Import guide data into WMC without additional cost

Global guide related discussion. All Windows versions.
Winterlight

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Re: Import guide data into WMC without additional cost

#41

Post by Winterlight » Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:25 am

I started this thread but it has gone a number of directions. I am replying to garyan2 post 29....just so this has some reference point.
I followed your directions and after a couple of attempts I got the the cable guide working but not the OTA. Your software warned me about this at stage two but I didn't know what I had done wrong nor what to do to correct my mistake.

So should I restore my backup and start over in order to get both Cable and OTA or can I just add it and if so how do I go about that. Thank you.

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garyan2

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#42

Post by garyan2 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:30 am

In the client on the left side, the OTA channels are not there? Or is it that they don't have any listings and not showing in the guide?
- Gary
Keeping WMC alive beyond January 2020. http://epg123.garyan2.net

nhtvfan

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#43

Post by nhtvfan » Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:47 am

My PC = Win 7x64_Home
I use multiple tuners: AverMedia internal, HDhomerun External

I just figured out how to import free TV listings into WMC. This may not work for everyone, but here are the details of what I did to replace MSFT's former service.

These instructions describe how I used the following software(freeware):
EPG123 v1.3.4.0
instructions: epg123.garyan2.net/install
program: epg123.garyan2.net/download
zap2xml v2018-12-01
instructions: zap2xml.awardspace.info
program: zap2xml.awardspace.info
xmltv-to-mxf-0.0.2.jar
instructions: github.com/raydouglass/xmltv-to-mxf
program: github.com/raydouglass/xmltv-to-mxf/releases/tag/v0.0.2

loadmxf (WMC Windows 6.1.7600.16385)
instructions: loadmxf /?
program: C:\windows\ehome\loadmxf.exe (installed on all Windows with WMC)


Summary
I used EPG123 to perform the equivalent of a fresh re-install of WMC. It reinitializes, erases, & cleans up WMC databases.
I used EPG123 to perform a fresh TV setup in WMC. But note that this can be performed without this program. Just follow EPG123's instructions.
I used EPG123 to manually create a channel map. But note that this too can be performed without this program. You can use WMC to manually recreate the channel map. instructions are described in detail by github.com/raydouglass/xmltv-to-mxf
I used to zap2xml to fetch free tvlistings from zap2it.com to create a file: xmltv.xml.
This requires a free registration. No annual fees. In addition, you can also use tvguide.com as your free source.
Also note that more details can be retrieved, such as original air date by using the "details" option.
I used a java program xmltv-to-mxf-0.0.2.jar to convert xmltv.xml -> WMC.mxf
I used EPG123 to manually import the tv listings file: WMC.mxf
Or, if this fails you can use MSFT's WMC MXF loader: C:\windows\ehome\loadmxf.exe

Detailed Explanation
--------------------------
EPG123.exe was downloaded and installed.
Then I followed the EPG123's website instructions to reset WMC.
I used the "Client Setup" button which displayed a 3 button prompt.
The 3 step process was followed to properly re-initialize WMC.

Note that when using Button 2, WMC is started and I proceeded through the TV setup process as instructed.
Once the UHF channels were scanned and saved, I noticed some channels were missing.
So I had to stay with in WMC's setting to manually add some channels.
I had to add VHF channels, which are not detected by WMC's TV Setup.

However, when performing step 3, EPG123 tried to find a *.mxf, but since none exists, an error message appeared.
So I moved on to learn how to create this missing file.

Now it was time to create a tvlisting, and I found & used this program (zap2xml.exe) to accomplish this task.
I downloaded and installed this program to this DIR: C:\Users\Public\zap2xml
This program allows you to get tv listings from 2 websites that provide tvlistings for free.
I elected to use zap2it.com as my web source, not tvguide.com

Following the instructions for zap2xml ...
I registered as a user on zap2it.com
logged in and setup my channel listings.
used zap2xml to fetch listings and create an XMLTV formatted file: xmltv.xml

command used: C:\Users\Public\zap2xml\zap2xml.exe -U -u EMAIL@address -p password -o C:\Users\Public\zap2xml\xmltv.xml

