The Australian Community-Driven TV Guide

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Information about The Australian Community-Driven TV Guide
Technology

Published on March 15, 2009

Author: DoctorWkt

Source: slideshare.net

Description

The Guide provides Series 1 TiVos
and other PVR devices with TV
guide data for both FTA and Pay TV
stations. The content is created and
maintained by the community.

The Australian Community-Driven TV Guide Warren Toomey www.oztivo.net The Guide provides Series 1 TiVos and other PVR devices with TV guide data for both FTA and Pay TV stations. The content is created and maintained by the community.

A Brief History Initially created to provide guide data ● for the US Series 1 TiVos being imported in 2001 onwards ● First two versions: simple Perl scripts, text file data stores, designed to provide guide data for a single “OzTiVo” box. ● Third version: more sophisticated, intelligence added to deal with inconsistent input data

Data Inconsistencies Data was originally scraped from ● several web sites. Data issues included: ● Misspellings of show titles ● No length or end times: these have to be deduced by the next start time ● Shows broken across midnight or 6am, i.e. when one day's web data ends ● No “genre” information about shows. Little of no indication of episodic or one- off etc.

V3: Rise and Fall By 2003/2004, enough OzTiVos that ● there was demand that a central site scrape, massage data & roll guide “slices” ● Scaling up showed large weaknesses, especially in the use of text files for data storage, but also in other areas ● Once we were rolling out guide slices, HWW asked us to cease scraping from the web sites they supply data to, i.e. most of the main Australian TV websites

V4: Modular + Database 4th version rewritten from scratch in ● 2005/2006. Much more modular, with a database & many tables. ● Various phases now separated. ● Web frontend introduced to visualise guide data ● Data upload format defined, so users can add data which has not been scraped ● Better code for time issues, to deal with multiple programs with the same title

Internal Structure

Main Phases of Operation Ongoing: upload of new data by users, ● editing of existing data via web interface ● Daily: fill in data gaps via web fetches ● Fill gaps, add directors and star ratings ● Creation of data for each lineup, in both OzTiVo slice format and in XMLTV format ● Convert slices into binary format, compress and move slices and XML data into web area to be downloaded

What's a Station? What's a Lineup? A station is a source of TV content ● transmitting in a specific timezone ● A channel is where the TV content is received, possibly in another timezone ● A lineup is a set of channels which can be received by FTA or Pay TV in a specific region ● At present, we have 280 stations and 110 lineups

V5: More Tables, Web 2.0 Maintenance & development ● transitioned to Kevin Lentin + a few others in 2007: thanks Kevin!!! ● Javascript, some AJAX, more data heuristics, more database tables to drive the heuristics ● In 2008, we started to provide data in XML format to XMLTV and similar. They are now the bulk of the end-users. ● But, only a handful of people actually upload and guide data :-(

Recent Statistics Graph of OzTiVo numbers since Jan 2006 Graph of XML users in the last 12 month

Lessons Learned MVC: separate UI from code, separate ● data stores from code, separate specific logic from data semantics ● Don't hardwire logic either, write “table- driven” logic: allows non-programmers ability to alter program behaviour ● Don't use local time, use UT and map to timezones where appropriate ● Web data is ALWAYS dirty, and the level & type of dirt varies with time!

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