TV Guide Network

TV Guide Network
Launched 1981
Owned by Lions Gate Entertainment (sale pending)
Slogan Eat. Sleep. Watch.
Headquarters USA
Formerly called Electronic Program Guide (1981-1993)
Prevue Guide (1988-1993)
Prevue Channel (1993-1999)
TV Guide Channel (1999-2007)
DirecTV Channel 273
Dish Network Channel 117
Available on many cable systems Check local listings for channels

TV Guide Network (formerly known as TV Guide Channel, Prevue Channel, Prevue Guide, and Electronic Program Guide) is an Lions Gate Entertainment Corporation.

At the bottom third of the screen, TV Guide Network provides a scrolling grid, or “scrid” for short, listing all channel lineups.

Although its bottom-screen program listings grid continues to be the major feature of the channel, TV Guide Network has attempted to reposition itself as a destination channel for television news and information through its original series and specials. This is because internet-based TV listings sites and the on-screen digital cable boxes, called TV Guide Interactive. It is visually similar in its presentation to the TV Guide Network’s bottom-screen program listings grid.

TV Guide Network is only available from within the digital tiers of certain cable providers in some markets. As its programming is considered non-critical, many cable providers also use the TV Guide Network’s channel space as a default regional sports network‘s “RSN2″/”RSN+” alternate feed for sports right conflicts.

A gridless version of the channel, featuring all of its programming full-screen, is offered to cable and satellite operators providing only digital television service and whose digital set top receivers already include integrated IPGs; though some digital cable providers use the scrolling grid version even if they use IPGs integrated within set top boxes.


[edit] History

[edit] 1980s

[edit] Electronic program guide

Electronic Program Guide (EPG Sr.)

Launched in 1981 by Cable Radio Network.

EPG Jr. unit featuring an Atari 130XE.

By 1985 and under the newly formed Trakker, Inc. unit of United Video Satellite Group, two versions of the EPG were offered: EPG Jr., a 16KB WGN by United Video. (United Video was WGN’s nationwide satellite distributor.) By cherry-picking data from this master feed for only the networks its cable system actually carried, each EPG installation was able to generate a continuous visual display of program listings customized to its local cable system’s unique channel line-up. (Data describing the unique channel line-up each EPG was to display also arrived via this master feed.)

Both the EPG Jr. and EPG Sr. allowed cable operators to further customize their operation locally. Among other functions, the listings grid’s scrolling speed could be changed, and local text-based advertisements could be inserted. Each text-based advertisement could be configured to display as either a “scroll ad” (appearing within the vertically scrolling listings grid between its half-hour cycles)[2] If no advertisements were configured as “crawl ads,” no bottom ticker would be shown on-screen.

The on-screen appearances of both the Jr. and Sr. versions of the EPG software differed only slightly, due primarily to differences in text font and extended ASCII graphic glyph character rendering between the underlying Atari and Amiga platforms.[3]

Because neither version of the EPG software was capable of silent remote administration for its locally customizable features, cable company employees were required to visit their head end facilities in order to make all necessary adjustments to the software in person. Consequently, EPG channel viewers would often see its otherwise continuous listings interrupted without warning each time a cable company technician brought up its administrative menus to adjust settings, view diagnostics information, or [4]

The Atari-based EPG Jr. units were encased in blue rack enclosures containing custom-made outboard electronics, such as the ROM cartridge port.)

[edit] Split-screen electronic program guide

By the late 1980s, a software upgrade “option” was offered by United Video for the Amiga 1000-based EPG Sr. This updated version featured a program listings grid identical in appearance to that of the original EPG Sr. version, but confined it to the lower half of the screen. In this new split-screen configuration, which was the forerunner to Prevue Guide (below), the upper half of the screen displayed static or animated graphical advertisements and logos created locally by each cable system operator. Up to 64 such ads were supported.

Locally created text-based advertisements were still supported too. However, they now appeared in the top half of the screen as well, support for showing them within the listings grid as scrolling ads, or beneath it as crawling banner ads, having been removed. Although most cable systems kept the original, full-screen EPG in operation well into the early 1990s, some systems with large numbers of subscribers opted for this upgraded version of EPG Sr. in order to exploit the revenue potential of its graphical local advertising capabilities.

