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Topic:
TV Guide module
This thread has 18 replies. Displaying posts 1 through 15.
Post 1 made on Friday February 6, 2009 at 01:17
marco0305
Long Time Member
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19
Hi,
I've been looking through the threads on this forum but couldn't find anything regarding a TV guide for the pronto. I think it would be awesometo have a tv guide on the pronto so we don't have to display our tv guide on the screen or open, the old fashion way, a magazine or look through the newpaper to find what's on.
I found a grabber that creates a xml file. So next to do is make this into a module, like the rss feed, using prontoscript. The grabber can be find here and is available for several countries. So you can get your own custom made xml file. It's very easy and works quick. Takes about 2-3mins to get a full listing depending on how many channels you select. I was thinking to grab it like once a day an put it on my computer and let the pronto get it straight from my computer. The file is somewhere in the region of 10 to 20Mb depending again on the amount of channels you select. The program is mc2xml. Just google it.
I'm a complete noob if it comes to programming.
So know my question is who would like to write a prontoscript to make this work? I think there'll be a lot of interest for this module so whoever can write the module can get some money out of it.
If somebody is interested I can send you a xml file that the grabber makes.

Marco
Post 2 made on Friday February 6, 2009 at 02:32
Lyndel McGee
RC Moderator
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So, if the xml file is 10MB to 20MB as raw text, can you imagine just how much memory it would take when converted to XML objects in ECMA? I suspect a 10MB entry would indeed become somewhere close to double to quadruple that in memory depending on how the tags are named. So, that 64MB of RAM you have in the pronto just went kaput with all that data.

In order to make this work, you'd likely want to parse the data on a PC and download to the Pronto in "smaller chunks" based on page up/down, etc...

This means PC code as well. I wish you the best of luck.

Someone else will have to take the Pepsi Challenge as my plate is very full these days. Barry? Sound like a project for ProntoPal?
Lyndel McGee
Philips Pronto Addict/Beta Tester
OP | Post 3 made on Friday February 6, 2009 at 02:48
marco0305
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Hi Lyndel,
I should have been a bit more specific. The file I grabbed is for 154 channels and 2 weeks worth of data. You can change the settings for the grabber to lets say 10 channels and like 2 days. The point is to just have a guide for today and maybe tomorrow so not to change to the tvguide on your tv to see whats playing on the other channels. So the xml file I grabbed was 14Mb so it'll be a lot less for 10-20 channels and just 2 days. I think the pronto could handle that!
I think this clarifies it more what I'm after.
I just ran the script again for 1 channel and 2 weeks of data and it's about 170k.

Last edited by marco0305 on February 6, 2009 03:01.
Post 4 made on Friday February 6, 2009 at 03:00
Lyndel McGee
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Marco,

Not trying to burst your bubble here. I understand that you'd want smaller chunks 10-20 channels and maybe for 2 days. To mel, it makes PERFECT sense to scrape full XML, transcode into database or something on PC and then download chunks to Pronto. Hence, my question for Barry Gordon about ProntoPal.

As you are a new programmer, you probably have never dealt with things such as Javascript or know the underlying memory models for data.

ECMA357 (E4X) extensions to ECMA262 (Javascript) are not lightweight as I've already mentioned. You will likely have at least 100% overhead if not larger when you convert the XML into E4X xml objects.

Also, keep in mind that a single ASCII string character actually takes 2 bytes of memory in the Pronto as strings are stored as Unicode. So, if you have a 32MB file, the actual memory size of the data is 64MB - before the XML parse.
Lyndel McGee
Philips Pronto Addict/Beta Tester
Post 5 made on Wednesday February 25, 2009 at 01:04
nellie7979
Long Time Member
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I know I would pay a decent amount of money for a TV Guide prontoscript, and I'm sure many others would too... That should be some incentive for some of you savvy programmers out there.
Post 6 made on Wednesday February 25, 2009 at 01:45
Barry Gordon
Founding Member
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Define decent amount of money

Be aware that probably 80-90 % of the pronto users out there use cable or sat and their set top boxes already provide TV guides on the screen, especially if the unit is a DVR
Post 7 made on Wednesday February 25, 2009 at 02:01
nellie7979
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I would drop $35-50 without batting an eyelash on such a script, and possibly more depending upon the features.

