Microsoft ending EPG for WMC in January

Global guide related discussion. All Windows versions.
User avatar
garyan2

Posts: 3837
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2015 7:23 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

Re: Microsoft ending EPG for WMC in January

#101

Post by garyan2 » Sun Nov 17, 2019 7:04 pm

Going to throw this out there right now.

If anyone has been following, I've created a program tentatively called "zap2mxf". The program will convert XMLTV to MXF for import into WMC. It is limited to XMLTV files based on Gracenote data and does not include logos or images for various reasons. I have tested it against zap2xml, mc2xml, xmltv project tv_grab_zz_sdjson, and epg123. I've yet to determine how I'm going to distribute it, but should have something established in 2-3 weeks. If anyone knows of any other XMLTV file generators based on Gracenote data, let me know please.

Along with that, I realized I have another method for getting a WMC guide. If you use SiliconDust's HDHomeruns, then I can pull guide information from them and create the MXF file. There will be 24 hours of data available from the tuners, or if you subscribe to their DVR ($35/year) you will get 2 weeks of data. The guide will be pretty basic, with images, but it will work.

If anyone wants to be a beta tester of either of the above methods, let me know (PM me). There's really not a lot of time between now and January and I'm stretching myself thin with 3 different projects to develop/maintain, let alone my daytime job.
- Gary
Stomping out the Rovi disease, one media center at a time. http://epg123.garyan2.net

luv2chill

Posts: 7
Joined: Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:03 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#102

Post by luv2chill » Mon Nov 18, 2019 3:02 am

Thanks garyan2 and all others who have contributed knowledge and expertise in this thread.

I've been using WMC consistently since the XP Media Center Edition era. I still have a few recordings I've saved from 2004! 15 years using the same DVR interface (which still looks and works great), while never paying a monthly fee for guide data is incredible.

I'm still on Windows 7 but I do have a Win8.1 VM I built a few years ago and activated with a WMC key. I had expected to migrate to it next year since Win7 is going EOL. When I got the message recently that guide data was ending I thought it was another prod from MS to get off Win7 and assumed that the guide service would continue for Win8.1. Unfortunately that appears not to be the case. Nice to see there will be some alternatives to keep WMC alive.

I need to decide in the next month or so what to do. I have a PLEX Pass, and they have their own DVR service now. The most compelling advantage to that is that I can get rid of my electricity-hog Xbox 360s and finally be able to consolidate everything onto my Apple TVs. That would be really nice.

But I'm not sure if PLEX is as reliable and full-featured as WMC is. Anyone played with it and seen any deal-breakers that made them go back to WMC?

Guess that's getting off-topic for this thread. My question to garyan2 (since you mentioned the possibility of the SiliconDust DVR service being a potential source of guide data): Could the PLEX guide data potentially be used in the same way?

o2cats

Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:36 am
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#103

Post by o2cats » Tue Nov 19, 2019 12:51 am

tonywagner wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 10:47 pm
So here's how I got a free, non-Rovi guide right now using zap2xml and xmltv-to-mxf. First steps:
  1. Download and install epg123
  2. Run EPG123 Client, Client Setup, steps 1 & 2 (which will reset WMC -- do a backup first, if you like)
    While setting up WMC, be sure to enter 00000 as your zip code to get a blank guide -- and don't forget to manually add any VHF channels in WMC if necessary
  3. Create the folder C:\epg
  4. Download and install zap2xml, put the resulting "zap2xml.exe" file in C:\epg
  5. Download and install a Java JRE
  6. Download my "xmltv-to-mxf-0.0.2-SNAPSHOT.jar" file (which is just the GitHub version plus my period subchannel fix) and put it in C:\epg as well
    https://file.io/ndLsGO
Once that's done, you can use a batch file for the update process. Save the following as "update.bat" in C:\epg (substituting your own Zap2It username and password, of course!):

Code: Select all

cd C:\epg
zap2xml -u username -p password
java -Dfile.encoding=UTF-8 -jar xmltv-to-mxf-0.0.2-SNAPSHOT.jar xmltv.xml
C:\Windows\ehome\loadmxf -i mxf.xml
%SystemRoot%\ehome\ehPrivJob.exe /DoReindexSearchRoot
Finally, the first time you set this up, you will also have to associate the WMC channels with their guide listings. I just had to click "Match by # Number" in the EPG123 Client and it was done. But future updates can just run the batch file again, unless your channel lineup changes.