Now I needed to convert the xmltv formatted TV listings to WMC's native format *.mxf
I found and downloaded this program: xmltv-to-mxf-0.0.2.jar
This program converts the xmltv formatted TV listings to WMC's format *.mxf

But since this a java program, I also needed to download and install java.
Once java was installed I used "xmltv-to-mxf-0.0.2.jar" to convert the xmltv file, but this process failed.
It displayed the following error: "Error in MXF: Invalid byte 2 of 3-byte UTF-8 sequence."
I found the solution by adding an option: -Dfile.encoding=UTF-8
command used: "C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.8.0_231\bin\java" -Dfile.encoding=UTF-8 -jar C:\users\public\zap2xml\xmltv-to-mxf-0.0.2.jar C:\users\public\zap2xml\xmltv.xml -o C:\users\public\zap2xml\WMC.mxf
At this point, I now have a file that WMC can use: C:\users\public\zap2xml\WMC.mxf

Now I re-opened the "EPG123 client tool" and clicked the "manual import" button.
This time the file imported without any error messages.

Here's a detail worth noting. WMC can't be actively recording when EPG123 updates the Tv listings.

At this point, I restarted WMC and WMC's TV guide now displayed program names.
However, I noticed a minor problem. I noticed that some metadata was missing, such as the original air date.

Fortunately, there was an easy solution to this problem.
All I had to do is add another option to include program details to the zap2xml command.
command: zap2xml -D -U -u EMAIL@address -p password -o "C:\Users\Public\zap2xml\xmltv.xml"

But of course this meant that the subsequent steps needed to be repeated.
This meant that I had to regenerate the *.mxf file using this command again:
command: "C:\Program Files\Java\jre1.8.0_231\bin\java" -Dfile.encoding=UTF-8 -jar xmltv-to-mxf-0.0.2.jar C:\users\public\zap2xml\xmltv.xml -o C:\users\public\zap2xml\WMC.mxf

So the next step is to re-import the file into WMC.
But when I tried to use the "EPG123 client tool" and used the "manual import" button, this time the import failed.
Fortunately, there was another easy solution. This time the solution was to switch to WMC's import tool:
command used: C:\Windows\ehome\loadmxf -i C:\users\public\zap2xml\WMC.mxf

Now I restarted WMC and WMC's TV guide displayed the program names, and contained more detailed metadata, such as the original air date.

As this point, the only thing to do was to automate these steps.
So I created a simple batch file b/c I'm using Win7x64 Home, but a VBS or a powershell script would also be an option.
Then it's simply a matter of creating a new task within "Task Scheduler" to execute this script routinely.
I set up a task to execute once a week to keep WMC's "TV Guide" TV listings updated automatically.

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#44

Post by Winterlight » Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:55 am

Yes and no... I see them but want I don't see is
PBS 1 = channel 4
PBS 2 = 4.1
etc.

And what I see in the guide is what's on cable but channel 4 = NBC. But now that I think about it ... it doesn't really matter because I use my SiliconDust DVR app to record OTA so it isn't worth the hassle to make it all work for WMC guide... OTA wasn't in the MC guide before MS cut it off. I am just very glad I got the cable sorted out and I can still use MC. I appreciate your help and you app!

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garyan2

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#45

Post by garyan2 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 1:10 am

Winterlight wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:55 am
Yes and no... I see them but want I don't see is
PBS 1 = channel 4
PBS 2 = 4.1
etc.

And what I see in the guide is what's on cable but channel 4 = NBC. But now that I think about it ... it doesn't really matter because I use my SiliconDust DVR app to record OTA so it isn't worth the hassle to make it all work for WMC guide... OTA wasn't in the MC guide before MS cut it off. I am just very glad I got the cable sorted out and I can still use MC. I appreciate your help and you app!
I noticed that with the image you provided earlier that you didn't have any scanned OTA channels. If you don't scan them, then they won't be available on the left or available in the guide. Does WMC not see your OTA tuners, or do you just not include them in the TV Setup?
- Gary
Keeping WMC alive beyond January 2020. http://epg123.garyan2.net

Winterlight

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#46

Post by Winterlight » Mon Jan 06, 2020 1:17 am

That image was from an earlier attempt. After your explanation I went through the process twice before I figured it out. I would restore my system backup after a failed attempt and start over. I probably didn't include them but I never saw them displayed as 4 4.1 4.2 4.3 etc It has always just displayed as 4 with empty boxes below it.

