Monday, July 11, 2005

Poll Results - Where Do You Get Your TV Listings

After last week's large voter turn out this was a little - no a lot - disappointing; only three votes and I cast one of them to test a change I made in the setup of the poll (to prevent multiple voters). As a result the numbers are not particularly useful, but indicate a little bit of a trend.

The question asked was What source do you use most for TV Listings? I asked this because the source source I depend on for my listings has changed over the years for a variety of reasons.

None of the voters used TV Guide, their local TV listings, or other magazine. TV Guide as a source seems to have gone down in popularity considerably. About the only time that I buy it anymore is for the fall TV Previews. Increasingly the presentation of listings is compressed into grids with little information about the episodes being shown during the week, and presentation of information on digital channels is restricted to prime time only. That said It's better than my local newspaper's listings book which doesn't bother to include listings for digital channels at all. Ads for them yes (mainly for the channels owned by Canwest Global which also owns the local paper). As for other magazines, my local cable provider doesn't do a magazine and the other available publications are for satellite sources, so of course the channel listings don't match my TV. However the satellite publications do give listings, and in some cases summaries, for a full month.

I'm a bit surprised that "online source" didn't get a vote. I use Zap2It as a secondary source, largely because their listings are searchable and extend for about 2 weeks which is longer than any other source except some of the commercial magazines. Their search is also a lot more comprehensive than any other since they include descriptions as well as just titles.

The TV Listings channel got one vote. It's probably different elsewhere but Shaw Cable's Listings Channel doesn't give me much information beyond what's on right now and what will be on in the next half hour. In addition they've moved most of the digital channel listings onto a second channel, I suppose because the scroll for the analog channels was so long.

Searchable Cable or Satellite Box Guide got two votes, including mine. The searchability isn't as good as Zap2It since it only searches by title, and the listings don't go as far in advance as not only Zap2It but all of the dead tree versions. Still it has a couple of advantages - it's right there on the TV (and not in another room like my computer) and it often seems to be more up to date. Not always but sometimes.

I'm holding off on the next poll until Thursday so I can start asking about the 2005 Emmy Nominees which should give about eight or nine polls about the awards.

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