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

Discussion in 'Windows Guides' started by InsaneNutter, Nov 12, 2017 at 5:40 PM.

  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.
     

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    Nimrod likes this.

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