Create a standard data format to represent the information about a television program. Software can be written, and devices created that simply respond to this sort of a data element.
TV Guide could create a Web Service to deliver specified program blurbs on demand. Settop boxes (particularly
DVRs) could expect this standard form of entry, whether the input source is satellite, cable, or a random entry beamed into the IR port.
It would be possible to treat sets of information about programs in new ways. One big problem in the industry right now is that we are dependent upon the designers of software that effectively hardcodes behavior into devices. So it is difficult to implement change and customization.
As an example, consider the idea of an onscreen program guide for a satellite system or for a cable provider. There are a couple of common ways that this user interface is currently presented. But there could be an infinite number of approaches if only the architecture of the data set were open. If I don't want a standard program grid, or a chronological listing by channel, I'm out of luck today.
With an industry standard for this information, it would be easier to create architectures for devices that rely upon it. We could write skins that replace the program guide and which would work with any vendor's systems. (Provided that the vendor cooperated of course.)
You might have a Palm Pilot program that allows you to aggregate information about upcoming programs that interest you. You might even develop an agent that updated the list regularly for you as new information becomes available. (Imagine visiting a friend, and mentioning a program you are anticipating. You could beam the program information to your friend's settop box and have it automatically set up to record. With your friend's permission of course.)
A simple list of possible constituents for this data element would include:
* Category (eg. Movie, Series, Special, Live Event)
* Genre (eg. Comedy, Drama, Sports, SF, Horror)
* Original Broadcast date
* Instance Broadcast date
* Broadcast channel
* URI for full program information (cast, series information)