As the site approaches its 7th birthday (seriously!), those who have been with the site from the beginning back in 2008 and pay close attention have probably noticed that site updates have become not less frequent, but less substantive. While I do my best to keep up with launches of new subchannels and things like that, the more technical updates involving TSReader data and the parameters of the transport streams have become less frequent.
I would like to try to start correcting that. My biggest issue, I think, is that I'm tracking too much information that's of little use. For example, as it stands right now, I track things like the various PIDs. While interesting, it adds a lot of time to each update while not adding much utility to the site. Similarly, I track bandwidths of the various channels. Again, interesting, but as more and more stations move to variable bitrate encoders, the snapshot of often less than 1 minute that TSReader captures and averages is less useful in showing what that bandwidth number actually means in terms of quality.
Basically, I am considering making the raw TSReader data more prominent and discontinuing tracking of the more nitty gritty technical details like PIDs, Source ID, and bitrates in my database. I'm thinking of discontinuing tracking of Mobile DTV other than whether it is on or off, given it seems to be on its way out pending a new ATSC 3.0 standard, and similarly removing the indicator of whether a station is a member of MCV or Mobile 500. I think SyncBak no longer has an OTA component and UpdateTV is completely gone, and if that is so, I want to yank them out of the listings. Information about AFD and the broadcast flag are more technical information better presented in the TSReader data.
The end result would be that I would track the very basics like the resolution, type of audio, short channel name, and network affiliation. For many users, this is probably all they look at anyway. For the more technical users, updated TSReader data would still be available (and more frequently) and could be looked at in its raw form to get the information that is wanted. The data from the FCC database about station facilities would remain in its current format and would not be altered from its current level of detail.
I am also trying to decide whether or not to change the site code to allow for individuals to maintain their own markets. For example, there are several markets where the moment something changes, I have an e-mail from a very dependable person. For those people, in those markets, it might be more efficient to allow them to do their own updates. Should TSReader data become available, I would upload that myself, but to update programming information or the short channel names in PSIP seems like something these people could do themselves instead of waiting sometimes in excess of a week for me to get to their information. The down side to this, of course, is security, mostly since I am a lousy programmer and I don't know that I could do it in a secure fashion. There's also concern over stylistic differences.
I'm cross-posting this both on the RabbitEars Blog and on the Satellite Guys forum. Feel free to comment in either place, or to send me an e-mail direct. I'm anxious for opinions on the various changes I am considering or on other suggestions for the site. Have a great one!