Best XMLTV Grabber for North America? (United States)

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hairlesshobo
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Location: Jacksonville, FL, USA
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Best XMLTV Grabber for North America? (United States)

Post by hairlesshobo » Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:52 pm

I asked this question over at the MediaPortal forums but haven't gotten much response, so hopefully I will get a little more here.

Since EPG doesn't appear to work in the US, I am Currently using mc2xml to create my XMLTV file using the Microsoft Legacy service. I have found that this works, but doesn't seem to be very "spiffy." I am not getting any data about whether an episode is "new" or "rerun", I don't get episode or season numbers, no "original air date", and in general it seems to be pretty limited. I have seen XMLTVDB which is supposed to enrich existing guide data, and I also know that there is the new Microsoft service using the paid version of mc2xml, schedules direct, and a handful of others. Some are paid subscriptions, some are one time payment, and some are free. I don't just want to start buying other solutions without first knowing if it is going to provide the experience that I am looking for.

A good example: I love the data that is given on BeyondTV's guide. I am BeyondTV subscriber, but I haven't found any way to create xmltv files from BeyondTV's service. Since this seems to be a lost cause (at least I couldn't find anything), I want another solution.

I am wondering what other North America users are using.

-Steve

planetix
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Re: Best XMLTV Grabber for North America? (United States)

Post by planetix » Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:59 am

I've used Schedules Direct for three years running now. It's about $20 a year (may have gone up to $25) but in addition to being extremely reliable gives the best guide data I've ever seen. I've had very little trouble using GuideEnricher to add in the season/episode data so MediaPortal's TV Series can scrape it.

I've recently switched away from MediaPortal to using XBMC PVR with Fred's ARGUS TV addon (check the xbmc client forum here). With that I am trying out "For the Listing" which is an addon an XBMC user wrote/is developing that does the same thing as GuideEnricher, only better.

In either case I still use SD as my guide source - if there is a better one for North America that can be used with a variety of systems, I'm not aware of it.

Also, ARGUS TV's GuideImporter tool directly supports it. You can set it to run as a scheduled task once a night and pretty much forget about it, I've never had it fail outside of beta testing.

hairlesshobo
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Re: Best XMLTV Grabber for North America? (United States)

Post by hairlesshobo » Thu Apr 05, 2012 3:01 am

That seems to be the general idea that I have been getting.. That schedules direct is next to nothing. I think I'm gonna give it a shot.

Thanks!

-Steve

corporate_gadfly
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Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Best XMLTV Grabber for North America? (United States)

Post by corporate_gadfly » Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:14 am

My SchedulesDirect subscription was coming up for renewal, so I started looking for alternatives. I am currently using WebGrab+Plus with tvguide.com as the source. Happy with it so far.

I also have GuideEnricher link to incompatible software removed

cheechf16
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Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 3:01 am

EZ custom channel listings via TVguide.com

Post by cheechf16 » Tue May 29, 2012 3:18 am

Hi all, I just started using WebGrab+Plus also, and found a little trick for creating a localized EPG listing via TV Guide.

Background: I'm very new to ARGUS TV and WG+, just getting my installation up and running. I will only be tuning over-the-air channels via ATSC tuner, and wanted to use tvguide.com to provide EPG data. The WebGrab+Plus default files for TVguide.com are very "generic" and include a lot of channels I don't have, and are missing some of my local channels. After some tinkering, I found the tvguide.com.howtoaddprovider.txt file, which walks you through creating a custom channel list. This got most of what I was looking for, but still some things were missing. So, here's how to get the exact channel lineup for your location (YMMV!)

1. Go to tvguide.com, select "what's on TV" drop-down, then hit "TV listings". If you have visited this site before, then your location/provider will be shown at the top of the TV grid. If not, it will say something like "Eastern - National Listings".

2. In either case, hit the link below that line that says "change location/providor"

3. Enter your zip code, then select Cable, Satellite, or Antenna.

4. When the website returns with your provider listings, RIGHT click the one you want and hit "Copy shortcut".

5. Paste this link somewhere (Word, Notepad, etc) and look for the "ServiceID=XXXXX" tag. The XXXXX is what you will need for WebGrab+Plus. (example: my link came back as http://www.tvguide.com/listings/setup/localizedone.ashx?ServiceID=20510.268435456&Zip=32503&provider=Mobile-Pensacola%20Area%20Broadcast%20%28Mbl-Pnscla%20%28Ft%20Walt%29%29&RedirectUrl=/Listings/&cb=1338253853229... The 20510 is the "srvid" string that I will use.

6. Follow the rest of the instructions in tvguide.com.howtoaddprovider.txt to create your channel list, using the srvid you got from the tvguide.com link. Works like a champ! Be sure to rename your ini file to something useful... mine was "tvguide.com.pensacolaOTA.ini"

Enjoy!

Cheech

Wooderson
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Re: Best XMLTV Grabber for North America? (United States)

Post by Wooderson » Sun Jun 03, 2012 5:12 am

Just signed up for this forum so I could post a "thank you" to cheechf16 for that tip. I've got a lot of hours into reading and setting things up to try to make the jump from Windows Media Center. I'm certain this saved me a bunch of time.

Looks like I now have the XMLTV and everything else working properly in ARGUS TV. Now I move on to integrating with XBMC.

Thanks

cheechf16
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue May 29, 2012 3:01 am

Re: Best XMLTV Grabber for North America? (United States)

Post by cheechf16 » Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:40 pm

No problem Wooderson, glad it helped. As you can see, that was my 1st post, I signed up just to post it and save other people lots of time.

Funny to read that you are switching from WMC to ARGUS TV... I've had such a hard time getting XBMC + ARGUS TV to work right, I'm actually contemplating switching to WMC. Just bought a HDHomeRun which should all but remove the server from the equation (except for storage, of course). It's too bad too, cause I really like XBMC! I've been using it off-and-on since about 2002, back in the day when you had to hack the original XBox just to get it installed. Things have come a long way since then, but it's too bad that PVR/DVR functionality has such a long way to go.

On the other hand, it would be really nice if MS had decided to implement more WMC functions into Win Home Server, like the ability to use it as a tuner farm / live TV server.

NeWtoz
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Re: Best XMLTV Grabber for North America? (United States)

Post by NeWtoz » Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:37 am

I use the "DonationWare" copy of mc2xml and I just did a comparison between that one and the free one and didn't see much difference. In both cases though, I did get episode numbers, whether they were repeats or not (in the Upcoming Programs section, not in EPG), and a few other things, but not all.

If someone could take a screenshot of their EPG screen or something so we can all compare the differences that would be nice. Since mc2xml is all I've ever used, I'm not sure if I'm missing out on anything.

corporate_gadfly
Posts: 34
Joined: Fri May 13, 2011 3:48 am
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Best XMLTV Grabber for North America? (United States)

Post by corporate_gadfly » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:22 pm

NeWtoz wrote:I use the "DonationWare" copy of mc2xml and I just did a comparison between that one and the free one and didn't see much difference. In both cases though, I did get episode numbers, whether they were repeats or not (in the Upcoming Programs section, not in EPG), and a few other things, but not all.

If someone could take a screenshot of their EPG screen or something so we can all compare the differences that would be nice. Since mc2xml is all I've ever used, I'm not sure if I'm missing out on anything.
Here's a screenshot from For The Record Management Console 1.7.0.0 with WebGrab++Plus using tvguide.com as the source for OTA.
Image

facted
Posts: 44
Joined: Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:30 pm

Re: Best XMLTV Grabber for North America? (United States)

Post by facted » Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:46 pm

NeWtoz wrote:I use the "DonationWare" copy of mc2xml and I just did a comparison between that one and the free one and didn't see much difference. In both cases though, I did get episode numbers, whether they were repeats or not (in the Upcoming Programs section, not in EPG), and a few other things, but not all.

If someone could take a screenshot of their EPG screen or something so we can all compare the differences that would be nice. Since mc2xml is all I've ever used, I'm not sure if I'm missing out on anything.
Mc2xml does bring in episode numbers, but in the format (301) where 3=season and 01=episode. Argus does not seem to know how to interpret this in terms of episode numbering. Luckily, Guide Enhancer does and is able to convert the 301 --> S03E01 so that argus knows what do with it. I found mc2xml + Guide Enhancer to be the easiest/best combo for north america OTA.

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