I have been a very satisfied user of TVkaista.fi, a tv-show recording service. I have been using it to download shows I missed for some reason and I have also used it to download tv shows to my iPod via its iTunes feed.
Only recently I realized I should perhaps automate downloading the shows I follow regularly and it was only then I discovered TVkaista has an RSS feed for each tv channel. Then it came to me that I could try to use Automator to automate the downloads. And it seems it has been a success.
There were a couple of issues.
First, I only wanted to download each show once, even if I accidentally invoked the download more than once. I solved this by subscribing the tv channel RSS feeds into Mail.app. Mail can keep track of the read/unread status of each feed article. Alternatively, each article can be flagged or unflagged. I chose to flag an article when it has been downloaded and only download unflagged shows.
Second issue was a bit strange. The Automator workflow I had made worked OK when I ran it from Automator. However, it did not download anything when I saved the workflow as an iCal plugin and had iCal invoke the download at certain times. There seems to be very little one can do to debug Automator. Eventually I realized the iCal plugin is actually an application bundle and when it wants to authenticate to TVkaista, Keychain does not allow it. After using Keychain to allow access to all programs for TVkaista authentication, my scheduled downloads work just fine.
You can check the Automator workflow I use to download Hill Street Blues. It looks like this:
If you are a TVkaista subscriber, you can try it too after subscribing to the YLE FST channel RSS feed in Mail. If you want to schedule the download, open the workflow in Automator, then from the File menu, Save as plugin, choose iCal plugin and give it a descriptive name. Then switch to iCal where you will find an event that is set to invoke an application. Change the event to run and repeat the way you like. The iCal plugins are actually app bundles saved into Library/Workflows/Application/iCal under your home directory.