Import guide data into WMC without additional cost

Global guide related discussion. All Windows versions.
TheReducer

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Re: Import guide data into WMC without additional cost

#61

Post by TheReducer » Mon Feb 10, 2020 5:12 am

Green Lantern wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 6:56 pm
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.
Yes, that github link is what I referred to as xml2mxf, which tonywagner's code was based on.
The code in https://github.com/raydouglass/xmltv-to-mxf does not work with channel numbers that contain periods. tonywagner fixed this and posted a link to his fixed code on page 5 of this thread.
tony also supplied an additional parameter that is required to run the code on a Windows machine instead of Linux.
I think it would be ideal if tony uploaded his source code to that github page so it can be included in the project. It's an essential improvement as the original command just fails on a Windows machine with an error like this: "No acceptable channel number found for..."

I so far prefer the xmltv2mxf method, for which I linked the YouTube video above. I believe that method gets us closer to a good quality guide, although still with some problems.
Here's the command I'm using for that, along with some additional batch stuff:

REM convert xml guide data to mxf format (WMC format)
cd "\Recorded TV\xmltv\xmltv2mxf_jan_2013\XMLTV2MXF"
XMLTV2MXF.exe /i xmltv.xml /o ..\guideZap2It.mxf /s Scripts\XMLTVNZ\Zap2It.xml

The YouTube video does a decent job explaining how to set this up, but uses absolute paths for everything, which gets tedious and annoying. Fortunately, we don't have to write our batch commands the same.

TheReducer

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#62

Post by TheReducer » Mon Feb 10, 2020 5:15 am

Sorry, tony Wagner posted that fix in page 5 of this thread:
Microsoft ending EPG for WMC in January.

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garyan2

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#63

Post by garyan2 » Mon Feb 10, 2020 6:15 am

So, it turns out the developer of EPG Collector has made some changes to his XMLTV to MXF processes and has addressed my biggest concern about scrambling guide listings if any thing in the XMLTV file channels changed. So in terms of this "free" effort, I would rank EPGC as the best option. So my original assessment needs an update.

My ranking:
1. EPG Collector - actively supported by responsive developer.
2. xmltv-to-mxf by Ray Douglass - source code available so improvements can be made.

I wouldn't touch the one in the youtube video. I looked at it when it came up end of December. It has the same fatal flaw that EPG Collector had.

Setting up EPGC can be a challenge, but it will get you there with some limitations.
- Gary
Keeping WMC alive beyond January 2020. http://epg123.garyan2.net

Green Lantern

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#64

Post by Green Lantern » Mon Feb 10, 2020 1:27 pm

TheReducer wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 5:12 am
Green Lantern wrote:
Sun Feb 09, 2020 6:56 pm
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.
Yes, that github link is what I referred to as xml2mxf, which tonywagner's code was based on.
The code in https://github.com/raydouglass/xmltv-to-mxf does not work with channel numbers that contain periods. tonywagner fixed this and posted a link to his fixed code on page 5 of this thread.
tony also supplied an additional parameter that is required to run the code on a Windows machine instead of Linux.
I think it would be ideal if tony uploaded his source code to that github page so it can be included in the project. It's an essential improvement as the original command just fails on a Windows machine with an error like this: "No acceptable channel number found for..."

I so far prefer the xmltv2mxf method, for which I linked the YouTube video above. I believe that method gets us closer to a good quality guide, although still with some problems.
Here's the command I'm using for that, along with some additional batch stuff:

REM convert xml guide data to mxf format (WMC format)
cd "\Recorded TV\xmltv\xmltv2mxf_jan_2013\XMLTV2MXF"
XMLTV2MXF.exe /i xmltv.xml /o ..\guideZap2It.mxf /s Scripts\XMLTVNZ\Zap2It.xml

The YouTube video does a decent job explaining how to set this up, but uses absolute paths for everything, which gets tedious and annoying. Fortunately, we don't have to write our batch commands the same.
Yeah, I thought that's what you were referring to but you were calling it xml2mxf rather than its actual name of xmlTV-to-mxf... which is why I wanted to make sure everyone understood which one was being talked about. Anyway, Ray Douglass, the developer of xmltv-to-mxf, has subsequently released version 0.0.3. The prior 0.0.2 version included Tony's period subchannels fix and now 0.0.3 includes:

Fixes zero indexing of seasons and episodes
Logging is now optional
Repeats only marked if previously-shown has a date

Therefore, I thought it was probably getting really close to being a best-of-all-worlds solution. And since Ray provides his email address and responds to input for improvements, if there are any small issues remaining to make it perfect, I thought you (or anyone else) might want to work with him to see if he will implement them.

