Where to start EPG123

An evolving, supported alternative to Rovi
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★ Download the latest EPG123 here: http://epg123.garyan2.net <> Setup guide here: http://epg123.garyan2.net/downloads/epg123_Guide.pdf
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oldschoolbob

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Where to start EPG123

#1

Post by oldschoolbob » Wed Aug 26, 2020 3:59 am

I’ve been directed to this sub-forum for questions on EPG123.

What is the difference between Client and Server and which one do I use?

What is “.NET Framework 4.0”? Do I need it? How do I know if I have it? Where do I get it?

Step 1 says it will delete a bunch of stuff. At present my TV works – I just don’t have TV Guide. I’m worried about deleting anything. Is this reversible? If this don’t work or fails will I get my TV back?

I’m concerned because I’ve tried several other programs (Kodi, MediaPortal, HDHomerun, NextPVR) and so far I still don’t have TV Guide.

Should I get Schedules Direct before I install EPG123?

These may be dumb questions but I know nothing about this stuff.

Thanks

Bob

adam1991

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#2

Post by adam1991 » Wed Aug 26, 2020 4:30 am

NOTE: the information below assumes you're using Windows Media Center. You mention having used a variety of software, but you don't mention WMC. If you're not using WMC, stop reading.

http://epg123.garyan2.net/install/

The server Downloads guide information from Schedules Direct and generates a Windows Media Center Guide Listings formatted file for import into Windows Media Center. That's where the server stops.

Yes, you must have a Schedules Direct membership first. It is this membership that EPG123 server logs into in order to do its work.

After the server does its thing, the guide listing is sitting on disk. The server then calls the client to import the data into WMC. Part of Gary's install program helps you set up a Windows automatic task at some time of day that does all of this for you, hands off.

Don't be confused by the "server only, server only, and client only" sections of the page linked to above. Ignore all of that. The fact that the server and the client can be worked with individually, is confusing and is not relevant to setting up EPG123 from scratch in a WMC environment.

Instead, start at the top of the page linked to above and let Gary lead you through everything step by step:

Step 1: Clean Start
Step 2: TV Setup
Step 3: EPG123 Server/Client Setup
Part 1: EPG123 Setup
Part 2: Transfer Recording Requests
Part 3: Matching Channels
Final Step: Schedule a Task

Ignore his final note about "After performing the above steps for a Client Only setup..." Starting from scratch in a WMC environment means you aren't doing a Client Only setup, so that note doesn't apply.

Don't worry about step one and "deleting a bunch of stuff". Just follow the instructions.

My guess is, Gary's installer will know whether or not you have .Net Framework 4.0--and if you don't, will walk you through getting it.

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garyan2

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#3

Post by garyan2 » Wed Aug 26, 2020 4:33 am

oldschoolbob wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 3:59 am
What is the difference between Client and Server and which one do I use?
The server downloads the guide listings from Schedules Direct and creates the necessary file to import into WMC. The client imports the file into WMC and maintains the database as well as maps the guide listings to the channels. The client also provides many tools to customize the guide and some WMC functions. You will need to do a full install to use both the server and the client.
oldschoolbob wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 3:59 am
What is “.NET Framework 4.0”? Do I need it? How do I know if I have it? Where do I get it?
.NET Framework is a collection of assemblies that is a part of all Windows Operating Systems. If you don't have at least 4.0 installed, the EPG123 setup file will install it for you so nothing to be concerned about there.
oldschoolbob wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 3:59 am
Step 1 says it will delete a bunch of stuff. At present my TV works – I just don’t have TV Guide. I’m worried about deleting anything. Is this reversible? If this don’t work or fails will I get my TV back?
It does delete your current databases, but it makes a backup before doing so. If you need to go back to your current configuration you can just use the [Restore] button in the client.
oldschoolbob wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 3:59 am
I’m concerned because I’ve tried several other programs (Kodi, MediaPortal, HDHomerun, NextPVR) and so far I still don’t have TV Guide.
None of those programs do anything with or for WMC. With a little time invested you will have a fantastic guide using EPG123 which was made for WMC.
oldschoolbob wrote:
Wed Aug 26, 2020 3:59 am
Should I get Schedules Direct before I install EPG123?
You will need a Schedules Direct membership by the time you get to Step 3 of the EPG123 installation. So basically, whenever you are ready to dive in, sign up for a membership.

