Big Bucket Software you like to use
Time zone correction and mountain time
March 25th, 2009

There seems to be some confusion regarding what “apply time zone correction” really does in the iPhone version of TV Forecast. So here we go.

TVRage.com is awesome. They include time zone information with (almost) every TV show. Each show specifies the time zone from which it is originally broadcast. For practically every US TV show, this is eastern time, currently, GMT-4. “Time zone correction” means adjusting for the difference in time between the broadcast city and the user’s city. Plain and simple. It usually works.

People living in the pacific time zone/US west coast, (currently GMT-7) will almost never want to apply time zone correction to US TV shows. That’s because, in the west coast, TV shows are rebroadcast at the same local time as they are broadcast on east coast, i.e. 3 hours later (GMT-4 – GMT-7). Stay with me. People living in the central time zone (e.g. Chicago) will want to apply time zone correction. This is because they are almost always receiving a pacific/eastern broadcast.

Mountain time, is altogether different. Also, this is where my understanding gets hazy. Basically, applying the rule of, “adjust for the difference in time between the broadcast city’s time zone and the user’s time zone” can’t work for mountain time. That’s because mountain time gets its very own broadcast. To illustrate, LOST airs at 9:00PM Wednesday in New York (Eastern Time). It airs at 8:00PM in Denver (Mountain Time). When a user in Chicago applies time zone correction, the air time is adjusted to their local time zone, currently GMT-6. That is a difference of -2 hours. The result: 7:00PM. The person ends up waiting an hour for LOST. The person uses this hour to leave a bad review for TV Forecast on the iTunes Store.

This is the time zone correction dilemma. So what is the solution? The solution, (I think) is to make the adjustment that TV Forecast performs between the eastern time zone and the mountain time zone into a special case. Specifically, it should only subtract 1 hour from eastern TV shows when the user is in mountain time. Am I nuts?

Are there any TV Forecast 1.2.2 users out there who live in a mountain time city and are actually happy with the results they’re getting from TV Forecast? I’d love as much feedback as possible on this one please. Specifically from central and mountain users. I say 1.2.2 because this version fixes a daylight saving adjustment bug. In the absence of this fix, mountain time users could, by a happy coincidence, end up getting the correct time zone adjustment.

  • This is yet another reason why I hate timezones. They’re confusing. 😛

    The one thing that really annoys me is DST. I really don’t see why it’s necessary, and, if I was the ruler of Earth, I would abolish it. Oh, and another stupid thing, is Adelaide (in Australia) is the only city in the world to have it’s own “half hour” timezone, which is absurd.

    That said, TV Forecast works fairly well for me. Lost, for example, airs at 2am GMT, goes through to 3am GMT, and I know that at roughly 3:30am GMT I can start downloading it.

  • Mike Lewis — 9:45 am on 25.3.2009

    I live in the Mountain Time zone (in the forgotten part of Texas that isn’t on Central Time) and I’ve never enabled time-zone correction in TV Forecast because it’s so erratic for Mountain Time. (Not your fault, it’s the way the individual channels program their nights.)

    Here, cable shows are usually two hours ahead from the published Eastern Time start (i.e. Mythbusters starts at 9 p.m. Eastern Time, but at 7 p.m. Mountain Time). But, network shows are one hour ahead from the published Eastern Time starts (Survivor starts at 8 p.m. Eastern Time, but at 7 p.m. Mountain Time). Then there’s the whole issue of many cable channels re-running their primetime shows again three hours later so that the Pacific Coast gets Mythbusters at 9 p.m. Pacific Time (and I get to re-watch it at 10 p.m. Mountain Time).

    In short, maybe there’s a way to establish different “corrections” for network versus cable shows, OR on a per-network basis. Alternatively, does TVRage offer this information already? Finally, and I apologize if I missed how to do this already, but is there a way to change whether time-zone correction is applied on an already added show without re-adding the program in TV Forecast?

    Thanks for all your work, Matt. TV Forecast is one of the most-accessed apps on my phone.

  • I live in Tucson, AZ. The only way I have ever gotten the times correct was to use Denver as the city with time zone correction on. After reading this page, I 1. unchecked the time zone correction box… the time went back to one hour later than is accurate. 2. changed the city to phoenix and unchecked the box… an time is off one hour. 3. re checked the box with phoenix as the city and it is one hour late. 4. changed it back to Denver and show start time is accurate. Remember, we don’t change time in AZ for DST and are effectively on PST although our shows are still broadcast an hour earlier like Mountain time. FYI

  • btw, a great app!

  • Using Steven’s advice, living in Phoenix, my shows are showing at the correct time. Unfortunately, the iphone version does not have an option to change broadcast city. Could this feature be added?

    If I could switch the broadcast city for denver on my iphone I should be able to see the correct time.

    Remember prime time starts at 7pm in Phoenix and the rest of AZ.

  • @William Hook

    Actually, Australia is not the only place in the world with an irregular time zone, but it does have three (+8:45, +9:30, +10:30). Here’s a full list of time zones, and the irregular ones are scattered around the world:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_time_zones

  • Great app, but Denver time still incorrect. For as long as I can remember (25+ years), primetime as started an hour earlier (7pm). Seems like an easy rule if Denver is selected as the broadcast city. Overall, though, a minor issue.

  • It looks like the dashboard widget has died again – the iphone version is working fine though.

  • I too live in Denver. I really like the app, but I also get very frustrated by the inaccurate air times for shows here in Denver.

    It seems to be like there are a few possible solutions to this problem:

    1. When downloading information, include the actual air time for the local time zone rather than always starting with New York (ET). Perhaps that isn’t possible due to the source of the data (?)…

    2. Rather than a yes/no option for correcting for timezones, allow the user to actually specify the number of hours to add or subtract from the ET. So if something air at 9pm ET but at 8pm MT, I can go in to that show and set “Offset: -1”.

    3. Select a different broadcast city. I suspect if I were to select Chicago as my broadcast city (CT), the shows would be more accurate.

    I listed these in the order I’d like to seem the considered. #1 would be best and #2 would be okay. I’m not crazy about #3 as the solution.

    Just my two cents! Good app…probably great for those that live on the east coast. 🙂

  • Ryan Connolly — 12:05 am on 15.9.2009

    Hi first let me say that I’ve had your app for a couple months now and would die without it lol. I live in Anchorage, Alaska and we have our very own time zone all to ourselves lol. Normally every show is just off by an hour. So say it says that House starts at 9 I know it starts at 8. This is cuz we get our shows an hour before westcoast time but it’s really the same. But if I activate time zone correction it goes back four hours from east coast time. So normally it says 9 but then it would say 5… What I like is what another commented said. Let us choose how far we want to put back the time, either one or two and so on. Also I would love to have PUSH NOTIFICATIONS!!! Please please please! I would buy another app if I had to lol thanks again for this amazing app!!!

  • I am having troubles with mountain time. I was wondering if you could write a code that uses tv guide as the base of the time for MST. I know that MST is confusing, and listening to the advertisements for tv shows won’t even tell me when the correct time a show is on, but if you go to tv.yahoo.com or tvguide.com it is able to tell the correct times for the shows.