The Atari-based EPG Jr. was never afforded this split-screen upgrade and fell out of favor during the late 1980s as cable systems migrated to the full- or split-screen Amiga 1000-based EPG Sr., and later to the Amiga 2000-based Prevue Guide (below). However, the EPG Jr. remained in service as late as 2005 on a few small cable systems, as well as on a number of private cable systems operated by various hotel chains and certain housing and apartment complexes.

[edit] Prevue Guide

In 1988, the Trakker, Inc. unit of United Video Holdings was renamed Prevue Networks, Inc. The split-screen version of the EPG Sr. software was further updated and renamed “Prevue Guide,” with the slogan “We Are What’s On”. Now running on the Amiga 2000, it displayed a split-screen listings grid visually identical to the upgraded EPG Sr.’s, but also supported – along with up to 128 locally inserted top-screen graphical advertisements – the display of video with accompanying sound in the top half of the screen.[5] Primarily promos for upcoming TV shows, films, and special events, these videos appeared in either the left or right halves of the top portion of the screen, coupled with supplementary information concerning them in the opposing halves (program title, channel, air date and time).

Prevue Guide Amiga 2000 unit (decommissioned).

Making the video integration possible were the Amiga 2000’s native video satellite backhaul feed from Tulsa, Oklahoma. This feed contained a national satellite listings grid in the bottom half of its picture (strictly as a courtesy for the era’s C-band dish owners), with the top half of its picture divided horizontally in two, both halves showing promos for unrelated telecasts on different networks. (Sound for each half was provided in mono on the feed’s left and right audio channels, respectively.) Within each cable system’s head end facility, meanwhile, the Amiga 2000-powered Prevue Guide software overlaid the bottom half of the satellite feed’s video frame with its own, locally generated listings grid. It also continuously chose which of the two simultaneously available promos in the top half of the satellite feed’s picture to let local cable subscribers see, patching its audio through to them while visually blocking out the other promo (usually with text mentioning the title of the program that the promo was for, in addition to mentioning the local cable channel the promoted program could be seen on). During periods where both of the satellite feed’s simultaneous promos were for cable networks not carried by a local cable system, the local Prevue Guide software blocked out both, filling the entire top half of the screen with a local text or graphical advertisement instead.

The satellite feed’s national scheduling grid was never meant to be seen by cable subscribers. On occasion, however, when a cable system’s local Prevue Guide software [6]

Commercials, often for psychic hotlines, and featurettes produced by Prevue Networks, Inc., such as Prevue Tonight, voiced by network announcer Larry Hoefling[7] (1989–1993), were also delivered via this satellite feed. For commercials, the top half of the feed’s video frame would be completely filled out, with local cable system Prevue Guide installations letting it show through in full. The satellite feed also carried a third audio channel containing Prevue Guide theme music in an infinite loop. Local Prevue Guide installations would switch to this audio source during the display of local top-screen advertising, and when they crashed. Prevue Guide could additionally signal cable system video playback equipment to override the Prevue Networks, Inc. satellite feed entirely with up to nine minutes of local, video-based advertising per hour. Few cable systems utilized this feature, however, oweing to the need to produce special versions of their local advertisements wherein, as with the satellite feed itself, all action occurred only within the top half of the video frame.

Other features of Prevue Guide, unavailable in the earlier full- and split-screen EPG Sr. versions, were colorized listings backgrounds and program-by-program channel summaries. Between its already colored grid lines, which alternated blue, green, yellow, and red with each half-hour listings cycle, each cable operator could choose to enable either red or light blue (rather than black) background colors for multiple channels of its choice. These backgrounds were usually used to highlight premium movie channels and pay-per-view services. Additionally, program-by-program channel summaries with light grey backgrounds, for up to four channels of each cable operator’s choice, could be included within the scrolling grid. Appearing between each four-hour listings cycle, the names of channels (rather than times) would scroll up and slide into the grid’s header bar one at a time, each followed by up to four hours worth of program-by-program listings for that channel alone.

Prevue Guide could also display graphical “Prevue Weather” logos, accompanied by local weather conditions, within its scrolling grid. These inserts were available to cable operators for an additional fee and appeared after each four-hour listings cycle.

By the early 1990s, United Video began encouraging cable systems still using either the full- or split-screen versions of the Amiga 1000-based EPG Sr. to upgrade to the Amiga 2000-based Prevue Guide. Active support for the Amiga 1000-based EPG Sr. installations was discontinued in 1993.

