Using the EPG is one of the functions that can take a little getting used to, though once one is acquainted with its functionality it can greatly ease recording and watching TV.
As described in the previous section, the EPG data currently available is displayed under TV Guide in the TV Menu. Besides viewing the guide and choosing channels, the TV Guide allows you to search EPG data, schedule recordings, add favorites and view additional EPG information available for a specific program. To make use of these functions navigate to TV Guide in the TV Menu and select a channel with EPG data loaded. By default the currently running program will be highlighted. Perform an Alternate Select on the item to see the additional options for this program. Here you will see the following options, depending on the time and date of the program:
- Play: This plays the current item, or rather, switches the corresponding channel if the program is currently running.
- Full Description: This shows any additional information to this program available from the XMLTV source.
- Schedule for Recording: This creates a scheduled recording entry for the item. Note that single tuner models CANNOT view and record a program at the same time.
- Add to Favorites: This creates a favorite entry for the selected item. Favorites are described in detail later on in the manual.
- Search for more of this program: This opens a new dialog with all entries of this program. Here you can decide to add the program to the favorites or select occurrences to record, if the item is repeated in the EPG.
To navigate faster in the TV Guide you can use the CH+ and CH- controls to move up a page or down a page. To move the selection chronologically or counter-chronologically by steps of 1 day you can use the color buttons.
The TV Menu also includes a number of other EPG related functions:
- Browse Categories: This allows you browse all programs available in the EPG data per category. These categories are defined in the XMLTV specifications, thus some categories may be displayed even though no matching programs are available. Note: Not all XMLTV sources define a category for a program, which would render this function obsolete.
- Search Programs: This allows you to enter a term to search for in the EPG data. Note that short search queries are recommended, as the search performs a rough comparison against the guide information. The search results are not filtered by category.
The Composite and S-Video inputs obviously do not have any EPG information loaded, though one can connect an external tuner via the AV inputs on the UMP and load its channels in the TV Guide if an XMLTV source is available. This would mean that scheduled recordings would need to be performed manually, but the TV Guide would include the external channels.
Please note that updating the EPG can take a very long time, depending on the amount of data to retrieve (the application attempts to download the schedule for the next 7 days by default), the number of channels selected, the internet connection speed and the service providers bandwidth. It is NOT recommended to execute the EPG update from the OSD, but rather let it update itself or use the ‘tv_grab’ Helper script under Plugins -> Helpers in the Web Interface.
Although the UMP itself does not make use of a plain text listing for the EPG data, one can generate such a file in the Config folder called ‘epg.txt’ by selecting the ‘epg_text’ helper script under Plugins -> Helpers in the Web Interface. Note that generating this list may take a few minutes and also that the resulting text file only uses ‘LF’, or the linefeed character, to denote the beginning of a new line. Windows based applications, such as Notepad, may not display the file correctly.