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Microsoft is discontinuing guide data for WMC effective January 1

Plan for change: Windows Media Center Electronic Program Guide retiring in January 2020

"Starting in January 2020, Microsoft is retiring its Electronic Program Guide (EPG) service for all versions of Windows Media Center. To continue receiving TV Program Guide information on your Windows Media Center, you’ll need to configure an alternate TV listing provider."

Apparently Microsoft issued warnings starting in Sept., but I missed those since I'm running a modified version of WMC that works on Windows 10. The timing seems to coincide with end-of-life of Windows 7. Windows 8.1 extended support continues until 2023, but those people like myself that paid for Windows 8 Pro to get WMC support and guide data are partially out of luck. I guess Microsoft decided there weren't enough of us to continue maintaining the guide data servers.

I'd like to continue using WMC to record from my antenna, at least for the rest of the broadcast season. I might reevaluate over the summer, now that the attraction of the "free" guide data is gone and Windows 10 integration is a little tricky.

Possible solutions if anyone is interested:

1. EPG123 - The alternate TV program guide provider for WMC
Seems to be widely recommended. Program is free, but requests a donation. Uses Schedules Direct as a source of guide data, which costs $25 U.S./year. Schedules Direct is available for non-commercial software and licences the data form Gracenote (Zap2it.)

2. zap2xml is a command line script that connects to a Zap2it or TVGuide web page to scrape the listings. Program is free, but requests a donation. Data is free, but it's not as efficient as Schedules Direct and is not an authorized use of the web pages. I'm not sure how easily it integrates into WMC.
 

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I switched from using WMC to SageTV about a dozen years ago as Sage supported HD tuners like the Hauppauge HD-PVR and WMC didn't for many years after that. I would suggest taking a look at SageTV. It become Open Source a few years ago and is still somewhat supported. And lots of people are selling used SageTV extenders or you can use AndroidTV devices like the Nvidia Shield as a client. With SageTV you use Schedules Direct as the source.
 

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NextPVR

A year ago I tried to Kodi with NextPVR but couldn't get it to work. Maybe I've been more motivated since the end of WMC. So far, NextPVR + Zap2xml has been a less functional, but satisfactory replacement. It works quite well without the Kodi or another fancy front end.

I think that the WMC hack I'm using has prevented any Win10 updates since my original install of v1703. Or, it could just be a problem with my Dell Studio XPS 8100. Anyways, the Creator's edition is past it's end-of-life support so I want to upgrade the OS which will probably kill the WMC hack.

It bothers me to scrape Zap2It for the EPG. But I am a cheap bastard. Normally, nextPVR updates the guide every night. I setup a separate task to run Zap2xml every 5 days to politely limit the number of requests. Hopefully the sudden influx of WMC orphans doesn't spur then to shutter their service.
 

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Dr. Dave, thanks for the update. I wouldn't have known otherwise. Bummer that they're ending the EPG, as I still really like being able to use WMC on my Windows 10.

I got my install setup from this great site and it's been working fine:

https://www.windowsmediacenter.fr/

It's a French site that has an automated English translation available, but since it's machine-translated it's often a little weird, so it's much better if you can read it in French.

One thing I'm not completely clear about is how to use EPG123. It's free, apparently, but relies on a paid subscription to Schedules Direct? How does that work?

http://epg123.garyan2.net/

In the meantime I'm relegated to using WMC like a VCR of old. I +Add Recording, then select Channel and Time. It does work, though. You just have to know when and on what channel your show is.
 

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I installed the latest Windows 10 release from Microsoft in a new partition and installed the V13 patches and listed workarounds a couple of days ago. WMC works as good as ever, just no guide info.

@morningwood Schedules Direct supplies guide data to dozens of free and open-source programs. The data is licensed from Tribune Media (aka Gracenote/Zap2it) and you set up an account directly with Schedules Direct. 7-day trial, 2 months for $6 or 1 year for $25. You can then use the data in any approved program including EPG123.

The developer (garyan2) of EPG123 also developed a Zap2XML interface, but decided not to release it on ethical grounds. He is, however, working on a generic XMTV program that can feed EPG123. Here are the latest comments.

https://www.thegreenbutton.tv/forums/viewtopic.php?f=96&t=12391&start=220
 

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Well I'll be a monkey's uncle, the Program Guide has been repopulated for another couple of weeks!

