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  • 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.

    Any limitations?

    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.

    With all that said though, IceTV (a commercial provider of TV Guide data for PVRs) who previously operated in shady territory, recently won a court battle again Nine regarding this matter.

    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.

    Version history

    • v1.0.0.0 (29/08/2007) - initial release.
    • v1.2.0.0 (2/2/2008) - altered to connect to the new XMLTV cache service with better stability and uptime. Channel list automatially updates as well.
    • v1.2.1.0 (22/05/2008) - minor UI fixes, including displaying channel in flyout and sorted and altered presentation of channel list in settings.
    • v1.2.2.0 (12/06/2008) - changed data source server to the more reliable one at http://www.oztivo.net/xmltv/. Resolves any 'invalid character' errors.



thank you so much!

its been so hard to find an aussie tv guide gadget for vista.

awesome site too! its really sleek and classy.

well done :D

Posted by tim, 10th September 2007 8:11 PM

No probs Tim.

Yeh, I didn't submit it to the Windows Live Gallery, where all the Vista gadgets typically reside, because the data source was a bit flaky (going through server changes). When it becomes a bit more solid (already seems that way), I'll submit it there to make it easier to find for everyone.

Posted by [edgylogic] Sam, 12th September 2007 1:02 PM

Hey GREAT work on this gadget.  I've always needed something like this, got tired for searchin web sites.


Posted by Alex, 23rd September 2007 4:15 PM

Just noticed the gadgets not working it says "the system cannot locate the resource specified" when trying to load a channel.  Is there something i'm doing wrong?

Posted by Johny, 25th September 2007 5:26 PM

Just noticed the gadgets not working it says "the system cannot locate the resource specified" when trying to load a channel.  Is there something i'm doing wrong?

Posted by Johny, 25th September 2007 5:27 PM

Sorry for not responding sooner - been a busy few days.




No you're not doing anything wrong - that message is Windows' way of saying, 'I can't contact the server with the data.'

Judging by when you posted the comment, that was when the guys who maintain the data were doing maintenance on the servers. It should be ok from now on hopefully.

Although do note that occasionally you may get such a message, or that no data is available - it maybe because the server was re-generating the data at that time, or the gadget missed the random time allocated for downloading. Just click retry a few minutes later and all should be fine.

If it occurs for more than a few days and clicking the retry link doesn't work, let me know here or email me.

Posted by [edgylogic] Sam, 1st October 2007 6:30 PM

It doesn't seem like this Gadget works anymore? Perhaps it needs updating or soemthing? It failes to retreive new channel information and also my channel listing says that no data is available.

Posted by Dexterian, 3rd February 2008 3:55 PM

Woah, didn't realise I made so many spelling errors =/

*It doesn't seem like this Gadget works anymore? Perhaps it needs updating or something? It fails to retrieve new channel information and also my channel listing says that no data is available.

Posted by Dexterian, 3rd February 2008 3:56 PM

the updated version ( appears to work well. thank you :)

Posted by Jayson, 3rd February 2008 6:16 PM


It's still not perfect, but I'm finding it more reliable than the previous version. The data source only just started the new system, so there were some issues, but I think most of them have been ironed out now. Give it another try now, and let me know how it goes.

Posted by [edgylogic] Sam, 10th February 2008 7:11 PM

Yeah for some reason it's still not working. I'm trying to get the NSW Free to Air channels... haven't tried any others...

Posted by Dexterian, 14th February 2008 7:00 PM

Now coming up with "The system cannot locate the resource specified"

Posted by Ricardo, 22nd February 2008 6:45 PM

yeh it still doesnt seem to work for the NSW seven, nine ,  ten channels... mind u thats all i have in the list ...

comes up with a different error to the above

" the download of the specified resource has failed "

Posted by Reza, 27th February 2008 4:23 PM

As Reza says - not working in Qld either. Same error message.  Otherwise this looks great!

Posted by Ghoulie, 27th February 2008 8:22 PM

Hey guys,

Are you guys using the new version? In the gadget settings, click the About tab and check if it's version If not, download it from above.

As of Feb 28, the bandwidth available on the server has increased to 15GB per month, and the older more bandwidth-intensive service will be shut down in April, so hopefully things will only get better from here on.

Thanks for sticking with this - it's been annoying, but unfortunately there aren't any alternative free sources of data available that I know of.

Posted by [edgylogic] Sam, 3rd March 2008 11:31 PM

It's been working for 2-3 days. Looks like the server is back up.

Thanks Sam.

Posted by Ricardo, 3rd March 2008 11:53 PM

Yep - working a treat now.  Thanks Sam!

Posted by Ghoulie, 4th March 2008 11:05 PM

It's not working again. It says "An invalid character was found in text content".

