Actor Lookup

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Re: Actor Lookup

Post#21 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:21 am

Nobody is refuting that the additional information provided when doing an actor search comes from a microsoft server. But answer me this, while you are typing an actors name, are you seeing any network traffic to microsoft, or anywhere else, to do the autocomplete of names that are not in your guide? Where do the names come from? An empty database results in an empty list of actors.

I think you're missing the point of some of our objections. The loss of ability to search an actors name for their filmography in no way breaks WMC or the guide. As far as the guide goes, or the DVR functionality goes, that capability means nothing. It is nice to have, and I enjoy looking through it myself, but yes someday that too will go away. It's already going as far as I can tell. It may be semantics, but what we are objecting to is the insistence that we are somehow still depending on Rovi for good guide data and DVR functionality. That's just not true.
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Post#22 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:47 am

I agree with the most all of your conclusions with this caveat, I've been seeing this behavior with actor lookups for some time, at least a year. What I have noticed is that an actor search will intermittently return nothing but if that actor is in a program in the guide, and I then click on that program and see the properties of it, and then click on that same actor, it will then pull up the data. So go figure. I was under the impression that EPG doesn't mess with that info, perhaps that assumption is wrong.

Either way, we're still dependent on Microsoft even though we;re using Schedules Direct. To me, that seems silly but I have no idea what's involved in a proper and complete divorce from MS. It would ne nice if they pulled a 'google' and open sourced it as they did with their SageTV aquisition.
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Post#23 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:01 am

garyan2 wrote:Nobody is refuting that the additional information provided when doing an actor search comes from a microsoft server. But answer me this, while you are typing an actors name, are you seeing any network traffic to microsoft, or anywhere else, to do the autocomplete of names that are not in your guide? Where do the names come from? An empty database results in an empty list of actors.

I think you're missing the point of some of our objections. The loss of ability to search an actors name for their filmography in no way breaks WMC or the guide. As far as the guide goes, or the DVR functionality goes, that capability means nothing. It is nice to have, and I enjoy looking through it myself, but yes someday that too will go away. It's already going as far as I can tell. It may be semantics, but what we are objecting to is the insistence that we are somehow still depending on Rovi for good guide data and DVR functionality. That's just not true.


I get what you're saying but I don't understand why it's hard for you to understand the value in a complete divorce from MS given their history with Media Center and providing data. Since we already are semi-divorced from MS, and paying for a different service, why not rid ourselves of MS entirely? By refusing to entertain the idea what you're really saying is that a semi-crippled Media Center is OK. To me, a viewpoint like that lends more questions to the future and whether Media Center should be counted on.

We've lost Netflix, I think we lost the Sports section, we've lost other things that I'm not aware of or don't use, it seems to me Media Center is being whittled down little by little and what should be foremost in everyone's mind is how to stop it and ideally stem the tide of Media Center's slow dismemberment. If your view is that it's OK for yet another limb to be cut off then it really makes me wonder about the future of Media Center, especially when we all know Microsoft's view is that it no longer exists :lol:

EPG 123 goes a long way to extending it's life. It makes it viable again. But if your viewpoint is that loosing yet another feature is OK this seems, to me, to be contrary to what EPG 123 offers, which is to prolong the life of the product. It reminds me of that Monty Python knight that looses his limbs. Pretty soon, there's not much left!

Maybe an easier question is, just how hard is it to shift Media Center over from using the questionable Microsoft service to querying only the SD dB ? It seeems to me that SD is the Holy Grail of data. It's what MC used initially and this begs the question, if so much work has been done to use the SD dB why is there stragglers that are still querying and dependent on, Microsoft?
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Post#24 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:09 am

marvin-miller wrote:I agree with the most all of your conclusions with this caveat, I've been seeing this behavior with actor lookups for some time, at least a year. What I have noticed is that an actor search will intermittently return nothing but if that actor is in a program in the guide, and I then click on that program and see the properties of it, and then click on that same actor, it will then pull up the data. So go figure. I was under the impression that EPG doesn't mess with that info, perhaps that assumption is wrong.