TheReducer

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#65

Post by TheReducer » Mon Feb 10, 2020 4:57 pm

I am on a work trip all week, so won’t be able to experiment until the weekend. But, I will look at xmltv-to-mxf v0.0.3 when I’m back as you suggest. I’d really like to get categories implemented in it and get the movie guide working.
I’ll be glad to contribute what I can.

Green Lantern

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#66

Post by Green Lantern » Tue Feb 18, 2020 12:41 am

TheReducer wrote:
Mon Feb 10, 2020 4:57 pm
I am on a work trip all week, so won’t be able to experiment until the weekend. But, I will look at xmltv-to-mxf v0.0.3 when I’m back as you suggest. I’d really like to get categories implemented in it and get the movie guide working.
I’ll be glad to contribute what I can.
Please let us know of any updates/improvements that come to pass as a result of your input. Thanks!

jeneral

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#67

Post by jeneral » Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:26 pm

Green Lantern wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 12:41 am
Please let us know of any updates/improvements that come to pass as a result of your input. Thanks!
Personally, he should save his time. With the improvements the EPGC author is making it makes little sense to reinvent the wheel.

I tried EPGC the other day. It was a little tricky to configure at first as importing an XML was not its original design. Once I cleared the initial hurdle, the XML imported almost perfectly. I had an issue and posted a question in the forum. After a few exchanges, the author posted a custom build that resolved the issue within a few days of my original post. Considering how far along EPGC is, someone would have to spend a lot of time to get xmltv-to-xmf to the same level.

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#68

Post by jeneral » Wed Feb 19, 2020 12:43 am

Don't take my post the wrong way. I come to this forum to receive and give support. I'm glad it works for your requirements but the current version of xmltv-to-xmf is missing a lot of features: No Callsigns, No categories, No program logos, Local news can"t record series, etc... If someone wants to spend their time implementing all these features, more power to them. I was just trying to share that there currently exists a better alternative.

If it weren't for Gary's post in this thread where he ranks the free apps, I wouldn't have considered EPGC. I had tried all the other options and all had caveats. EPGC isn't that difficult to configure, the problem is too many of the extra tabs don't apply to WMC and can seem overwhelming at first. I followed an old PDF someone posted in the EPGC forums and realized only the Output (WMC Output section) and Imports tab were needed for an xmltv file (point to XML, choose settings, add). If you or anyone wants some help setting it up, I will try my best to help.

TheReducer

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#69

Post by TheReducer » Wed Feb 19, 2020 4:52 pm

jeneral wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 12:43 am
Don't take my post the wrong way. I come to this forum to receive and give support. I'm glad it works for your requirements but the current version of xmltv-to-xmf is missing a lot of features: No Callsigns, No categories, No program logos, Local news can"t record series, etc... If someone wants to spend their time implementing all these features, more power to them. I was just trying to share that there currently exists a better alternative.

If it weren't for Gary's post in this thread where he ranks the free apps, I wouldn't have considered EPGC. I had tried all the other options and all had caveats. EPGC isn't that difficult to configure, the problem is too many of the extra tabs don't apply to WMC and can seem overwhelming at first. I followed an old PDF someone posted in the EPGC forums and realized only the Output (WMC Output section) and Imports tab were needed for an xmltv file (point to XML, choose settings, add). If you or anyone wants some help setting it up, I will try my best to help.
No offense taken. I 100% agree that the xmltv-to-mxf is missing all of the features you listed. That's why I stopped using it and am currently experimenting with the YouTube alternative I mentioned above - despite perfectly valid cautions from some... :D
I had discounted EPGC so far, as I didn't want to use guide data from the ATSC stream. My experience with ATSC guide data on the OTA channels I use has been that there's only a few days of data. With zap2it I can get more than 2 weeks of guide data - a few days wouldn't satisfy me.
How many days of guide data are you getting with EPGC? I'm glad it is working well for you.

