Tvdb changes to a subscribe model

ok, it is actually happening. API calls and stuff are now 10€ per year.

How this will affect trakt ?


I just got the mail too. Time to move away from TVDb then :’)


it is not that easy. a lot of apps and sites rely on tvdb, that is why i’m asking what is the officially reply from trakt. what will the site do ?

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Just a guess but I pretty sure that the Trakt people are already talked or are talking with TheTVDb people on how to use and pay for the APIv4 access.

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We’ve been discussing this internally and our plan is to move to TMDB as the primary data source for TV shows. The quality and completeness of data has greatly improved at TMDB and I think with some re-alignment of community resources, it can work really well as Trakt’s primary TV data source.

We’ve only recently learned about TVDB’s plans the same time you all did. We’ve also heard TVDB asking for unrealistic licensing fees to apps compared to their revenue. The alternative of charging users directly doesn’t really work either, since that means an app is dependent on user’s paying a 3rd party service to work. It’s one thing to require a free signup (if an app requires Trakt sign for example), but quite different if only paid members are allowed access.

Here’s our plan:

  1. New TV shows will use TMDB as their data source (this will happen soon)
  2. When we do nightly data refreshes, we’ll start comparing TMDB with TVDB to determine if the seasons and episodes match up. If they match, we can safely change to TMDB as the data source. If they’re different, we’ll make an internal note. (this will happen soon)
  3. Create a page on Trakt that displays shows with differences (determined in step 2) to help us and the community update the TMDB entries with any missing data. It’s entirely possible TMDB might be different, but actually the more accurate listing (for example: Pokemon – which already uses TMDB) so we can manually move shows like that to TMDB.

We already use TMDB for many things like actors, runtimes, networks, and episode screenshots. We also have a TMDB scraper that fully works with TMDB for all data (as mentioned, some shows already use this).

We’re still working out the details and would love to hear your feedback too! Once we finalize the transition plan, we’ll make a more public announcement with a call for community moderators to help add missing data to TMDB.


Hey Vassilis,

I’m curious what areas you see as being hardships. As Justin spoke about, we see the biggest hurdle being the differences between shows. There’s not a huge sharing of id’s at the episode level, so we’ll have to rely on matching season number, episode number and episode title.

Identifying any roadblocks before we dive in will be helpful.


Using TMDB would almost scream for a localisation of Trakt.

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Hi sean,

First of all thanks Justin for the sharing with us your full plan which it is well thought and structured. I feel safe now and that it will not disrupt any of the services offered.

As per your question, i really don’t know what to answer :smile: What i’m excepting is consistency between episodes and shows. I will be my self providing data for tmdb if i see something wrong but i want trakt to be able to process this data fast and accurate.

We have seen many times that we hit refresh on a show and never get the changes from tvdb, don’t know whose fault is that probbably tvdb’s :japanese_ogre: and you need to open a support ticket to get that fixed. That should be kept to minimum. Also one thing from before is the redudant episodes or deleted episodes. Many many times people kept adding stupid extra episodes in tvdb , got synced with trakt and even after they have been removed from tvdb they stay on trakt due to the fail safe mechanism. Adding more job to the support team cause you had to open a ticket for getting those episodes removed. That has to change and allow for automatic removal on sync.

I don’t know if i’m helpful , i’m just a guy watching shows before it was cool :smiley:

Stay safe.


In principle the idea of moving to TMDB is ok, but the quality of data needs to drastically improve for the switch to work
looking at some of the shows i watch, i would be luckily if 50% is correct on TMDB, where TVDB is spot on


i have the same idea about tmdb, that is not as full as tvdb with all its issues nevertheless.
tvmaze is much much better that is for sure.

Although i had many replies on kodi and other forums about the switch that people are drinking water and swear that the data in tmdb are 1000% better than tvdb, more accurate and more full. Maybe at least on new shows and not shows from the '80s.

I guess soon will find out.

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Hopefully they do a good check between whats on tvdb and whats on tmdb before changing anything over

Just checking one of our (UK) most popular quiz shows, which airs today

tmdb is totally useless (it’s the same situation with many shows), like you i have mentioned how poor it is for tv in the past, but people just claim it it so much better

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yeah! that is to me also striking such odd as i have the same result and evidence (many) as you.
it is so weird :ghost:

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Nice. From what I’ve encountered, TMDB has much more accurate data than TVDB


This is all good feedback, thank you. I think you’re correct that new shows are pretty in sync on TMDB and older shows need work on adding and fixing episodes. We hope by giving more details on our side that these shows can be identified on TMDB and the community will help pitch in. This helps Trakt, but also any other all that uses TMDB and image there will be a lot that switch over as well.


I think this will be the biggest challenge too.
There are some cases where the ordering of episodes are completely different.
I’ve seen it happen more with anime: TVDB would use the JP order and TMDB the US order.

I see Justin linked Pokémon as an example, which is already using TMDB as the data source. I guess other shows like this will switch over to TMDB completely?

…And then there are rare cases with shows like The Haunting of Hill House - Trakt
S1/2 is split on TMDB (S1: The Haunting of Hill House (TV Series 2018-2018) — The Movie Database (TMDB) / S2: The Haunting of Bly Manor (TV Series 2020-2020) — The Movie Database (TMDB)) but combined on TVDB.
What will be done in this case?

This will indeed be very helpful for us, looking forward to it.

Yeah, TVDB has a lot more TV data, they’ve been doing TV longer than TMDB, but with all that’s happening now, I believe a lot of contributors will start using TMDB more. Including me, I’ve slowly started adding TMDB to my workflow.
So I’m sure the quality and quantity of TV data will get better over time on TMDB, even for older shows.


Time will tell

Personally I cant see any drastic improvements on tmdb, in 6 months time it will still be a poor substitute with missing data

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Any possibility that you may consider TVMaze as an alternative instead?

Interesting set of points from a blog post a few years old for anyone considering moving from TVDB:

I assume the API has only improved since then.

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Just hoping the other systems I use (Plex, iFlicks) both make the same move. Kinda need consistency between these three systems. -crosses fingers and waits-

I know with Plex I can change it to use “The Movie DB” agent. I’ve just done so for TV Shows. Currently using “Plex Agent” for movies. I’m not entirely certain what it uses or how to change it.

iFlicks, well that’s up to the developer. I’ve been using that app for years to convert my media to a consistent set of codecs, inject metadata, rename & sort it in to the locations I want the media stored.

Going to be fun re-arranging specials seeing as TMDB treats them differently to TVDB.

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First of all I appreciate the switch to TMDB since I think the community and devs are much friendlier - just from my personal experience. That is something that will matter when a million Trakt users suddenly demand changes to all their shows :sweat_smile:

I’m already a member of tmdb and have corrected one or two things for a couple of shows.

But, before the big switch: is there a way for you (Justin or other devs) to get in contact with the devs of tmdb to try and collaborate and kinda work on a plan for the transition? If suddenly everyone changes shows as he pleases this could end in a massive mess. Maybe implement some mods that close corrected shows for changes until the transition is over?!


I signed up to both TVDB & TMDB, and for some reason gravitated more to TMDB, maybe due to the amount of data I found myself adding to it.

One thing I asked on TMDB but never got an answer for was when it comes to doing the data additions on shows, how long do you guys find yourself doing that for on a regular basis, and how does that fit in with your daily TV/Movie viewing routines, I’d like to contribute more to the site, but I find this to be a little time prohibitive.

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