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Free PVR software users to pay for TV guide data

MythTV epgCome September, Zap2it Labs will no longer offer the free TV guide data used by PC-based personal video recording software like MythTV, Media Portal, and GB-PVR.

Well, there's good news and bad news for anyone using those programs. There are at least two groups, CTpvr and Schedules Direct (formerly known as Easy TV Data) planning to pick up where Zap2it leaves off next month. And it looks like they're both pretty close to having their systems in place. That's the good news.

The bad news is that neither group will be able to offer the data for free. Zap2it is owned by Tribune Media Services. That's the same company that will provide information for th new services, but it won't be free. Neither CTpvr and Schedules Direct, and both companies have set prices yet, but both say they'll have to charge customers for the data.

On the one hand, it's not like the data's not worth anything. TiVo charges customers a monthly fee for program guide data. Without that information, your box is a lot less useful. But if you have a PC-based PVR, now you have a a choice to make. Pay for a commercial PVR applications like BeyondTV, SageTV, and Windows Media Center which won't be affected. Or get a free software and pay for the program guide.

Tags: beyondtv, electronic program guide, ElectronicProgramGuide, epg, gb-pvr, media portal, MediaPortal, mythtv, sagetv, schedules direct, SchedulesDirect, windows media center, WindowsMediaCenter, zap2it