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XMLTV is the name of a system which obtains and processes program guide information. If you are in North America you can use the Schedules Direct grabber which now supports XMLTV format as well as the old Data Direct format. Using the XMLTV format with Schedules Direct gets you more days of data than the old Data Direct option. All users in the USA and other countries need to install and configure XMLTV in order to obtain program guide listings.


Install the xmltv package on your master backend server, using your distribution's package manager or package downloaded from XMLTV.

The ubuntu packages may have an out of date version of xmltv. You may be able to get a later version as follows:

Add to /etc/apt/sources.list:

deb http://ftp.us.debian.org/debian sid main 

Run sudo apt-get update and install xmltv. After installing it, remove that entry from /etc/apt/sources.list.

Info on XMLTV is here: http://xmltv.org/wiki/. There are other download options described there, including a nightly snapshot.

The package consists of perl programs. They do not need to be compiled, so if you have installed the package you can download the nightly snapshot and overwrite any out of date member with the new one. A better approach may be to add any new or updated grabbers to a separate directory, which you place on the PATH before /usr/bin. All of the programs in the package are named starting with tv_ and the system will find them as long as they are on the PATH.


Configuration of XMLTV must be done on the system where mythfilldatabase will be run. Normally that will be your primary backend machine, but you can run it in other places if you prefer.

MythTV Setup

XMLTV can be configured through the Video Sources Setup page in mythtv-setup. depending on the grabber, it will prompt for any information it requires. If it comes down to selecting channels one at a time manually that can be a challenge if there are many channels.

Some grabbers may not be able to be fully configured through the MythTV setup interface.

Logon or su to the user id that will run mythfilldatabase. In the case of mythbuntu installation that is user id mythtv. Run mythtv-setup from that user id. If you do not want to logon to that id or you cannot, you can run the mythtv-setup from another id on the same backend. After completing setup, copy or link the contents of the $HOME/.xmltv directory to the mythtv home directory. Also copy or link the $HOME/.mythtv/XXXX.xmltv files to the mythtv home directory. If copying or linking the files please make sure that the files and directories are read-write permitted by the mythtv user id.

Command Line Setup

Additional configuration can be done from the command line. As long as you have selected your xmltv grabber in MythTV Setup you can perform some or all configuration via the command line.

Logon to the user that will run mythfilldatabase (normally mythtv). As with mythtv setup if you cannot or will not, you can use any user id and then copy or link directories and files as described above.

List Grabbers


This gives a listing of grabbers, corresponding to the list you see in MythTV Setup. here is a small sample:

/usr/bin/tv_grab_sd_json|Schedules Direct JSON API
/usr/bin/tv_grab_es_laguiatv|Spain (laguiatv.com)
/usr/bin/tv_grab_se_swedb|Sweden (swedb/tvsajten)
/usr/bin/tv_grab_combiner|Combine data from several other grabbers
/opt/mythtv/bin/tv_grab_zz_sdjson_sqlite|Multinational (Schedules Direct JSON web services with SQLite DB)

Find in the list the grabber you selected in MythTV Setup, and get the name of the executable from the beginning of the line. Find out information about it with the --info option.

tv_grab_sd_json --info

That will give information on the usage of that grabber. Most options will be common to all grabbers. To use the --info option you need the perldoc package installed.

Run the configuration

This is the same process that is run from MythTV Setup when you use the configure button in Video Source Setup.

tv_grab_xx_xxxxxx --configure --config-file $HOME/.mythtv/YYYY.xmltv

Use the name of the selected grabber. The value YYYY in the configuration file name corresponds to the Video Source Name. Use your video source name here. If your video source name includes spaces put quotes around it.

The grabber will prompt you required information. If your lineup includes a large number of channels and you do not subscribe to all of them, some grabbers will allow you to select the desired channels.

You should not include channels in your xmltv config which are not required. This places an unnecessarily high load on both the source websites and your own system.

Schedules Direct Setup

Schedules Direct now supports two formats, Data Direct and XMLTV. In the USA the XMLTV format provides 20 days of data while the Data Direct format provides 13 days of data. Here are detailed steps for setting up to use the XMLTV format.

