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What is an EPG?

An Electronic Programming Guide (EPG) is an electronic list of all the TV programs that are on TV for the coming week. With an EPG you are able to schedule the TV programs you wish to record and watch them at a time that suits you, rather then a time that suits the TV stations.


The EPG not only makes recording a TV program easy, it also provides all the detailed information about each TV program that is displayed throughout Windows XP Media Centre Edition 2005. For example, when changing channels with an EPG the title of the TV program is shown along with the Start and Finish times. This is useful information particularly when you are not familiar with the TV program that is on :-

With EPG

Changing channels without an EPG displays no information about the TV program that is on :-

Without EPG

All the data for the EPG is downloaded automatically by Windows XP Media Centre Edition 2005 over the Internet, which is made available by a service provider. With no Internet connectivity, Windows XP Media Centre Edition 2005 will be without an EPG.

What's Windows XP Media Centre Edition 2005 like without an EPG?

Without an EPG, there are three buttons in the My TV section: Live TV, Recorded TV and Add Recording. When there are TV programs scheduled to record the Add Recording button is found in the Recorded TV section, otherwise, when there are no recordings scheduled the Add Recording button is shown in the My TV section :-

My TV

To add a program to record, navigate to the green Add Recording button using the arrow keys on your remote control and press the OK button. This will allow you to manually record a program, much like the way you would on an old VCR. You simply then use the remote control to enter in the information about the program you wish to record, such as, the Channel, Frequency, Start time, Stop time and so on :-

Manual Record

Use the Change Title button to give the program you wish to record a title. The title is entered in using the numeric key pad on your remote control :-

Change Title

When you now enter into the My TV section, all your scheduled recordings are neatly displayed in a list :-

My TV

After the TV programs record, they will be added to the Recorded TV section. From there you can watch recorded TV programs at your leisure and delete them when you have finished.

Is there a free EPG available?

Out side of the hobbyist market, there is no free EPG available. The TV stations were to provide a free EPG but to date they have not. Rumour has it that the TV stations are unhappy with the way you can avoid watching advertisements using Windows XP Media Centre Edition 2005. This rumour does not really make sense. It is true you can very easily skip advertisements in Windows XP Media Centre Edition 2005, but this ability has nothing to do with the EPG. In fact, the refusal of the TV stations to provide an EPG opens up the market for someone else to come in and provide a commercial EPG and that is exactly what has happened.

What commercial EPG is available?

There is currently only one commercial EPG provider in Australia and that's IceTV. The EPG they provide is called IceGuide. IceGuide includes both Analogue and Digital Free-to-Air TV channels. Windows XP Media Centre Edition 2005 really comes to life with IceGuide installed. The first thing you will notice after you have installed IceGuide, is that in the My TV section there is now an extra two buttons available: Guide and Search :-

Guide and Search

Navigate to the green Guide button using the arrow keys on your remote control and press the OK button to view the Guide Section :-

Guide

The table shown is the actual EPG. Going down the table is each TV station and going across the table is the time of day in half hour increments. Use the arrow keys on your remote control to navigate around the EPG. Once you have located a TV program you wish to record there are a few options available to enable you to record the TV program. The first way is the simplest, just press the red record button on your remote control and that's it. The second way is to press the OK button on your remote control to display the Program Info section :-

Program Info

There are four buttons in the Program Info section: Record, Record Series, Advance Record and Other Showings. The Record button in the Program Info section will just record the TV program you have selected. This is shown in the Guide section with a single red dot. The Record Series button will record the TV program on a weekly basis. This a shown in the Guide section by a series of dots :-

Not Recorded Not Recorded
Recorded Once Record Once
Record Series Record Series

The Advance Record button will take you to the Record Setting section. This is where you can set the Frequency, Stop and other options for the TV program you have selected. The Frequency option allows you to choose between recording a TV program once or recording the entire series. The Stop option allows you to specify how much extra time to record after the TV program has finished. This is very important as the TV stations always run late, sometimes up to 15 minutes late. To avoid missing the end of the TV program you are recording, simply specify how much extra time should be recorded after the TV program ends.

Record Settings

When you now enter into the My TV section, all your scheduled recordings are neatly displayed in a list :-

My TV

After the TV programs record, they will be added to the Recorded TV section. From there you can watch recorded TV programs at your leisure and delete them when you have finished.

An alternative way to choose a TV program to record is by searching for it. In the My TV section navigate to the green Search button using the arrow keys on your remote control and then press the OK button to display the Search section. The Search section includes three buttons: Categories, Title and Keyword. To search by category, press the green Categories button to firstly show the green General button :-

Search

Press the green General button to display all the categories :-

Search General

Browse through the categories displayed to find the TV program you wish to record :-

Search General Game Show

Title search involves entering a few letters of the title of the TV program you wish to record using the numeric key pad on your remote control :-

Search Title

Keyword search is similar to Title search, but for keywords :-

Search Keyword

Is there an EPG available for Pay TV?

At the point in time, IceGuide is not available for Pay TV and the Pay TV stations do not currently provide any EPG data for Windows XP Media Centre Edition 2005.

Are there any other advantages of an EPG?

When an EPG is hand compiled, such as IceTV's IceGuide, there is an additional huge advantage in the EPG. Should a TV program move to another time spot, the EPG will know this and still record your TV program. That's right, even if the day and/or the time of a TV program changes, the TV program will still record. With an EPG you will never miss another TV program again.

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