Is there a TV guide covering all online streaming services?
May 13, 2015 2:39 PM   Subscribe

Those of you with a Roku / Chromecast / Apple TV / etc. probably know the drill – you spend more time browsing listings trying to find something you want to watch, than actually watching something. (And browsing with a TV remote is a tedious, ineffective chore.) Does an independent, comprehensive TV guide exist?

I want a website / app that can do the following:

1. I want to tell it which streaming services I *have*, and have it generate listings of the content available to me. Easily browsable, organised by type (movie, TV programme, genre, etc.) or alphabetically, whether free or paid, etc. I'd browse this on a computer or touchscreen device, not the TV.

2. I want to be able to enter the name of a movie or programme, and have it show me on which services it is available, whether I have it or not.

3. I want to educate it regarding my tastes, and have it serve up personalised recommendations of things that are available right now, on my streaming services. (E.g. I could feed it a list of titles, directors, or keywords, or I could train it by rating dozens of things it suggests to me.)

It should cover all the main services (Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu Plus, BBC, all TV networks' on-demand offerings), as well as the smaller ones (e.g. on the Roku there are 100s of niche channels.)

Does something like this exist? Is it likely to?
posted by snarfois to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
I formerly worked on a product which you have described (live TV and streaming service guide/search). There are restrictions on obtaining the library data from the various services, as they build moats around themselves. The only services we could get access to were the less-popular ones, which made the app not as useful as users would like it to be.
posted by Diddly at 2:48 PM on May 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


I want to be able to enter the name of a movie or programme, and have it show me on which services it is available, whether I have it or not.

Canistreamit.com will do that part
posted by soelo at 2:49 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


The problem with canistream.it is that it's often wrong, probably because of what Diddly says above.
posted by destructive cactus at 2:51 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Forgot to mention - the common workaround for getting data from restricted sites is by scraping, which is error prone and cat-and-mouse as the service tries to stop it. I would not expect a high quality guide aggregation app/site for a long time, until services decide to start playing nice.
posted by Diddly at 2:58 PM on May 13, 2015


Yeah, this is my holy grail, and I'm pretty sure it doesn't exist because of that whole walled garden intellectual property crap, which is stupid and poop and stupid poop.

Currently, I use gowatchit.com, which I've found a bit more accurate and comprehensive than canistream.it, and the search function on the Roku if I'm looking for something specific while I am sitting on the couch at the moment. I don't think either one really searches the minor channels, although gowatchit has a much better selection than anything else I've seen so far. (They also have 'channels' for various lists and interests and stuff, but I haven't looked much at those.)

As recommendations go, I have never found anything that is any good at that. I just got a letterboxd account and it's blown my queue up, but that's all based on sloppy human methods where I find people who have shared interests and then find what other things they like in our common interest categories. It's sloppy and inarticulable probably, but it is waaay less annoying and offensive than having Netflix recommend a bunch of stupid garbage based on irrelevant commonalities.
posted by ernielundquist at 3:01 PM on May 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


My solution to the endless browsing problem is to use the FanFare section of Metafilter as a substitute for TVGuide/#3 on your list. Even if the streaming providers did cooperate with providing their listings you'd still be faced with an endless grid of box art and summaries and no way to know what to settle on.
posted by bleep at 3:22 PM on May 13, 2015


fan.tv/home does what you want.

set up an account and tell it what services you have / are willing to use, and then search for shows.
posted by MattD at 6:31 PM on May 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I use sidereel. It's pretty good. It has a web site and apps.
posted by reddot at 7:12 PM on May 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Got some great recommendations above – thanks! I'll need some time to try them all out. One missing piece of the puzzle is all the TV channels I have access to (in the UK). That includes BBC iPlayer, 4oD, NowTV (Sky), and others. Most of them are labyrinths of content that's tedious to wade through.

As a friend asked on Twitter, Q: if you were a streaming service would you API your content listings? Would it not serve to highlight gaps? – I guess that's what it comes down to. So we're forced to choose streaming services on the basis of the marketing promises, not the actual content.
posted by snarfois at 1:59 AM on May 14, 2015


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