The other drawback with EPGC is that by design, it only works for OTA signals. For people using Windows Media Center with a cable signal, EPGC will not work for them - right?
The zap2it source file has all the data in it that we need. The problems are just in the conversion of that data to a properly formatted mxf file that Windows Media Center can import.
I may give EPGC a try as well, just so I'm making a more informed choice than I have so far. But, even if it works for me, it leaves all those WMC cable users without a free program guide option. Yes, they could just pay for Schedules Direct and use that with EPG123, but that's not the point of this thread. ;)
It just seems that we're tantalizingly close to a great solution using zap2it as source. It just takes a bit of programming work. If we managed to figure it out, I'd feel good about being a small part of conquering that challenge. And hey, some people find programming to be fun! The most tedious part of the project is deciphering the mxf format that Windows Media Center requires. I've found Microsoft's documentation (https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/previo ... 3Dmsdn.10)) to appear complete, but when you try to actually use it, it seems they left out some critical details - particularly for getting the missing features you identified to work.

This is actually another excellent reason for me to try out EPGC - to generate an mxf file that is in the proper format and has all these features working. We can learn a lot from examining the structure of that mxf file.

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#70

Post by TheReducer » Wed Feb 19, 2020 5:05 pm

jeneral wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 4:26 pm
Green Lantern wrote:
Tue Feb 18, 2020 12:41 am
Please let us know of any updates/improvements that come to pass as a result of your input. Thanks!
Personally, he should save his time. With the improvements the EPGC author is making it makes little sense to reinvent the wheel.

I tried EPGC the other day. It was a little tricky to configure at first as importing an XML was not its original design. Once I cleared the initial hurdle, the XML imported almost perfectly. I had an issue and posted a question in the forum. After a few exchanges, the author posted a custom build that resolved the issue within a few days of my original post. Considering how far along EPGC is, someone would have to spend a lot of time to get xmltv-to-xmf to the same level.
You mention above importing an XML file. I was not aware that EPGC does this - I thought it only scraped EPG data from ATSC signals. Hmmm...I think I should check out EGPC.

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#71

Post by jeneral » Wed Feb 19, 2020 11:09 pm

TheReducer wrote:
Wed Feb 19, 2020 4:52 pm

How many days of guide data are you getting with EPGC? I'm glad it is working well for you.

I currently have my zap2xml guide pulling in 12 days. IIRC that was similar to what MS used to provide.

The other drawback with EPGC is that by design, it only works for OTA signals. For people using Windows Media Center with a cable signal, EPGC will not work for them - right?
EPGC will map any channel that is in your xml file. In my case I use a combination of OTA and Satellite. Since EPGC supports multiple xmls, I see no reason why you can't use OTA and Cable.

I see the program has a "Automatically Map EPG data to channels" option but I can't verify it works. I manually mapped my channels within WMC.

If you want to try EPGC, I would suggest you go to the EPG discussion forum and look at the 'WMC Import Issue' thread in the Help forum. The author hasn't publicly released it yet but that patch resolved a major issue with WMC and channel logos. I installed the patch after I installed the full version + fixpack 20.

TheReducer

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#72

Post by TheReducer » Sun Mar 08, 2020 9:36 pm

OK, I'm now using EPGC on one Media Center PC, and the YouTube method I mentioned above on my other Media Center PC.
Thanks for the help with EPGC and letting me know it can import guide data from a zap2xml file!

To get EPGC setup, I followed these steps:
Installed in this order (I tried to follow your advice above about the patch):
EPG Collector V040300 Install.msi
EPG Collector v4.3 Fixpak 20.zip
Unzip contents to EPG Collector install directory.
C:\Program Files (x86)\EPG Collector\
EPG Collector V040300 Install-WMC patched version.msi

To setup (I referred to this guide, but the steps below are what I ended up doing: https://sourceforge.net/p/epgcollector/ ... ap2xml.pdf):
File\Create Collection Parameters
Imports
Setup path to xmltv file
Language = English
Processing mode = Replace broadcast with ipmort
Format of the channel ID = Zap2it/Schedules Direct ATSC
Click Add
Output
Windows Media Centre Output = [checked]
Import name = EPGC
[uncheck] Automatically map EPG data to channels * fails if checked!
[check] Disable in-band guide loader
Series and Repeats = Not Used
* otherwise the repeat recordings in WMC won't work properly

Lookups
Movie Lookup = [checked]
Type of image to download = Poster
Minimum duration of a programme to be considered a movie (minutes) = 90
Maximum duration of a programme to be considered a movie (minutes) = 210
TV Series Lookup = Enabled [checked]
Type of image to download = Poster
Process every programme that is not a movie as a TV series = [not checked]

File\Save As...
Save EPG Collector.ini file so your settings are remembered.

To run manually:
Run\Collect EPG Data...
Choose the ini file saved above if prompted.