Yah, I've seen that behavior in the past as well. One thing I've learned in all this, and I'm still not sure if I'm okay with it, is when you look at a movie's details all the information you see is not necessarily all from the guide data. Movies are special in that when you look at the details, information is gathered from the microsoft/rovi servers to provide the full plot, review, similar movies, and actors with character names. What this means is all those actor names and character names that we get from SD/Gracenote is now not observable.

So to detail what you have seen here.

Actor search uses the character names from the database. When you pull up the movie details, the actors names get populated from the downloaded information and not from the database. Now when you click on the actor, the name used is what was downloaded. So it could simply be a slight different spelling, use of a middle initial ... something to make it different and work. This is probably why Daniel Craig is not working.
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Post#25 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:16 am

If you consider the actor guide/extended movie descriptions (I think those are the last two areas that depend on Microsoft, I could be wrong) essential to your WMC experience, then fine, losing that functionality would not be ideal. But personally, I could live without both.

If you're looking for a complete divorce from MS, block the guide/metadata servers in your hosts file and turn off automatic updates. You can do it right now and still have a very good program guide with what EPG123 already offers IMO.
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Post#26 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:26 am

I guess I feel we really are completely divorced from Microsoft with EPG123. Just in this divorce Microsoft kept the dog (Actor filmography lookup capability) :D
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Post#27 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:58 am

garyan2 wrote:
So to detail what you have seen here.

Actor search uses the character names from the database. When you pull up the movie details, the actors names get populated from the downloaded information and not from the database. Now when you click on the actor, the name used is what was downloaded. So it could simply be a slight different spelling, use of a middle initial ... something to make it different and work. This is probably why Daniel Craig is not working.


That's accurate but I wonder if it actually is something different. I've looked closely at the actors names in such a case and they were the same.
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Post#28 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:00 pm

Here's something that might interest everyone on this Actor Search - I searched for Daniel Craig (TV >> Search >> Actor) and only one movie appeared - Layer Cake. I then clicked into the movie and selected Cast + Crew then Daniel Craig. From there I have 39 movies now listed for Daniel Craig (Flashbacks of a Fool - 2008???) every movie in this list that I click on has "record in future" meaning it's not on the guide and will record it when it does appear.

Oddly enough - when I search for Jim Carrey (and a few other actors) - I get his only movie in the guide to appear for a brief second, then ALL Jim Carrey movies appear with the "record in future". Not sure why the search is biased against Daniel Craig.

I am running epg123 without any ROVI/
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Post#29 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:13 pm

dkrom wrote:Here's something that might interest everyone on this Actor Search - I searched for Daniel Craig (TV >> Search >> Actor) and only one movie appeared - Layer Cake. I then clicked into the movie and selected Cast + Crew then Daniel Craig. From there I have 39 movies now listed for Daniel Craig (Flashbacks of a Fool - 2008???) every movie in this list that I click on has "record in future" meaning it's not on the guide and will record it when it does appear.

Oddly enough - when I search for Jim Carrey (and a few other actors) - I get his only movie in the guide to appear for a brief second, then ALL Jim Carrey movies appear with the "record in future". Not sure why the search is biased against Daniel Craig.

I am running epg123 without any ROVI/


I see the very same thing all the time. It's been going on for more then a year now. Nice to have it confirmed as a universal problem though :D
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Post#30 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:46 pm

dkrom wrote:Here's something that might interest everyone on this Actor Search - I searched for Daniel Craig (TV >> Search >> Actor) and only one movie appeared - Layer Cake. I then clicked into the movie and selected Cast + Crew then Daniel Craig. From there I have 39 movies now listed for Daniel Craig (Flashbacks of a Fool - 2008???) every movie in this list that I click on has "record in future" meaning it's not on the guide and will record it when it does appear.

