DTV Schedules v1.5 Launch

We have completed work on the new version 1.5 DTV schedule modules, an update to the version 1.0 modules launched in February 2009, and the new tools are now available for stations in Station Remote Control here.

The rapid OawvInRaf4 of this new version allowed us to address feedback received from stations and viewers, as well as key results from usability testing conducted in April.  

What's new in version 1.5?
While it was impossible with limited time and resources to address all of the feedback and comments we received, our goal was to address the issues stressed by the majority of stations and end users. These core points of feedback were incorporated into the version 1.5 modules.

Weekly View
The most prominent new feature is the return of the much missed weekly schedule view, which is now also supported by clearer user interface cues to access to all the schedule views, including the full day view.

Access to Episode Information
We heard clearly from both stations and end users that the series description presented in the program information overlay was too generic and that specific episodic information was not only preferred, but expected. We have adapted the user interface so that when a user clicks on a program link in the schedule, they will be presented with an episode description (as long as the data is available), along with the option to set an episode-specific email reminder directly from that initial view, and an option to read more about the series on an additional tab in the overlay interface.

Provider/Lineup Simplification
We have greatly simplified the provider/lineup options and interface. During usability testing, we overwhelmingly found that not only do users identify with a single provider, but that the idea of multiple providers, the term "over-the-air", and an excess of information in this area of the modules actually prevented users from both understanding the schedule views and customizing the schedule for their provider.  We hope this simplification will help users get the correct, personalized information for their viewing habits on their local site.

User Interface Updates
Finally, we addressed minor usability issues by making additional changes and simplifications to the overall user interface . For example, search has been simplified and more closely co-located with the schedule area to reinforce its connection with the schedule data; and the RSS button has been removed from each individual channel block on the main schedule view to simplify the interface and prevent user confusion (this was a significant point of confusion for users who felt the urge to click on the RSS "button" without knowing what it was, the result was confusion and derailment from the overall user experience).

For full details on usability testing and our findings, please visit our blog here.

What do I need to do to upgrade to v1.5?
A new set of modules are available in Station Remote Control with the version 1.5 label.  The updates described here have not been applied to version 1.0, so some action is required to upgrade to version 1.5.

Also note that version 1.5 does not require previous version 1.0 installation, the new modules function as stand-alone tools.

For stations who have already installed version 1.0 modules and *have not made any customizations* (i.e. are not hosting any CSS files locally on station servers), the upgrade process should be as simple as changing the version numbers in your current installation (please see SRC for specific details). Stations may also simply reinstall the modules following the SRC installation process provided with the new modules.

For stations who have already installed and *have customized* version 1.0 modules on their local servers (i.e. are hosting modified CSS files locally on station servers):

Due to some significant changes in the feature set and user interface, new CSS files were required. Because of this, we remind you that if you have made (or are planning to make) any CSS customizations to your existing DTV module implementation, we strongly encourage you to take note of those changes so that you can reproduce them within the v1.5 CSS. It is important to note that some style names have been changed to support modified features, and some new styles and style groups have been added in version 1.5. We encourage you to make use of browser OawvInRaf4 tools like Firebug to help identify element styles and assist your customization efforts.

Am I required to upgrade my modules to v1.5?
No. The OawvInRaf4 of version 1.5 was based on the desire to address key end-user and station feedback gathered from initial launch.  However, stations are NOT required to update to version 1.5. Version 1.0 modules will continue to function; however, they will not include any of the updates described here, and they will not support any new updates going forward. If you would like to have the updated feature set on your site, you must update to the new code now available in SRC.

What if I have questions about v1.5?
Please be sure to visit the DTV section of the SP&S blog for updates, answers to questions, and responses to comments from other colleagues at local stations.  We will treat this section of the blog, especially in the first two weeks after the launch of version 1.5, as the "go-to" place for comments, feedback, and tips other stations have shared when implementing these tools on local station sites.  The Incredible Pear, our DTV module OawvInRaf4 team, will be monitoring the blog for the first 2 weeks after launch to provide additional deployment support, so please be sure to post comments and feedback here so we can keep the conversation going and share details with other station staff if needed.

The DTV section of the SP&S blog is located here (and is where you are now).

What's next for the DTV modules?
There are still items on our wish list that we would love to address, so please continue to send us your feedback and items you wish to see incorporated in future updates of these tools.

Because of our plan for continued improvements and additions to the modules, we remind you if you have or plan to make any CSS customizations to either versions of these tools, we continue to encourage you to note any changes you make in case future updates cause us to need new CSS files.  Those who are simply linking to the default CSS from PBS will not have to take this step as those updates will be automatic with the upgrade path.

Finally, we plan to retire the version 1.0 modules at some point in 2010, but they will continue to work at a minimum of 6 months from today and the system will be informed of any required updates with plenty of lead time to prepare. 


  1. Posted September 3, 2009 at 11:44 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hey all, did the "standard" install this evening of the new code and have run across something.

    1 - works great in Firefox
    2 - now/day/week tabs hang in IE8 with the following error - anyone else experiencing this?

    Webpage error details

    User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 5.1; Trident/4.0; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; MS-RTC LM 8)
    Timestamp: Fri, 4 Sep 2009 03:42:04 UTC

    Message: Unknown runtime error
    Line: 2761
    Char: 29
    Code: 0

  2. Posted September 4, 2009 at 11:16 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Hey Kent,
    Thanks for posting your message! We tested these tools in IE8 in XP and Windows 7. Which operating system are you using? We were not able to recreate these errors in IE8, so might be in relation to the operating system, so please let us know.
    Thanks very much!

