Couch Potato - Frequently Asked Questions

Got Bugs?

If you have any questions, problems, suggestions, or fun ideas about ways to improve this widget, please use my online contact form.

In general, the first thing to try if you encounter a problem is to refresh the widget (click on it to bring it "into focus", then press Apple - R). You should see a swirling visual effect so that you know it has refreshed. If that doesn't work, try to close and reopen the widget.

When contacting me with questions or problems, please try to be as specific as possible. Please include the exact text of the messages you are seeing, and include your SchedulesDirect account information so that I can try it out on my own computer.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did you stop using Zap2it? It was free, SchedulesDirect isn't. I'm not willing to pay you $20 just for TV listings!
This is now the most frequent email that I get. Zap2it isn't used anymore because they stopped offering their data service back in September of 2007. If you do a google search on "labs.zap2it.com", you'll find tons of web pages discussing their decision to close down their service. I didn't have a choice in the matter, and I don't get anything out of your SD subscription. If 6 per day is too much, there are indeed lots of free or ad-supported options out there to choose from.
I just downloaded Couch Potato and signed up for an account at SchedulesDirect, and entered my information on the back of the widget. When I click "Load Listings" it says "Your Schedule has expired"
Usually the signup process is immediate, but occsionally it seems to take a little while. Give it at least an hour or so before sending me an email request. Usually it's working by the time I get back to you. If it doesn't work after a little bit, send me an email, and be sure to include your account information so that I can try it from my own system.
It was working up until last night, but it isn't working this morning!
Couch Potato has to use a network connection to connect to SchedulesDirect to download the xml data feed. Web connections occasionally fail, packets get dropped, somebody trips over a power cord and takes down a server, basically, s**t happens. One thing that definately doesn't help is to repeatedly click on the "Load Listings" button over and over. ;-) I've found the hard way many times during testing that if you click it too much, your IP will be blocked for an hour or so. If it isn't working right now, try it in an hour. Go outside, get some sun, or if you just can't live without your TV schedule, turn on the TV Guide channel on your TV. I know, it sucks. That's why I wrote Couch Potato!
Is there any way to make it load my listings faster?
How many channels do you have in your lineup? How many hours are you loading at a time? If you've got Digital Cable or Satellite with 500 channels and you've set them all in your lineup, the resulting HTML data files that Couch Potato are going to be over a megabyte, which is huge. The best two things you can do are to trim your channel list to just the channels you watch and to make judicious use of the red X everytime you see a show that you don't want to watch. I've got over 150 shows in my Ignore List, and it takes about two seconds to update around 50 channels. Another thing to consier is that if you're not planning on watching 12 or 24 hours of TV, then download a smaller set of data.
Why doesn't Couch Potato Automatically refresh the listings for me when they expire?
This is due to a request from Zap2it so that their servers are not overloaded. That being said, it is possible in recent versions to run the process in the Terminal. Use the command below in the terminal to load a fresh feed. This could be added to your crontab or automated in any other way you can think up.
php ~/Library/Widgets/Couch Potato.wdgt/CouchPotato.php getListings
Obviously, the usual warnings apply. Know what you're doing in the terminal before doing it, make sure you've typed everything correctly, or just copy and paste.
Why does it always seem to refresh right when I'm trying to read the listings?
Up until version 1.8, Couch Potato ran on a timer and refreshed every 15 minutes. If you opened the widget at 37 minutes past the hour, it would refresh at 1:37, 1:52, 2:17, 2:22, etc. So it was kind of like playing the lottery, who knew when it was going to refresh? As of version 1.8, it still refreshes every 15 minutes, but always at exactly 0, 15, 30, and 45 minutes past the hour, plus with the new clock, you'll always know when it is coming, which should help a bit. You can always click on the clock to refresh it at any time if you're feeling anxious...