Here is a breakdown of what happens during the installation.
Step 1: deletes the existing WMC databases in order to remove all old MS/Rovi lineups and channels and creates a new empty database. It also applies a tuner limit increase from the default 4 to 32.
Step 2: this step is driven by you to perform a TV Setup in WMC. It is important to DENY the Program Guide Terms of Service.
Step 3: configure EPG123. You will select what stations to download from any lineup(s) you choose from Schedules Direct. Once you click [Save & Execute], it will download the guide listings, create the file, and import into WMC.

To see everything in action, view the video on the website and follow the instructions starting with Step 1.
- Gary
Keeping WMC alive beyond January 2020. http://epg123.garyan2.net

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garyan2

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#4

Post by garyan2 » Wed Aug 26, 2020 4:39 am

I should add. During Step 2, after the Program Guide Terms of Service page, if it asks to download updated data select 'No'. If you select 'Yes', it may sit there for a while trying to download from the MS servers.
- Gary
Keeping WMC alive beyond January 2020. http://epg123.garyan2.net

oldschoolbob

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#5

Post by oldschoolbob » Wed Aug 26, 2020 5:01 am

You guys are great. This is exactly what I've been looking for. I've used WMC for years but I'm lost without the guide. (don't know what I'm watching or recording). I'll be so happy to have it back again.

It will take me a little time to absorb all this but I'm soon on my way.

Thank you all for your help.

Bob

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#6

Post by Space » Wed Aug 26, 2020 5:31 am

The guide provided by EPG123 with Schedules Direct source data is the best guide WMC has ever had. If you were happy with the old WMC guide, you should be ecstatic with this new guide (although do note that extended movie data was provided by a separate Microsoft server which is also no longer in existence, and since that data was not part of the guide listings, some features that were provided by this service are no longer available).

But please let me reiterate, as this may be the most often missed or ignored step when setting up EPG123: DENY the Program Guide Terms of Service (ToS) when you are asked to accept it. The program guide offered by Microsoft no longer exists, and if you accept the ToS, it will put bad data in the database that is not compatible with the data EPG123 uses.

So my best advice is to follow the instructions, step by step, slowly and methodically. So many people just "accept" the ToS, not even thinking, because that is what they always do on all other software. Just remember to not do this here.

If you have any questions, just post here in this thread and someone will answer them for you (note that Gary who has already posted in this thread is the author of the EPG123 program).

Good luck!

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#7

Post by kkingsto » Wed Aug 26, 2020 1:04 pm

Other thing you want to be aware of. Schedules Direct offers a free week trial. So use that before paying so you can make sure everything works.

oldschoolbob

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#8

Post by oldschoolbob » Sat Aug 29, 2020 1:20 am

I'm back - long story.

I tried to run EPG123 and it didn't work.

I have nothing in Client Guide Tool.

TV don't work anymore.

Image

I did screen save a bunch of images but I don't know how to insert them here.

I really need help now.

Thanks

Bob
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garyan2

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#9

Post by garyan2 » Sat Aug 29, 2020 1:42 am

Please send whatever you have to support@garyan2.net. Also, please send the trace.log file located c:\programdata\garyan2\epg123\trace.log if you can.
- Gary
Keeping WMC alive beyond January 2020. http://epg123.garyan2.net

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#10

Post by garyan2 » Sat Aug 29, 2020 1:43 am

Based on this screen, I take it you have a Set top box (STB) rather than a cable card?
- Gary
Keeping WMC alive beyond January 2020. http://epg123.garyan2.net

oldschoolbob

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#11

Post by oldschoolbob » Sat Aug 29, 2020 1:51 am

No - I have a cable card - Hauppauge DCR 2650

oldschoolbob

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#12

Post by oldschoolbob » Sat Aug 29, 2020 3:58 am

I can’t believe Gary fixed this in just one click. It’s up and running and it’s beautiful. All I had to do was click “match by: # number”.