I do have a STB with on-screen guide but I like to squeeze every ounce of functionality out of my Pronto.
Post 8 made on Wednesday February 25, 2009 at 08:53
dave964
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172
I already wrote a tv guide application for my 9600 - it downloads listings from a UK TV guide website.

I've just never got around to making it so that I could distribute it to other people (it's too tied into my own config). It's something I keep intending to do - but I never quite find the incentive.

Edit : Just to reply to Barry's comment - I have an EPG on my satellite system, and when I started I also thought the TV Guide was a waste of time due to that. But it's something I wouldn't be without now - it's one of those things that you don't realise how handy it is until you've got it - being able to just look at the pronto screen to see what's on is surprisingly useful.

Last edited by dave964 on February 25, 2009 09:02.
Dave
Post 9 made on Wednesday February 25, 2009 at 13:31
n2hifi
Long Time Member
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192
The problem I see here is although many including myself would like to have a guide, we all get info from different places. I want a Directv guide but couldn't figure out how to get the data. Others would want Dish, local cable etc. It would be difficult to write a somewhat generic app, and device specific apps likely wouldn't have a large enough ROI to justify development time. The only hope I see is if someone with the particular service, programming knowledge, time and generosity happens to develop one and wants to share it.
Mark Olsen, CTS
Cignal Systems, Inc.
Post 10 made on Wednesday February 25, 2009 at 14:19
dave964
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On February 25, 2009 at 13:31, n2hifi said...
The problem I see here is although many including myself would like to have a guide, we all get info from different places. I want a Directv guide but couldn't figure out how to get the data. Others would want Dish, local cable etc. It would be difficult to write a somewhat generic app, and device specific apps likely wouldn't have a large enough ROI to justify development time. The only hope I see is if someone with the particular service, programming knowledge, time and generosity happens to develop one and wants to share it.

True - I don't think you could ever have a generic one that works for everything. Mine works by downloading a web page and then parsing the data - so it's specific to that site. And in fact, if the site itself changed the way it shows the data (which fortunately they haven't in the last year) then I'd have to fix it.
Dave
Post 11 made on Wednesday February 25, 2009 at 20:11
nellie7979
Long Time Member
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I don't think it makes a difference whether what TV service you subscribe to. Generally speaking they all have the same channels, the only difference is what their respective numbers are for your particular subscription service. I'd be more than willing to enter that data manually, since it seems to me the hard part would be getting the metadata to the Pronto.

Maybe a shortcut would be a server program on the PC that goes to a website like tvguide.com, takes a screenshot of your personalized program guide, and then feeds that screenshot to the Pronto/client.
Post 12 made on Thursday February 26, 2009 at 01:49
dave964
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On February 25, 2009 at 20:11, nellie7979 said...
I don't think it makes a difference whether what TV service you subscribe to. Generally speaking they all have the same channels, the only difference is what their respective numbers are for your particular subscription service. I'd be more than willing to enter that data manually, since it seems to me the hard part would be getting the metadata to the Pronto.

Maybe a shortcut would be a server program on the PC that goes to a website like tvguide.com, takes a screenshot of your personalized program guide, and then feeds that screenshot to the Pronto/client.

I don't entirely agree.

In fact - the channel numbers are not so much of an issue. The first time my application is used, it downloads the "subscription" page, where you can select which channels (by name) that you want the tv guide to display (i.e. exactly the same thing you do on the real tv guide website).

It then stores these names, and each time you use the app after that, it downloads these channels. The tv guide site stores the channel numbers for each channel - so my app doesn't "know" the numbers for each channel - but it does use the numbers the site provides. The channel names are listed on the left, and when you press the channel button, it will change channel. The tv guide site does not always have the numbers correct for all channels, so manual entry of a channel number is possible when selecting which channels are subscribed to.

In addition, the tv guide site also provides summary info for each program - my app stores that too, and pressing on a program title will show that summary.

Searching for tv progs is also possible - again, it's a function the site itself provides so my app provides the same.

