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Table of Contents

Overview

How to get EPG data using the WebEPG plugin included with MediaPortal, plus using IMDB grabber for the US.

WebEPG

WebEPG is a plugin provided with MediaPortal. It actually uses XMLTV format, but was designed for MediaPortal. It can grab data from about 100 different websites from over 30 different countries, with 'grabbers' added regularly. You can even create your own grabber for your preferred TV Listings website.

One of the big advantages of WebEPG is that your channel names will automatically match the TV Channels you scan into MediaPortal. WebEPG uses the channels created by MediaPortal and let's you easily map them to the channel from the TV Guide site. In addition with WebEPG you may get up to 14 days EPG data!

Web EPG Setup

This guide assumes you have already completed the following steps:

  • Setup your TV Server and scanned your TV channels.
  • Setup your TV Channels with an All Channels group. You can have additional channel groups.

There are 3 main setup steps:

  1. US users only: If you wish to use the www_imdb_com grabber file you must first customize it with your local TV Channels
  2. Setup WebEPG, set channel mappings, and initial TV Guide import
  3. Enable periodic update to MediaPortal EPG

IMDB Grabber (US only)

Note: This step is ONLY required if you select US grabber and must be done first.

Unlike most WebEPG grabbers, the www_imdb_com.xml grabber file needs to be customized to match your local MediaPortal channels with the channels listed in the imdb.com TV listings.

Download

If you're using MediaPortal 1.7.0 and newer you can skip this section. You do NOT need to download a new grabber file, but you do still need to customize the grabber file with Channel IDs etc. as described in the following sections.

If you're using an earlier version of MediaPortal, you need to download the updated grabber file (www_imdb_com.xml) from -->here<--.

Customize

Find the www_imdb_com.xml grabber file. Its location varies depending on which versions of MediaPortal and Windows you're using.

  • For MediaPortal 1 on Windows XP or older: C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Team MediaPortal\MediaPortal TV Server\WebEPG\grabbers\US
  • For MediaPortal 1 on Windows Vista or newer: C:\ProgramData\Team MediaPortal\MediaPortal TV Server\WebEPG\grabbers\US
  • For MediaPortal 2: C:\ProgramData\Team MediaPortal\MP2-Server\SlimTVCore\v3.0\WebEPG\grabbers\US

Make your own copy of the grabber file (for example, www_imdb_com_[myzipcode].xml) in the same folder as the original grabber file.

Open your new copy of the grabber file in Notepad or any other text editor.

Add one <Channel ... /> entry for each channel you want to grab. For example:

<Channel id="KTVU-HD" siteId="KTVUDT" />

  • The Channel id value (KTVU-HD in the example) is the name of the channel in TV Server.
  • The Channel siteId value (KTVUDT in the example) is the name of the channel on the IMDB website.

To find the siteIds for your location and TV provider:

  1. Open www.imdb.com/tvgrid/ (ie. IMDB's TV listings page) in your Internet browser (Internet Explorer, FireFox, Chrome etc.).
  2. If you haven't previously done so, enter your zip code (click "change" where it says "Enter ZIP code for Local Listings", enter your zip code, click "go").
  3. If you haven't previously done so, select your TV provider. Make sure to click "go" after selecting a TV provider. For over the air (ATSC, antenna) listings you can select any cable provider in your area who carries local channels.
  4. The channel names in the left column (beside the channel logos) are what you use as siteId values in your grabber file.

Steps 2 and 3 above are very important.


Set the zip code for your location in the grabber file. This enables the grabber to get listings for the correct local time zone. To do this, find the line which starts "<Site url=..." in the grabber file. In that line, replace "ZIPCODE" with your actual zip code. For example...

Original

<Site url="http://www.imdb.com/tvgrid/[YYYY]-[MM]-[DD]/[ID]&amp;start_date=[YYYY]-[MM]-[DD]/?zip=ZIPCODE" post="" external="false" encoding="" />

Customized

<Site url="http://www.imdb.com/tvgrid/[YYYY]-[MM]-[DD]/[ID]&amp;start_date=[YYYY]-[MM]-[DD]/?zip=12345" post="" external="false" encoding="" />

In some cases the grabber doesn't get the correct time zone unless the TV provider is also specified. To do this:

1. Find the TV provider name in the page URL. For example, http://www.imdb.com/tvgrid/2016-12-27/2000/?zip=12345&hit_go=1&tv_prov=NY68724&start_date=2016-12-27&start_time=2000#

2. Update the <Site ... /> line in the grabber file:

<Site url="http://www.imdb.com/tvgrid/[YYYY]-[MM]-[DD]/[ID]&amp;start_date=[YYYY]-[MM]-[DD]/?zip=12345&amp;tv_prov=NY68724" post="" external="false" encoding="" />

Make sure to save your changes when you're finished.

