Dutch PVR

Here you find instructions on „How to optimise your PVR for running in the Netherlands”. It may apply to other countries as well. The instructions are a bit outdated, but new tips will follow soon.

BEFORE YOU READ FURTHER

Last week the so far most important source for TV Guide information, TVGids.nl, changed its format. Because of this lots of grabbers do not work anymore, like Amontillado's TVGids_to_xml.

UPDATE 26 October: I cracked the new coding of TVGids and wrote scripts for the scriptable TVxb grabber. See below.

UPDATE 28 October: I also cracked the new coding for the UPClive.nl TV guide. This is faster than TVGids.nl. The Dutch public channels are as badly represented as always. Of course this has to do with the subventioning system, where the public channels hold on to their program schedules as they are linked to the sale of TV guides, which determines memberships, which determines the money they get.


I found MC2XML as best solution, but need more time for testing. MC2XML downloads up to 2 weeks of information in a matter of seconds. So far I installed MC2XML, and created an mc2xml.chl file with Notepad, that includes my channel selection.

Ned 1
Ned 2
Ned 3
RTL 4
Net 5
SBS 6
RTL7
Veronica/Jetix
RTL 5
RTL 8
Eén
Ketnet/Canvas
BBC One
BBC Two
BBC Prime
BBC World News
Discovery Channel
National Geographic
CNNI
CNBC
TMF The Music Factory
MTV Netherlands
Nick/Comedy Central

For the Netherlands, use command

mc2xml -F -c nl -g <your postal code>

as the command to generate the XML file. Only once you need to tell the software from which source you record. I chose „9. UPC Digital”, because it gives access to EPG data for 140 channels!

Film1 is not well provided for in MC2XML, and it never was in TVGids either anyway. So, let's get them directly from the Film1 TV Guide for a whole week.

Get the scriptable TVxb grabber. I will send them my new download scripts, because everything there for „Netherlands” now is outdated and does not work.

Right-click on this link to get my „Film1” download script and save it in the INI directory of TVxb as „TVxb.ini”. Use Notepad to save it as UTF-8.

You can also try my „best” selection. Remove Nederland 1-3 from the MC2XML chl file. Right click here to download the „best” script. It gets all Film1 information directly from the Film1 website, MGM, Hallmark, TCM, 13th Street, Sci-Fi Channel and TV Rijnmond from the UPCLive.nl TV guide, and five days of Nederland 1-3 from TVGids.nl.

The location of the TVxb.ini file one of the following folders:

  • C:\ProgramData\TVxb\ini\ - Vista
  • C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\TVxb\ini\ - All Users install
  • C:\Documents and Settings\\Application Data\ TVxb\ ini\ - Single-user install

You can also find and edit this file using Start… All Programs… TVxb… Edit Configuration.

UPDATE 26 October: there were two stupid mistakes in the previous version of the Film1 script. I uploaded the corrected one.

Now, how to combine the output of MC2XML and TVXB in one XML file, ready to be downloaded into GB-PVR (or Sage or another PVR software)?

1. Create a command file (or batch file), f.e. getguide.cmd (or getguide.bat):

cd\ProgramData\mc2xml                        rem Go to the folder where you put mc2xml
mc2xml -F -c nl -g 2652                      rem Get the info from MC2XML
"C:\Program Files\TVxb\bin\TVxb" -NoConsole  rem Run TVxb too

2. Edit the TVxb.ini script for the Film1 data, and remove under „main parameters” the ! before !xmltvoutput and before !xmltvimport . Edit these lines. xmltvimport should point to the output file of your MC2XML program. xmltvoutput needs to point to your final output file. The file that GB-PVR (or Sage or your other PVR software) reads for its EPG.

Update: new channel logos are here.

Update: those of you who prefer to do everything with TVGids.nl, right-click here for the new script, to be used with the TVxb grabber. Read the notes in the script, to avoid unexpected results.

Keep watching as this page develops.


Note: TVxb is very political correct. If you download too many „detailed descriptions” (TVGids has its descriptions on a separate web page, and each webpage needs to be downloaded by TVxb) NO descriptions will be processed. It will sort out itself, because the next day TVxb will download the rest and keep it in its cache. In the end it will only have to download a day's worth. Nevertheless it is a bit of a silly argument by TVxb. Just deinstall and reinstall to set the counter to zero. I did not figure out yet where it is stored. By default my Film1TVGids script only downloads detauls for TVGids shows that start between 18:00 and midnight. You can change that of course.

Note: TVxb removes the ampersand & from titles and descriptions when downloading from TVGids.nl. This has to do with bad HTML on TVGids.nl. Instead of only safe characters TVGids.nl puts an ampersand ”&” in its guide. Good HTML would be to use &amp; I will ask the programmer of TVxb for a solution, and write a message to TVGids.nl. They usually respond well to questions. Otherwise I may write a shell around the wget tool that TVxb uses to download. This shell will edit the html file right after download. Tips are welcome. Until the solution is found the show „Pauw & Witteman” will be presented as „Pauw Witteman” when the information comes from TVGids.nl.