Although you could perhaps just download a screenshot, you'd need several if you wanted to display more than a few channels. My app shows 2 hours worth of programmes for 8 channels per page - and typically I subscribe to enough channels to fill 10 pages. And of course, if you wanted all of the functionality I've mentioned, that wouldn't be possible with screenshots. The app needs to be quite site specific to allow that kind of functionality.
Dave
OP | Post 13 made on Thursday February 26, 2009 at 07:45
marco0305
Long Time Member
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19
Hi guys,
I too would be very interested in a TV guide module. I think most of us host a website or have a device we access via http or ftp like a NAS. So we can access the tvguide xml file from there onto the pronto.
I had a look into mc2xml which grabs all data from microsofts server. They use this server for MCE. MC2XML can be configured for several providers and countries. I still think it's a good base for most of us.
So to all programmers out here, can you guys have a look at it!
Post 14 made on Tuesday March 3, 2009 at 20:40
Wishmaster
Long Time Member
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March 2008
42

Hi Marco!

I did exactly what you are looking for.
But let me tell you, that it's not that easy!

First of all: the features
below the images I will describe how I realize this.
just let me say: it's absolutely impossible(!) to let the Pronto handle the 10-20MB XML file! (would take hours or even crash the Pronto script-engine completely)

Featues:
- 27 Channels per page
- multiple pages (up/down)
- "running now", "coming next" (left/right)
- progress-bar behind the title
- "TV Movie" Star rating (1-5: grey to full red star icon)
- detailed description including additional title, show type, year, aspect ratio, b/w? and list of actors






How all this works:
A Windows-Server running TV Movie Clickfinder, creates the tvdata.xml with tvm2xml every midnight and then copies the file to a samba shared directory on a Linux Server.

The Linux Server parses the XML and writes all into a mySQL Database (takes a few minutes).
Every minute an epg.xml is created with the data out of the database just containing times and show titles for "now" and "next"

The Pronro fetches the epg.xml via tcp/http, parses it and displays the main screen.
It holds the XML data for the 4 pages (channel list 1 now/next, channel list 2 now/next) in memory.
If you scroll with the scrollwheel to a specific show, you can hit [OK], then the detailed show information and actor list is downloaded from the Linux Server.
(detailed description is scrollable on the Pronro screen via the wheel)

The programming stuff on the Linux Server was done in Perl.

I'd like to sell the "Pronto EPG" but due to the amount of special configuration which is nessesary and the Linux server, it seems unpossible to redistribute it.

Richard

Post 15 made on Wednesday March 4, 2009 at 18:23
nellie7979
Long Time Member
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July 2008
74
On February 26, 2009 at 01:49, dave964 said...
I don't entirely agree.

In fact - the channel numbers are not so much of an issue. The first time my application is used, it downloads the "subscription" page, where you can select which channels (by name) that you want the tv guide to display (i.e. exactly the same thing you do on the real tv guide website).

It then stores these names, and each time you use the app after that, it downloads these channels. The tv guide site stores the channel numbers for each channel - so my app doesn't "know" the numbers for each channel - but it does use the numbers the site provides. The channel names are listed on the left, and when you press the channel button, it will change channel. The tv guide site does not always have the numbers correct for all channels, so manual entry of a channel number is possible when selecting which channels are subscribed to.

In addition, the tv guide site also provides summary info for each program - my app stores that too, and pressing on a program title will show that summary.

Searching for tv progs is also possible - again, it's a function the site itself provides so my app provides the same.

Although you could perhaps just download a screenshot, you'd need several if you wanted to display more than a few channels. My app shows 2 hours worth of programmes for 8 channels per page - and typically I subscribe to enough channels to fill 10 pages. And of course, if you wanted all of the functionality I've mentioned, that wouldn't be possible with screenshots. The app needs to be quite site specific to allow that kind of functionality.

Obviously the idea of screenshots compared a fully interactive TV guide on the Pronto is rather elementary. But so are my programming skills, and doing either one of those projects is way out of my league. I imagine it would be possible to display the screenshots without much of a problem, at least compared to the intricacy of the program you have made.

I'd take anything at this point that would display TV listings on my 9600.

As far as I know, there are no programs available to obtain anywhere that do this, free or otherwise.
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