Common Mistakes

Grabber File Syntax

It's easy to make typing errors when creating the channel entries. A single error in the wrong place can make it impossible for WebEPG to use the grabber. Thankfully you can easily verify that the syntax of the grabber file is okay by attempting to open the grabber file in your Internet browser (Internet Explorer, FireFox, Chrome etc.). If you've made a mistake, the Internet browser will fail to open the file and hopefully give you a useful error message that helps you identify your mistake. If you can't work out the problem yourself, ask for help on the MediaPortal forum.

Channel Entries Are Case Sensitive

Each channel entry must have correct upper and lower case or it will be ignored.

<Channel id="KTVU-HD" siteId="KTVUDT" />

In particular:

  • Channel must start with an upper case C
  • id must be lower case
  • The second i in siteId must be upper case.
Special Characters In Channel Entries

The grabber file is a standard XML file, which means certain characters have to be replaced:

  • < (less than sign) is replaced with &lt;
  • > (greater than sign) is replaced with &gt;
  • " (quotation mark) is replaced with &quot;
  • ' (apostrophe) is replaced with &apos;
  • & (ampersand) is replaced with &amp;

This is most often relevant for the A&E channel.

Invalid

<Channel id="A&E" siteId="AETV" />

Valid

<Channel id="A&amp;E" siteId="AETV" />

Channel Mappings

To set the WebEPG channel mappings:

  1. Select WebEPG  > TV Mappings
  2. Set Favorites in group, 
  3. Press Import to load the channels
  4. Press AutoMap to map the channels.

When this is done the grabber column shows the your copy of www_imdb_com file for all the channels.

You can also do manual mapping, see the WebEPG wiki for more information. If you find mapping problems or missing channels you need to edit your copy of www_imdb_com file to make the needed corrections. You may need to exit/restart the TV Server Configuration program to get the new channels loaded.

Download and Update EPG

To configure WebEPG to download new data and update the MediaPortal EPG:

  1. Select WebEPG > General,
  2. Enable Write Program to TV Server database
  3. Select the checkbox for Delete old programs before import (Recommended!).
  4. Press Save to save the setup
  5. Press Grab Now! to start the grabber.

With 15 channels and 14 days it takes about 3 minutes to grab the data and downloads around 10 MB of data. The TV Server tv.log file should show WebEPG Channel/Program entries.

To verify the EPG data, exit TV Server Configuration and start MediaPortal. Select the TV Guide and verify your channels have the correct TV guide information using the imdb.com TV listings or another TV guide. It may take a couple tries to get the correct channel mapping setup.

When the WebEPG setup is done you should restart the TV Server with the setup changes. Start TV Server Configuration, select Manual Control, press stop service, then start service.

Schedule EPG Updates

You need to run WebEPG periodically to keep the MediaPortal EPG to date by downloading a new data and updating the MediaPortal TV Guide. Tfere are 2 ways you can enable periodic updates:

WebEPG Schedule

If your TV server is always running you can select WebEPG > Schedule and set the time and days you want to grab EPG data.

See the *WebEPG wiki *for more information. 

When the WebEPG setup is done you should restart the TV Server with the setup changes.

PowerScheduler

If you want to enable power management using PowerScheduler, *start the *TV Server Configuration program, select Plugins and enable PowerScheduler. See *PowerScheduler *for more information about this plugin.

Select PowerScheduler > EPG and set the following check boxes and fields:

  • Prevent standby when grabbing EPG
  • Wakeup system for EPG grabbing, select a time, and set the days you want for EPG grabbing.

When the *PowerScheduler *setup is done you should restart the TV Server with the setup changes.

The PowerScheduler++ plugin can also be used for periodic EPG updates. See PowerScheduler++ for more information on downloading, installing, and using this plugin.

Tips

  1. You can clear the current EPG data by clicking "Refresh DVB EPG" in the Manual Control section of TV Server Configuration. Ignore the “EPG grabber will restart” message - it does not apply to WebEPG.

  2. When debugging, set WebEPG's GrabDays setting to 2 days to speed up the download and testing. When all the channels are working properly you can increase GrabDays to 7, 14 or other higher value to get a full update.

  3. Always remember to click “Save” within WebEPG when done making changes.

Additional resources

  • MediaPortal *WebEPG Wiki. *This describes the WebEPG settings in detail.
  • MediaPortal WebEPG Forum. You can ask questions and read forum postings.
  • MediaPortal Log Files Wiki. Add log files to your forum messages to help with problem debug.

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