XP WMC Guide not supported?

Discuss Vista Media Center & XP Media Center Edition

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Post by tinkerer103 » Fri Aug 07, 2015 6:36 pm

taylortrash wrote:
tinkerer103 wrote:I currently am using bladerunnerpro with little issues It is not necessarily an easy setup but it works
Is it still available? the only link I can find send me to a printer ink blog
yes but only through internet archive

https://web.archive.org/web/20061217083 ... rPro35.zip

under tvxb's page there is instructions as well about installation

after install run the configurator program, add a grabber, remove the hdit command from the preprocess section and run bladerunner.

note you will have to manually edit your channelinfo.xml file in notepad.
so that the channel id's line up with the channel id's in your xmltv file

also note that bladerunner lokes in the

Code: Select all

folder for xmltv.xml
also blade runner looks for a file called xmltv.dtd in the guidedata folder this basicly needs to be a nearly blank xmltv dtd file

Code: Select all

<!-- DTD for TV listings




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Post by shadowman46 » Sat Aug 08, 2015 6:21 pm


I have an HTPC running Windows Media Center '05 (XP), which I have been continuously
using since 2008.

It actually still works great (700+ movie archive), but just got snagged with this whole
"Zap2It" to "Rovi" thing. So, to be clear: as recently as a month ago, the guide was accurately
downloading/populating with no problems, like it always had. Now... it *seems* to download
something (progress bar moves, hard drive spins, says "successful"), but-- nearly all the
channels say, "No data available". [*interestingly, there are a few odd channels that
DO have data! just not very many... ]

If I go to 'about', it still says "powered by Zap2it"; from reading around, Zap2it apparently is no
longer getting guide listings (?) and, what is downloaded is the most recent data, which is
now out of date (?)

So, my questions:

- is there any way to make it access the Rovi data? (maybe a registry/URL change,
or something). BTW-- already tried updating the 'hosts' file, with no luck.

- could I manually import it? Not ideal, I know, but I could do this once every two
weeks, in particular if it was automated.

- should I be thinking about an upgrade to Windows 7? I have to say, this will probably be
a complex project, both on the hardware side, and on the software side (upgrade MyMovies
plugin, etc.). With no MC in Win 10, how much more life does it have? (I can keep the hardware
going essentially indefinitely, but when stuff like guide data disappears, the utility is pretty
sharply curtailed)

- This might be heresy, but would something like XBMC be a better choice?

All that said, what I really want is a way to download or import the guide data into what I have
working right now.

Any help appreciated. Thanks!

[Moderator note: topic merged; search before posting]


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Post by pagreencat » Sun Aug 30, 2015 11:19 pm

Hello all, been a lurker on here for years. So I've got multiple Media Centers of various vintage in my family's abodes (XP MCE 2005, Vista, and Win 7).

The XP Media Center remains alive for a while (since 2002) because it "just worked" and because I have hardware (an ATI eHome wonder in it) that has no forward looking OS drivers. If something works and has no path forward, I'm loathe to throw it out if it can be made to work still.

Plus I don't think Microsoft will make a Rovi friendly feed for older OS's. It doesn't seem their style to be cool in that way.

Thanks to Tinkerer103's post on BladerunnerPro, I used that and found an xmltv source I was able to make XP MCE work again for the North America space.

And believe it or not, I used Zap2It to provide the feed for my DishNetwork Set Top Box which is probably some irony here. The post is long, and not for the faint of heart, but it can yield a working XP MCE 2005 system, I use mine with a Dishnetwork STB.

Free / Open Source Components used:
1. BladerunnerPro (web archived copy of 3.5)
2. Zap2XML (command line that pulls the feed from zap2it.com)
3. Find And Replace Text (FART) command line tool
4. Effort and time for the channel mapping and troubleshooting