Like the Amiga 1000-based EPG Sr., Prevue Guide also ran from bootable 3½ diskettes, and its locally customizable features remained configurable only from the local keyboard, subjecting viewers to the same on-screen maintenance-related interruptions by local cable company employees as before.DB25 RS232 serial port via a short cable. The 101C also featured connection terminals for contact closure triggering of external cable system video playback equipment.

[edit] 1990s

[edit] Prevue Channel

Prevue Channel used from 1993 to 1999

Beginning in late March 1993, Prevue Networks, Inc. overhauled the Prevue Guide software once again, this time to modernize its appearance. Still operating on the same Amiga 2000 hardware, the old grid’s black background with white text separated by colored lines gave way to a new, embossed-looking navy blue grid featuring 90 minutes of scheduling information per channel. Arrow symbols had been added to listings whose start or end times stretched beyond that timeframe, and for viewer convenience, local cable operators could now configure the grid’s scrolling action to momentarily pause for up to four seconds after each screenful of listings. Additionally, local cable operators could enable light grey sports and movie summaries within the grid. Appearing between each listings cycle, these showed all films and sporting events airing on any channel during the next 90 minutes. The light grey program-by-program summaries for individual channels, red and light blue channel highlighting, and graphical “Prevue Weather” forecasts that were previously available to cable systems as optional grid features and inserts remained available in the same manners as before. VCR Plus+ logos were additionally introduced by this version of the software, and unlike in prior versions, large graphical Prevue Guide logos appeared within its grid, between listings cycles. The old, synthesized interstitial music that had been used since 1988 was also replaced with a more modern piece called “Opening Act”, from the defunct James & Aster music library.

By late 1993, Prevue Guide was re-branded “Prevue Channel”, and an updated channel logo was unveiled to match. Beginning in early 1994 and up until its first couple of years as the TV Guide Channel, the network licensed production music (first at 1 min. length, later at 15 and 30-sec. lengths) from several music libraries for use as interstial music. In 1996, the Prevue Channel logo was given a new eye-like design, and two years later, the classic Dodger-like font face its logo had incorporated since 1988 was replaced with TV Ratings symbols. They appeared alongside program titles within the listings grid, as well as in the supplementary scheduling information overlays accompanying promo videos in the top half of the screen.

During the mid-1990s, Prevue Networks, Inc. also expanded beyond its Prevue Channel operation. In 1996, Prevue Networks introduced their first set top terminal-integrated digital WPIX New York.

The new navy blue grid version of the Prevue Channel software was as crash-prone as previous ones. Flashing red Amiga “guru meditation” errors (with the raw satellite feed’s dual promo windows and national satellite listings grid showing through from behind them) remained a frequent sight on many cable systems throughout the United States and Canada. While Prevue Networks’ software engineers released regular patches to correct bugs, it simultaneously became clear that an entirely new hardware platform would soon be needed. New Amiga 2000 hardware was no longer being manufactured by Commodore, which filed for bankruptcy in 1994, and Prevue Networks began resorting to cannibalizing parts from second-hand dealers of used Amiga hardware in order to continue supplying and maintaining operational units. During periods where Amiga 2000 hardware availability proved insufficient, newer models such as the Amiga 3000 were used instead.[10] However, as those models’ stock cases would not accept the company’s large existing inventory of Zephyrus ISA demodulator cards, only their motherboards were used, in custom-designed cases with riser card and backplane modifications.

Towards the end of the decade, in 1998, Prevue Channel’s programming was entirely revamped. New short “shows” were introduced to replace Prevue Tonight, FamilyVue, and Intervue. These included Prevue This, Prevue Family, Prevue Sports, Prevue TV, Prevue News and Weather, and Prevue Revue. They each lasted only a couple of minutes, but every show happened twice every hour.[11]

[edit] TV Guide Channel

In February 1999, United Video Satellite Group, the parent company of Prevue Networks, Inc., bought Gemstar International Group Ltd. purchased United Video Satellite Group. Finally, throughout December of that year on cable systems nationwide, a new yellow grid began replacing the navy blue grid that had presented channel listings to viewers for the past six years. The old navy blue grid was completely phased out by early January 2000.