Schedules Direct Grabbers

There are two grabbers for schedules direct. If you want to use Schedules Direct with XMLTV you should obtain the latest version, since there have been recent changes. Download the latest nightly snapshot, extract these two files and make sure they are in a directory on the path, ahead of /usr/bin, or else put them in /usr/bin:


Run tv_find_grabbers and you should see these included in the list.

/usr/bin/tv_grab_sd_json|Schedules Direct JSON API
/usr/bin/tv_grab_zz_sdjson_sqlite|Multinational (Schedules Direct JSON web services with SQLite DB)

You will need to pick one of these. The tv_grab_zz_sdjson_sqlite has more options and needs some command line setup that cannot be done from the mythtv-setup program. Both of them cache data in a cache file or sqllite database. This allows them to download a minimal amount of data when running. Only changes since the previous download are downloaded.

Setup with tv_grab_zz_sdjson_sqlite

Run MythTV Setup and select Multinational (Schedules Direct JSON web services with SQLite DB) for your listings source.

From the command line

tv_grab_zz_sdjson_sqlite --manage-lineups --config-file $HOME/.mythtv/SD.xmltv

Replace SD with the name of the source you had set up in MythTV Setup.

  • Enter your Schedules Direct user and password when prompted.
  • Select option 4 Initialize/update the local database.
  • Accept the default database name.
  • Accept the password hash question.
  • Add or delete lineups using the prompts.

Do not go into channel selection yet. Run this:

tv_grab_zz_sdjson_sqlite --configure --config-file $HOME/.mythtv/SD.xmltv
  • Supply the database name you selected above.
  • Accept defaults for the prompted questions.

Run these:

tv_grab_zz_sdjson_sqlite --days 0 --config-file $HOME/.mythtv/SD.xmltv
tv_grab_zz_sdjson_sqlite --manage-lineups --config-file $HOME/.mythtv/SD.xmltv
  • If you get all channels in the lineup, then select the options that will make current and future channels selected.
  • If you only get a few of the channels you will need to select the appropriate channels. Select a default for existing and future channels, then use option 5 to select which channels you need. This goes though all channels one at a time. You have to complete this for every channel in the list. You cannot stop partway through.
  • If you need to do the channel selection again because of errors or channel changes, your previous values are remembered and used as defaults.

Channel selection shortcut

The channel selection process with tv_grab_zz_sdjson_sqlite is tedious and error prone. An alternative method is as follows. First configure the grabber to select no channels. Install the perl database shell utility. I recommend you install this on one user id as a private library, and preferably do not use the mythtv user id.

cpan App::cpanminus
cpanm DBI::Shell

List the tables in the sqllite database. If you did not use the default database name, enter the one that you used. You may have to specify your database name with /home/mythtv instead of $HOME. In that case first make sure the file is writeable by your login user id.

dbish dbi:SQLite:$HOME/.xmltv/SchedulesDirect.DB 
SELECT name FROM sqlite_master WHERE type='table';

List the channels.

dbish dbi:SQLite:$HOME/.xmltv/SchedulesDirect.DB 
select * from channels;

You can copy the results from the screen, or pipe the results to a file. The value for selected is 0 if unselected or 1 if selected. Edit the file and produce an xml file like this to set the ones you want to select:

update channels set selected = 1 where channum = 2;
update channels set selected = 1 where channum = 3;
update channels set selected = 1 where channum = 983;
update channels set selected = 1 where channum = 986;

Update them with a command like this:

dbish dbi:SQLite:$HOME/.xmltv/SchedulesDirect.DB < selected.sql

Setup with tv_grab_sd_json

Run MythTV Setup and select Schedules Direct JSON API for your listings source.

You can complete the setup using the Configure button in MythTV Setup. If you prefer to use the command line, run

tv_grab_zz_sdjson_sqlite --configure --config-file $HOME/.mythtv/SD.xmltv

Replace SD with the name of the source you had set up in MythTV Setup.

