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Windows 7: EPG123: fabulous developer-replacement for WMC Guide

16 Apr 2016   #1
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 
EPG123: fabulous developer-replacement for WMC Guide

Long time WMC users know that MS did away with Zap2it as the Guide info provider last year, with much pain and unhappiness in the community as a result of the new provider Rovi.

The quality of the Guide data as provided through Rovi was simply horrible compared to the data previously retrieved through Zap2it. There were probably 2 months of initial startup issues that seriously impacted users' ability to record regular nightly series reliably, and also to know more than minimal information about many shows where previously significant detail had been available.

Ok. Now comes EPG123, which is a free (PayPal donations accepted) wonderful developer-created complete replacement for the MS-pushed Guide data (from Rovi) function that is so crucial and essential for proper DVR operation using WMC.

You must also subscribe to an external Guide data service, through Schedules Direct (cost is $25/year, but there's a free 7-day trial if you want to see how all this works first), as EPG123 uses SD to "pull" retrieve its automatic daily Guide updates (same as MS used Rovi). SD actually gets its data from Zap2it.


You must reconfigure WMC again from scratch (after deleting the \ProgramData\Microsoft\EHOME folder to accomplish this erasure of all channel lineups, scheduled recordings, extender definitions, etc.) and this time you DECLINE to accept the MS Guide.

Then you install EPG123 (which is through a very easy wizard and is virtually entirely automated), which will include specifying your zip code and selecting the proper cable/OTA channel lineup(s) so that EPG123 can request the proper data each night from SD.

You also configure your desired channel subset for use in your Guide, so that the nightly data update is only for those channels and not for maybe all 10,000 channels which might be available from your cable provider. Not only does this make the nightly "delta-based new data only" update run super-fast (e.g. under 3 minutes for me and my 89 channels, going out 21 days although I could go out as far as 30 days if I wanted to), but opening the Guide data in WMC or on an extender now also runs super-fast as the XMF file containing the Guide data is that much smaller than with MS's version of Guide.

Furthermore, data always available with Zap2it but never utilized by MS in its Guide software is the SnnExx (season and episode) information, which if available EPG123 will put in front of the show title in the recordings list if you check that you want that to be done. Otherwise, the SnnExx info will instead be put in the text info for the recording. So you're now going to always see SnnExx if available, either in the show title or in the info text (but I like to see it in the show title).

MyChannelLogos works perfectly with the EPG123 channel lineup results obtained from SD, same as it did with original channel lineups obtained by MS for your zip code via Zap2it, and also as MS now does with Rovi.

Complete info for EPG123 is available over on The Green Button forum for EPG. And the product's web site is here.

I cannot overstate how satisfied I am with this product, and its easy installation, and the reliability of its automatic interface to Schedules Direct (which uses Zap2it data) to provide up to 30 days of Guide data for WMC.

I cannot recommend this product highly enough. The bug-free workmanship of both EPG123 and the Schedules Direct data source is truly a work of art. And both vendors are ACTIVELY INVOLVED in supporting users, continuing to evolve functionality and GUI, etc.

Do yourself a favor and get off of MS and awful Rovi and maybe 11-12 days of Guide data, and onto EPG123 and SD/Zap2it with its up to 30 days of good old Zap2it data Guide data that includes SnnExx season/episode info and honestly accurate "original air dates". Complete movie/program art thumbnails are returned, as are movie "star" ratings.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 Apr 2016   #2
freetvee

win 7 64 bit
 
 

Sounds like a little bit of work and money, but maybe worth it if it works well consistently over the long run... thanks for the write up!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Apr 2016   #3
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by freetvee View Post
Sounds like a little bit of work and money, but maybe worth it if it works well consistently over the long run... thanks for the write up!
Many of us longtime WMC users were really disappointed when last year MS moved from Zap2it guide info to Rovi as the new source. For months there were discussions and complaints over in The Green Button forum about the terrible quality of the new data. Lots of us said "I'd be glad to pay MS, if only they would bring back Zap2it". And of course we all know that without Guide data WMC simply cannot function, so if MS did ever truly pull the plug on pushing this out to WMC machines we'd be finished.

So, having a seemingly permanent source (though admittedly not free, although $0.50/week to Schedules Direct is not much) for 21-30 days of Zap2it-quality guide data vs. 11-13 of free Rovi-quality guide data from MS for as long as they still provide it, well I'm ready to support the vendor. Same reason I buy "pro" software rather than lite-versions or ad-supported free software. I'll be glad to pay the developer for a worthwhile product, especially when it's actively maintained and supported and is of excellent quality and provides all functionality I've been wanting.

Bottom line: EPG123 is technically free, but obviously I wanted to pay Gary for his brilliant work. He did this on his own, after all, and the result is superb. And then I was more than willing to pay $0.50/week to Schedules Direct for 21-30 days of Zap2it-sourced guide data. I'm sure they don't get it for free from Zap2it so why should we users expect to get it for free from them. And look what infrastructure they've built and provided... that's not free either.

Literally, it's 10-15 minutes tops to install. You sign up with Schedules Direct, you delete the \ehome folder in \ProgramData to wipe out all past setup with MS Guide and Rovi, you run the EPG123 installer file, and you customize the channels you want for the lineup(s) for your zip code and TV provider. Same thing you'd do anyway with MS and WMC setup for Guide and channels.

Look. Schedules Direct offers a free 7-day trial. And EPG123 is technically free as well. You can take a "system image" of what you have right now (so that you can go back to it if you're unhappy with EPG123), and then give EPG123 a try. I'm sure you will be as satisfied as everybody seems to be over on TGB who've now moved to EPG123.

Honestly... are you really happy with the Rovi data? I wasn't. Never was, from day 1. Well this is the solution.
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 EPG123: fabulous developer-replacement for WMC Guide




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