The reason it took me so long to get started was I had so much junk downloaded and taking space on my computer from other applications that didn’t work, I decided to re-install the clone drive I make a few months ago. That took me all day. (did I mention I’m not good with computers?) Then I studied the video and made two pages of notes.

I thought I was ready. So today I jumped in – and I still managed to screw it up. But I sent Gary my screen scans and Log. He figured where I went wrong and corrected it by telling me what to do. Great guy. Everything seems to work fine now. I’m so happy to have my TV Guide working again.

Thank you all for your help and support – especially Gary. I can never thank him enough.

Bob

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Scallica

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#13

Post by Scallica » Sat Aug 29, 2020 12:06 pm

oldschoolbob wrote:
Sat Aug 29, 2020 3:58 am
Everything seems to work fine now. I’m so happy to have my TV Guide working again.
Good. Now take a system image snapshot in case something gets messed up in the future.

https://www.howtogeek.com/howto/4241/ho ... windows-7/
HTPC Enthusiast / Forum Moderator - TGB.tv Code of Conduct

oldschoolbob

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#14

Post by oldschoolbob » Sun Aug 30, 2020 6:15 am

Thanks Scallica, I just did the back up. Didn't take too long.

I have another question. There are some channels that I don't watch or don't get on my cable. I think I should be able to delete them from my guide list but I'm afraid to touch anything (it works great now). I think this is done on the Client Guide Tool.

How do I go about deleting some channels? (ie channel 20)


Thanks

Bob
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Space

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#15

Post by Space » Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:32 am

If you remove the check in the box next to channel 20 in the Client tool, it is the same as disabling the channel within WMC. So you can just disable it within WMC if you don't want to use the guide tool. I believe once you make a change here it takes affect immediately, no need to "save" it or anything like that. I think you can even have WMC running next to it and see the changes in real time.

Note that disabling the channel in this way just makes it so that the channel is not displayed in the on-screen guide as well as not searched when you do a search for any reason (including scheduled recordings for keywords, etc.). Note that the guide listings for this channel will still be downloaded from the service provider (Schedules Direct), even though you are not using them.

If you want to prevent the guide listings from downloading for that channel, then you need to use the EPG123 configuration tool (just called EPG123.exe). Just uncheck the box next to the channel and then click on the "Save & Execute" button to have it download the current listings and build a new MXF file. It will then call the client tool to load the file in to WMC. If you have the "automatch" feature turned on, the client tool should also automatically disable the channel in WMC (as this feature disables any channel that has no listings). Otherwise you will have to disable it as described in the first paragraph above.

If you have a lot of channels that you never plan on watching and don't need the guide listings for, there is really no need to download those listings every day, so disabling the channel in the configuration tool (not the client tool) will prevent it from wasting unneeded resources (on both your system and on the Schedules Direct servers), and will result in the update being faster and your WMC database being smaller.

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#16

Post by DSperber » Mon Sep 07, 2020 12:54 pm

Space wrote:
Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:32 am
If you have a lot of channels that you never plan on watching and don't need the guide listings for, there is really no need to download those listings every day, so disabling the channel in the configuration tool (not the client tool) will prevent it from wasting unneeded resources (on both your system and on the Schedules Direct servers), and will result in the update being faster and your WMC database being smaller.
Exactly.