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garyan2

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#47

Post by garyan2 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 1:29 am

If you don't see 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4 ... on the left side of the client, then you did not scan the OTA channels during TV Setup.

Does the HDHR2MXF program provide 2 lineups? On the right side pulldown, do you have 'EPG123 HDHR-CC to MXF Converter' and 'EPG123 HDHR-US to MXF Converter' lineups?
- Gary
Keeping WMC alive beyond January 2020. http://epg123.garyan2.net

annonymous9999

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#48

Post by annonymous9999 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 4:56 am

Has anyone else got tony's setup or a better free solution working in WMC? I was wondering if there are any newer steps or bug fixes as well.
here's how I got a free, non-Rovi guide right now using zap2xml and xmltv-to-mxf. First steps:

Download and install epg123
Run EPG123 Client, Client Setup, steps 1 & 2 (which will reset WMC -- do a backup first, if you like)
While setting up WMC, be sure to enter 00000 as your zip code to get a blank guide -- and don't forget to manually add any VHF channels in WMC if necessary
Create the folder C:\epg
Download and install zap2xml, put the resulting "zap2xml.exe" file in C:\epg
Download and install a Java JRE
Download my "xmltv-to-mxf-0.0.2-SNAPSHOT.jar" file (which is just the GitHub version plus my period subchannel fix) and put it in C:\epg as well
https://file.io/ndLsGO

Once that's done, you can use a batch file for the update process. Save the following as "update.bat" in C:\epg (substituting your own Zap2It username and password, of course!):

Code: Select all

cd C:\epg
zap2xml -u username -p password
java -Dfile.encoding=UTF-8 -jar xmltv-to-mxf-0.0.2-SNAPSHOT.jar xmltv.xml
C:\Windows\ehome\loadmxf -i mxf.xml
%SystemRoot%\ehome\ehPrivJob.exe /DoReindexSearchRoot


Okay, couple pointers right off-hand... may have more later.

1. You are duplicating programs unnecessarily. Using xmltv-to-mxf, for my XMLTV file it created 11,372 programs but there were only 7,090 unique programs. It doesn't harm anything, just makes the file inefficient and bloated.
2. Programs that start with "SH" are being give a unique GUID number (which contributes to #1). I understand the reason, but the same can be accomplished by just setting the 'isGeneric' flag of the program.
3. Episode number is off by 1 which I thought you fixed? Season number is not present.
4. Channel UIDs in the Lineups are risky with just the channel number (!Channel!MainLineup!4_1). It makes an assumption that there will be no duplicate channel numbers in the XMLTV file.
5. Speaking of Lineup, you should add a name value to the lineup to be distinguishable and unique to xmltv-to-mxf.
6. The Service id doesn't have to be so complex; "s1", "s2", etc. is just fine. It is the UID that has to be unique and constant between loads.
7. The program original air dates just need to be yyyy-MM-dd... don't need the T00:00:00:000Z.
8. Programs that are movies should use the "MV" id given in the data; OAD should be empty; year should be populated; the isMovie flag should be set.

The real hard part is the categories. It took me quite a while to figure how to do it best, but can't help to think it can always be better. I don't think it will ever be perfect.
- Gary

Mrbobb

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#49

Post by Mrbobb » Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:50 am

StinkyImp wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 2:30 pm
There are two completely FREE guide replacements that I know of.
  1. EPG Collector
  2. zap2xml
Thanks for the straight answer. Just paid ScheduleDirect $25, don't have time to deal with it right now, shelving it for a long term project.

