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Universal Television Programming Entry

Create a standard data format to represent the information about a television program.
  [vote for,

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:

* Title

* Category (eg. Movie, Series, Special, Live Event)

* Genre (eg. Comedy, Drama, Sports, SF, Horror)

* Original Broadcast date

* Instance Broadcast date

* Length

* Broadcast channel

* URI for full program information (cast, series information)

* Synopsis

agentv, May 10 2002

DTD idea http://www.w3.org/TR/NOTE-CDFsubmit.html
You'd have to enter your own data and elements. [reensure, May 10 2002]


phoenix, May 10 2002

       Channel Definition Format (CDF)?
reensure, May 10 2002

       ...XML is one excellent way to provide a concrete implementation of this idea.   

       I think that CDF is a spec that goes far beyond what I'm describing. But it does provide some interesting implications.   

       There is a format in use now but I believe it's proprietary. (Phillips or Motorola or someone...I forget what they call it, but something like a Standard Program Table Entry, SPTE, or some such.)   

       If there could be a sanctioned standard for what information should be held in the base entry (UPE), and a means to access extended information easily (through a UPEx?), then I believe that device design would follow rapidly.   

agentv, May 10 2002

       I make more sense of cricket.
po, May 10 2002


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