To make Zap2XML work:
1. First go to Zap2It.com and register for a free acount with an email address of your choice via your browser.
2. Go to the TV Listings page and set your preferences for your US based provider (Dish/Directv/Cable/etc)
3. Go to Preferences and then edit the channels on the grid to make sure you have just the channels you want in your guide and that they're sorted, select the checkboxes for "Show six hour grid" and "show only my favorite channels in the grid"
4. Go and download ZAP2XML (http://zap2xml.awardspace.info/)
5. Go and download FART (http://sourceforge.net/projects/fart-it/)
6. Create a directory where you'll run the grabbing and transform process for Bladerunner and put Zap2xml and Fart binaries there. I used C:\Windows\eHome\Zap2XML for mine.
7. Create the XMLTV.DTD file as per Tinkerer's note above in this thread and put it in your grabber directory, it gets wiped out on each run so create a copy you can copy to Bladerunner's Guidedata.
8. Create a batch file to get the the guide data and make it suitable for Bladerunner. Here's an example of mine called getguide.bat. It removes the top lines that error-out Bladerunner and remove the language encoding that prevents importing of text.

cd "C:\Windows\ehome\ZAP2XML"
rd /S /Q cache


fart --remove xmltv.xml "<!DOCTYPE tv SYSTEM \"xmltv.dtd\">"
fart --remove xmltv.xml " lang=\"en\""
fart xmltv.xml "generator-info-url=\"zap2xml@gmail.com\"" "generator-info-url=\"http://www.zap2it.com\""

copy xmltv.dtd c:\windows\ehome\bladerunnerpro\guidedata\
copy xmltv.xml c:\windows\ehome\bladerunnerpro\guidedata\
copy channelinfo.xml c:\windows\ehome\bladerunnerpro\quickguide\

You'll notice I copy the files to Bladerunner's directories for each run at the end.

Also for this command, look at the top of your xmltv.xml file.

fart xmltv.xml "generator-info-url=\"zap2xml@gmail.com\"" "generator-info-url=\"http://www.zap2it.com\""

The "zap2xml@gmail.com" will most likely be "zap2xml@<YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS DOMAIN USED FOR ZAP2IT ID>". So you'll want to change the @gmail.com to the suffix of the mail domain used in your registered email account for Zap2It.

9. Run the batch file once to create an xmltv.xml as you'll need that to make your ChannelInfo.XML file and ignore the copy file errors this time as BladeRunner is not installed yet. You should have an XMLTV.XML file if successful in a usable state by Bladerunner. This gets removed by Bladerunner after each run, so staging it here is useful.

10. Now create your ChannelInfo.XML file in the grabber directory. This is the TEDIOUS part. A short, starter example is below, but it will be long to build based on your channel lineup. You'll need to look inside the top part of your XMLTV.XML file to find the channelID's and create the mapping as the automatic creation in Bladerunnerpro didn't make a usable map for me. You can customize the text in the name and make sure the virtual channel lines up with your actually tuner channel. I just have 3 channels below as an example.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>

I keep a copy of the ChannelInfo.xml in the grabber directory and copy it to Bladerunner's Quickguide directory that way Bladerunner skips its creation plus I can edit the lineup in one spot if need be. Add a few channels first to test (like 1-3) and then add more once you get the hang of it.

11. Install BladerunnerPro, follow the BRPConfigurator instructions to remove the HDit part and in the grabber section, add an entry for your grabber batchfile. I used the program CMD.EXE in windows\system32 with the parameter "/C c:\windows\ehome\zap2xml\getguide.bat" to make it run the batch file created earlier. Bladerunner will auto add a task to your scheduled tasks to pull this down at 4:21pm everyday and will trigger MCE to import the guide.

12. For good measure, I re-ran the configure the guide after Bladerunner to make it all work and troubleshot any issues.

This should make XP MCE work again. Please note your Guidesetup will say "EPG Guide" no matter what zip you put in, and will only go to the local files created by Bladerunner. I was seeing a week's worth of data in mine so I may want to lessen the frequency of the grab. Most guide features (Search, Add Recording, Movies) all worked, though Movies no longer showed DVD art and some additional detail, but that was a small item to discard to get a working system in my opinion.

I hope this helps others who are looking to keep their XP MCE 2005's going a bit longer, and as Microsoft would say, no warranties or guarantees are expressed or implied with the information above and your mileage will vary.

Good luck to your experiences.


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Post by mcsqrd » Tue Nov 10, 2015 8:33 pm

pagreencat wrote: I hope this helps others who are looking to keep their XP MCE 2005's going a bit longer...
Thanks for the detailed post. I've adopted your method to revive my XP MCE 2005. I have a few questions if you don't mind. I suspect it'll help others as well. Before I get to the questions I will detail some steps for the benefit of other forum participants.

