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The EPG Collector project (Electronic Guide for Media Centre PC)

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 25-Apr-2010 18:10

Media Center users in New Zealand are faced with an interesting situation: the Freeview|HD service (our free-to-air DVB-T digital TV broadcast in high definition) transmits an electronic guide in two formats: the one, more common EIT which is limited to only the current and next TV program and the new MHEG5 which presents the whole week, allowing series link, etc.

The problem with the MHEG5 for most media centre users is the lack of support for this standard in the current software releases. What most people have been doing until now was to grab a special XML file from one of many sources online and apply it to their media centre.

However most content publishers (TV channels, satellite and cable services) say the contents on that file could be subject to copyright, and Sky even issued a takedown notice affecting the most well known website in New Zealand distributing that content. Surely a strange move, because I would assume in their business they want the most eyeballs as possible...

Anyway, two developers (SJB and giggles) decided to start a project that seems to be a different take on this: instead of downloading a XML file from the Internet, you can run a program on your Windows PC that will automatically collect the electronic guide from the broadcast and simply reformat it for loading on your media centre software. There's no distribution involved, only a translation, and it's obvious the resulting file is for personal use only.

The program, EPG Collector, can be run as a scheduled task to create the XMLTV file, and you can then run any other software to load it into your media centre. I am for example using Big Screen EPG to load this into Windows 7 Media Center. It can create the XMLTV file from your DVB-S or DVB-T tuners and it's easy to configure.

EPG Collector is currently being tested by some users on Geekzone, and it's available for download now from SourceForge. There's an ongoing discussion about the project on Geekzone, and the plan is to make it an open source project once it's stable.

Also note that as of now (late April 2010), the developers are looking for some more testers. Currently most testers are using Freeview sources but the program should work with other EPG sources in New Zealand. Please join Geekzone and post in the discussion about the project.

Freeview broadcasts the full week guide on DVB-S and Media Center can grab this without any third party software. If you have a DVB-S and a DVB-T tuner on your media center you can easily map the channels and watch HD content, with the guide from the non-HD source. But some people don't have both DVB-T and DVB-S tuners. Or rather have a different solution. This is for you.

UPDATE: There's also a Linux project version now.



Other related posts:
Microsoft Ignite New Zealand, Microsoft Surface Studio
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Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

I'm the Geekzone admin. On Geekzone we publish news, reviews and articles on technology topics. The site also has some busy forums. Also worth visiting is TravelTalk NZ, a community for travelers!

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