TV Guide Channel unit (WinNT PC-based).

With the arrival of TV Guide Channel’s yellow grid, all remaining vestiges of Prevue Channel had been eliminated: its Amiga-based hardware infrastructure was decommissioned, and purpose-built, PCs employing custom-designed video/audio expansion cards were installed. With this new infrastructure additionally came the ability for local cable companies to perform silent remote administration of all their installations’ locally customizable features, making live, on-screen guide maintenance interruptions by cable system technicians a thing of the past.

The yellow grid also eliminated the optional red and light blue background colors local cable operators were formerly able to assign various channels of their choices. In their place, universal, program genre-based background colors were introduced. Sporting events appeared with green backgrounds, and movies on all networks were given red backgrounds. Pay-per-view events additionally appeared with purple backgrounds. The light grey backgrounds which had formerly appeared in channel- and program genre-based summaries were also eliminated, with the aforementioned red, green, and purple color coding now applying to those summaries as well.

Despite its elimination from the American television market, the Prevue brand continued to be seen in Canada in the form of various Prevue Interactive services, most of which were simply re-branded versions of TV Guide Interactive products.[12]

[edit] 2000s

TV Guide Channel with its second blue grid (2003-2004).

A few years after Prevue Channel completed its transition to TV Guide Channel, the programming it featured changed drastically. Full-length shows were added, moving away from the typical model of showing television previews and other information. Starting in 2005, Carrie Ann Inaba.

Also with the transition from Prevue Channel to TV Guide Channel, the nature of the service’s scrolling listings grid began to change. During broadcasts of the channel’s original primetime series as well as during red carpet awards ceremony coverage, programming started appearing almost entirely full-screen, with a transparent, non-scrolling, two-line version of the channel’s regular listings grid occupying only the extreme bottom of the frame. Semi-regular stylistic re-designs of the grid also occurred, and support was added for showing locally inserting provider logos and graphical advertisements within it. Starting in 2004, light blue backgrounds began to appear on listings for children’s programming, complimenting the red, green, and purple background colors already applied to listings for films, sporting events, and pay-per-view programming respectively.

Because of Gemstar-TV Guide’s dominant position within the television listings market, listings for TV Guide Channel’s own original programming began to appear on the topmost lines of most TV listings web sites to which the company provided listings data, regardless of which channel number any given cable system carried it on. This also became the case with the print version of TV Guide.

Rather than purchasing TV Guide Channel carriage rights, some services such as Bright House Networks created their own scrolling listings grids, with IO’s occasionally interrupted by full-screen commercials, and otherwise featuring banner ads accompanied by music. Bright House Networks’ version featured a video inlay of a local news station instead of banner ads, with its overall on-screen presentation otherwise matching that of IO’s.

DirecTV did not begin carrying the TV Guide Channel until 2004, and began carrying it in an entirely full-screen format (without the bottom listings grid) in 2005. This was also the case with DISH Network, which aired the network in full-screen format to avoid duplication of its set top receiver-integrated IPG, also provided by Gemstar-TV Guide.

[edit] TV Guide Network

On April 30, 2007, Gemstar-TV Guide announced that beginning June 4, 2007, TV Guide Channel would be re-branded “TV Guide Network”. According to its press release, the move was intended to reflect “the continued evolution of the Channel from primarily a utility service to a more fully-developed television guidance and entertainment network with a continued commitment to high quality programming.”

On May 2, 2008, Gemstar-TV Guide was acquired by Macrovision (now Rovi Corporation). Macrovision, which purchased Gemstar-TV Guide mostly to boost the value of its lucrative VCR+ and electronic program guide patents, later stated that they were possibly looking to sell both TV Guide Network and the TV Guide print edition’s namesake to other parties. On December 18 of that year, Macrovision announced[13] that it had found a willing party for TV Guide Network in One Equity Partners. The transaction included, with Macrovision retaining the IPG service.

At the beginning of January 2009, the print edition of TV Guide quietly removed its listings for TV Guide Network (along with its listings for several other networks) over what the magazine’s management described[14] as “space concerns”. In actuality, the two entities had been forced apart by their new, individual owners, with promotions for the network ending in the magazine, and vice versa. TV Guide magazine journalists also no longer appeared on TV Guide Network. The top-line “plug” for the network did, however, remain intact on the web sites of internet-based listings providers using TV Guide’s EPG listings.