  • Enter your Schedules Direct user and password when prompted.
  • For channel id format you can select any of the supplied options. Option 0 is the same format as used by tv_grab_zz_sdjson_sqlite. Option 2 is the format used by Schedules Direct Data Direct.
  • Follow the prompts to complete setup.
  • When selecting channels the selection process allows you to skip remaining channels in the list and mark them all as yes or no.
  • If you need to do the channel selection again because of errors or channel changes, your previous values are lost. You have to do the entire selection again.

Channel selection shortcut

The channel selection process with tv_grab_sd_json is tedious and error prone. An alternative method is as follows. First configure the grabber to select all channels. Edit the file $HOME/.mythtv/SD.xmltv. Replace SD with the name of the source you had set up in MythTV Setup. You will see a bunch of lines like this.


When a channel is selected it has =, when unselected it has !. You need to set the channels you want to use = and the others to !.

Get a list of channels by running

tv_grab_sd_json --days 0 --config-file $HOME/.mythtv/SD.xmltv > list.xml

Although this requests 0 days it actually produces 1 day of programs. At the start of the file before the programs is the channel listing. Delete the program schedules and keep the channel listing at the top of the file. The channel id and display names identify each channel by its XMLTV id and the number and name. Note that the channel id in this file may have extra characters appended depending on the format you chose during configure. For purpose of the configuration file you only need the 5 numeric digit of the channel id. Using your favorite editor and your provider's channel list update the channel lines in the configuration file to have = for ones you want and ! for ones you do not.

List of Grabbers

Important.png Note: Not all grabbers on this page are XMLTV compliant. Only fully compliant grabbers are supported by MythTV and we advise against the use of the rest.

If you know a grabber listed here does not conform entirely to both the xmltv grabber specifications (XMLTV grabber spec) and XMLTV xml format (XMLTV Format) then please mark it as unsupported. If in doubt XMLTV provide a script to validate a grabber (XMLTV Validator)

There is also a list on the XMLTV wiki.

EPG Collector

EPG Collector is a .NET/Mono program for collecting the transmitted guide data from DVB or ATSC streams in various formats and creating an XMLTV file.


Schedules Direct supports countries in North America, South America, Caribbean and Europe for $25 (US) per year. For a list of supported countries see http://schedulesdirect.org/regions. See #Schedules_Direct_Setup above


Refer to Australian TV Listings for further details.

  1. OzTivo Guide (Free, requires registration)
  2. http://www.icetv.com.au (AU$99 per year subscription)
  3. Shepherd (Free: hybrid multi source)

See also this (largely historical) list of Australian grabbers.


The following is a list of grabbers for Belgium. It is presented only for historical purposes, because at the time of writing this (January 2011) none of them work.

  1. https://launchpad.net/belguide
  2. http://users.skynet.be/jxmltv
  3. http://pytvgrab.sourceforge.net/


There are a working grabber, tv_grab_br_net a perl scripts (or any other Linux native solutions) for Brazilian TV programming. This grabber get data from Net [1] cable TV. No open to air TV on this source, just paid tv programme. It is detected by mythtvsetup and you are prompted (on background windows) to make your choice about your city, line-up and channels. It provide both, simple and complete description for programs.

Other functional alternative is to use TVxb, which isn't open source or even Linux, but works well with wine (at least as far as version 1.0085).

TVxb is configurable for different countries via ini-files. Check the following page for Brazilian templates. As of today, there are some for NET (PR), and others for TVA as well.


For information on how to set it up with MythTV, check out TVxb.


The grabber in the official XMLTV distribution works correctly. More information is available on http://www.gonix.net/.

Czech Republic

The XMLTV grabber for "Hungary/Romania" was extended to the Czech Republic.

Another way to get TV listings in Czech Republic is TVxb.

Not public XMLTV file for czech and slovak channels (UPC channels included) can be send after request to rfordinal.


In Denmark there is a group maintaining several grabbers. This group has created the following:

Currently three grabbers are maintained:

  • DR 2012 grabber written in perl (dr.dk)
  • An additional written in python (yousee.dk)
  • An universal grabber combining data from mutiple sources (tvtid.tv2.dk, yousee.dk, tv-guiden.dk, jubii.dk, ontv.dk, ahot.dk, dr.dk and swedb)


The grabbers in the official XMLTV distribution work correctly. Alternate source: http://xmltv.se


The grabber in the upcoming XMLTV release works correctly. More information is available on [2].


