What Does the DTV Delay Mean for Online TV Schedules?


In case you missed it, yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives voted to delay the DTV transition until June 12th.  With the announcement, teams all over the building here began to scramble to devise the best way to help stations through this change of events.  Communication plans are being drafted, updates to message spots are being written, and public statements are being prepared.  From an interactive standpoint, there's one very important message we need to share:

Despite the DTV delay, you still need to update your old TV Schedule modules to the new DTV modules by February 17th or they will break.




First and foremost, we've been informed by TV Guide that despite the delay of the transition they will be making a change to the data they send us.  Instead of including a primary analog channel for every station, they will be including a primary digital channel for every station.  While they will still continue to carry analog data for those stations still broadcasting in analog, the analog channel won't be marked as the "primary" channel in the data we receive.  The old TV Schedules tools rely on a primary analog channel to function properly.  Without this data from TV Guide, they will break.


Second, we're trying as hard as we can to stick to the original schedule so that we can move forward as scheduled with additional projects, like COVE.  Like everyone, we've got a long list of projects we're itching to start working on, but only so many resources to work with.  The longer we drag out the switch to the DTV modules systemwide, the longer we have to wait to get moving on other major initiatives.


Finally, it's just not a good idea to let old code languish for longer than necessary, and we can't waste any more time chasing down bugs or issues that might arise in the old code.


In the coming days stations will be receiving a flurry of information on all things DTV related from various departments at PBS.  If you want to be sure to stay in the loop, check in the DTV site on PBS Connect under Communicate/Promote for a complete list of station resources.


  1. Posted February 14, 2009 at 4:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

    A comment on the new schedule modules: I really miss the full day and full week grids. That was the easiest way for me to go through our online schedule and check for TV Guide's mistakes. I just installed the new modules and now our schedule is full of errors (not unusual lately.) It will be a lot more work to identify them and let TV Guide know. Now we have not only the embarrassment of incorrect listings on our site, but a much more difficult time finding them. Please consider adding full day and week grids back into the module -- it would help me a lot.

  2. Posted February 17, 2009 at 10:33 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for this feedback, Melinda. You can still access the full day view by clicking on the channel names. You're not the first to have trouble finding this view, so it seems we're going to need to work on the labeling to make that feature a bit more obvious.

    You're right, there is no full week view available available in this version of the new module, but we've been hearing from many stations and their viewers that it is missed. After we get through helping any remaining stations update to the new modules this week, we're going to start firming up the features and additions that will be included in a version 1.1 release, with the goal to start work on those updates in the next few weeks. Near the top of that list is the addition of a printable full-week view to the module.

    We'll be keeping stations updated as we move through that process. In the meantime, please keep sending us your feedback!

  3. Posted February 17, 2009 at 11:32 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for your reply, Sara. I'm glad to know that a full-week view is being considered. The full day view is not too useful for me because it only shows a few hours at a time. I used to be able to get the entire day on one screen without scrolling. It seems to me that there is a lot of wasted space in this new layout -- less information on the screen, and more white space. I plan to spend some time with the CSS (when I have time -- who knows when that will be) to see if I can make it work better for me.

    One general comment -- I really liked the old schedule modules much better because I could see more information with more choices of how to view. I chose to stay with PBS's online modules rather than ProTrack's because I liked them much better. Now, I'm not so sure. I'll be taking another look at the ProTrack web modules to see how they compare.

  4. Posted February 17, 2009 at 3:30 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I miss the full day and full week features too. I was able to figure out how to view full day but i doubt that half our members will be able to.

    Also... everytime i pick my primary station and i navigate through the schedule .. it keeps taking me back and showing all my channels plus the ones in my area. Its really annoying to have to keep selecting Show Primary Station everytime i just navigate through the schedule. Is there a way of changing this?

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