Still missing categories in WMC, so I might look into improving the "xmltv-to-mxf" program further.

Also, My Channel Logos seems to behave strangely after this -- but I wasn't really using the logos before, so it's no big deal for me.
Your program to create the .mfx file works really slick. I had no problems loading the file into WMC, but the guide data did not show up. I think it is the mapping step you mention, but having problems getting by that step. I have not been able to load it into EPG123, because it is looking for a .mfx file, and I can not get it to see the mfx.xml file. I have tried changing the name, after it is created, but it still thinks it is a normal .xml file, so I can not get it to load. I was wondering if there is a way to select the output name, in your java program, or if not if there is another way to map the guide channels?

User avatar
Einstien

Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Dec 22, 2018 12:54 am
Location: Los Angeles CA

HTPC Specs: Show details

#104

Post by Einstien » Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:53 am

I have been using EPG123 for exactly one year to date. I know that because I had to renew my subscription to Schedules Direct today, Nov.18, 2019.
Installing EPG123 is not bad. I too was a procrastinating for a long time before I took the plunge, and it turned out way easier than my anxiety led me to believe.
I did it just to get away from ROVI after the switch from zap2it, and now I'm soooo glad I did. It has been such a good guide, robust and accurate. I had some incorrect guide data and Schedules Direct responded and took action. ROVI had no customer support or contact whatsoever.

So, what I really want to say is,
Finally, WE SHOULD ALL SEND A DONATION to garyan2. I installed EPG123 on three WMC's (and yes I sent mine in providing for all three).
How much is your WMC worth to you? He single handedly save it for all of us. It is an incredibly complex programing task. Think about that.

User avatar
garyan2

Posts: 3837
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2015 7:23 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#105

Post by garyan2 » Tue Nov 19, 2019 2:01 am

luv2chill wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 3:02 am
I need to decide in the next month or so what to do. I have a PLEX Pass, and they have their own DVR service now. The most compelling advantage to that is that I can get rid of my electricity-hog Xbox 360s and finally be able to consolidate everything onto my Apple TVs. That would be really nice.

But I'm not sure if PLEX is as reliable and full-featured as WMC is. Anyone played with it and seen any deal-breakers that made them go back to WMC?

Guess that's getting off-topic for this thread. My question to garyan2 (since you mentioned the possibility of the SiliconDust DVR service being a potential source of guide data): Could the PLEX guide data potentially be used in the same way?
Plex comes with their own guide data now which is sourced from Rovi. Basically it is just as good/bad as you get right now in WMC. Watching their forums, it looks like they are having quite a few problems since they changed over. I wouldn't call their solution reliable yet. (On a side note, I've been using emby for a little over a year and have only missed 1 recording due to 2 episodes being given the same episode number.)

I don't know how/where Plex stores their guide data, so wouldn't be able to say one way or the other if it can be converted into a MXF file for WMC. Technically I don't see a reason why not unless they encrypt their database, or something. I think I might leave that for someone else to figure out.
- Gary
Stomping out the Rovi disease, one media center at a time. http://epg123.garyan2.net

o2cats

Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:36 am
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#106

Post by o2cats » Tue Nov 19, 2019 2:26 am

I plan to use garyan2’s EPG123, and Schedules Direct, since it works so well, and only $25year. I did want to have a backup, just in case Windows 7 dies harder than expected, so I put together a system using Media Portal, to run in parallel. I am using EPG-Buddy to build the guide, with TVGuide.com and its source. While I find Media Portal cumbersome, EPG-Buddy has some nice features. It made me wonder, if I could use one of the available xmltv to mxf conversion programs, which lead me here.

I have used EPG-Buddy withTVGuide.com as a source, and Zap2XML with both Zap2it.com, TVGuide.com as sources. That gave me 3 xmltv files to try different xmltv to mxf conversion programs. I have started working with Tony Wagner’s xmltv-to-mxf-0.0.2-SNAPSHOT.jar, which looks very promising, EPG collector, and will try garyan2’s if he makes it available.

Tony’s program works great with Zap2XML’s output from both sources, but produces an error with output from TVGuide.com, “No Acceptable channel number found” for at least some channels. I had no expectation that it should work with data it was not designed for, just wanted to test what I could. I looked in the .xmltv file, and did not see anything obvious. EPG Collector was able to convert the file to TVGuide.mxf, but I have not been able to load it into WMC at this time. There were enough comments about EPG Collector that I expect that it is not a promising solution, so probably done with the TVGuide source all together.