I then setup a scheduled task as shown here so I can run the update at night as it takes a long time even for my 6 channels of OTA TV:
https://sourceforge.net/p/epgcollector/ ... /9c67fd89/

In addition, my batch file downloads 15 days of zap2it guide data first for EPGC to use as source (replace <useraccount> and <password> below with your zap2it.com credentials):
REM Login to Zap2It.com and download guide data as per account settings.
REM http://zap2xml.awardspace.info/
REM -d <#>: number of days of data to download
REM -I: download program image URLs
REM -i <directory_name>: icon directory to download channel icons
zap2xml -u <useraccount> -p <password> -d 15 -I


I used EPG123 to set the channel logos:
To get logos to work for EPG123 I created logo *.png files with filenames that exactly matched each station's callsign and placed them in the folder where the program expected them:
C:\ProgramData\GaRyan2\epg123\logos


RESULTS:
========
Categories mostly work, but not for Kids programs.
Channel logos seem to survive guide updates so far.
Guide Images:
Most TV series and movies have images, but nothing else does.
Most images are good, but not all. Heartland (a Canadian Broadcasting Corp program) has an image for the wrong show.
It would be ideal if there was an option to just use the image URLs from the zap2it xmltv file! That file seems to have good guide image URLs in it.
Movie Guide works, some movies are missing images (mostly French language films), but most have a good movie poster as image.
The Search feature when setting up a new recording so far does not work at all. Maybe I just have to wait even longer for the guide listings to be indexed? This is the most serious problem right now, as I often use this.

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garyan2

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#73

Post by garyan2 » Mon Mar 09, 2020 12:55 am

TheReducer wrote:
Sun Mar 08, 2020 9:36 pm
It would be ideal if there was an option to just use the image URLs from the zap2it xmltv file! That file seems to have good guide image URLs in it.
They won't work in WMC. The image links from Zap2it are using TLS1.2 and WMC can't handle it. When I was working on the ZAP2MXF program, the only way to use those images would be to download each and cache locally. Definitely not ideal.
- Gary
Keeping WMC alive beyond January 2020. http://epg123.garyan2.net

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#74

Post by TheReducer » Mon Mar 09, 2020 4:04 am

Is it possible that some of the image URLs are using TLS1.2 and some are not? I only ask because the Frankenstein YouTube guide uses these URLs and quite a few (not nearly all) do work fine. I was wondering why some worked and some did not.

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garyan2

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#75

Post by garyan2 » Tue Mar 10, 2020 1:54 am

I never saw any evidence that some of the image links to zap2it would work. All the links were going to the same place and I never saw any images in the guide unless I cached them locally.

I guess it could still be possible though... I was only using my local OTA lineup with limited stations.
- Gary
Keeping WMC alive beyond January 2020. http://epg123.garyan2.net

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#76

Post by TheReducer » Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:30 am

Maybe the images that seem to work for me are ones that somehow were cached locally earlier and aren't from zap2it at all?
I'm starting to lean towards switching to EPGC for both of my machines, if only I can get the guide search feature working.
Today, I tried adding this to the end of my scheduled batch file, in case EPGC isn't already issuing that command:
%SystemRoot%\ehome\ehPrivJob.exe /DoReindexSearchRoot

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garyan2

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#77

Post by garyan2 » Wed Mar 11, 2020 4:25 am

If you are using Win10, make sure your indexing is enabled. Open (search) "Indexing Options"... make sure it is enabled and WMC is included.

For your task, you will want to include the pvr indexing as well.
- Gary
Keeping WMC alive beyond January 2020. http://epg123.garyan2.net

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#78

Post by TheReducer » Fri Mar 13, 2020 4:25 am

Thanks, Gary!
The list of locations was blank when I first opened Windows' Indexing Options window - maybe it was just VERY slow to load.
I clicked Advanced and then Rebuild. Waiting for index to rebuild now.
After the index starting rebuilding, Windows Media Center was in the list of Windows Search locations along with a bunch of other stuff.

I added this command to the end of my scheduled script:
%SystemRoot%\ehome\mcupdate.exe -PvrSchedule
When I run it manually, it appears to finish instantly. This is on my Windows 10 machine.

Is that the one you mean by "pvr indexing"?

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#79

Post by garyan2 » Fri Mar 13, 2020 8:34 pm

Correct. If you don't have hundreds/thousands of recording requests, the indexing will be very quick. It is still necessary, though.
- Gary
Keeping WMC alive beyond January 2020. http://epg123.garyan2.net

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#80

Post by Scallica » Fri Mar 27, 2020 9:37 pm

Off-topic bickering removed.
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