Australian TV Listings

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Electronic Service Guide Information

Currently the best source of guide data is the EIT content being broadcast by the Free TV networks over DVB-T.

Free TV Australia Operational Practice OP-44

Implementation Guide for the DVB Event Information Table (EITp/f) provides good with interoperability with MythTV.

The status of the networks compliance is currently as follows: (Information based on Perth data)

Network event_name_char (Title) text_char (Episode) extended_event_descriptor (Description) content_descriptor (Categories)
ABC good contains description, gets truncated sometimes unused good
Seven good contains description, rpt info, closed captions info unused good
Nine good generally ok, contains extra flags (live, rpt, rating) at start, "Movie" if movie, sometimes a (truncated) duplicate of description ok, sometimes contains cast good
Ten ok (live events prefixed with LIVE:) contains description, some programs have just generic series description copyright declaration good
SBS good contains description unused good

Guide Data Copyright In Australia

Australia doesn't have a service like Zap2It to provide TV program guide listings. Over the years, several people have written grabbers to scrape the data from web sites such as Yahoo, Nine-MSN, YourTV etc. These grabbers have frequently stopped working because of efforts from companies such as Nine-MSN to obfuscate the data. Each time, the workaround is trivial, but the continual changes are draining on the volunteers maintaining the grabbers.

It is unknown what purpose these companies have in trying to prevent their TV guides being used by their audience, possibly some misguided sense of copyright.

Background:

Nine loses electronic program guide case

http://www.smh.com.au/news/home-theatre/nine-loses-program-guide-case/2007/08/09/1186530493565.html

Also loses High Court Appeal (22/04/09):

http://www.goodgearguide.com.au/article/300251/icetv_wins_landmark_high_court_decision_versus_nine_network

Free TV networks to broadcast industry electronic program guide

http://www.freetv.com.au/media/News-Media_Release/2007-0304_Free_TV_Networks_to_Broadcast_Industry_Electronic_Program_Guide_141107.pdf

Sources Of Guide Data

There are a number of sources of data available with different grabbers. One list is maintained here.

Also see XMLTV#Australia.

Nine-MSN, Yahoo And Other Site Scrappers

These sites have been the most detailed and accurate source of data but constantly break.

Ice TV

You can purchase the guide data from Ice TV with a AU$3 per week subscription. The #tv_grab_au_reg grabber will work with both IceTV and OzTiVo data sources.

OzTiVo

Alternatively, for those who want guide data for free, there is a source of data which is freely and openly available and designed to be downloaded for PVRs. This is provided by the nice folks at OzTiVo and was originally designed for Aussie owners of TiVo boxes. However, because it outputs guide data in XMLTV format it can also be used by MythTV users. In order to use this you will need to create a free account on their web site first. Users who go this route are requested to follow the tvguide.org.au mailing list to stay on top of any changes to the service and help with corrections. The #tv_grab_au_reg grabber will work with both IceTV and OzTiVo data sources, while #xmlguide.pl will only work for OzTiVo.

EPGStream

http://epgstream.net/ provides a simple source of data (one http request). Mainly designed for MediaCenter users, they also have an xmltv interface. I wrote a script to download the xmltv to a temporary file, then upload it to the database using the mythfilldatabase --file option. It's online here as EPGStreamUpdateTvGuide.

EIT Scanning

As of January 1st 2008 all commercial free to air networks will broadcast EPG data for up to 7 days (No minimum specified). Previously the only broadcasted data was for 'now' and 'next'. Therefore there may not be a need to use any of the grabbers/site scrappers mentioned within this page for free to air TV only.

See this article for more information: Aussie nets agree EPG start,Rapid TV News

Grabbers Of Guide Data

tv_grab_oztivo

Status: Possibly dead (web page no longer loads).

Downloads guide data from OzTiVo

  • uses standard XMLTV grabber script options.
  • re-writing of XMLTV ids.
  • Changing timezones of channels data.
  • Filtering out specific channels.
  • Direct execution of mythfilldatabase on data.
  • Converting OzTiVo categories to DataDirect categories.
  • Setting HDTV flag on HD channels.

Authors site

tv_grab_au_reg

Status: Possibly dead (last updated 2007).

This python script grabs the #Ice TV and #OzTiVo data and does some clever things like:

  • store a username/password in a config file.
  • re-write XMLTV ids (useful if you're switching from a different data source).
  • force the addition of explicit timezones on timestamps (useful for people from some states and pay tv data).
  • filter out specific channels entirely.
  • grab some channel's data from tvguide.org.au and some from IceTV and merge the result into one XMLTV dataset (tvguide.org.au covers more channels than IceTV).
  • gives newbies who are looking for a 'tv_grab_au' script something to get hold of.
  • use standard XMLTV grabber script options.

You can find the script plus some other useful info about Aussie grabbers at William Uther's site tv_grab_au_reg.

Shepherd

Status: Working as of February 2014.

Shepherd aims to solve the traditional problems of tv_grab_au scripts by:

  1. employing multiple TV guide grabbers and data sources and switching between them as necessary; and
  2. auto-updating to eliminate the need for users to manually address grabber breakages

There are details here: [1]http://svn.whuffy.com/wiki

Shepherd also includes the ability to update the channel icons displayed within mythTV. Examples of the icon-sets that can used are shown here.

Please note that during setup, Shepherd offers the option of auto-configuring MythTV on your behalf. Users should be aware that agreeing will cause Shepherd to register itself directly with the MythTV database, which is not XMLTV-compliant behaviour.

TV Icons

Inspired by FrogBoy's most excellent icon set, a number of icons exist for the free2air channels:

An example of FrogBoy's work follows Au-nine.png Au-sbs-hd.png

Icons are available at: