Windows Media Center TV Guide Data Fix [WMC OTA EPG]

Discussion in 'Windows Guides' started by InsaneNutter, Nov 12, 2017.

  1. InsaneNutter

    InsaneNutter Resident Nutter Staff Member

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    For those of you who are still using Windows Media Center having no TV Guide might be a familiar site. Microsoft's guide data has become increasingly unreliable over the last couple of years, to the point where we're now going several months without any TV Guide data at all here in the UK.

    I'm not sure how this compares to other regions, however from what I can find online people around the world seem to have incomplete guide data, to no guide data at all.

    I do feel this is ashame, despite Microsoft not developing Media Center since the Windows 7 days I still find it to be the most user friendly PVR out there.

    This was the guide on our Family Media Center for the last couple of weeks:

    media-center-microsoft-guide-data.jpg

    However if you follow this tutorial then you should end up with guide data sourced over the air in media center:

    media-center-freeview-guide-data.jpg

    What I have done is source the data over the air using EPG Collector.

    EPG Collector is a Windows application for collecting the EPG data from DVB or ATSC streams in EIT, MHEG5, OpenTV, MediaHighway, FreeSat and PSIP formats, then creating an XMLTV file. It can also import the data to 7MC, DVBViewer or Windows Media Center.

    To get started download and install EPG Collector, at the time of writing 4.3 is the latest version. I'd recommend you download the Windows Installer version as I had issues with the standalone package.

    Once installed, load up EPG Centre and select File > Create Collection Parameters:

    media-center-epg-collector-1.jpg

    Here I selected "Custom Parameters" as none of the options below applied to UK Freeview, however depending on where you are in the world and your setup, you might well have a good starting point:

    media-center-epg-collector-2.jpg

    Now select your country and the area, the area is where your local TV Transmitter is located. If you don't know this you will have to do some research on Google and find out. The correct Frequency and Collection type should be determined automatically.

    You can then specify which TV tuner you wish to use for guide data scanning, i simply allow any available tuner to be used:

    media-center-epg-collector-3.jpg

    Now click update and you should be presented with the following, choose your country. I also had to choose "Use FreeSat Huffman tables to translate compressed text":

    media-center-epg-collector-4.jpg

    Press ok and move on to the Output tab:

    media-center-epg-collector-5.jpg

    Here i selected:
    • EPG Collector imports the data in to Windows Media Center
    • Dont log gaps between programmes
    • Automatically map EPG data to channels
    • Use programme title to generate links (for series and repeats)
    On the channels tab you can exclude certain channels from obtaining guide data, I only obtain guide data for channels we actually use:

    media-center-epg-collector-6.jpg

    On the advanced tab I changed "data collection" to 600 seconds, from 300. I found 300 did not give enough time to gather all the guide data, so I would have some listings for a channel, then no data for the next few hours.

    Changing to 600 seconds gave enough time for all the data for my selected channels to be gathered:

    media-center-epg-collector-7.jpg

    Now go File > Save as and save your settings, remember where you save them:

    media-center-epg-collector-8.jpg

    media-center-epg-collector-9.jpg

    We can automate the guide data collection process, however lets test your settings actually work first.

    Select Run > Collect EPG Data

    media-center-epg-collector-10.jpg

    Select "Yes"

    media-center-epg-collector-11.jpg

    You should then see a free tuner is found is guide data collection is started, this should take about 10 minutes:

    media-center-epg-collector-12.jpg

    Hopefully everything should go ok:

    media-center-epg-collector-13.jpg

    You can now load Windows Media Center up and hopefully see your guide populated with data:

    media-center-freeview-guide-data.jpg

    You might however need to map some of your collected data to channels manually,

    How To Map Guide Data To Channels on Windows Media Center:

