited to being solved by OSS.

    This will be a minor set back at worse. But, like any set back, it will make the overall product stronger.

    That said..."NNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OO!!!!!!!!!!!!!". Zap2it was damn handy. Thank you Zap2it, for a great service.
  • by cesman (74566) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:16PM (#19585641) Homepage
    http://www.gossamer-threads.com/lists/mythtv/users /275533#275533 [gossamer-threads.com]
    And it isn't just MythTV that uses the guide data provided...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:18PM (#19585681)
    Shouldn't Google or Yahoo or Microsoft or any of the other big media / tech companies of the 21st century provide this information as a free WebService? Seems like something Google would jump on top of since their mission statement is to organize the worlds information. Well, TV listings is information.... get on that Google!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Frenchy_2001 (659163)
      Actually, Microsoft already provides such a service for their Media Center Editions users.
      The media center shell will get that data automatically, with a 2 weeks forward visibility.

      I suppose that microsoft either pays for that service or just provides it from a known good stream and you pay for it in the cost of the OS (either Win XP MCE or some of the Vistas).

      As all those streams, they are not always correct (programming DOES change unexpectedly), but usually, works just fine.

  • Running a massively-popular, industry-unsupported service like freedb or free TV guide is difficult, apparently. Revenues need to come from somewhere, whether Google ads or private donors or corporate sponsors. It wouldn't surprise me if the open source community retaliated with a resource to replace Zap2It within months, along the same advertising-supported lines as FreeDB.org.

    Then again, watching less TV might be good for all of you...
  • Myth just tunes to it (alongside the digital multiplex) and grabs a lot of info. It's not perfect, but it means we don't need to bother with zap2, radio times, etc

    http://www.mythtv.org/wiki/index.php/EIT [mythtv.org]
  • Anybody worked with XMLTV [sourceforge.net] and care to share their experience?
    • From www.xml.com [xml.com]

      This brings up an important question: what's the legal status of XMLTV? The Zap2IT license seems to be broad enough to allow for it.
      While you may interact with or download a single copy of any portion of the Content for your own personal, non-commercial entertainment, information or use, you may not and may not authorize others to reproduce, sell, publish, distribute, modify, display, repost or otherwise use any portion of the Content in any other way or for any other purpose withou

  • by rehtonAesoohC (954490) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:24PM (#19585787) Journal
    What if I was to write a web service that exposed the data garnered from website-scraping? You could just write a standard XML request, wrap it in SOAP tags and send it to the web service, and you'd be returned whatever information you requested- by channel, time, or show name...

    Any takers?
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:26PM (#19585825)
    Rather than a million screen scrapers each hitting various listing sites, better one screen scraper sharing the resulting data with a million video rebels. This solution would probably leave everyone happier.

    Now there's just the question of who? Who is expert at spidering the web? Who likes to provide new cheap-to-free services in their quest to take over new markets. Who would love to put yet another spike into Microsoft's side by removing yet another possible revenue source for them? Who doesn't have to worry about financing such a small, cheap service alongside their already multitudes of underutilized servers and bandwidth?

    Google?

  • by Blasphemy (78348) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:29PM (#19585893)
    Google needs a TV Listings aggregator!

    Of course it would be the best ever... With version numbers for each day and diffs available that only contain the changes. The whole thing would be available as an rss feed and would be free, of course.

  • Why not use Guide+? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by maillemaker (924053) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:29PM (#19585901)
    My TV automatically downloads, somehow (over the air? cable?) channel lineup listings through the Guide+ system.

    Could a computer not do the same thing?

  • by pz (113803) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:43PM (#19586113) Journal
    Like many others, I'm a little surprised that they aren't moving to a subscription model. Clearly they know better what their available resources are, and what they are and are not capable of handling, but it seems like a missed opportunity to walk away from a situation where their servers are getting hammered, and start charging a small fee. Many, many of the MythTV users would happily pay a few dollars a month to have a steady stream of information. Sounds like it could be a million dollar annual income right there, and that's got to be very hard to walk away from for any company.

    As for commercial abuse, if they know it's happening, they presumably are taking steps to quash it as well, without much luck. Probably like playing whack-a-mole.

