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202 posts

Master Geek


# 41282 13-Sep-2009 17:04
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Hi all,

So I finally got around to setting up my VMC machine with Freeview DVB-S (Arrr no HD in Timaru!!), and last night wanted to get the RPG up and running. I battled finding a solid / easy guide, and I didn't want to use xmltvnz (which most people seem to be using). Not to take away anything at all from the awesome work by Reven, but I just prefer using totally free tools (not to mention the fact that I wanted to get it working NOW at 3am on a Sunday morning!!)

What I am using is the excellent Freeview listings at http://epg.pvr.geek.nz/epg/

The main problem I had was working out how to take the data at pvr.geek.nz and get it working in BladeRunner. Questions like 'where do I get a channelinfo.xml?! (or what even is that file)' were rampant. Keeping in mind that I'd never touched any of this stuff before last night, so it was fairly daunting initially. But I eventually got there.

I thought I'd put together a couple of utilities to make this easer for people in the future. There's probably already better ways out there to do all this but we'll see how it goes. There's certainly room for improvement here, but I figured I'd see how this one went down before investing any significant time.

xmltv2ci - XMLTV to ChannelInfo
This first one is a bit more technical, it takes an xmltv format xml file (such as those from pvr.geek.nz), and generates a ChannelInfo.xml that you can use in BladeRunner. Very simple C# command line application, only requirement is .NET 3.5 (You should have this if you keep your Vista box up to date).

Download: http://evadosoft.com/epg/xmltv2ci.zip (inc. source)

One-click EPG
This one is for everyone - it automates pretty much everything that needs to be done to get the EPG working in VMC using the listings at pvr.geek.nz and BladeRunner. Also requires .NET 3.5 (And working TV in VMC). As long as your PC is fully up to date you should be sweet.

It does the following (via a single script):

  1. Installs BladeRunner

  2. Sets up a bunch of scripts/apps (like wget, 7zip) for downloading the EPG

  3. Creates a ChannelInfo.xml from epg.pvr.geek.nz

  4. Installs and configures IIS for BladeRunner

  5. Does an initial BladeRunner execution

  6. Performs the VMC EPG registry fixes needed for BladeRunner

  7. Schedules BladeRunner to run daily at 6pm

Download: http://evadosoft.com/epg/VMC-EPG-FreeviewNZ.zip

Installer
To do all this simply download the installer zip file, extract it to a folder on your machine. Inside you will find a file called 'Install.cmd'. [b]Right click it[/b] and select [b]Run as Administrator[/b] (Very important!!!).
NOTE
: It may seem like the script has stopped part way through (a line with 'start /w pkgmgr') .. it hasn't! It may take several minutes here. You will know the script is done when you see 'Press any key to continue . . .'

It should then go through the motions and do all of the above for you - no need to do anything else. Once this is complete, you should have a working BladeRunner install, with IIS configured to serve up the EPG from your local machine. BladeRunner will refresh the EPG each day at 6pm :)

VMC setup

Now you can go into VMC, Settings -> TV -> Guide -> Set Up Guide Listings. I used the 'Australia' region. Go through the wizard until you get to the postcode part.

Unconfirmed
At this stage minimise VMC and double click the file called 'epg.reg' from the zip archive and add the registry data.

Go back into VMC and enter '0000', and complete the wizard. Hopefully it will download the EPG data!! :D

Finished
You should be all good to go now. Note that you may have to use the 'Add Listings to Channel' feature in VMC to map the EPG listings to the correct channel in VMC, I had to do this for channels 1/2/3 to get the guide to work for these channels.

Acknowledgements
Massive thanks to the Geekzone community, as well as the xpmediacentre.com.au community. Also, the operator of http://epg.pvr.geek.nz/epg/ is a total legend!

I'm no licensing expert so I really hope I'm not stepping on any toes by bundling everything into the one zip. I've acknowleged the source for all third party stuff in a file called about.txt inside the archive. I had a quick glance at the licences of each component and I *think* I'm ok here, but if anyone has any issues certainly let me know!!!

The major third party tool here is BladeRunner Pro, which is originally from http://www.xpmediacentre.com.au/community/downloads.php?do=file&id=60 :)

I haven't been able to extensively test this yet so I'd appreciate details of any problems or issues encountered. If it doesn't work, please let me know and I'll try and figure it out (be sure to supply details!). Knowing me I will have forgotten some key detail, so apologies in advanced for this!

Comments welcome :D

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28353 posts

Uber Geek

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  # 255407 13-Sep-2009 18:00
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While you've got that working are you actually aware there is no need?

Freeview DVB-S transmits the 8 day EPG in the EIT tables. Once you plug a DVB-S card into Windows Media Center and configure it you'll automatically have an 8 day EPG and there is no need to grab it from an external source on the internet.


44 posts

Geek


  # 255409 13-Sep-2009 18:03
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sbiddle is right! you should really be using the EPG downloaded by 7MC automatically. Another cool thing you can do is to install Big Screen EPG which will take the listings you have and inject extra data in like the ratings, cover art etc :)

 
 
 
 


352 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 255413 13-Sep-2009 18:08
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Well done. EPG into VMC confused the hell out of me when I first started. What you've achieved is a huge effort.

I did it with different tools:
Freeview's WWW > FreeviewToXMLTV > epgStream.net > Vista Media Center

http://epgstream.net/
http://vangelder.orcon.net.nz/files/FreeviewToXMLTV.zip

epgStream intercepts VMC EPG updates, and uses an XMLTV source to provide the data. It can be configured to execute FreeviewToXMLTV prior to reading the source file. FreeviewToXMLTV downloads EPG data direct from Freeview's website.

I ran this system, and it was stable for many months. With Windows 7 the guide downloads directly from the satellite stream, so I no longer run it.



202 posts

Master Geek


  # 255414 13-Sep-2009 18:08
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Haha well looks like I totally missed that meeting :P

You guys mention 7MC - is that also the case for VMC? I thought VMC had no native DVB-S support? I certainly didn't get any EPG data right off that bat anyway o_O

Good to know though :)

352 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 255417 13-Sep-2009 18:10
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Vista Media Center does not understand DVB-S. VMC TV Pack does understand DVB-S, but in my experience, it's unstable, and 7MC offers so much more.



202 posts

Master Geek


  # 255423 13-Sep-2009 18:26
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Ahh right, yeah that was my understanding also. Unfortunately 7 isn't really an option on this machine for a short while yet, so sticking with VMC for now.

That's a pretty cool approach you had going there previously rvangelder, nice work :)

28353 posts

Uber Geek

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  # 255425 13-Sep-2009 18:29
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What software are you running, I assume Vista with TV Pack?


 
 
 
 




202 posts

Master Geek


  # 255427 13-Sep-2009 18:33
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Actually I'm only running Vista at the moment - no TV pack. My info on the TV pack is pretty sparse, somewhere I read gave me the impression that it totally messes up loading the EPG via methods like the one I outlined originally (No idea if that's actually the case or not).

Although if it loads the EPG from the DVB-S stream maybe that will be ok? Don't really want to introduce any instability though if I can avoid it.

75 posts

Master Geek


  # 255444 13-Sep-2009 20:06
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I note you mention Timaru can't receive DVB-T (HD), it might pay to read this post:

http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?forumid=83&topicid=39575

It might depend on location within Timaru, but its definately possible.

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