    To map guide data to channel on Windows Media Center, first go to Settings:

    media-center-ota-dvb-t-t2-tv-guide-data-1.jpg

    TV:

    media-center-ota-dvb-t-t2-tv-guide-data-2.jpg

    Guide:

    media-center-ota-dvb-t-t2-tv-guide-data-3.jpg

    Edit Channels:

    media-center-ota-dvb-t-t2-tv-guide-data-4.jpg

    Click on the channel you wish to edit the data for:

    media-center-ota-dvb-t-t2-tv-guide-data-5.jpg

    Edit the listings:

    media-center-ota-dvb-t-t2-tv-guide-data-6.jpg

    Then choose the listings you wish to assign to that channel:

    media-center-ota-dvb-t-t2-tv-guide-data-7.jpg

    Once done be sure to save your settings before you edit out the settings for that particular channel.

    All been well you should have fixed all your Windows Media Center guide data issues now. However you can automate the gathering of data with a scheduled task, meaning you won't have to remember to load Epg Collector every couple of days to gather new guide data.

    Automating Guide Data Collecting With EPG Collector:

    Now you have confirmed everything is working, it's time to automate the gathering of guide data, so it happens on a daily basis without you having to remember to do it.

    The easiest way to do this is to create a batch file that we will run as a scheduled task.

    To do this open Notepad, you will find this in your Start Menu by searching for Notepad.

    In notepad type cd then the path to where EPG Collector was installed, for myself this was C:\Program Files (x86)\Geekzone\EPG Collector

    For the next line we want to load EPG Collector with our .ini file containing the settings we have just created (this is why I told you to remember where you saved them earlier) In this case my settings file was called EPG Freeview Collector.ini and was saved in C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Geekzone\EPG Collector\

    So the second line would look like:

    EPGCollector.exe /ini="C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Geekzone\EPG Collector\EPG Freeview Collector.ini"


    Giving the end result:
    Code:
    cd C:\Program Files (x86)\Geekzone\EPG Collector
    EPGCollector.exe /ini="C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Geekzone\EPG Collector\EPG Freeview Collector.ini"
    epg-collector-batch-service-1.jpg

    Now select File > Save As and save somewhere such as your documents folder.

    Please note I have selected the file type as "All Files" and called the file GuideUpdate.bat

    The .bat at the end is important as it will save your file as a batch file and not a text document.

    epg-collector-batch-service-2.jpg

    Next we want to open the Task Scheduler and schedule a date and time for our task (the batch script we have just created) to run. To do this search for Task Scheduler in your Start Menu and load that up.

    Click on the "Task Scheduler Library" and right click to "Create New Task":

    epg-collector-batch-service-3.jpg

    Name your new task and give it a description, you then want to select "Run whether the user is logged on our not" and "run with highest privileges"

    epg-collector-batch-service-4.jpg

    On the Triggers tab click "New"

    Here you can choose how often the task is run, I would suggest daily.

    Choose a start time, this is the time each day your guide data will run. Your Media Center PC will need to be turned on so I would suggest choosing a time when it will be on.

    You then want to tell the ask to recur every day.

    Finally I also select "Stop task if it runs longer than" and choose 1 hour, 1 hour is plenty of time to gather guide data for, however the task should end within 10 minutes if you chose the same settings as I did.

    epg-collector-batch-service-5.jpg

    Now click the "Actions" tab, the action you wish to choose is "Start a program"

    Simply browse to the location you saved your batch script and select that before clicking ok:

    epg-collector-batch-service-6.jpg

    Enter the password of the account that will be running this scheduled task, by default this is the password of the user account you are currently logged on as:

    epg-collector-batch-service-7.jpg

    That's it! your scheduled task will now be created and will update your guide data daily.

    epg-collector-batch-service-8.jpg

    I hope this guide is of help to anyone else who still wants to use Windows Media Center and have reliable guide data. This currently works perfect for me in the UK after a bit of trial and error with various settings. In theory you can now use Windows Media Center indefinitely with complete guide data.

    Unless the standards for broadcasting TV change Media Center should work pretty well for many years to come regardless, so I feel no need to switch until their is actually a better alternative. I have a feeling this will likely be Plex in the future, however the live TV and recording functionality is still in it's infancy.