  1. epgData offers data on a subscription basis, the grabber from the main xmltv distribution works.
  2. XMLTV.se offers many of the main channels for personal use, the grabber from the main xmltv distribution works.
  3. Some channels are available via Egon Zappt in the upcoming release of xmltv.
  4. TV Movie can not give out their data without additional license, see Ben Bucksch's log.


Try this link for Nova Greece: http://sgcpm.com/epg/devilcosta.gz, for example using mythfilldatabase. (Be aware that its just a dump of DVB-EIT using the service_id as channel_id which is not proper xmltv. Please consider writing a proper grabber for the file so it can be configured via the GUI or simply provide a proper guide feed with tools like NonameTV.)


The grabber for What's-On-India has been added to the official XMLTV distribution.

An XMLTV grabber for all channels in India can be found at http://ravihtpc.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/india-epg-data-for-mythtv-xmltv-listings-grabber/.


The grabber in the official XMLTV distribution works correctly.

Hong Kong

First thanks to http://www.akbkhome.com/blog.php/View/119/Mythtv_xmltv_importer_for_HK.html.

I modify his source code to get information from TVB new web site.

   download Tv.php http://mythtv-xmltvhk.googlecode.com/files/Tv.php
   download hongkong.ini http://mythtv-xmltvhk.googlecode.com/files/hongkong.ini
   build xml from tvb, atv website using following command, just entry 
          php ./Tv.php hongkong.ini > hongkong.xml
   using 'myfilldatabase' to update mythtv schedule program, just entry
          mythfilldatabase --file 1 hongkong.xml
   (* it is my first development on php, so it may be simplified *)

[Last Update by hwkit (17/04/2010)]

Since TVB web site is changed, the program need to be updated. (My php skill is poor, so there are error when running, however it also can get schedule from TVB web site), I also change the program name called 'xmltvhk.php'. Please download it from google.

   download xmltvhk.php and copy it to /etc/xmltvhk (http://mythtv-xmltvhk.googlecode.com/files/xmltvhk.php)
   download updated hongkong.ini and copy it to /etc/xmltvhk (http://mythtv-xmltvhk.googlecode.com/files/hongkong.ini)
   download filltv  and copy it to /etc/cron.weekly (make it executable (chmod +x /etc/cron.weekly/filltv) (http://mythtv-xmltvhk.googlecode.com/files/filltv)
   Source code 
   svn checkout http://mythtv-xmltvhk.googlecode.com/svn/trunk/ mythtv-xmltvhk-read-only

[Last Update by hwkit (07/07/2010)]


Netherlands (Holland) specific info can be found here: Netherlands

New Zealand

Sky TV threatened legal action to get the xmltv grabber for NZ taken down. You can still receive the transmitted guide in MHEG5 with tools like EPG Collector.


The grabber in the official XMLTV distribution works correctly. Another source of info: http://xmltv.se


The XMLTV grabber for "Hungary/Romania" was extended to Slovakia.

South Africa

See the South Africa MUG WIKI page for details.


Both grabbers in the official XMLTV distribution work correctly.


The grabber in the official XMLTV distribution works correctly. More information is available on http://xmltv.se.


The grabber in the official XMLTV distribution works correctly.

United Kingdom

The grabbers in the official XMLTV distribution work correctly. A brief guide to configuring tv_grab_uk_rt is available, and one for Metabroadcast Atlas.

Ukraine, Russia, Belarus

  1. tv_grab_ru Converts JTV-formatted archive with about 200 channels to XMLTV. But this application does not show additional info about programmes.
  2. tv_grab_ua Downloads XMLTV-formatted data from sites like teleguide, izbushka or star.poltava.ua. In addition it parses existing data and adds category/rating/credits into output XMLTV file.
  3. teleguide.info XMLTV-formatted zip archive with programmes inside.