There is some bad news for those of you taking advantage of free media center software, such as MythTV or Media Portal. As it turns out Zap2it couldn’t continue to provide the television listings that many free media center applications were using.
As a result Zap2it had announced earlier this year that, starting September 1st, they were no longer going to be providing TV guide updates to users. Without the guides much of what makes a media center so great would be rendered useless.
You can sleep a little easier knowing that MythTV was able to work with Zap2it, and they will pickup where they left off…kind of. The new service will be called Schedules Direct, but being able to use the service is going to cost $15 every 3-months. That’s still less than what it costs to use a TiVo, and their goal is to get it down to just $20 per year.
Many people that I talk to hate having reoccurring fees hanging over their head that they are constantly having to pay. They much prefer to have a lifetime subscription to things like this. Unfortunately Schedules Direct doesn’t think that will be possible, which is something that might make people look towards software like SageTV or even Windows Media Center (which is included with Vista Home Premium and Ultimate editions). Both of those solutions off free guides after the initial purchase of the software.
Despite Linux users being accustomed to getting things for free, I think they would be willing to fork over the $15 every 3-months if only to support an open-source project. In the next few weeks we’ll be seeing how it all plays out though.