I pay no cable, just plain Internet and OTA just fine.
$5/mo (yes five bucks) cell service.
No software subscriptions of any kind, I ain't buying cheap inkjet just to be nickel&dime to dead buying ink cartridges.
Can't avoid electricity etc but am thinking bout it :D

Green Lantern

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#50

Post by Green Lantern » Fri Jan 31, 2020 10:44 pm

annonymous9999 wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 4:56 am
Has anyone else got tony's setup or a better free solution working in WMC? I was wondering if there are any newer steps or bug fixes as well.
here's how I got a free, non-Rovi guide right now using zap2xml and xmltv-to-mxf. First steps:

Download and install epg123
Run EPG123 Client, Client Setup, steps 1 & 2 (which will reset WMC -- do a backup first, if you like)
While setting up WMC, be sure to enter 00000 as your zip code to get a blank guide -- and don't forget to manually add any VHF channels in WMC if necessary
Create the folder C:\epg
Download and install zap2xml, put the resulting "zap2xml.exe" file in C:\epg
Download and install a Java JRE
Download my "xmltv-to-mxf-0.0.2-SNAPSHOT.jar" file (which is just the GitHub version plus my period subchannel fix) and put it in C:\epg as well
https://file.io/ndLsGO

Once that's done, you can use a batch file for the update process. Save the following as "update.bat" in C:\epg (substituting your own Zap2It username and password, of course!):

Code: Select all

cd C:\epg
zap2xml -u username -p password
java -Dfile.encoding=UTF-8 -jar xmltv-to-mxf-0.0.2-SNAPSHOT.jar xmltv.xml
C:\Windows\ehome\loadmxf -i mxf.xml
%SystemRoot%\ehome\ehPrivJob.exe /DoReindexSearchRoot


Okay, couple pointers right off-hand... may have more later.

1. You are duplicating programs unnecessarily. Using xmltv-to-mxf, for my XMLTV file it created 11,372 programs but there were only 7,090 unique programs. It doesn't harm anything, just makes the file inefficient and bloated.
2. Programs that start with "SH" are being give a unique GUID number (which contributes to #1). I understand the reason, but the same can be accomplished by just setting the 'isGeneric' flag of the program.
3. Episode number is off by 1 which I thought you fixed? Season number is not present.
4. Channel UIDs in the Lineups are risky with just the channel number (!Channel!MainLineup!4_1). It makes an assumption that there will be no duplicate channel numbers in the XMLTV file.
5. Speaking of Lineup, you should add a name value to the lineup to be distinguishable and unique to xmltv-to-mxf.
6. The Service id doesn't have to be so complex; "s1", "s2", etc. is just fine. It is the UID that has to be unique and constant between loads.
7. The program original air dates just need to be yyyy-MM-dd... don't need the T00:00:00:000Z.
8. Programs that are movies should use the "MV" id given in the data; OAD should be empty; year should be populated; the isMovie flag should be set.

The real hard part is the categories. It took me quite a while to figure how to do it best, but can't help to think it can always be better. I don't think it will ever be perfect.
- Gary
Thanks for the instructions. You mentioned "Okay, couple pointers right off-hand... may have more later." Since it's been several weeks since you made the post, I thought I'd ask on behalf of myself (and others) if you have any refinements/updates/etc to the info above?

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garyan2

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#51

Post by garyan2 » Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:47 pm

Actually, that quote was from me a couple/few months ago. The list that follows were my suggestions on how to improve the java program to make it more efficient and reliable. There are probably more, but I don't think I evaluated it any further than what you see there.
- Gary
Keeping WMC alive beyond January 2020. http://epg123.garyan2.net

ronster

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#52

Post by ronster » Sat Feb 01, 2020 7:51 am

tluxon wrote:
Sun Dec 29, 2019 2:34 am
I could tell Microsoft had caved to outside pressure and was going to phase out WMC as soon as they changed it to an add-on for Win8 and promoted the lamest explanations any who had actually used WMC could ever dream of.

Thanks!

Just FYI....the reason wasn't because of "caving to outside pressure", and, MANY people, INCLUDING high level execs within MSFT, were not happy with what had happened...but, by the time it was noticed, it was too late without doing some serious delaying of the OS.

That's about all I can publicly say....just know that no one "caved" and it was largely the actions of 1, high level, person who demanded certain changes that ended up killing WMC...after a major re-org.