On January 5, 2009, [21]

[edit] 2010s

On July 1, 2010, TV Guide Network’s scrolling grid was given an extensive facelift; the grid was shrunk to the bottom one-quarter of the screen, the channel listings were reduced from two lines to one (with the channel number now being placed to the right of the channel ID code), the color coding for programs of specific genres (children’s shows, movies and sports, etc.) was removed, synopses for films were dropped and the grid now stops scrolling for four seconds with every four channels displayed. Despite the change, the non-scrolling grid (which is the same height as the restyled scrolling grid) continued to be used for primetime programming for a time.

Twenty-three days later, on July 24, TV Guide Network introduced a new non-scrolling grid used for primetime programming, which was later dropped with providers using the scrolling grid during primetime programming. On August 3, 2010, the scrolling grid was changed once again, with the scrolling grid stopping at each channel, and the channel listings became two lines once again (in some areas, the grid is still three lines wide thus cutting off half of the second listing). On October 17, 2010, the scrolling grid was changed to black, and channel listings are one line, although some cable systems are still using the previous grid.

In 2011, TV Guide Network dramatically overhauled its programming, abandoning most of its original shows and switching its focus to reruns of programming primarily from the 1990s and 2000s.

In January 2012, upon Lionsgate’s acquisition of Summit Entertainment, it was announced that the channel was for sale.[22]

[edit] Color schemes

[edit] Genre color coding

On TV Guide Network until July 1, 2010 and currently in Gemstar-TV Guide’s set top box-integrated IPG service (TV Guide Interactive), program genres are indicated on-screen by color:

  • Normal Programming: Gray (in IPG, dark blue)
  • Children’s Shows: Light blue
  • Sports Programming: Green
  • Movies: Red on regular channels, purple on pay-per-view channels (in IPG, purple on all channels)

TV Guide Network uses various colors to differentiate different types of programming. Here, green indicates a The Faculty.

On TV Guide Network itself, during the weeks prior to the Emmys, shows that have been nominated were also highlighted in gold. The same gold highlighting could be seen during the lead-up to the Oscars, except only for movies that have won in the past. Titles for other special shows, like those that are a part of Holiday movie titles listed during December were blue and snow-covered. Similar important shows and/or premieres have had other special graphical schemes added to their grid cells.

Due to a restructuring of TV Guide Network’s scrolling grid on July 1, 2010 that saw the grid being shrunk to the lower third of the screen, grey is now used as the color code for all programming and genre-based color coding can now be seen exclusively in IPG.

[edit] Grid color history

On the EPG/Prevue Guide/Prevue Channel/TV Guide Channel/TV Guide Network channel, the following colors have been used for the listings grid:

  • Black (during the Amiga-based EPG and Prevue Guide years prior to mid-1993)
  • Navy blue (during the Amiga-based Prevue Guide, Prevue Channel, and TV Guide Channel years of 1993-2000)
  • Yellow (during the TV Guide Channel years of 2000-2003)
  • Blue (during the TV Guide Channel years of 2003-2004)
  • Teal (during the TV Guide Channel years of 2004-2005)
  • Grey (during the TV Guide Channel and TV Guide Network years of 2005–present)

Between the late 1980s and 1999, local cable operators could configure listings for certain channels to appear with alternate background colors (their choice of red or light blue). Light grey backgrounds were additionally used for channel- and program genre-based listings summaries, when enabled by local cable operators. Beginning with the yellow grid in 1999, all such coloring was discarded in favor of program genre-based coloring which affected all channels and summaries. Listings for movies featured red backgrounds, pay-per-view events bore purple backgrounds, and sporting events featured green backgrounds. Starting in 2004, light blue backgrounds were additionally applied to listings for children’s programming.

