Yahoo! TV: Suicide by Web 2.0

Recently there has been a considerable backlash against Web 2.0 online services, and a perfect example of this is Yahoo’s new TV listings. Yahoo has “upgraded” their listing services with all sorts of flashy GUI gadgetry, but they have completely destroyed the usability of the site.

I’ve used Yahoo’s TV listings for a long time, and I’ve been pretty satisfied with their service. I have very simple needs, I want to know what’s on every channel on my cable TV right now, or what’s on during the 3 hour prime time block. To get current listings, I just opened a bookmark and instantly got a grid. My only minor complaint was that if I checked listings at, say, 6:59, it started the listings at 6:00, when I want to see what’s coming up at 7:00. My TiVo is smarter than that, if I check listings at 6:55, it knows I’m looking for upcoming shows at 7. So why don’t I always use my TiVo for listings? Because it only shows what’s on now, I can’t see a 3 hour block in a nice grid format.

But now with Yahoo’s fancy Web 2.0 Ajax-ified interface, their system is useless. The new interface makes it almost impossible to bookmark the main listings, you are supposed to start at the advertising-laden main TV site, then click a dynamic, non-bookmarkable link to the listings. It took me a considerable amount of searching to find a fixed, nondynamic link to the listings that I could bookmark. Once I arrive at the listings page, it does not show all my 50 channels, it displays them in blocks of 10 channels. Each group of 10 is dynamically generated as I scroll down the page. As each block scrolls up onto the page, you can see a little progress bar move as it struggles to generate the grid. On my laptop, it takes over 60 seconds for the entire grid to display, while my CPU churns at 100% usage.

But it gets worse. Once I manage to scroll to the bottom and all 50 channels are displayed, there is no way for me to view the prime time block from 7PM to 10PM. I can only view 6-9 and 9-12. This makes it impossible for me to check listings that start or end around 9PM. This wouldn’t really be such a problem, but lately some shows have started to move their start or end times slightly, to 9:01 or 8:59, to defeat TiVo subscriptions. If I want my TiVo to record one show that ends at 9:01, but I also want to record another that starts at 9:00, the second show will not be recorded due to the overlap (even though the final minute of the first show is probably a commercial).

So what’s the point of all this griping that Yahoo no longer gives me exactly what I want in exactly the way I want it? It’s because they’ve done the exact opposite, Yahoo decided exactly what I should get and exactly the way they want to deliver it: with extra advertising and unwieldy Web 2.0 crap. Even worse, their Web 2.0 gadgets have shifted the CPU burden from their servers to my local computer, slowing everything down to a crawl. If the advertising and the usability problems weren’t enough to drive me away, the slow loading IS. So I will have to find another TV listings service that isn’t intent on driving away their customers. I’m trying out TitanTV, it’s not quite as good as the old Yahoo TV, but it’s close.

13 thoughts on “Yahoo! TV: Suicide by Web 2.0”

  1. I agree with you 100%, and my experience was the same (the default time block was one of my pet peeves, too).
    I consider bloatware to be an opening for a smarter competitor (assuming someone wants to compete with “free”!).

  2. I agree with you 100%, added to all that you can not add listings to the calendar, nor can you view listings by channel.

  3. Someone reminded me about Excite – TV after the YTV downgrade. It’s a fast-loading minimalist grid, though I don’t have enough experience using it (yet) to decide how reliable/usable it is.

  4. You know, I checked out Excite TV, and it looked familiar. Then I realized it was the old @Home system that I used on my first high-speed cable modem connection, that must be over 10 years ago. It has hardly changed at all (and that’s a good thing). But alas, the Excite listings cannot be customized, I can’t remove channels I don’t like. So I’ve pretty much settled on TitanTV.

  5. Hi Charles.

    But alas, the Excite listings cannot be customized, I can’t remove channels I don’t like.

    True. That’s less an issue for me since I’m still using analog cable with fewer channels.

    So I’ve pretty much settled on TitanTV

    I’ve got an EyeTV PVR and its program guide uses TitanTV, though limited to one week of listings instead of two like the web site. I’ve mostly used YTV listings to occasionally cross-check dates/times for certain programs that TTV might have mischeduled. Zap2it has the same schedule data as YTV so I’ve sometimes used that instead but it’s typically been slower. I still want to check the origin of ETV schedule data; if it’s the same as YTV and Z2I it can be an adequate YTV replacement for the purpose I just mentioned. And the YTV changes have me curious to check TV Guide and AOL listings to see if their scheduling data is unique, though my memory of TVG is it being flash-flakey/slow with Safari when I tried it a couple years back.
    EyeTV’s TitanTV EPG provides the core listings so I’m just looking for fast/efficient alternative provider(s) for occasional program scheduling correlations since YTV is now incapable of serving that function.

  6. One other major failing in the new as compared to the old Yahoo TV is the loss of the ability to add programs to the Yahoo Calendar to make your personal TV Guide or watch list.

  7. I too am completely disgusted with YahooTV after using it for years. Why would they stupidly release it, without making it at least compatible, with the old style??? It takes forever to load the initial page(I have dialup and can’t get DSL in my area yet). And for some reason 99% of the time after putting in my zipcode, its says it can’t find the server. has a TV listing with which i am going to experiment.

  8. TV Guide [] seems to be the closest to the old Yahoo.
    New or Repeat is displayed.
    One better thing is just putting the mouse over the selection, displays the plot & actors.
    Unlike the old Yahoo, you cannot diplay the entire day for a specific channel.
    There may be a glich in there program though. After customizing my channel list [they don’t not have a limit] it frequently changes back to a basic limited list. Not worth the time re-doing.
    It is so fast though, I find it’s easier to select all channels.
    Lastly, one New thing is a time bar that follows you as you scroll.
    This is slightly better than Zap2it.
    I just can’t understand why Yahoo screwed up such a neat tv guide.
    Good Luck.

  9. Yeah, what is really awful is the fact that Yahoo doesn’t let you choose to go back to the old version, like a lot of sites that are unrolling new interfaces do. I just don’t like the fact that it uses more system resources to check TV listings than to do video editing!

  10. At the synergistic heart of web2.0, is a holistic quintessence that redefines the interactive boundaries of the object-oriented user experience, while leveraging an admixture of legacy and bespoke paradigms, to enhance the inclusivity and response of the user-oriented workflow 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

© Copyright 2016 Charles Eicher