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#53

Post by Green Lantern » Sat Feb 01, 2020 1:16 pm

garyan2 wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 11:47 pm
Actually, that quote was from me a couple/few months ago. The list that follows were my suggestions on how to improve the java program to make it more efficient and reliable. There are probably more, but I don't think I evaluated it any further than what you see there.
Thanks for the reply. BTW, now that the Rovi guide has ended and there is no more of its data in WMC (or any more forthcoming), is it still necessary to go through the re-setup process, zip code 00000, etc? I ask because it has taken quite some time to get the current setup exactly how I want (what channels do/don't show, what tuners are prioritized to which channels, custom names for channels, using a 3rd party app to increase the number of rows displayed in the guide, etc) and I'd hate the risk screwing that up and/or needing to spend many hours re-doing all of that.

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garyan2

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#54

Post by garyan2 » Sat Feb 01, 2020 6:51 pm

I've been looking at that to determine what changes can be made to the EPG123 setup, and it looks like it will be okay to not do the TV Setup process again for any "free" method. If doing a setup now, it will not reach any server to provide tuner setups or lineup headends. I believe there is very little risk in MS ever deigning to mess with WMC ever again.

WMC is now free of MS completely as far as I can tell. The primary reason to run setup again with zipcode 00000 was to keep MS out, though apparently Rovi decided 00000 was valid for some setups.
- Gary
Keeping WMC alive beyond January 2020. http://epg123.garyan2.net

jesjr

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#55

Post by jesjr » Sun Feb 02, 2020 10:42 pm

Will this process alter my Movie database?

Green Lantern

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#56

Post by Green Lantern » Fri Feb 07, 2020 2:21 pm

garyan2 wrote:
Sat Feb 01, 2020 6:51 pm
... though apparently Rovi decided 00000 was valid for some setups.
This is what has me worried, particularly in light of the fact that after ending in January, the Rovi guide data unexpectedly started populating itself into the guide again a couple days ago. Not being a fan of the cross your fingers and hope approach that MS/Rovi don't somehow cause conflicts/problems in the future, I'm wondering if there is a more guaranteed way to prevent that. My initial thought is if there are entries that could be added to the Windows host file to block whatever IP address(es) are used for either just the guide updates or even all WMC updates. What are your thoughts on this? Thanks!

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#57

Post by tonywagner » Fri Feb 07, 2020 4:50 pm

Green Lantern wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 2:21 pm
This is what has me worried, particularly in light of the fact that after ending in January, the Rovi guide data unexpectedly started populating itself into the guide again a couple days ago. Not being a fan of the cross your fingers and hope approach that MS/Rovi don't somehow cause conflicts/problems in the future, I'm wondering if there is a more guaranteed way to prevent that. My initial thought is if there are entries that could be added to the Windows host file to block whatever IP address(es) are used for either just the guide updates or even all WMC updates. What are your thoughts on this? Thanks!
See my reply here:

viewtopic.php?p=138193#p138193

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#58

Post by TheReducer » Fri Feb 07, 2020 6:47 pm

I didn't see this option mentioned in this thread yet.
Somebody posted instructions on YouTube to get free EPG data from zap2it into WMC:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CknzzB8ViMI

This isn't the best instructional video, but does give a decent overview of how to get this setup. I wrote my batch files differently, but the basic idea is the same.

It is similar to the method mentioned earlier in this thread, but uses the xmltv2mxf utility instead of xml2mxf (with tonywagner's mods above).
I've tried with both methods and got both working in Win7 and Win10(WMCv13). Neither is perfect:

xml2mxf *appears* to do a better job with series, but has no guide images and no categories and thus the movie guide is totally empty.
xmltv2mxf doesn't always identify a show as part of a series, but does have guide images for many shows and the movie guide works.
I'm no expert on the mxf file format that WMC expects, but this option does appear to produce a better, more complete mxf file than the first option.

I think I'm going to try xmltv2mxf for a while, as I really like the movie guide, colour coding in the grid of guide categories and guide images. But, having to manually setup recordings for some series is going to be annoying.

I just thought this discussion should include all methods of free EPG and maybe some collaboration will help to make one of these methods more or less fully functional.

