An Electronic Program Guide (EPG) is an overview of the television programs and airing times for each of your television channels. The listings are loaded either over the internet or through a dedicated data stream within the TV signal and are stored in a database on the HTPC. MediaPortal then uses this information to display what broadcast is on at a certain date/time, to schedule and label recordings. The data can be displayed either in the TV Guide or the Mini Guide.
The EPG consists of information about each program that will be shown. This includes base information such as:
- Start and end date/time
Extra information sometimes available:
- Repeat / First run
The amount of information available depends on the source of the information and on the application used to retrieve the data. Not all sources provide all data or in a usable form.
The DVB (Digital Video Broadcasting) system has the ability to transmit EPG data with each channel. In most cases this is for the coming 48 hours. Not all DVB systems include EPG data so you will need to check with your provider if this is available to you. MediaPortal has built in support for getting the EPG data from the DVB stream.
Internet via XMTLV or WebEPG plugins
Many sites provide a human readable and searchable TV guide on the internet, in most cases for the coming week or even two weeks ahead. Most providers have an online guide for their stations and sometime other stations as well. Also the web sites of newspapers often contain a TV guide.
There are many programs available that download these guide and format the data so that it can be imported into MediaPortal. For the storage of program information, MediaPortal uses the file format created by XMLTV. XMLTV is one of the first popular applications to retrieve program information from the internet.
MediaPortal includes a system for getting EPG data from the internet called WebEPG, but we also provide a list of XMLTV alternatives (by no means complete).
NexTView EPG data is transmitted as part of the analog TV signal, mostly in Germany, Austria, France and Switzerland. This data can be decoded with a program called nxtvepg (nexTView EPG Decoder Software). nxtvepg also provides a list of supported channels and providers.
Getting EPG Data
If you really want to get the full advantage of using TV in MediaPortal, then getting good EPG data is the key.
It is probably one of the first things you will want to do when you set up TV.
You may receive EPG data from any of these sources:
DVB Sources are the easiest because the EPG data is included in the transmission, and will be automatically added to your TV Guide in MediaPortal.
WebEPG is a plugin provided with MediaPortal which 'grabs' EPG from various websites around the world. Many countries and regions are included in WebEPG and more are always being added. If your region is not already available, you can check the EPG-Grabbers and Tuning Details Forum to see if a 'grabber' has been recently added, or is in development. Or you can create your own WebEPG grabber file. See WebEPG for details
XMLTV is another TV plugin which allows you to import EPG data in XMLTV format. There are numerous programs available that allow you to grab XMLTV data from various EPG data sources. See XMLTV for details.
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