    Let's all hope Google comes to the rescue.
    • by Buelldozer (713671) <cliff AT gindulis DOT net> on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @05:01PM (#19586417)
      I was happy to find your clear, concise, comment down here all by itself. It makes it easy for a clean response.

      Let's say that MythTV implemented your paid service plan and began charging the princely sum of $2 per month for the data.

      I would give it all of 7 days before that paid for data became available for free. Someone, somewhere, would buy the data for $2 per month and load it up for others to have free of charge. It would be a daily torrent that you could pull, or a streamed RSS feed, a static layout site with a downloadable screen scraper, or any one of a dozen other ways I can think.

      So now instead of a million dollar revenue stream you'd get a thousand dollar revenue stream coming from the 500 users who would actually be wiling to pay when a free source is available.

      If you can answer the question of how to prevent the above scenario from happening I can put you in touch with some content providers who will pay REAL money for your idea. The kind of money that allows people to retire for life...at the age of twenty.
  • by digitalderbs (718388) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @04:52PM (#19586253)
    A year ago it was announced that an alternative paid service through TechnoVera [slashdot.org] was available to replace Zap2It with part of the funds going back to OSS and mythtv -- and no periodic surveys. Couldn't users switch to this service? -- or is it no longer available? (I've never used this service myself.. any users care to respond?)
  • by Sciros (986030) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @05:16PM (#19586619) Journal
    I have an HD cable box at home with built-in DVR that functions like Tivo... yet I haven't even HEARD of Zap2It, let alone needed to use it ever. Warner's digital cable boxes have great TV guides, so as long as cable provides have that, why need another online one?
  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @05:29PM (#19586791)
    I'm sure I represent most other MythTV users when I say: "FSCK!"
  • P2P Listings (Score:3, Informative)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Wednesday June 20, 2007 @06:20PM (#19587459) Homepage Journal
    TV listings seems like a great P2P app for MythTV. Listings for future broadcasts can be read by users from their local media.

    In small entries (enforced by the GUI) that don't trip the copyright of the original publisher. Or, like most P2P users, they'll ignore the copyrights.

    It's like a Napster index that doesn't point to copyright violated media, but to fair use of one's own media subscriptions.
  • by Anaerin (905998) on Thursday June 21, 2007 @04:40AM (#19591681)
    Taken from a post above:

    Some reasons and other comments given for the scheduled discontinuence, copied from the forum, copied from the mailing list:
    • Continued use of the service to support commercial products, in violation of the agreement.
    • Commercial products continued to grow despite previous appeals that this activity stop.
    • There are significant changes to the supporting data structure forthcoming and we could not devote resources to the continued upkeep and enhancements of the service.
    • Maintenance of the service is impacting our resource pool for other projects.
    • We sought alternative options but were unable to find a solution.
    • We recognize the hardship this creates for the user community. We are open to alternative solutions and would consider proposals that met the needs of the user community and our company.
    • We looked into options to turn this into a paid service however we do not have the infrastructure at this time.
    (NB: Emphasis mine)

    Basically, what they're saying is that they will be changing their database structure, and can't be bothered to re-code the Labs.Zap2It part. They'd rather spend the time on other things, like increasing ad revenue.

    Bear in mind that TMS charges each station (Somewhere in the region of $75/day) to collect their data, and charges their commercial end-users (somewhere in the region of $500/market/month) to provide the data. Quite a lucrative trade, wouldn't you say? Add to that advertising revenue from their site, and subtract bandwidth fees, and they still make a tidy profit.

    It has been theorised that the main reason labs.zap2it was set up was to save bandwidth costs after XMLTV scrapers started hitting their public site. As the data was served up in chunks in the midst of a sea of other information (Links, advertisements, commentary, navigation etc) it cost considerably more in bandwidth, so it made more fiscal sense to offer the data for free, so they could track who was using it and where, along with only having to serve the data itself, with compression and selectivity. This is only a theory, mind, but considering how the Myth community (On it's own, without any of the other projects that were/are using Zap2It feeds) has grown, I think removing this option will drastically increase Zap2It's bandwidth bills without adding any ad revenue back into the pot (A scraper doesn't see ads, and doesn't care about them).

    In other words, this could be a costly mistake for TMS. Here's hoping they see sense, and work out a way to work with MythTV and others.

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