Australian TV Guide Vista Gadget
UPDATE (12/06/2008): Released new version - changed to a more reliable data source; should resolve any 'invalid character' errors.
UPDATE (03/06/2008): The data source has undergone a server upgrade. Fingers crossed it will be more reliable. No changes are required on our end, although there is a new alternate server. See the download section for more details. Also cleaned up page of irrelevant details.
UPDATE (22/05/2008): Fixed minor UI issues; see version history for details.
What is this?
Running Windows Vista? Know that thing on the right side with seemingly random bits of info on it? Well download this, and you can get some information worth know on there, namely, the Australian TV Guide! Compatible with a wide range of FTA and PayTV channels, it shows the current show and the next show for the channels selected. You can even browse the schedule for a particular channel for today. You even get nice episode data, show descriptions, ratings and more for each show.
Why did you build this?
I used to use the Yahoo! Widget Engine with the IceTV widget (excellent btw), but after changing to Vista and realising that the Vista Sidebar uses less resources, I got rid of the Yahoo! Widget Engine. I'm been able to replace most of the ones I had (which weren't that many anyway), but a TV guide was the glaring exception.
The main limitation is that only the data for today is available from the gadget - to see tomorrow's guide, log on to one of the many TV guide websites out there. It is a gadget after all - I didn't want to load too much data into it to avoid taking up massive amounts of memory.
What goes on behind the scenes?
Well once you specify the channels you want, it will go out and download today's data, process it, and show the data, updating every minute. Between 6PM and 12AM, it will commence downloading tomorrow's data at a random time (to ease the load on the data servers). If your computer is not on during the update period, it will simply do it when you next turn your computer on. The data is around 30KB per channel per day, so it shouldn't make much of an impact.
Where does the data come from?
The data for this gadget comes from the Australian Community-driven TV Guide (thanks guys for thumbs up). Originally designed to provide access to an up-to-date Australian EPG to Australian PVR users, it relies on a community of users to create and upload guide data to the Guide's database, which is then hand-edited via a web interface to correct any mistakes.
The data is covered by the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license.
Join in the effort by following the links at http://www.oztivo.net/twiki/bin/view/TVGuide/HowToHelpUs.
Why do we need a community-driven one? Because the crappy Australian FTA and PayTV channels refuse to make their scheduling information public, even if only for PVR use, in fear that they'll lose their advertising income as viewers fast-forward through the ads. That, and Nine+Foxtel have their own PVR solution (Foxtel IQ) and Seven is bringing the Tivo out here.
What does it look like?
Alright, enough talk. Let me download it!
One more thing - when the gadget first loads data, it may seem like it takes ages to process it. This is because the gadget processes the data on a one-minute cycle, so after the data is downloaded, you need to wait until the next minute for it to be processed.
I have received some emails recently on installation issues - make sure the file you downloaded has a file extension of .gadget. If it has an extension of .zip, change it to .gadget. If you don't do this, Windows will not know it is a Sidebar gadget, and instead will open it as a standard zip file, exposing the gadget code instead of installing the gadget. To clarify - you do not need to extract anything to install the gadget.
Any other issues, let me know by leaving a comment here or dropping me an email. Updates will be posted here, and will appear in the settings dialog of the gadget, in the about tab.
Download: Vista Australian TV Guide Gadget
Alternate server settings
Instructions have been removed as they are now irrelevant - the gadget defaults to this server now.
v126.96.36.199 (29/08/2007) - initial release.
v188.8.131.52 (2/2/2008) - altered to connect to the new XMLTV cache service with better stability and uptime. Channel list automatially updates as well.
v184.108.40.206 (22/05/2008) - minor UI fixes, including displaying channel in flyout and sorted and altered presentation of channel list in settings.
- v220.127.116.11 (12/06/2008) - changed data source server to the more reliable one at http://www.oztivo.net/xmltv/. Resolves any 'invalid character' errors.