  3. Posted September 4, 2009 at 12:24 PM | Permalink | Reply

    On my desktop machine it's a state of sd hacked version of XP... I get the same thing on my laptop running Vista Ultimate.

    Works fine in Firefox on both machines.

    I can't help but wonder if it's a server thing... can someone please check this URL with IE and click on the tabs??

    MUCH appreciated!


  4. David Lowe
    Posted September 4, 2009 at 4:53 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Thank you for restoring the weekly view! It's been a long time coming.

    Question - any thought put in to the PRINT function actually creating a print-ready schedule rather than just opening the print function and printing the page? A re-formatted print schedule would be a great add.

  5. Posted September 8, 2009 at 10:42 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Still trying to put my finger on this issue with IE and the new tabs.

    I am getting the exact same error from my vista laptop... Do you think I should try messing with some of the switches (enabled/disabled)?

    Webpage error details

    User Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.0; Trident/4.0; SLCC1; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; Media Center PC 5.0; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; MS-RTC LM 8; .NET CLR 3.5.30729; OfficeLiveConnector.1.3; OfficeLivePatch.0.0; .NET CLR 3.0.30729)
    Timestamp: Tue, 8 Sep 2009 14:36:46 UTC

    Message: Unknown runtime error
    Line: 2761
    Char: 29
    Code: 0


  6. Posted September 8, 2009 at 10:55 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks Kent! We are going to take a look at this...I just grabbed your code fresh and works fine in IE7, but the link you provided does give me the tab load error (just hangs) so I will have our q/a specialist look at and get right back. Thanks!

  7. Posted September 8, 2009 at 11:54 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Great piece of feedback, thanks David! We will be sure to visit this during our next round of updates.


  8. Posted September 8, 2009 at 3:41 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Our tech team investigated and have determined that removing line 76 from the HTML causes the page to behave in the expected way. Specifically, the offending line is:

    When that is not present in the source, the error does not occur. We aren't sure what this does, so I am not sure why it is conflicting with TV schedules but know by removing that it will work in IE.

    To note, the error that IE is kicking back seems to occur most frequently when innerHTML is being used, but I'm not sure if that is the case here. If so, then may describe the issue.

    I hope this helps! Let us know if this resolves the issues with the tabs! Thanks Kent!

  9. Posted September 9, 2009 at 11:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Ok... I commented out what I believe was the offending code.

    All is well.

    Thank you so much... I am definatly NOT a code monkey, and appreciate your help.

    Founding Member: Meaghan Zimmerman fan club
    That isn't creepy, is it?

  10. Posted September 9, 2009 at 11:27 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Oh good, I'm glad it is working now! Jeremy Roberts from the Incredible Pear (he built these tools) is going to give you a call/email today to make sure everything is okay! But, let us know if you have questions in the time being. Thanks very much!

  11. Posted September 9, 2009 at 11:29 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Oh, and not creepy at all...I needed the laugh!
    Your friend in ozzyness,

  12. Posted October 27, 2009 at 11:31 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Love v1.5-- had a question about the program description popup: for our local programs, under the program title in the popup it says: WTTW also recommends PROGRAMLINK. But in the national programs descriptions, it says: VISIT THE WEBSITE under the titles. We'd prefer that it say VISIT THE WEBSITE under the local program titles also. How can we change that? Is this somehow determined by what is sent to TV Guide, and if so, what is the proper format for submitting to get the desired results? (can we get an example from a national program submission?)

    Thank you!

  13. Posted October 27, 2009 at 12:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hi Kevin, This is something we have heard back from other stations as well, and has been added to our updated feature lists for a v1.5.1 update. Right now, the big focus is on COVE station roll-out as well as Project Merlin, however we are working on drafting up some ideas and tasks for another dtv update to the tools that will include some of the wish list items and enhancements we have been collecting for about a year. Once resources clear up, we will begin moving forward with that, so please be sure to follow our blog updates, SPS_PBS on twitter, and our weekly emails. If you have questions, please let me know at Thanks very much!

  14. Kevin
    Posted November 12, 2009 at 2:37 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I was wondering if there is anywhere we can easily find the program_ids / series_ids (without having to fish them out of the source code-- I also tried parsing it out of the rss but they are lumped in with other json parameters which makes it a challenge).

    The dipsy wiki techdocs instruct you to use the 'Protoype Template and Client JS Framework Test' page at but that does not seem to be working as I get 'No Data Found' within each timeblock? (please make sure you are hitting dipsy when following these links rather than the redirect to

    Can this be fixed, or is there somewhere else we can get the IDs-- we plan to have a non-technical person gathering the IDs so that we can use them in our homepage program highlights flash.

    Thanks in advance!

  15. Posted November 12, 2009 at 4:21 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Hey Kevin,
    The dipsy location you are referring to isn't going to be accurate or contain updated information since we are not in active OawvInRaf4 of that right now (the database on dipsy isn't in sync with live in this area).
    There isn't anything set up at this time to get this information in a clean format without going through each one individually. However, this is something we would like to look in to in our future update (v1.5.1) to allow stations an easy way of getting this data, if this is something you're interested in.

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