Channel lineup/guide data provider in 2021?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by cogx, Mar 20, 2021.

  1. cogx

    cogx Member

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    Sorry, I'm positive this information is somewhere in this board, but multiple searches didn't help.

    It used to be back in the day one could verify one's channel lineup with the Zap2it web site and even get them to fix a channel problem which would eventually end up fixing one's TiVo lineup problem as their data was fed to TiVo.

    Is there any web site now that is the same as our TiVo lineups? I've had to request multiple fixes in the past few weeks, some fixes, some reversions, re-fixes, and I also see similar and yes not-similar errors for my cable lineup on sites like TVGuide and Zap2It. (I believe TitanTV just uses the same data as Zap2it?)

    It seems that this web site is using the same data as TiVo?
    On TV Tonight - OnTVTonight.com - TV Listings, streaming and What's On TV Guide

    My lineup on this site which I just found today has the two fixes from yesterday, but I'm seeing the same errors that still remain in my lineup and also some changes that were made in error last week for SD channels that are now listed as HD (but they really are still SD). I find that too specific to be a coincidence.
    Meanwhile, TVGuide and Zap2it still have problems with my lineup mostly due to some OTA station swapping shenanigans in January that they can't seem to figure out (which come on, that info is public record on multiple sites that are definitive on what station is on what channel).

    I guess my bigger question is, when we submit lineup changes to TiVo now, do they send them "upstream" somewhere so they will "stick"? Or, do they periodically get data fed to them and so I'm going to end up being in a cycle of having my lineup fixed, but then messed up again in a few weeks?
     
  2. Apr 2, 2021 #2 of 17
    CurtJester

    CurtJester New Member

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    TiVo used to get their guide info from Gracenote. They now get it from Rovi, who bought them back a number of years. I'm not sure there's any website that uses the Rovi data, offhand, though some providers do.
     
  3. Apr 2, 2021 #3 of 17
    JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    Judging from their matching mistakes, tv.com seems likely.
     
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  4. Apr 2, 2021 #4 of 17
    eherberg

    eherberg Active Member

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    both tvguide.com and ontvtonight use Rovi data (as well as the now-abandoned tv.com).
     
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  5. Apr 2, 2021 #5 of 17
    cogx

    cogx Member

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    I've found several different sites and it does appear that there are at least three distinct data feeds being used for my specific cable lineup out there. I have confirmed, though, that this is the only one I've found that definitely uses the same data as TiVo: www.ontvtonight.com

    In fact, I had submitted four more changes to TiVo support three days ago and they actually showed up exactly as I requested on that web site this morning and sure enough I just did a manually update on my Bolt and the fixes are now on my DVR too. Oddly enough, on the TiVo Online site, although the All Channel listing has the new changes, the "Channel List" does not (I assume there needs to be a new connection from my DVR back upstream to trigger those selected channels to be changed).

    The crazy thing to me is that my provider has an old SD "Zap2It" channel scroll, and yet the Gracenote/Zap2It data is full of errors, and they also link to the TVGuide listings on their web site, which also has errors, just not the same exact errors.

    I just figured there has to be some thread/website out there that definitely knows what TV listing web sites use which source data feed, but I haven't come across one yet.

    But more than that, this is one of those examples of the GIGO problem, where although there is a definitely, knowable Truth - what station is on what channel on any given cable or OTA lineup at any given moment in time - instead we have multiple databases out there with some significant percentage of errors at all times and no way to get that corrected across all databases, either easily or really at all. We all have to each fight our own little, local battles and hope for the best.

    Even with these new round of fixes (round four since January), TiVo still doesn't have it perfect for my lineup, but the remaining errors I'm just going to live with, because I'm afraid of another "regression" error if I put in yet another new change request. That's what I liked about the SchedulesDirect method years back, I could submit changes to them and they would get fed into TiVo and I knew those changes would "stick" and not randomly revert back to some other, erroneous data like happened to me a few weeks ago.

    Anyway, rant over. :)
     
  6. Apr 2, 2021 #6 of 17
    cogx

    cogx Member

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    I just looked again at TVGuide.com and they have errors on my lineup, but not the same errors as Rovi/TiVo/OnTVTonight had/have, and also not the same errors as Gracenote/Zap2It have.
     
  7. Apr 2, 2021 #7 of 17
    eherberg

    eherberg Active Member

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    Sites can internally manage it how they want. Plex guide, for example, is taking Gracenote data and paying a fee to host it locally so that they can internally change if they have to for their unique needs. A better way to try to compare is looking at the short descriptions/long descriptions (depending on what the client is paying for).

    I can say pretty matter-of-factly that TVGuide is a client of Rovi. I suppose we shouldn't use the Rovi name anymore because technically the company is officially TiVo since the takeover. TV Guide did just change owners - but when I look at our custom lineups created just for that area with Rovi, they exist on TVGuide just as with OnTVTonight. Each client can choose what level of detail they want to have in their listings as well as frequency (or lack of) for updates. Given that TVGuide.com was just sold from CBS Interactive to Red Ventures, there may be changes in the future - but I wouldn't bet on it. Red Ventures is looking to cut costs - and a large-scale repackage may not be in their future unless it's to eventually kill the website in favor of the more lucrative mobile market.