For example, my particular Spectrum LA cable channel SD lineup for my zip code has about 650 actual TV channel numbers going up into the 1600's and higher. And my local LA OTA/ATSC SD channel lineup has 183 off-air digital channel numbers here in the Los Angeles area. But I only have interest in 83 total channels from both lineups. That's all I want to appear in my WMC Guide "in worst case", if I simply select "ALL". I also have configured several "FAVORITES" channel lists that each have fewer than the 83 total channels which actually make up the WMC database and EPG123 Guide update download each night (which takes just a few minutes since it is trim and lean, and only for the 83 channels I have any interest in).

By using EPG123.EXE (configuration GUI), and then un-checking all of the channels to get started, and then checking only those channels you actually have any possible interest in ever seeing on your "ALL" Guide in WMC (remembering you can eliminate any you have only minor interest in still further if you create "FAVORITES" subsets within WMC itself), you will really simplify your life. That customized configuration with the far fewer number of channels checked will be remembered by EPG123, so you only have to do this customization once and then you can forget it.

Image

Then once the EPG123 ""Save & Exit* is done and the WMC databae has been updated, you can go into WMC -> Tasks -> Settings -> TV -> Guide -> Edit Channels. You get started with "Clear All" to uncheck every channel, no matter whether configured by EPG123 (which will show them with both a channel number and a name here in the "Edit Channels" list), or un-checked in EPG123 (which will show them here with only a channel number and no name). Now it's very easy to progress through this total channel list checking only those "named" channels you really do want to appear in your "ALL" Guide total available channels (i.e. which you have any possible interest in) list. In my case it turns out to be the same 83 total channels I have checked in EPG123.

And that's how you get started. From there you can use WMC to configure one or more "FAVORITES" lists, for even smaller Guide subsets from this "ALL" total list.


NOTE #1: if you re-open EPG123.EXE subsequently (say a month from now), it is possible your cable company may have made changes to your channel lineup. And those changes will no doubt have already been reported to Schedules Direct which will have made the corresponding changes to your SD subscription channel lineup. So when you next open EPG123.EXE you should scroll down through the channel lineup that gets presented, in order to identify any new channels that might have been added so that you can decide if you want them to also be checked or unchecked. Again, you only want to "check" channels you have any possible interest in seeing in your "ALL" channels in WMC Guide.

As you scroll down the channel lineup in EPG123.EXE, any newly added channel which was not previously present the last time you did a "Save & Exit" will be highlighted with a PINK STRIPE BACKGROUND, and its checkbox will be pre-checked by default. This makes it very easy to spot the few new channels from within the very large list of pre-existing channels in the total channel lineup. It also makes it very easy for you to spot those new channels you may very likely want to UNCHECK here as you may very likely have no interest in them. Or, you might have interest in them, in which case just leave them CHECKED as all new channels are by default.

One way or the other, whether you leave them checked or uncheck them, the PINK STRIPED CHANNELS are very easy to spot any time you open EPG123.EXE and then scroll through the channel list.

NOTE #2: If you do open EPG123.EXE and close it, and you forget to double-check the channel lineup list to see if any new channels are now present (and pink striped), the fact that any new channels are pre-checked by default means that by default they will now also be added to your channel list appearing by name in "ALL" for WMC Guide. To protect you from possibly getting unintended channels added when you simply accidentally forgot to review your channel lineup list looking for pink stripes, EPG123 will prompt you with an "are you sure" type of message box. You must provide a confirmation (yay or nay) to this message box before EPG123 will close.

The message from EPG123 advises you that the number of channels in your configuration has now changed from the last time you saved, and are you sure you want to make that change? It will show you the new number of channels and old number of channels, as a very clear indicator of how many "pink stripes" you should have seen an noticed if you had actually reviewed your channel lineup. Strong reminder that you forgot to do this review.

So push the NO button to cancel the exit from the program with the saved unintentionally updated channel configuration. You will be placed back in the EPG123 configuration where you can now do what you should have done originally, namely to review the channel lineup looking for the new pink striped channels. And you can leave them checked or uncheck them.

And now when you "Save & Exit" and you are again prompted for "yay or nay" on the change in number of channels in your configuration, you can push the YES button to proceed with your newly established channel lineup configuration going forward.

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