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Show HN: TheReelBox, find tonight's movie (thereelbox.com)
81 points by pkrein on March 16, 2012 | hide | past | favorite | 59 comments

Please don't try to guess where the location permission chrome will be. Also, your site is completely useless if I don't want to give you permanent permission to access my location. You should let users enter a location or zip code if they don't want to give you live access to their exact location.

Also, it says "dl.dropbox.com" wants to track your physical location, this doesn't match the site's domain name.

I'm curious, but why are so many people against sharing their location through the browser? You already give up your OS, browser version, and IP address (which can give a rough location) just by visiting the website. I understand if someone personally has something against sharing their precise physical location, but I don't understand why it's an issue for so many people.

That's a huge difference. I keep feeling like there is this generation of very naive programmers out there. Yes, it's true, the IP address can be used to determine where you are on a mobile phone ... If you get a subpoena!

There's a big difference from "Sure, by using this phone, I know Homeland Security can find me" and "I guess I will let every website I visit know where I am; what the hell, privacy is a commodity!"

This attitude seems very strange to me. It is certainly in line with this "new way of thinking about privacy" but it has really nothing to do with reality.

I think he was referring to Geo-IP location (approximating your location based on your ip address). About 60-75% of the time it's accurate to the city - provided you're not using mobile broadband.

Of course there are a number of other ways to get higher resolution location without consent. An older but commonly known one is Samy's XSS exploit (http://www.samy.pl/mapxss/).

Um...because most people don't want to share their precise physical location just to get local movie times? Zip code is close enough for good enough results.

Agreed, the Arrow was pointing somewhere completely unrelated on my system. Best to redesign that rather than try to guess it.

good point, removed the arrow for now.

thanks for pointing this out - you can enter your zipcode now :)

good idea, will add it soon. thanks!

Let me put in my zip code. There's no reason why I should _have_ to share my location through the browser.

Yes, please. Plus - I work in DC, but generally want to see moves in Virginia, so tying the search to my location is too restricting.

yep, good point. will add that soon. thanks!

Lots of neat stuff here. "Event listings"--movies, music, etc.-- can still improve a lot in terms of ease of use, so I'm very happy to see people work in this area.

A few thoughts:

- I'd want more movie options & theaters (need a much bigger radius).

- When a single movie has showtimes at multiple theaters, the action on the map confused me at first.

- I personally know where my local movie theaters are. I do care very much about which theaters are available for a movie, because they vary in quality and convenience, but I have to hover over showtimes to see the theater options for a particular movie. So there may be a different UI which helps me optimize my decision (e.g. with less emphasis on the map)

- Title says "pick tonight's movie", but I can't actually figure out how to see the showtimes for later tonight--movies with a lot of showtimes are only showing the midday options.

- Can ads be removed from the video trailer? Seems unpleasant to see an ad during an ad. Also, normal video controls would be handy.

all great ideas, thanks. the ads in the trailers are youtube's ads... so probably can't get rid of those.

i'll figure out a way to show movie times further into the future, midday bit is frustrating yeah.

Can you hook into another movie trailer service? Perhaps Apple trailers? I imagine that since trailers are Ads, there might be a service that provides some sort of affiliate commission, or at least shows them without ads and without fees.

The UI is very cool! The Google Maps window loads very quickly when hovering over various show times. I immediately understood how this app could be useful. I also like the big high-res trailers.

Using Firefox 10 on my Windows 7 desktop machine, I clicked allow on the location sharing prompt, but the location it pulled was way off from my actual location. I assume it's going off my ISP location. I couldn't find any way to manually edit my location? I totally get the motivation to make it "just work" without a bunch of input from the user, but it seems you need a way to allow for fixing the location by the user.

Some of the locations it showed me movie times were quite far from me, which is OK -- the additional options were fine. But the next question that popped into my head when I saw the combination of a showtime and a location is "When do I have to leave?" A read-out of "You need to leave at X:XX to be on time for this movie" would be useful.