Oddly enough - when I search for Jim Carrey (and a few other actors) - I get his only movie in the guide to appear for a brief second, then ALL Jim Carrey movies appear with the "record in future". Not sure why the search is biased against Daniel Craig.

I am running epg123 without any ROVI/

When I do this with Rovi data, it shows the movies in the current guide, and if I then select his name from the cast list on any one of those movies, it still only lists the same in-guide movies.

As for your experience with "Jim Carrey", that is normal. WMC first shows you a list of all the movies currently in the guide that have that actor, then it does a query to the Microsoft DB and if it returns extended data, the results are immediately replaced with that data. So in the case of "Daniel Craig", there is no extended data returned, so it does not replace the initial results.

Back before Zap2it data was replace by Rovi, you could see the poster art for a movie in the guide be one image, and then when you selected that movie, it got extended data, and that image was changed to a completely different image. I am not sure if this happens with EPG123/Gracenote as well (I would assume so). It doesn't happen with Rovi data anymore because the year of the movie is not supplied, so the query to the Microsoft DB always fails (although if I look at old movies I recorded from back when it was using zap2it (and therefor has a year of release), it does change the poster art after I select the movie from the "movie library" for some of the movies.)
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Post#31 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:00 pm

garyan2 wrote:Actor lookup results will only be for actors in your current guide. Evidently you don't have any Daniel Craig movies on any channel in the next few weeks. When you select an actor that is in your guide, then it will show you first all the movies that actor is in that is also in the current guide. If you have the automatic download option for WMC enabled, it will then call out over the internet for more movies where you can select one for future recordings. This is all a function of WMC and not controlled by EPG123.

The interesting part is, in the old days that additional information would be from AMG (All Movies Guide), who changed their name to All Movies when they were bought out by none other than Rovi Corp. It believe that division is called something else now, but can't seem to find any reason to care. This functionality still works, and Rovi hasn't broken it or screwed it up too bad ... though the poster art is pretty bad.


Yup, I've had this same experience and it's a feature I find to be kinda useful.

If I'm watching a movie say by Hitchcock, I can go to Cast + Crew and then click on his name under "Director" and all of the other movies he's directed will show up and I can select them to record, or even record them in the future if they don't happen to be showing on any channels in the next few weeks.

Same thing works for actors.
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Post#32 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:14 pm

oakley516 wrote:
Yup, I've had this same experience and it's a feature I find to be kinda useful.

If I'm watching a movie say by Hitchcock, I can go to Cast + Crew and then click on his name under "Director" and all of the other movies he's directed will show up and I can select them to record, or even record them in the future if they don't happen to be showing on any channels in the next few weeks.

Same thing works for actors.


Agreed - it's an extremely useful feature :thumbup: Unfortunate that it's dependent on Microsoft :wave:
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Post#33 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:24 pm

marvin-miller wrote:Agreed - it's an extremely useful feature :thumbup: Unfortunate that it's dependent on Microsoft :wave:

:lol: I actually agree with this statement. That particular, very useful, feature is totally dependent on Microsoft. Similar results can be achieved by manually entering actor names or director names in a wish list for future recordings without Microsoft. :thumbup:
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Post#34 » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:29 pm

garyan2 wrote: :lol: I actually agree with this statement. That particular, very useful, feature is totally dependent on Microsoft. Similar results can be achieved by manually entering actor names or director names in a wish list for future recordings without Microsoft. :thumbup:


If only we could stamp out the Rovi disease in that area too we'd probably be totally free !! :clap: :thumbup: :wave:
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Post#35 » Fri Jul 14, 2017 1:37 am

stuartm wrote:I guess I feel we really are completely divorced from Microsoft with EPG123. Just in this divorce Microsoft kept the dog (Actor filmography lookup capability) :D


It would be nice to be completely free of Microsoft/Rovi. But loosing yet more functionality is really a lot like this;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmInkxbvlCs
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