I'm running BladeRunner Pro 3.5 and FART 199b. I use an antenna and only receive OTA broadcasts.

I've set up everything using your naming conventions for both files and directories and used your exact code for the getguide.bat. I've run the getguide.bat within the Zap2XML directory and it has made the necessary xmltv.xml file and copied it, along with the xmltv.dtd file, to Bladerunner's GuideData directory. At the moment, those are the only two files within the GuideData directory. I've reviewed the xmltv.xml file with Notepad at it appears to have all the proper info: a list of channels based on my Zap2It.com preferences, followed by a long list of TV programming data (programme start, stop, channel, etc) all wrapped between <tv> </tv>.

The ChannelInfo.XML file (containing only three initial test channels that I've edited) was also copied from the Zap2XML directory into Bladerunner's QuickGuide directory. The QuickGuide directory also contains the following files: QuickGuide.exe, QuickGuide.exe.config, and XMLTV.xsd and a directory entitled EPGXMLWriterParts.

QUESTION: When I create/edit my ChannelInfo.XML file's <virtualchannel> do I use the channel-number data from the xmltv.xml file (listed in <display-name>), or do I use the channel number that I actually see when using MCE 2005? If it's the latter, can I use whatever channels I currently have in my MCE Guide, regardless of how they were setup in the past? Example: Zap2It.com's channel number "8.1" is displayed as "2081" in my current MCE Guide (I cannot run the TV setup from within MCE). I hope this makes sense.

In the past I had to setup my OTA channels using a local cable provider's digital guide. This took place when the U.S. dropped analog and moved to digital programming. Currently, my PC's tuner card/software (DViCO FusionHDTV7 RT GOLD) will not allow access to MCE's TV-setup area (MCE thinks there is no NTSC tuner available, although my card does have an NTSC tuner), so I'm trying to make this work with what I have.

QUESTION: Within the BRP Configurator I deleted HDiT in the "PreProcesses" section per your instructions. I also deleted the “MakeChannelInfo” in the same section. Was deleting “MakeChannelInfo” a mistake?

RESULT OF RUNNING BladeRunner.exe : Double clicking BladeRunner.exe opens a command prompt window; parses the "grabber" section; executes the "getguide" command (the getguide.bat file) which in turn executes the zap2xml.exe file which logs me in to Zap2It.com and begins to downloads my specific TV guide data; writes a xmltv.xml file; successfully FARTS a few times; purports to copy the three files to their respective directories; tries to parse Bladerunner's preprocess and postprocess sections but there are no items found (I believe this to be correct); begins "transforming guide data..."; instantly does a few more things and closes the command prompt window before I can pause it to see what happened.

END RESULT: BladeRunner's GuideData directory no longer contains the xmltv.dtd or the xmltv.xml files. They have been replaced with a single guide.bin file. BladeRunner's QuickGuide directory maintains its files as outlined above. Launching MCE results in a non-responsive application when clicking "My TV".

Any ideas? Are there files in certain places I should be looking for? Are other files supposed to be created?

I appreciate the help. Thanks.


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Post by mcsqrd » Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:32 pm

UPDATE: Ironed out some issues, but still no EPG data.

Although my DViCO Fusion HDTV7 RT GOLD tuner card claims to receive NTSC signals, I believe it does so via software, thereby making it non-compatible with MCE 2005. So, in order to access MCE's Settings/TV section (and scan for digital signals), I had to install the original, non-digital tuner card in addition to the DViCO card. Because I don't have enough PCI slots available, I also had to replace my current, two-slot video card with the original video card. Short story, I loose either my internet connection or the ability to watch and verify that a digital TV signal works. This can complicate matters when troubleshooting.

With the new (old) setup I was able to access MCE's Settings/TV/Setup TV Signal and successfully scan for digital antenna signals via either the Automatic or Manual scan options. This changed the tuner channel numbers (ie: my local OTA channel 3 is now 1031 instead of 2031). Once scanned, I could enter the Settings/TV/Guide/Edit Channels and select only the digital channels I wanted. Now, I can open and view the TV/Guide without the app freezing and view the various broadcasts. Of course there it still no EPG data.

