Big Screen Blog

Media Center, Windows Phone7 + Silverlight Goodness..

Launched: Big Screen EPG (3rd Party EPG Tool for Windows 7)

with 6 comments

On Friday – the information for producing 3rd party EPG’s for Windows 7 was ‘unnoficially’ officially released by Microsoft.  – ie. use at own risk and MS won’t help out if something goes pearshaped as it’s an ‘unsupported scenario… Big thanks to Mike Hayton in the Media Center team – who took the time+effort to both write the MXF spec, and to deal with the red tape required to get them approved for release. 

Since this ‘info’ on MXF is now (finally) out in the wild – it’s was OK for me to release an application I’ve been working on here and there over the past few weeks. (and using on my own system)

The current working title for this product is very predictably named – ‘Big Screen EPG’ – or just ‘BSE’ for short – and over the weekend I launched a private beta to a number of select users from xpmediacenter.com.au. (and will release a more public beta soon).

The core feature set for this (v0.1 beta) include :

  • Imports EPG data from one or more XMLTV data files/http sources. (and can merge EPG Data from various providers – useful if you have multiple sources and want the ‘best of’ whats on offer – or if you need to get your paytv  or fta epg from a different place to your other guide data).
  • Converts the EPG Data into Windows 7 MXF format – and automates the import process to Media Center
  • Allows full custom channel Logos to be imported (and displayed) along with your new EPG listings.
  • Can generate ‘Dummy’ program entries / channels (based on your parameters) – for all those oft neglected Digital Audio Services, EPG Channels etc – where you normally have to put up with ‘No Program Data is available’ messages. (well if you’re Australian that is).
  • Features a rich Configuration Editor allowing lots of control over how XMLTV EPG data is interpreted (and converted)– including comprehensive control of how the genres and classifications are mapped to the internal Media Center EPG db. (so parental controls, color coded EPG and other features work)
  • Feeds in the correct metadata for Movies (along with a registry change) – so you can fully enjoy the Movies on TV feature in Media Center – as well as viewing rich Movie information (such as Coverart, Actors, Similar Titles, Reviews and more) . See this post Rich TV Movie metadata on Windows 7 Media Center (for non US Citizens)… for examples on what you can see.
  • Console/Command Line driven arguments allow it to be scheduled to run automatically (via Task Scheduler) – so you don’t have to worry about it once it’s all set up.
  • The application is also designed to collect viewing/scheduling data and submit it (anonymously) to the bigscreenglobal.com website – which will eventually feed into a community tv + series ratings/recommendations system (in development) – and then back into your local EPG. 

(See screenshots below of the Configuration Editor)

image image

image image

I concentrated on getting the rudimentary features going for this first beta – namely getting your guide into Media Center (with a few bells and whistles) – but there’s a bunch more interesting functions that will be added over coming weeks/months.

A user on www.xpmediacenter.com.au  – ‘dgaust’ has also come to the rescue – and uploaded a spiffy set of Channel Logos for Australian TV (covers most of the major broadcasters – including for the upcoming freeview channels – plus some regional logos). He’s also released a small util along the lines of KeepKey – called KeepGEO (which monitors the registry and detects if the Media Center update task has changed your countrycode without asking – and changes it back to ‘US’ – so you don’t loose any features).

Please see this thread on xpmediacenter.com.au for more information + download links for keepgeo + the logos.

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Written by mobilewares

February 8, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Posted in Windows 7

6 Responses

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  1. Excellent work for the community there Niall!If they ever resolve the 360 Network Issue… issue… I’ll have to give this a go.

    Richard

    February 8, 2009 at 9:27 pm

  2. Fantastic, Great Job… We are eager to test the beta….

    Pavoz

    February 9, 2009 at 4:45 pm

  3. Any plans to parse listings and automatically pull out duplicate standard definition channels? Seems like you’ve done the most difficult part so far!

    Peter

    February 9, 2009 at 8:38 pm

  4. I use 3 xboxes with windows 7 in my home and find it really pretty good. The only time I had network issues was playing old recorded tv from my previous vista server (dvr-ms files). If you watch the performance monitor on your server you’ll see network usage go thru the roof when you play dvr-ms.. seems fine when playing normal recorded tv tho. (wtv files..)

    Adam

    February 14, 2009 at 7:55 pm

  5. Hi, Is this available as a public beta yet?Thanks for your efforts.

    Ryan

    February 17, 2009 at 2:54 am

  6. hi – please visit the forum thread mentioned above – and you can apply to be part of the private beta. (there;s a small set of details I need to add you) .. thanks

    Niall

    February 17, 2009 at 12:33 pm


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