TV-Browser is a free, Java-based guide for more than 1,000 channels (mostly European and German).
After a straightforward installation, the program presented us with a sensible selection of default channels based on our location, and allowed us to add more. And then, after downloading the latest schedules, it displayed a scrolling window of current programs. This follows a standard print format - each column was a separate channel, times were printed down the left hand side - and is very easy to read.
If you spot a programme of interest, then clicking it displays more information. Exactly what you'll see will vary depending on the programme and channel, but when we selected a drama we found a basic summary of the story, a cast list, start and end times, and more.
It's easy to add a programme to your favourites, too. And once you do this, it'll be highlighted in the programme listings, and TV-Browser will display a reminder just before it's broadcast.
A separate Tree View provides a more compact way to check your programme favourites and reminders. There's no need to scroll through the table; a simple tree makes just about everything accessible, perhaps for months in advance, with a couple of clicks.
And there's plenty more here, from easy programme filtering (type "news" and press Enter to see only shows with "news" in the title or description) to powerful channel management tools, all presented in a highly configurable interface.