Update: Schedules and New Content

The top requested improvement for Blindy TV is finally here! This update brings our first schedules, new shows, new music, and more.

Schedules

For part of the day, the Drama and Scifi channels will now play a limited schedule of shows. The schedules can be found on the Drama and Scifi channel pages of the Blindy.TV web player. These schedules are first steps, and will probably change soon. We will re-work and expand the schedules in response to your feedback and the availability of content.

Content

Speaking of content, we’ve added several new shows to Blindy TV, including The Mindy Project, Happy Endings, The Vampire Diaries, the original CSI, Covert Affairs, and several others. We’ve also added a huge amount of new documentaries and edutainment on Brain, much of which is described. Blindy TV now contains over 3,000 episodes.

While most shows on the Comedy channel do not include enough described episodes to allow us to schedule them every day without quickly running repeats, we have made changes to how shows are selected that should increase the variety of what is played. Hopefully this will reduce the situation where a few shows that include many described episodes were dominating the channel.

More About Schedules

As we said above, the current schedules are simply a first attempt. Creating schedules are particularly challenging for us in ways that do not apply to traditional TV.

  • Most TV channels/networks are available in a limited geographical area, and can create schedules that match shows to an appropriate time of day. For example, they can make schedules that play children’s programming when school lets out, play new episodes of the most popular shows in the evening when most people are home from school/work, and so on. In our case, people stream Blindy TV from all over the world. Lunch in North America is Dinner in central Europe and very early morning in Japan. No single schedule will be convenient for everyone. We hope that our split schedules will be a good compromise.
  • While our library contains many shows, quite a few of these shows only have a few described episodes when compared to the number of episodes that play on mainstream TV. Many syndicated shows on mainstream TV have anywhere from fifty to several hundred episodes available for broadcast. However, if we have a show with only 20 described episodes, playing an episode every day means that you’ll be watching repeats in only three weeks. This situation will improve as our library grows, but, for many shows, we’ll never have more than a few described episodes.

Our first attempt at a compromise is to split our schedules into two blocks. The main schedule block begins at 22:00 UTC. In the United States, this is 5 PM eastern time, and 2 PM Pacific time. For our listeners on the other side of the world, we play a very similar schedule, but showing different episodes, beginning at 12:00 UTC. This works out to late afternoon/evening for people listening in eastern Europe and Asia.

One important difference between the two schedule blocks is that the 22:00 block includes shows that play in series, such as Doctor Who, Charmed, Boardwalk Empire, and so on. Our intention is to eventually repeat these episodes in both blocks, but that isn’t possible at the moment.

Other Improvements

We’ve corrected some problems with existing content. Errors during the preparation of Charmed resulted in some audio artifacts, and they’ve been corrected. Some episodes of I Love Lucy were running too long to properly fit into their time slots on Comedy, and those have been fixed, also.

Comedy had an unreasonably small selection of material for music breaks. All channels now feature a much larger variety of music for use during breaks.

We think that we’ve finally eliminated most of the causes of glitches that people were encountering while listening to the streams. Given the nature of the Internet, there is no way that we can ever completely eliminate all causes of congestion that can lead to temporary connection problems, buffering pauses, dropped connections, and the like when listening to Blindy TV. However, we’ve taken additional steps to increase the reliability of things on our end.

What’s Next?

We have a mountain of content that is in the process of being prepared for inclusion on Blindy TV. Though this update includes some new content, it was intended primarily to put the framework in place for schedules. The next update will entirely focus on new content, with a large focus on new material for Comedy and Scifi.

For more updates than generally appear on the web site, follow @BlindyTV on Twitter.

Thanks, everyone, for your encouragement and feedback!

Happy listening!