    This guide was created on Windows 7, however should also work on Windows 8.1.
     

    Attached Files:

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  2. DHaviator

    DHaviator Member

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    Hello,
    I have been a user of Windows Media centre for some years. I built my first machine in 2005 on XP and the current machine is operating on W7. I like most of the UK am suffering from at best intermittent terrestrial HD guide data. I still have SD channel guide information, which I suspect is being taken from off air. I like InsaneNutter's guide to using EPG collector and would like to give it a try. I have question about implementing. Do I have to 'turn off' Windows guide data before following the EPG installation guide or will it 'live' along side the MS guide?
    Regards
    DHaviator
     
  3. InsaneNutter

    InsaneNutter Resident Nutter Staff Member

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    @DHaviator You don't need to turn it off, they co-exist fine. EPG Collector imports the data in to the existing WMC guide.

    To answer your private message here as it's easier to discuss in one place, yes this still works fine for me. The only thing I have noticed is that sometimes guide data will be missing randomly for a couple of hours on a certain channel, then be perfect for the next few days. This doesn't happen often but is something i've occasionally noticed.

    I suspect this could be resolved by allowing for guide data to be gathered for a longer duration than 600 seconds, however 600 seconds is usually fine in my experience the minority of the time.

    Over all the end result has been great, my guide data has updated OTA each day with the scheduled task for the last 3+ months now, everything has been like it was before the Microsoft guide data became so unreliable.

    I can't really ask for anything more from a free solution.
     
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  4. DHaviator

    DHaviator Member

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    Hi InsaneNutter,
    Thanks for your reply. I have tried to find information from MS on if they plan to support the guide, with absolutely no success, so your article gives me some hope that I can continue with it for a little longer. A PVR without data on all channels is pretty useless.
    That said I still think that Media Centre was a big step forward and its just a shame MS no longer support it.
    I will give your guide a try and post back.
     
  5. InsaneNutter

    InsaneNutter Resident Nutter Staff Member

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    Windows 7 extended support ends January 14, 2020 so i'd suspect guide data would be offered until then, however who knows given how unreliable it currently is now.

    Windows 8.1 is supported until 2023 which also has an edition with Media Center, so it might well be until then.

    Either way it's possible to obtain your own guide data with some effort for the initial setup, so in theory you could use Media Center indefinitely, or at least until the broadcast standards change again. However given how long it took for analogue TV to be switch off I don't see that happening anytime soon.

    By then other applications with DRV functionality might have caught up to Media Center, I do like the look of Plex although the PVR support is only in beta and by far its weakest function at the moment. Kodi is also "ok" however neither of them are anywhere near as polished Media Center, which hasn't been updated since 2009! Just goes to show how far ahead Microsoft were with it.
     
  6. DHaviator

    DHaviator Member

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    I think MS are probably embarrassed by their failure to maintain the guide for all areas. There must be something wrong with the Data source, BDS for the UK and MS servers, but I think only MS know the answer to that.
    I have installed EPG Collector on my system, with only one issue, I didn't have the MS Visual C++ package on my machine, so received a error unable to load DLL 'PSI MemoryShare.dll but that was soon corrected by down loading from MS..
    The difference I have found is that unlike your screen shot, I cannot exclude channels. There is no 'tick box' which results in me gathering far too much data and having a few duplicate channels when transferred into MC guide.
    Cannot see why this is, the 'clear',' include all' and 'exclude buttons all work. I have taken a screen shot to illustrate what I am seeing.
    Just search the web and found out that the solution to this is to disable 'visual themes' on computability tab of short cut properties!
     

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  7. InsaneNutter

    InsaneNutter Resident Nutter Staff Member

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    Glad you managed to resole that issue! Do let me know how you get on as it would be interesting to hear how your experience goes.
     