The placement of the "Get Tickets" link under each movie made it tricky to move the mouse there from the showtime link I had settled on without tripping over another showtime link -- kind of like that game where you move the ball through the maze! Clicking the showtime link just took me to a blank white page -- I assume this is not intentional.

On Mac OS X + Chrome 19.0.1068.1 dev, I'm getting

  "Uncaught Error: QUOTA_EXCEEDED_ERR: DOM Exception 22"
on showtimes.js:677

  localStorage.setItem('zipcode', String(view.position.zipcode));

hm, can't reproduce that here with the same setup... the address, latitude, longitude and zipcode returned from google's geocoding api must have been insanely long to exceed the 5MB quota. sorry that happened :(

Quota is based on domain, and in your case you're serving up everything from dl.dropbox.com. Maybe these users already have stuff in their localStorage from other sites that happen to use that domain?

Seems like the fix for that would be to serve up the html on your own domain so that other sites, eg dropbox, won't mess with your quotas.

Also, that would fix the location permission dialog that says "dl.dropbox.com wants to track your location".

same here.

"We couldn't find any movies nearby."

Now, I am sad.

Same here. There are two theaters within 5 miles but it found nothing.

This is a pretty neat idea. One thing I'd consider changing is your use of the Rotten Tomatoes rating icons. You're using the Tomatometer Critics icons, but the % score you're displaying is actually the audience rating. This may not matter most of the time, but occasionally you have a movie like "A Thousand Words" that has a 0% tomatometer rating, and a 60% audience rating. (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/a-thousand-words/). Mixing up the two ratings could be a little misleading.

It may be better to just include both ratings on there, or stick with a single rating source.

Good point. The behavior is actually to use critics score unless the critics score isn't available (0 for A Thousand Words triggered that), in which case it falls back to use the audience score, if it's available. I'll think about this a bit more, thanks for pointing it out!

Definitely think you're on to something here. Contrary to other commenters, I actually like that you're taking advantage of the geo location api. You should include an option for zip code and/or city, but personally what you have it fine.

Your UI is a bit bare, but nice and simple. Don't add too much to that. Simple is good.

Also love that the trailer auto-plays, which is contrary to how I want to experience video on most sites. However, since your site is about movies, auto-playing the trailer is a perfect implementation.

Ping me on Twitter, @geuis. I'd like to be informed as you further develop the site.

Good luck!

Where are you pulling the movie times data from? I've been trying to make a local application but couldn't find an API anywhere, it came down to web scraping, which isn't very sustainable.

EDIT: Is this coming from Yahoo?

I'm curious about that as well.

I know of two companies that sell movie theater schedule datasets (through data dump or API): Tribune Media Services (http://www.tribunemediaservices.com/) and West World Media (http://www.westworldmedia.com/).

I'm not sure that there are any other. It's my understanding that the main movie sites (Google, Yahoo!, RottenTomatoes, MovieTickets…) all get their info from one of these two companies. This is also probably why you won't find a free API with that data.

Because the trailers are on YouTube, I suspected that the info was scraped from Google (I believe these two companies have their own trailer hosting); however, that would then make the connection between that info and RottenTomatoes a bit tricky… Peter, do you mind sharing?

From a quick glance over the code, it looks like the meat is in his showtimes javascript file(http://dl.dropbox.com/u/682022/showtimes/javascript/showtime...)

I'm not very familiar with backbone.js so it's a little confusing to me, but looks like models are being built. Here's what I can muster, this could all be wrong

* [Line 112] The trailer is using a YouTube API (https://gdata.youtube.com/feeds/api/videos?alt=json&form...) and then the movie title?

* [Line 184] Ratings coming from RT API (http://api.rottentomatoes.com/api/public/v1.0/movies.json?ap...)

* [Line 341] Theatres & Times from Yahoo (http://query.yahooapis.com/v1/public/yql?q=use "store://VZHvlyU81L6BFVGyE7CNhT" as pterodactyl.movietimes; select * from pterodactyl.movietimes where zipcode="<zipcode>" and date="<date>"&format=json) -- I have no idea what this is all about. Any insight would be helpful.

