May 18, 2005
One of the nastier problems of rolling your own Linux-based PVR using MythTV has just gotten better — for a fee.
A California startup named TechnoVera has made a deal with Tribune Media Services to license their data services (including movie show-times and more) to be hosted for the Linux Audience on LxMSuite.com. The novel part of this? While Tivo implements user-tracking, pop-up’s and banner ads, LxMSuite will be giving their subscribers new themes and even additional features and functionality each month. And they are promising that the net proceeds from each $5/month subscription will go to sponsor Open Source Development (presumably MythTV). They plan a “Bounty-Vote” system, which they liken to a “Software Survival Game”, where you can spend your bounty votes against a feature or for it. A subscription-based service offering for Linux Media PC users might sound like a bit of a gamble, but the guys at MythTV seem to have responded well, posting a rare interim release (MythTV 0.18.1) to avail all its users of the new functionality.
MythTV users previously had been using the Tribune’s Zap2it Guide for their data, but this was fraught with issues, including occasionally having to take a survey to keep the guide data coming.
TechnoVera’s new solution has the potential to put MythTV a little more in the reach of the average PVR user, although it still doesn’t sort out the installation and configuration issues that plague many would-be users.
It also remains to be seen if people who want to build a free-software PVR are willing to pay a monthly fee for guide data.
Perhaps more interesting is the potential for this to grow into an independent “superguide” that addresses some of the issues of today’s PVR and media center guides.
If TechnoVera were to offer a clearly superior product to the built-in guides that come with products such as MCE, BeyondTV and Sage, it’s possible that they could tap into a much larger market by providing guides in multiple formats along with plug-ins to reach some of the other PC-based PVR offerings.