If you haven’t been watching Slashdot at all or any of the many MythTV forums out there then you don’t know that we will all soon be losing our free XML feed of TV listings. Zap2it Labs originally provided the feed for free for noncommercial use, but they are going to stop providing this starting Sept 1st. Several individuals organized and have worked with Zap2it to keep the feed going and have created a new entity called Schedule Direct. Recently Schedule Direct reached an agreement with Zap2it to continue to provide the feed to open source DVR users through Schedule Direct. Of course, the rub is that it is going to begin costing $5 a month to subscribe to. According to the website they hope to turn this into only $20 a year, but they are waiting to figure out how many individuals sign up.
I don’t want to sound like a complete cheapo, but I can get a DVR from my cable company for $5 more a month, and the entire point of me originally building my own DVR was so that I would not have to pay a monthly fee and could instead use that money to keep adding to my DVR. Also, I have no idea how many MythTV and XMLTV users are out there, but someone is bound to make a decent profit off of this at $5 a month per person.
A few of the guys at work, including myself think that this is an area that Google needs to get into. Google’s all about providing different types of data, so why can’t they start providing TV data? It seems like the exact kind of service that they would provide for free. You could probably wrap some ads around it all and generate some very decent revenue. I even considered doing it myself, but I already have two projects going on at the moment along with a full time job, and I didn’t think I could put together a solution quick enough for it to be beneficial.
Anyways, this leaves me with deciding what to do next and I am strongly considering switching my setup over to Windows Vista Home Premium and using the Media Center functionality. From what I have heard it is pretty good, my only concern is if my hardware is all supported, which I can’t figured out without hunting down the details on everything, or just trying it out and killing my MythTV install. Of course, after Sept 1st my DVR is just going to be a big paper weight anyways. What do you think? Should I not be a cheapo and pony up, or stick to my guns and have a completely monthly fee free DVR?