Yesterday’s Thoughts

June 24, 2005

Yahoo TV Listings

Yahoo has a nice feature. They allow me to create my own grid of TV listings. I enter my service (Comcast Cable) and they let me select up to 60 channels to display in a grid. Since I only care about many less than 60 channels, this is a nice feature and I go to Yahoo occassionally to check when something is on.

Another useful feature, is that I can customize the time of day to start the grid. Since the grid only shows 3 hours, this is also useful in theory. If I a heard about some show that I think I want to catch tonight, I can easily go to my.yahoo.com and it will likely be on the grid. I can also add this show to my Yahoo calendar if I wish, although for various reasons I don’t use Yahoo calendar.

The other use for this grid is when I want to see what is on right now. My digital cable gives me a Preview channel, plus specific info on each channel. This is often all of the information that I need, but when it isn’t, or when it is unavailable for various reasons known only to Comcast, I go to Yahoo. The problem is that I am not necessarily looking at the same time that I entered as my favorite start time. Then I have to migrate to now. Wouldn’t it be great to have a button, “Show what’s on now.”

You would think that this would be useful for lots of people and that Yahoo could do some interesting things with it. When I look at the movie that I am have just tuned for after 45 minutes, maybe I would like to buy it at Amazon, or inquire about a Netflix subscription, or read more about the movie at IMDB.

The prime time focus is present at other sites. I often go to the OLN site to check about a bike race or triathlon that I am expecting to come on in the next hour. I’m not in front of the television, but I do have my computer so I go directly to OLN. They are very dedicated to showing me their prime time schedule that includes hunting shows and bull riding, but they make it pretty difficult to locate what is on now, or for the next hour, or two days from now at 6:30 am (live coverage of the Tour de France).

OLN has a third problem, they are Eastern Time centric. If I try to look at their listings for tonight after 9:00 pm it is crazy. You would think that they didn’t broadcast except in the East. Actually, now that I think of it, this is just a special case of a broader problem. None of the networks seem to have any interest it displaying their grids for any time in the past.

This seems like a serious mistake. I often catch part of a show that seems pretty interesting, but I miss the name or forget it. I often try to look up the name of the show that, “I saw one night early last week after the kids went to bed about the shoe and the detective,” or some other weird definition. I would think that the networks would want to satisfy my curiosity, if only because I might tune in again, if I knew when.

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