[edit] Programming

[edit] Current shows

[edit] Former shows

  • America’s Next Producer (2007) – Competition series where the winner received a $100,000 prize and development deal with TVGC.
  • Dave Holmes.
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm (2010-2011) – Acquired repeats.
  • Chris Harrison; varied over the years between a daily and weekly presentation.
  • Game Show Network run.
  • Hollywood 411 on Set (2009) – Set visits and behind-the-scenes info on the latest movies, profiling three each show.
  • Idol Chat & Idol Tonight (2006–2009) – Official discussion of the week’s events on Manny Streetz was a guest correspondent in 2007)
  • InFANity (2007–2010) – One hour program devoted to a detailed history and interviews with stars of one primetime series. Hosted by Lisa Joyner.
  • Look-a-Like (2004–2010) – Makeover program involving people wanting to look like certain celebrities.
  • Making News: Savannah Style.
  • Punk’d (2009-2011) – Acquired repeats.
  • Reality Chat (2006–2009) – Discussion show about reality television. Hosted by Kimberly Caldwell was a former co-host from 2006–2008)
  • TV Watercooler (2006–2009) – A weekly recap of TV’s noteworthy shows and moments. Hosted by Debra Wilson was a former co-host in 2006)
  • Veronica’s Closet (2011-2012) – Acquired repeats.

[edit] Slogans

[edit] Prevue Guide and Prevue Channel

  • Just what you’re looking for. (1988–1992)
  • We Are What’s On. (1992–1995)
  • Prevue…See what’s on (1995-1997 secondary)
  • Prevue First! (1998–1999; secondary)
  • Before you view, Prevue! (1993 to 1995; alternate, 1995–1999; primary)

[edit] TV Guide Channel/Network

  • Change the way you channel (1999–2001)
  • Don’t miss a thing (2001–2004)
  • Original shows, original channel, TV Guide Channel. (2004–2007)
  • America’s Television Headquarters (2007–2010)
  • Original shows, original network, TV Guide Network (2007–2010; secondary)
  • Eat. Sleep. Watch. (2010–present)

[edit] Sneak Prevue

In 1991, Prevue Networks spun off another network exclusively for pay-per-view programming, Sneak Prevue. The channel was also driven by Amiga 2000 hardware, and its software was as crash-prone as the Prevue Guide software itself. TV Guide Network ceased operations of Sneak Prevue in 2002.

[edit] References

  1. ^ Video: Electronic Program Guide (full-screen Sr. version) operating normally with scroll ads, Youtube
  2. ^ Video: Electronic Program Guide (full-screen Sr. version) operating normally with crawl ads, Youtube
  3. ^ Video: Electronic Program Guide (full-screen Jr. version) operating normally with scroll and crawl ads, Youtube
  4. ^ Video: Electronic Program Guide (full-screen Sr. version) interrupted by local cable technician adding text advertisement, Youtube
  5. ^ Video: Prevue Guide operating normally, Youtube
  6. ^ Video: Prevue Guide crashed, then rebooting, exposing raw satellite feed video, Youtube
  7. ^
  8. ^ Video: Prevue Guide interrupted by local cable technician adding text advertisement, Youtube
  9. ^ Forum posting: Prevue Guide Amiga 2000 hardware specifications,
  10. ^ Forum posting: Prevue Guide Amiga 3000 hardware sighting,
  11. ^ Prevue Channel 1998 Promo.
  12. ^ Prevue Interactive’s “i-Guide”, The Internet Archive (2007)
  13. ^ Article: Macrovision finds willing partner for TV Guide Network in One Equity Partners, Macrovision (expired link)
  14. ^ Article: Dave on Demand: ‘Mentalist’ showed powers only in ratings, (expired link)
  15. ^ Article: Lionsgate, Macrovision Close TV Guide Network Deal;; 2009-03-02
  16. ^ Article: Advertising Age: “TV Guide Channel to Ditch the Scroll: Revamp Includes Original Programming for TV Fans”, 4/1/2009.
  17. ^ Article: MediaPost: “TV Guide Channel Plans Original Programming:, 4/2/2009.
  18. ^ Article: TV Week: “TV Guide Channel Expands Mandate With Series, Movies”, 4/2/2009.
  19. ^ Reynolds, Mike (December 18, 2011). “TV Guide Network to Bow ‘Hollywood Moms Night,’ ‘Wilson Phillips’ Reality Series in 2012”. Multichannel News. Retrieved December 19, 2011.
  20. ^ Article: Cable will drop Dubuque TV guide, TH Online
  21. ^ Article: Beaumont Enterprise: “Time Warner drops TV Guide Channel”, 4/7/2009.
  22. ^ “TV Guide is shown the gate”. New York Post. January 16, 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2012.

[edit] External links

Source: Wikipedia