After a far-too-long wait, TV Tracker is finally back! We've rebuilt it from the ground up to be faster, more stable and better looking than ever. Of course, a new version means that it does run a little differently, so this document may be helpful to you.
NEW DATA SOURCES
TV Tracker 3.5 requires an account with Schedules Direct, who provides the show information TV Tracker displays. Schedules Direct is a subscription service, costing $15 for three months of listings. Zap2It Labs, the old data provider, was sponsored by advertisers and was not financially sustainable. They recently stopped providing free listings, so we have moved to a new provider. You can read more about Zap2it here
THE BAD NEWS
So the bad news is that what used to be a free service now costs money. The good news is that, according to Schedules Direct, the cost of subscriptions will go down over time. Subscriptions are costing more at launch to ensure the financial viability of the enterprise. Their goal is to charge $20/year. You can read more about it here.
Why does the data cost so much money?
There are a few reasons for this. First, actually gaining access to the data is difficult. Programming data is aggregated by one big company, Tribune Media Services. Tribune is a company usually sells data to advertiser supported ventures like newspapers or to subscription services like cable tv and Tivo. Schedules Direct has to buy subscriptions for every user from Tribune. Additionally, actually distributing the data once it is paid for is a surprisingly difficult process. Each listing file contains the data and descriptions for a day's worth of programming. With cable television offering hundreds of channels, each listing file can weigh as much as 3 megabytes. Additionally, each listing file is customized, meaning that there's a significant amount of server processing which takes place before you even start to download the file. Lastly, members of the internet community, including ourselves, have become a bit spoiled by the free software which Google and other companies provide. It's important to remember that in fact, this software does cost money, but that money is paid by advertisers rather than by you, the customer. Still, it can feel strange to pay for software, particularly subscription-based services.
1) When TV Tracker is launched for the first time, you will need to configure it. This process takes a few minutes, though it will prompt you through the steps.
- First, you need to create an account with SchedulesDirect.com. This costs $15 for three months of service, which you can pay for on their site with a credit card or PayPal. Schedules Direct does offer a one week trial of the service so you can see how well it works. After you've created an account, you'll need to configure a channel lineup, where you enter your area code and cable company, and choose which stations you want to appear in your TV Tracker (handy, particularly if you don't care what's on the Home Shopping Network)
- After creating your account with Schedules Direct, you need to enter your username and password on the back of TV Tracker.
- You can navigate through show times by clicking the Left and Right Arrows at the top of the screen.
- To get detailed information regarding a particular show, you can click on the name of the show in the listings and the details and synopsis will be shown. Click anywhere on the info screen to dismiss it.
- The Clock Menu in the upper left corner allows you to configure TV Tracker and to jump to prime time.
|FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
TV Tracker seems to get stuck on the Downloading Listings... page. What's up?
Sometimes when TV Tracker locks up, the best solution is to press command-R on your keyboard. You'll get a nice swirling animation and your problem may very well fix itself.
What is the Certificate Code for TV Tracker?
Schedules Direct no longer requires a certificate code.
I accidentally opened two TV Trackers. How do I get rid of one?
Although we recommend tiling your screen with as many TV Trackers as will possibly fit, if you feel the need to save space for other widgets, it's easy to close them. Simply open the Widget dock on the dashboard by pressing the + button at the bottom of the screen. Now, all your widgets have little close boxes on them!
TV Tracker, by Monkey Business Labs @ http://www.monkeybusinesslabs.com
David Keay - Programming
Joshua Keay - Illustration, Graphics and Interface design
Scott, Eric, Chris, Luis, Ira, April, Bill and our many patient users!
Have a question not on the list? Contact Us