I heart SchedulesDirect

Earlier this year, Zap2It Labs shut down and stopped giving free TV guide data to MythTV users. In response, the community set up SchedulesDirect, a non-profit organization to license the data for non-commercial uses.

Although I liked getting guide data for free (who doesn’t like free?), the initial SchedulesDirect plan seemed like a good price. SchedulesDirect asked $15 for three months of data. TiVo pricing is currently $16.95 for one month, or $299 for three years.

(Two notes on the TiVo plans: When I bought my current TiVo — now unplugged and retired — lifetime service for the device was $249. Today, their three-year plan advertises an “extra year for $20,” which is the yearly cost that SchedulesDirect hopes to get to if they can sign up enough subscribers.)

Yesterday, though, a good deal got even better. SchedulesDirect announced that $15 now buys six months of listing data:

We have now passed our second milestone and are lowering the membership fee to $15 for 6 months, effective immediately. For existing members, you’ll notice that the expiration date of your account has been extended an additional three months.

I had given SchedulesDirect money on September 12. Frequently, when a company drops its price, you have to contact them to get the improved price plan. More importantly for the cynics out there who grumbled that SchedulesDirect was going to benefit its founders financially, they are showing a clear committment to act like the community service organization that they claim to be.

But, that’s not all. It wasn’t enough just to give existing subscribers the same deal that new subscribers are getting. There’s a bonus for existing paid subscribers:

To thank you all for getting us to this point, we’ve also added an extra day for each day you’ve had a paid membership. It’s our way of showing our appreciation for your confidence in our organization.

Darn! I was out of the country when SchedulesDirect launched, so I couldn’t upgrade MythTV until I returned home on September 8. After a couple of days worth of testing, I only converted to a paid membership on September 12. Had I been in the country, I would have signed up on the first day!

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