* [Line 405] The links that Yahoo API thing returns are then rerouted to go through http://www.qksrv.net/click-5632409-10576771?url=<buyURL&..., I'm guessing for OP to get some cash

Then there's google maps for the maps, so that seems to be where the data pull is coming from. Not sure what the origin of that Yahoo URL is though.

EDIT: I added line numbers from the showtimes.js file because HN reformats the links so you can't see them all the way.

This: http://www.maxmind.com/app/geolitecity is a much better way to find someones location so they don't have click the allow button.

Something to do with gamma.firebase.com and firebase.js isn't loading. I kept it going for two minutes and it kept buttering the popcorn. Maybe HN shot over your daily API quota?

This solves a problem that I have all the time. Existing movie aggregators are a pain to navigate the filled with ads.

I like the Rotten Tomatoes integration. Nice work.

I like it, but it has my location wrong by about 50 miles. There absolutely needs to be a way to enter the local address.

My user story: I got excited that Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was still playing, but didn't want to see it tonight because I have other plans. I clicked on the link to buy tickets, hoping it would show me other showtimes, but it was just a normal checkout page.

I would like to know when Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is playing tomorrow as well.

Good site idea, but my location is totally wrong and I don't see a way to manually enter it so it is more accurate.

It's nice & simple. I think trailers would be a great addition.

As an alternative -- I would be interested in a site just like this but that aggregated movies from all of the free (legal) sources on the Web where I can watch movies now. (I don't usually buy movie tickets in advance.)

IE9/IE10 will have a goldbar at the bottom of the screen so the green arrow is a bit misleading...

Your green arrow is pointing at "learn more" and not "allow" so the link takes me here https://support.google.com/chrome/bin/answer.py?hl=en&an...

Just FYI, your site is completely unusable for anyone working at a company blocking Dropbox.

Also: why does it browser warning say "dl.dropbox.com" when the website is thereelbox.com? Could seem very phishy to a user.

whoa, i had no idea that companies did that? sorry!

It's pretty uncommon, but it does happen. I'll happily check this out when I get home though :)

Didn't work in Firefox even after allowing (the suggestion to "Allow" lined up in Chrome, though). Loaded the site in Chrome, and no movies were found in my area despite being within 10 miles of two movie theaters.

I love it. I go the movies all the time. I wish you had a way for me to put my email address in so I could get an email every Friday to remind me this site exists. Cool idea and implementation. Keep going!

Because people like my self don't need the gov knowing where and how I move to use this info against me due to my back problem and CUTTING ME OFF of suport so I can't take care of my two kids...

Not working for me. After I click 'Allow', the page remains the same, with the prompt telling me to click 'Allow'. I'm on Chrome 17.0.963.79, OSX, Austin TX.

Took forever loading on Android---I'm surprised how much that matters to me; I just got a smartphone for Christmas and I'm already spoiled.

Well done! This fits the bill perfectly for me. The only problem I see is requiring location access. It miscalculated my location.

Nice. Slow to load, but worked.

I wish I could specify preferred theaters. In my area, there are many theaters nearby, and the closest isn't the best.

Unfortunately, it doesn't load past the spinning popcorn for me, and I see some failed GET requests in the network log.

sorry we had an intermittent blip. working on it now.

GIANT pet peeve: please do not auto-play the trailer when I click on the movie. Please. It is not expected behavior.

What it thinks is my location is not my actual location.

You should give me an option to enter an address.

Just needs a way to mark a theater as terrible and that I would never go there.

sorting: "closest" "rating"

filtering: "start times" "location" (don't assume geo-log, let me enter zip)

neat idea, needs a lot of polish.

This is not the fifties. Movies shouldn't be watched on tv.

guessing this is US only?

yeah... sorry! i'm not sure where to even get movie showtime data for europe, etc. ideas?


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