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#59

Post by prsa01 » Sat Feb 08, 2020 3:38 pm

TheReducer wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 6:47 pm
I didn't see this option mentioned in this thread yet.
Somebody posted instructions on YouTube to get free EPG data from zap2it into WMC:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CknzzB8ViMI

This isn't the best instructional video, but does give a decent overview of how to get this setup. I wrote my batch files differently, but the basic idea is the same.

It is similar to the method mentioned earlier in this thread, but uses the xmltv2mxf utility instead of xml2mxf (with tonywagner's mods above).
I've tried with both methods and got both working in Win7 and Win10(WMCv13). Neither is perfect:

xml2mxf *appears* to do a better job with series, but has no guide images and no categories and thus the movie guide is totally empty.
xmltv2mxf doesn't always identify a show as part of a series, but does have guide images for many shows and the movie guide works.
I'm no expert on the mxf file format that WMC expects, but this option does appear to produce a better, more complete mxf file than the first option.

I think I'm going to try xmltv2mxf for a while, as I really like the movie guide, colour coding in the grid of guide categories and guide images. But, having to manually setup recordings for some series is going to be annoying.

I just thought this discussion should include all methods of free EPG and maybe some collaboration will help to make one of these methods more or less fully functional.
OK, looks like the link, below, just points to an older version of the same program. So never mind.

I have had very little time to investigate this so if you know the answers, would appreciate.

For xml2mxf running w/Java jar command (windows) I need to set 8 bit switch. Same with xmltv2mxf? Any other switches (input, output, etc).

Thanks much!

There appear to be multiple versions of xmltv2mxf. Have you checked if any of them resolve the shortcomings without other issues? I will test as I get a chance. Also, are the switches the same as xml2mxf?

https://www.softpaz.com/software/downlo ... -30305.htm

Thanks

Green Lantern

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#60

Post by Green Lantern » Sun Feb 09, 2020 6:56 pm

prsa01 wrote:
Sat Feb 08, 2020 3:38 pm
TheReducer wrote:
Fri Feb 07, 2020 6:47 pm
I didn't see this option mentioned in this thread yet.
Somebody posted instructions on YouTube to get free EPG data from zap2it into WMC:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CknzzB8ViMI

This isn't the best instructional video, but does give a decent overview of how to get this setup. I wrote my batch files differently, but the basic idea is the same.

It is similar to the method mentioned earlier in this thread, but uses the xmltv2mxf utility instead of xml2mxf (with tonywagner's mods above).
I've tried with both methods and got both working in Win7 and Win10(WMCv13). Neither is perfect:

xml2mxf *appears* to do a better job with series, but has no guide images and no categories and thus the movie guide is totally empty.
xmltv2mxf doesn't always identify a show as part of a series, but does have guide images for many shows and the movie guide works.
I'm no expert on the mxf file format that WMC expects, but this option does appear to produce a better, more complete mxf file than the first option.

I think I'm going to try xmltv2mxf for a while, as I really like the movie guide, colour coding in the grid of guide categories and guide images. But, having to manually setup recordings for some series is going to be annoying.

I just thought this discussion should include all methods of free EPG and maybe some collaboration will help to make one of these methods more or less fully functional.
OK, looks like the link, below, just points to an older version of the same program. So never mind.

I have had very little time to investigate this so if you know the answers, would appreciate.

For xml2mxf running w/Java jar command (windows) I need to set 8 bit switch. Same with xmltv2mxf? Any other switches (input, output, etc).

Thanks much!

There appear to be multiple versions of xmltv2mxf. Have you checked if any of them resolve the shortcomings without other issues? I will test as I get a chance. Also, are the switches the same as xml2mxf?

https://www.softpaz.com/software/downlo ... -30305.htm

Thanks
Just to make sure there's no confusion, since the names are very similar, have either of you been to:

https://github.com/raydouglass/xmltv-to-mxf

and contacted its developer, Ray Douglass? His email is at the bottom of the page above and he does respond. You could bring the differences mentioned above to his attention and he could perhaps improve his code to provide a best-of-both-worlds solution. If you do pursue this, please post back here to let others know.

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