THE REST OF THE PAGE NEEDS ATTENTION, SORRY, COME BACK LATER

Set TV channels

If you use a Hauppauge TV-card, you're lucky. Use the WinTV2000 software that came with your card to find and finetune all channels, and after that run FreqCopy to make them available to your PVR viewing software, for example GB-PVR.

GB-PVR software

An excellent guide on how to install the GB-PVR software is available if you click here.

Channel icons

Get Dutch channel icons: . Unzip this file to the media\ChannelLogos directory of your GB-PVR installation. You may need to delete existing .jpg or .png equivalents to make GB-PVR pick up these icons. Also you may need to change the name slightly, for example „bbc 1.gif” instead of „bbc1.gif”. GB-PVR will also overwrite and reinstall channel icons if you re-install the package. It will for example use the British MTV logo, instead of a generic one.

Update 19-8-2007

Added new channel logos, amongst which RTL 8 and Net 5

Install grabber for Dutch TV Guide data

Although the XMLTV package contains a grabber for Dutch data, I found it too slow. I prefer Amontillado's TVGids_to_xml grabber. Set your Windows task manager to run this every day at 4:15.

In the „TVGids_to_xml.ini” file I used the following settings:

[SETUP]
MinimumProgsPerChannelPerDay=10
FastMode=0
UseStrictCharacters=0
UseIntelligentTimeAnalyses=1
IgnoreIncorrectTimedPrograms=1
Timezone=+9999
Download_Previous_Number_of_days=0
Download_Comming_Number_of_days=6
ReDownload_Days=0
SaveDayFiles=1
ReusePreviousFiles=1
AppendToOneFile=1
OverWriteFileAfterComplete=1
TotalEpgFileName=[CURRENTDIR]\TVGidsWin.xml
SingleDayFilePath=[CURRENTDIR]\SingleDayFiles\
KijkWijzerPath=[URL]
VerhoudingGetalConnects=2
Proxy=0.0.0.0:0
ProxyUsername=[NONE]
ProxyPassword=[NONE]
RetriesOnFailedConnection=3
RetriesOnEmptyPage=1
LogConnect=0
LogFailConnect=1

By these settings the program will store daily files in the subdirectory „SingleDayFiles”. This saves time, since it will not have to grab all data every day again.

Do NOT let Amontillado's grabber get UK channel information (BBC1, BBC2, BBC World, BBC Prime).

Install grabber for UK Channels

The source for all grabbers of Dutch TV guide information is the site TVGids.nl . Same as for Dutch paper TV guides, quite often the information for BBC schedules is wrong. Furthermore, in BBC World schedules all thematic programs are one half hour too long, since TVGids.nl does not repeat the hourly news in its schedule. In this computer age: we get the UK channels from the RadioTimes! These Brits have got it all going. Radio Times posts the program data on the Web in a convenient format, which makes picking up one week of schedules a matter of seconds.

Get the Windows XMLTV package here. Run the configuration from the command line by typing:

XMLTV tv_grab_uk_rt --configuration

You can get good schedules there for BBC1, BBC2, BBC Prime, BBC World, and CNBC. Note that Discovery Channel has different programming for the Netherlands and the UK, so you can not use that.

Make adjustments to what the Dutch data grabber gets

Amontillado's grabber is very good, but I like some more influence on what it gets. I prefer that the grabber always gets tomorrow's data fresh, in case there are changes in the TV guide. And if any daily files are older than 4 days, they are not reliable anymore.

For this there is the tool RemoveOld. Tell your Windows task manager to run daily on 4:10, which is just 5 minutes before TVGids_to_xml goes and grabs more data. Use the command line:

"C:\Program Files\XMLTV\RemoveOld.exe" SingleDayFiles --age 2 --range 1-2 --rangeage 0 --mask *.xml

Combine all grabbed information into one big file

Since Amontillado's output is not accepted as such by XMLTV tools, and the XMLTV Radio Times output may contain codes that are not accepted by GB-PVR, you need to clean up the files. Get CleanXMLTV and copy the following lines into a .bat batchfile:

xmltv tv_grab_uk_rt --output radiotimes.xml --quiet
CleanXMLTV radiotimes.xml --output radiotimes2.xml --tba
CleanXMLTV TVGidsWin.xml --output tvgidswin2.xml --cet --kenmerk
xmltv tv_cat --output completeguide.xml tvgidswin2.xml radiotimes2.xml

The first line gets the Radio Times data. The second line cleans up the RadioTimes output. The third line cleans up the output of Amontillado's grabber. And finally the fourth line combines it all into a „completeguide.xml” file.

Make the Windows task manager run this batch file every day at 5:50

Make your PVR software pick up this combined guide

Tell your (GB-)PVR software to get this „completeguide.xml” file as EPG (electronic program guide) input. Set your PVR software to refresh at 6:00.

Support

Feel free to contact me. I will try to help you if you have questions. Do never expect major programming work.

Joost Smits, jsmits@prize.nl

Updated: 28 October 2008

All rights reserved.