I was also able to follow BladeRunner.exe through to completion, as explained below:

The complete execution of BladeRunner.exe
  • Double clicking BladeRunner.exe opens a command prompt window;
  • Parses the "grabber" section (as setup in Start/All Programs/BladeRunner Pro/BRP Configurator);
  • Executes the "getguide" command (the getguide.bat file);
    • which in turn executes the zap2xml.exe file which logs me in to Zap2It.com and begins to downloads my specific TV guide data;
    • creates twenty-eight (28) GNU-Zipped Archive files (gz file) and stores them in the cache directory (this is a self-created directory that is placed in the Zap2XML directory). If you extract a gz file you'll see that it containes a typical Zap2It.com web page of your specific TV-channel guide listing in a six-hour grid. Four gz files represent one day (from 12:00 AM - 6:00 AM; 6:00 AM - 12:00 PM; 12:00 PM - 6:00 PM; 6:00 PM - 12:00 AM), hence the 28 files for seven days worth of programming;
    • writes a xmltv.xml file;
    • successfully FARTS a few times;
    • copies the three files to their respective directories;
  • Parses Bladerunner's "preprocess" section... (see *NOTE below)
    • Executing "MakeChannelInfo" command.
    • Creating ChannelInfo.xml...
    • ChannelInfo.xml already exists.
    • Skipping process...
    Parses Bladerunner's "postprocess" section...;
  • Begins "transforming guide data...";
  • Creating cab file... (this creates the compressed-archive file guide.cab in the GuideData folder, which is then extracted to guide.xml)
    • Microsoft Cabinet Maker - Version 5.1.2600.2180
    • Copyright Microsoft Corporation. All Rights reserved..
    • 100.00% [flushing current folder]
  • Encrypting cab file...
  • Updating key / hash... (this finalizes and creates the guide.bin file; this file is the ultimate product that Bladerunner is supposed to create; it contains the EPG data)
  • Clean up of GuideData folder... (this is where it removes guide.cab; guide.xml; xmltv.xml; and xmltv.dtd files)
  • Process now complete, triggering MCE... with this final line I suspect that BladRunner.exe has sucessfully completed everything that it was supposed to do. However, this currently results in a system-tray MCE Guide error which states that MCE is unable to download or display guide data.
*NOTE: If you delete the MakeChannelInfo within BRP Configurator's "Preprocesses" section and then run BladeRunner.exe, it simply skips the entire process with no harm done. So, as long as you have your own ChannelInfo.xml in BladeRunner's GuideData directory, it makes no difference whether you keep or delete it.

Final Result:
Still no Guide data. Trying to setup guide listings results in errors. I've uninstalled and reinstalled BladeRunner. Also, If I enter MCE's Settings/TV/Guide/Add Digital TV Listing there is nothing to select (except No Listing For This Channel) when clicking on a digital channel in order to select which EPG channel to match it up to. I read that it's supposed to list a single "EPG Guide" option which I, in turn, should select, but it's not there. In my case, there are sixty-nine (69) blank lines/options I can scroll through, which I believe coincides with the number of analog signals the TV-signal scan found.

For whatever reason, if I install the old tuner card to gain access to Settings/TV/Set Up TV Signal, I can no longer get a proper scan. It always states that no TV signals were found. So, now I have to go in and manually add my digital channels in Settings/Guide/Add Missing Channels by entering their channel number, frequency, and name, which one can find online for there particular geographical location. This peculiar change happened on the same day.

I've changed my ChannelInfo.xml data numerous times trying every combination of <name> and <virtualchannel> number in hopes of it just being a mapping issue. My <channelID> is correct.

I still think it's something simple, perhaps in a registry setting or something. I've reviewed files in C:/Documents and Settings/All Users/Application Data/Microsoft/eHome and can not see anything obvious (as if I know what I'm looking for); I've changed the postal code in the GetHeadendList.html file (found in BladeRunner's Native directory) to my location versus the default 0000, but without luck.

I'm currently reviewing my Zap2It.com TV schedule and manually recording whatever I want.

Based on the lack of response to this thread, I guess Windows XP/MCE 2005 dinosaurs are just about extinct. However, I really haven't found anything better for recording OTA broadcasts for free. My XP machine still does a lot of great stuff, and my other machines do the rest.

I'm keeping the XP, and still desire to get the EPG up and running. So, please respond to this thread if you think you know where the handshake is being dropped. I'll do the same if I find out. Thanks.

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