I know garyan2 asked if there were any other XMLTV file generators based on Gracenote data, so I wondered about EPG-Buddy, and TVGuide, but I do not know enough to figure that out?

I am not posting asking for help here now, just FYI, for anyone interested. I am open to any suggestions of changes, or additions to my tests, or help testing other people’s projects.

I also plan to try WMC on Windows 10, but not until final guide solutions, probably next year.

Thanks to everyone’s work to keep WMC going. I have not found anything else close as satifying.
Last edited by o2cats on Tue Nov 19, 2019 2:44 am, edited 1 time in total.

o2cats

Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:36 am
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#107

Post by o2cats » Tue Nov 19, 2019 2:43 am

o2cats wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2019 12:51 am

Earlier message to Tony

Your program to create the .mfx file works really slick. I had no problems loading the file into WMC, but the guide data did not show up. I think it is the mapping step you mention, but having problems getting by that step. I have not been able to load it into EPG123, because it is looking for a .mfx file, and I can not get it to see the mfx.xml file. I have tried changing the name, after it is created, but it still thinks it is a normal .xml file, so I can not get it to load. I was wondering if there is a way to select the output name, in your java program, or if not if there is another way to map the guide channels?
I opened EPG123 again, and the lineup I loaded via your method showed in the right plane. It was blank before, which is why I was trying to load the mxf file manually. I was then able to map in EPG123, and the guide shows. I am not sure what changed, except a little time? Sorry to waist any time you may have spent trying to respond.

Your methodology, using your program, works great for a free EPG, using either TVGuide.com, or Zap2it.com.

Thanks for everything!

User avatar
garyan2

Posts: 3837
Joined: Fri Nov 27, 2015 7:23 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#108

Post by garyan2 » Tue Nov 19, 2019 3:08 am

If the EPG123 client was open when you performed the import using loadmxf.exe, then it would be blank until you either clicked the "refresh" button, or closed and re-opened the client.

If you want to be a beta tester for zap2mxf and/or hdhr2mxf, send me a PM.
- Gary
Stomping out the Rovi disease, one media center at a time. http://epg123.garyan2.net

tonywagner

Posts: 56
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 1:53 am
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#109

Post by tonywagner » Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:53 pm

o2cats wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2019 2:43 am
I opened EPG123 again, and the lineup I loaded via your method showed in the right plane. It was blank before, which is why I was trying to load the mxf file manually. I was then able to map in EPG123, and the guide shows. I am not sure what changed, except a little time? Sorry to waist any time you may have spent trying to respond.
Glad you got it working! Yeah, you don't have to load the MXF in EPG123 if you already did it via "loadmxf". (Although you can rename it to an ".mxf" extension and load it in EPG123 instead of loadmxf, if you prefer.)

Once it is loaded, and once EPG123 is refreshed, you can select "MainLineup" in the right pane of the EPG123 client, and then map by channel number above the left pane. (You don't technically need EPG123 for this step either -- you can manually map the listings for each channel within WMC instead, but obviously EPG123 is much easier!) Fortunately, you should only have to do that channel mapping once.

tonywagner

Posts: 56
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 1:53 am
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#110

Post by tonywagner » Tue Nov 19, 2019 5:25 pm

o2cats wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2019 2:26 am
Tony’s program works great with Zap2XML’s output from both sources, but produces an error with output from TVGuide.com, “No Acceptable channel number found” for at least some channels.
That's exactly the same error I got when I ran the author's original JAR file, downloaded from GitHub. The original JAR only supported dash subchannels (i.e. "14-1"), while my snapshot JAR added support for period subchannels (i.e. "14.1"). As far as I can tell, zap2it and TV Guide both use period subchannels, so they should both work the same -- I just tried a TV Guide XML file from my region and it worked fine.

If you look at the top of the XML file, you should see all the channel numbers as "display-name" entities under each channel id. Let me know if you see any channels that aren't denoted by a whole number, period, or dash. You could PM me your TV Guide XML file too and I could take a look.

markfromBrooklyn

Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Jul 15, 2015 8:14 pm
Location: Brooklyn New York

HTPC Specs: Show details

#111

Post by markfromBrooklyn » Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:31 am

Does anyone know how to stop the message in WMC aboutmneeding to configure an alternate EPG provider from popping up again and again in WMC? I have been happily using EPG123 for several years. Thank you.

bobviolence

Posts: 20
Joined: Wed Jul 22, 2015 1:17 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#112

Post by bobviolence » Fri Nov 29, 2019 3:07 am

markfromBrooklyn wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:31 am
Does anyone know how to stop the message in WMC aboutmneeding to configure an alternate EPG provider from popping up again and again in WMC? I have been happily using EPG123 for several years. Thank you.
Would like to know this as well. Seems now that every time I go to the main WMC menu, I get the popup. Thanks Microsoft, I get it ... you are abandoning what is probably the best product you ever made.

