March 08, 2004

Free TV Guide Software

Recently I've been experimenting with free TV Guide aka EPG (Electronic Program Guide) software for Windows. The software I've tried are Digiguide (free 1 month trial period, then after that its £10 a year which is pretty reasonable as the quality of the listings is very good, the number of channels available is huge, and the program has lots of useful features, such as spoken audio reminders.

The winner of the TV Guide applications shoot out for me, has got to be DigiGuide though the winner of the totally free TV Guide application has got to be TV Guide by Paul Ledbury. Unfortunately the program no longer works "out of the box" as it relies on downloading XMLTV formatted TV listings from the website, unfortunately Ananova no longer provide this service.

The Freeguide-tv Java application is quite good too but is currently rendered practically unusable as it relies on downloading its listings from the Radio Times website, and takes forever to download a single days listings let alone a whole weeks.

So in general the free TV Guide programs are suffering from a lack of a good source of free TV listings. Luckily a new free UK TV listings provider has emerged: At present they don't supply the listings in XMLTV format, which TV Guide requires, so Ive written a coldfusion script that grabs the listings for the main terrestrial UK channels (bbc1,bbc2,itv,channel4,channel5 and also ftn and UK History) from the bleb site and converts them to the TV Guide raw format and saves them in the TV Guide directory. You can get the coldfusion (v4.5) script here., you also need this script called sleep.cfm I havent tested it on CFMX yet. In order to get TV Guide working with these files, you will need to run the cf script once a day, and you will also need to edit the TVGuide.ini file, to get the channels to match the ones you are downloading. N.B you should not allow the program to try and download new TV listings on its own, as it will overwrite the files that the cf script has created. The TVGuide.ini script I use, which works with my script can be viewed here: TVGuide.ini You can of course edit the script and the ini file to match the channels you want to download and view.

Confusingly there is another TV Guide program called TV_Guide, this is similar to TV Guide in a way, though it downloads its listings directly from as it can interpret their listings directly, from what I have seen of this program it is very basic, and I didnt like it at all, i much prefer Paul Ledburys TV Guide program.

Posted by steeev to Cool Software

at March 8, 2004 11:38 PM