    If you worked in television during the digital frequency changes due to repack - your PSIP data providers were pretty much the same players. If you changed digital frequencies - you needed to send updates to 3 entities for both PSIP as well as online listings: Rovi, Gracenote, and TitanTV. TitanTV is not so much a data provider themselves - but an aggregator that can take from multiple sources. They used to be primarily FYI Television (which then became Ericsson and most recently Red Bee Media). Lately, however, they've been looking more and more TiVo-like themselves as I'm not sure that (now) Red Bee is even working with listings data themselves anymore. It's tough to make a buck in the business unless you're one of the big 2 (Rovi/Gracenote -- or TiVo/Nielsen to be more accurate) - and even then it's not the listings themselves that make any money - it's the integration of that metadata into other products that does.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2021
  8. Apr 4, 2021 #8 of 17
    cogx

    cogx Member

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    As I look the available providers for my zip code on the TVGuide site, it does match the exact wording that TiVo uses, as does the OnTVTonight site. However, while the OnTVTonight is updating their channel lineup basically in real-time, from the TiVo support changes, the TVGuide site is not. Although, I do see some of the channel errors are only in the station logo being wrong (the ESPN logo is on many different channels and so is the CNN logo), one has to actually look at the current/upcoming programming to try to figure out what station is even on which channel. That being said, as I'm looking this morning, at least one of the channels I did get TiVo to fix this past week, and that the OnTVTonight immediately showed as being changed, is still wrong on the TVGuide site.
    So, whatever TVGuide is doing with the data, it's not being fed properly to the listing pages.

    To the broader issue, I did find a post from 2018 on TVAnswers.org that wrote:
    Stations Moving Frequencies: Let Your Program Guide & Data Providers Know | TV Answers Blog

    The 4 major data providers are:

    Red Bee Media (formerly FYI Television)
    Gracenote (formerly TMS)
    Rovi
    TV Media (Canadian, but provides some TV listings across the U.S.)
     
  9. Apr 4, 2021 #9 of 17
    eherberg

    eherberg Active Member

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    Yes - TV Media's main listings site is TVPassport.com.

    I don't think Red Bee is much of a player anymore - it really is mostly down to the big 2, Gracenote (now owned by Nielsen) and Rovi (owned by TiVo).
     
  10. CommunityMember

    CommunityMember Active Member

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    In the US, there is Gracenote (a Nielsen company subsidiary), Rovi (which renamed the company to TiVo, but the guide provider part is a separate BU of course), and FYI Television. Each are paid for their data, and each pay the stations to provide the schedules and programs. Each commercial guide provider have their own way to ingest and massage the data they get from the stations to present it to their customers. The guide providers also have arrangements with the operators to get the mapping data (so they can map OTA channel 12.3 to cable channel 321, or the USA channel to cable channel 765). And then the companies that pay for the data ingest it and massage it for their own presentation purposes. When errors are identified by a company that is paying for data, they will typically contact the guide provider to get it fixed, but there have been known cases where that company chooses to create one/more local overrides, which end up being unique to their world. Note that numerous issues need to be validated with the upstream (so you report a guide issue to TiVo, who reports it to the guide data provider (yes, in this case another BU of the same company, but they still follow the reporting/tracking process everyone else does), who contacts the station that provided the data, all to verify there is, indeed, an error, hopefully corrects the root cause, and then the fix gets in the data and goes downstream until eventually the data gets corrected for you). That long round trip can take a week to accomplish in some cases (even longer is very special cases).
     
  11. CommunityMember

    CommunityMember Active Member

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    Red Bee (FYI Television)'s advantage was rumored to be much lower prices (rumored because all such agreements are under NDA). The quality of the data was considered to be OK, but not as good as the big 2 (as with the example of AntiVirus software, you can always find one particular case where one is better than the others).

    Rovi picked up a number of clients who had previously chosen to use other guide providers when certain IP claims were asserted.
     
  12. HerronScott

    HerronScott Well-Known Member

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    And now TiVo/Rovi is owned by Xperi.

    Scott
     
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  13. CommunityMember

    CommunityMember Active Member

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    As always, a lot of M&A going on to achieve "synergy" and scale, and lots of corporate renaming/rebranding.

    I have mostly stopped trying to follow the various corporate musical chairs, although for some it is a cottage industry of sorts.

    And all the time, the BUs doing the actual EPG work continue doing what they always have done (with new corporate badges).

    If one goes a step back for Rovi, the EPG business was from Gemstar-TV Guide, and Tribune Media Service acquired Gracenote (which started as a CD database site) which was combined with TMS's EPG business (which had been built by other acquisitions).
     
  14. cogx

    cogx Member

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    I've always liked the TitanTV site listings and so I used their feedback form to request channel/station fixes for my cable lineup and a couple days later they got it all fixed! I was under the impression they were using the Gracenote data, but the Gracenote/Zap2it site still has the same old errors.
     
  15. cannonz

    cannonz Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, Titan is quick to fix things.
     
  16. johnbrown44

    johnbrown44 Member

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    Per theverge.com, Dec 19, 2019:

    TiVo is combining with Xperi — a licensing firm that specializes in semiconductor technology as well as various A/V brands — in a $3 billion merger, the two companies announced today. The deal marks the end of an era for the iconic DVR company.

    The original TiVo company was bought back in 2016 by Rovi for $1.1 billion, primarily for TiVo’s huge (and profitable) stash of patents. Rovi would go on to change its name to TiVo post-acquisition, and the combined company, which still makes most of its money through patent licensing, is now merging with California-based Xperi.
     
  17. johnbrown44

    johnbrown44 Member

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    More precisely:
    Rovi bought Tivo, changed their name to Tivo, and merged with Xperi.
    At the time of merger Tivo held ~53% to Xperi's ~46% stake in the merged company.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2021 at 3:28 AM

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