User avatar
Bee_Dee_3_Dee

Posts: 256
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:39 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#113

Post by Bee_Dee_3_Dee » Fri Nov 29, 2019 3:17 am

markfromBrooklyn wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:31 am
Does anyone know how to stop the message in WMC aboutmneeding to configure an alternate EPG provider from popping up again and again in WMC? I have been happily using EPG123 for several years. Thank you.
and it happens repeatedly on extenders too.

Paul Anderegg

Posts: 109
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:39 am
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#114

Post by Paul Anderegg » Fri Nov 29, 2019 3:23 am

I am about to shoot myself, all day today every time I back out of watching a video, that damn SWITCH nag message pops up and I have already clicked and MCE minimizes and launches Windows Imploder...die nag message die!!!!!!!

Paul

Raptro6L

Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:52 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#115

Post by Raptro6L » Fri Nov 29, 2019 3:29 am

Hi All

Ok, so my understanding (and it's just as likely wrong!) with the Microsoft EPG is that Microsoft supply the guide data for WMC to use, much like a third party does such as EPG123, with the exception that Microsoft supplies it for free. Have I got that right?

And just to go on with my train of thought - here in Australia, Microsoft doesn't supply any guide data, it is transmitted OTA with the feed direct from the networks. So, with Microsoft ending support in Jan 2020, does this affect anyone here in Australia?

I feel I'm missing something, so please feel free to correct me.

Thanks
Chris

Paul Anderegg

Posts: 109
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:39 am
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#116

Post by Paul Anderegg » Fri Nov 29, 2019 3:33 am

Are you saying your Windows Media Center downloads and populates the guide listings for the next two weeks OTA?

Paul

Raptro6L

Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:52 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#117

Post by Raptro6L » Fri Nov 29, 2019 3:36 am

Hi Paul, yes, that is what I'm saying. It does not require an internet connection. Only thing I need to do is watch a channel for about 5-10 seconds every few days to keep the guide data fresh and up to date. When I'm watching the channel guide data is updated live so extends recording etc when shows run over for whatever reason.

o2cats

Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 12:36 am
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#118

Post by o2cats » Fri Nov 29, 2019 5:10 am

markfromBrooklyn wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:31 am
Does anyone know how to stop the message in WMC aboutmneeding to configure an alternate EPG provider from popping up again and again in WMC? I have been happily using EPG123 for several years. Thank you.
I have not found a solution either. You get the warning even if have not accepted MS terms, and are using an alternate guide source. You do not get the warning in the Windows 10 version of WMC, even if you are using the provided Rovi guide.

I expected it may be a WIndows 7 update issue, since that is how they added the upgrade to Windows 10 warning back when. I did not see any recent update, unless it is somehow hidden.

I checked the processes running in task manager, and see 2 that are linked to WMC(ehexthost.exe, ehmsas.exe), but I think they were always there?

EDIT: The warning appearing each time you transistion through the menu seems to have cleared itself up. KB4493132 was installed 7/25/2019, and still is, ther was no ""do not remind again checkbox", so that does not appear to be relevant.
Last edited by o2cats on Fri Nov 29, 2019 4:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Bee_Dee_3_Dee

Posts: 256
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:39 pm
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#119

Post by Bee_Dee_3_Dee » Fri Nov 29, 2019 5:13 am

see: viewtopic.php?p=134265#p134265

(But note i have EPG123 installed.)

DaveD

Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Nov 29, 2019 4:15 am
Location:

HTPC Specs: Show details

#120

Post by DaveD » Fri Nov 29, 2019 5:36 am

markfromBrooklyn wrote:
Fri Nov 29, 2019 12:31 am
Does anyone know how to stop the message in WMC aboutmneeding to configure an alternate EPG provider from popping up again and again in WMC? I have been happily using EPG123 for several years. Thank you.
It seems like Microsoft is doing this intentionally, just starting today. Setting the computer's clock back one day gets rid of the message. Of course this is not a solution, just an observation. That persistent message is super annoying.

Post Reply