But how long will this last?...
 

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I just read on The Green Button that the guide data was working again. I don't know if Microsoft changed their mind about January 2020 or not. Jan. 1 may have been one of the temporary glitches they have from time to time and they still plan to end the service sometime this month as they announced. I'll be keeping at close eye on future guide data to be sure it extends out at least 10 days.

I'm using my old installation of WMC for now, but I'm all set up with a new Windows partition and empty WMC ready for whichever new guide data I choose. I have a shared data drive that holds my recorded programs to make the transition relatively painless.
 

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Just saw that. I resigned in after all these years to keep up on developments and to thank and encourage the developer.
 

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I told WMC to check for new guide data on Saturday and got an extra day on the WMC reported date and the actual guide data, which goes to about 6 PM on Jan. 15. I forced another update first thing this morning and didn't get any more data, so it looks like we only got a temporary reprieve.
 

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That makes perfect sense since WMC was discontinued with Win10. The last version of Windows with WMC was Win8.1 which is what is actually losing support. Win8.0 support was discontinued several years ago. Win7 is the longest supported version of Windows ever due to its popularity and Win8.x being such a dud in the marketplace.
 

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As I mentioned earlier, Windows 8.1 extended support continues until 2023, so the WMC program will be supported until then. Microsoft just won't be supplying guide data. You actually had to pay extra to upgrade to Windows 8 Pro to get the WMC module, so there probably won't be that many "supported" users left.
 

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You are correct about extended support for Win8.1. Support for Win8.0 (aka Win8) ended some time ago. Market share for Win8 stands at 0.69% and Win8.1 at 4.09%. Win7 still holds 32.74% and Win 10 is up to 47.65%. MS would probably gain some supporters by extending Win7 support a bit longer.

Client operating systems - End of mainstream support - End of extended support
Windows 8.1 - January 9, 2018 -January 10, 2023
Windows 7, service pack 1* - January 13, 2015 - January 14, 2020
Haven't tried this but it's an excellent time to. You Can Still Get Windows 10 for Free With a Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 Key. I upgraded my systems to Win10 some time ago.
 

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Looks like I spoke too soon. I just forced another update to see it would fix an error in the time Rovi had a program scheduled. (it did.) The "About Guide" now ends Jan. 20 and my actual data goes to Jan 19 around 5 PM. The weird thing is the on-screen grid stops at Jan. 16 at 7 PM, but the individual channel guide shows all the data. The list of scheduled programs also goes to Jan. 19.
 

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Interesting, I checked before doing a manual program guide update and nothing had changed, but after doing one I got the same results as you. This is turning into a fun nail-biter. :)
 

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2020-01-30 seems like the real end. I am looking for an alternative with zero fee or suscription. Not lucky so far.
 

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Free alternatives I can think of...
NextPVR
Mythtv
TvHeadend
 

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1. The simplest solution is EPG123 - the program is free, but the guide data from Schedules Direct costs $25 U.S./year. The end result is that WMC is even better than the Microsoft guide data. The developer seems to have dropped the idea of a generic XMLTV interface, which would make it totally free.

2. Zap2xml is a free command line script that scrapes Zap2it to create an ZMLTV file containing guide data. You will then need a program to load the data into WMC. Possible alternatives are:
a. EPG Collector - https://sourceforge.net/projects/epgcollector/
b. xmltv-to-mxf - instructions at https://www.thegreenbutton.tv/forums/viewtopic.php?f=96&t=12391&p=134542&hilit=zap2xml#p134542
 

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I read on The Green Button that the Microsoft Rovi Guide data is working again. I have a dual-boot system with an old version of Win 10 and WMC that I've been using for a few years. I booted into that system and forced a data update. It took quite a while, but I eventually got the standard 12 days of guide data from Microsoft.

I had just finished setting up my other partition on Sunday with the latest version of Win 10, WMC, EPG123 and a 7-day trial to Schedules Direct. I'm quite impressed with EPG123 and the better guide data from Schedules Direct, plus while they claim to provide up to 21 days of data, I was able to get 18 days.

So I can choose to run either set of guide data just by rebooting.
 
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