  8. DHaviator

    DHaviator Member

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    I have followed your instructions and apart from the two small configuration issues, my system now has a fully populated guide, for the first time in many months!!! I did have an issue with HD channels the day after setting up a scheduled task to run EPG Collector, but that was most probably due to Sutton Coldfield transmitter problems. I am approximately 800m from the base of this mast and would you believe I have HD channel signal quality issues!! I do, and it has been something that occurs very randomly. I need to spend more time on resolving the matter and will, now MC is back to full functionality. I can only add one suggestion to InsaneNutter's instructions and that is, when setting up the scheduled task, use the 'Conditions button' and select 'Wake computer to run this task'. My system 'suspends to RAM' S3 sleep state, which works for me and if your computer is similarly set up, the task can 'Wake' the computer to run it.
    I would recommend EPG Collector solution to anyone with MC who wants to enjoy an excellent PVR for a bit longer. One small thing that doesn't bother me, is that although all channel search/record functions work, as before, I have lost Movie 'covers' . I suspect these must have been supplied via the internet.
     
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  9. mediacenterman

    mediacenterman New Member

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    This is outstanding work. I have tried to get this to work via the windows installer, but ran into problems and I think my windows 7 machine may not be able to run this. Not sure if I have the patience to go through all of the steps again. But I just wanted to commend you for putting this together. Incidentally, this message appeared on my screen

    img1.jpg

    Also, for some reason the update button does not show on my version.

    I may try again. For anyone else who is struggling, please post here and maybe we can help each other

    img2.jpg
     
  10. InsaneNutter

    InsaneNutter Resident Nutter Staff Member

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    DHaviator said he fixed that issue:

    "Just search the web and found out that the solution to this is to disable 'visual themes' on computability tab of short cut properties!"

    As for the JIT error can you just continue?
     
  11. mediacenterman

    mediacenterman New Member

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    @InsaneNutter I will give it a try. My approach to all technical issues is always PEBKAC in the first instance when I am trouble shooting so I am buoyed by the fact that the software does work and will figure it out. Thanks for responding, mate


    EDIT: As I thought, this was a PEBKAC issue conflated with pesky Norton. It only blocks the legit software lol.

    I am now making good progress and will resume the process tomorrow and follow your excellent instructions!
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2018
  12. mediacenterman

    mediacenterman New Member

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    Working! Thanks a million! Long live WMC

    53bf08761637373.jpg
     
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  13. InsaneNutter

    InsaneNutter Resident Nutter Staff Member

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    Glad you got it working, enjoy having guide data once again!
     
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  14. hugomonks

    hugomonks New Member

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    Hi guys. I'm just wondering how much guide data you are getting using this method... I'm using another epg grabber and it's only giving me 6 to 7 days. I'm wondering whether I should put in the time and move over to this method?

    cheers, Hugo
     
  15. InsaneNutter

    InsaneNutter Resident Nutter Staff Member

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    I seem to get around a weeks worth of data on most channels. If you have another setup that's working which is free then it's probably little benefit you switching.
     
  16. DHaviator

    DHaviator Member

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  17. InsaneNutter

    InsaneNutter Resident Nutter Staff Member

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    Not had the issue myself yet, however its great to know its been patched.
     
  18. DHaviator

    DHaviator Member

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    Hi InsaneNutter
    I was running fix pack 10, which may be the difference, but this version 11, will no doubt be rolled out as a general update. Steve Bickell is doing a remarkable job supporting this software!!

    I enable movie metadata some weeks ago (thinks - I wonder if that has anything to do with it!) Anyway its happily 'collecting' again.

    DHaviator
     
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  19. Leethal77

    Leethal77 New Member

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    Hi, hoping someone may be able to help. Managed to get this up and running (Perth, Aus), but when ever I search for a show to record, always comes up blank. If I switch back to the OTA guide, searches fine. OTA still has significant "no data available" so really keen to get this working. Appreciate any help...ta.
     
  20. InsaneNutter

    InsaneNutter Resident Nutter Staff Member

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    Have you tried manually mapping the EPG Collector data to each channel? and if so does any data show up in the guide?
     

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