Can the tv programmes be pulled from ebroadcast instead?

Posted by Ricardo, 5th March 2008 6:18 PM


That's probably an issue with the production of the XML files - the guys coding that generally use the tivo version of the guide, which have different requirements.

Next time you get an error like that, let me know the channel and the date, and I'll follow it up with them.

Pulling from ebroadcast involves screen scraping, which is inefficient and even more prone to breaking. If you take a look at the html of ebroadcast, you'd notice that they've encrypted their data too to stop screen scraping - part of HWW's rules for selling the official data to them.

Posted by [edgylogic] Sam, 12th March 2008 5:28 PM

Hi i am having trouble with the gadget it keeps saying The system cannot locate the resource specified?When i try and get a listing for the channels.

Posted by Justin, 13th March 2008 5:29 PM


Can you let me know what channels are giving that error? Also make sure you're using version (gadget settings -> about tab), and that the data source override is blank (gadget settings -> data source tab).

Posted by [edgylogic] Sam, 20th March 2008 9:18 AM

for me its Seven-SA, Nine-SA,


Posted by rus, 22nd March 2008 10:22 PM


Try again now. They had some issues over the weekend as one of their data source grabbers failed. I can see the data for the channels you listed is available, so it should work.

Posted by [edgylogic] Sam, 24th March 2008 4:55 PM

Great gadget.

just downloaded but having same problem sam did. All channels coming up with The system cannot locate the resource specified.

Posted by Cam, 25th March 2008 11:08 PM

Can you please add support for internet connections through authenticated proxies.

Posted by Beorn, 27th March 2008 8:00 PM

Everyone having data issues - see the new section on this page, titled 'Alternate server settings'.


I was under the impression a username/password dialog pops up whenever the gadget tries to access the net and needs proxy authentication. I don't have such a connection to test with though. I can add proxy authentication code to it, but the password will not be encrypted when stored in the gadget settings file.

I feel sorry for you - proxy authentication is one of those things nearly no one implements and surprisingly, there's very little integrated OS support for them. No chance you can bypass it somehow?

Posted by [edgylogic] Sam, 28th March 2008 1:51 AM

I live at college and run internet through a ssh tunnel of the IT proxy server it would be good to be able to redirect requests without having to change the proxy settings for every program.

Posted by Beorn, 28th March 2008 2:11 PM

Hey man... The thingy dosnt work any more ay. told me something about they were shutting the xml thingo down. So ur gaget hell downloads nothing and stays on processing constantly. I dunno how hard it would be to fix it but if could that would be sick, coz I use it all the time, its an awesome idea.

Posted by adam, 2nd April 2008 11:05 PM


Just wondering if you can create a widget out of this that can be used on something like iGoogle, Netvibes or Pageflakes?

Would be a HUGE thing if you can. I have seen US versions out there, but there is nothing for Australia.



Posted by Brandon, 14th April 2008 6:32 PM


Download the new version, v1.2.0.0 (see above). It's been changed to use the source's new way of getting data. It should work out of the box.


Any links that can provide examples (without signing up)? But to be honest, I'm not a big fan of web portal pages - just never found them that useful. I do know that Yahoo7's portal does have a TV guide gadget for Australia however, both for the Yahoo Widget Engine, as well as My Yahoo!.

Posted by [edgylogic] Sam, 19th April 2008 8:21 PM

I'm using that minnie.tuhs.org/xmltv, but all the channels get "The system cannot locate the object specified"

I've downloaded the new version though, and i can log on normally.

Mabye its because now, you have to click a box to log in?

Posted by Rhyguy, 23rd April 2008 9:30 PM


See the latest UPDATE notice at the top of the page. In short, we have to go back to the cache servers because of the password security. Alternatively, you can register for an account there, to get a password. Instructions at top of the page.

Posted by [edgylogic] Sam, 29th April 2008 6:59 PM

excellent gadget, i must say it is harder 2 install these gadgets if ur not using vista tho, i am using the ported sidebar. but it works just aswell. Bcos im for ever missing tv shows as im at my comp playing games it makes this very useful. thankyou alky project, thankyou tv guide gadget, lol

Posted by Duncan, 13th May 2008 10:14 PM

Nice gadget!

One thing - if you're focussing on useability - sort the channels in alphabetical order when adding channels.  With a lot of channels there, I have to filter manually.  Too hard.

Posted by Pete, 18th May 2008 9:18 AM


I feel your pain, and it's definitely on the todo list. There also needs be some kind of separator between each channel, because it's a bit confusing where each channel name starts and stops, especially for channels with long names that wrap.

There should be a new release soon-ish with that and some other minor UI fixes.

Cheers for the feedback :)

Posted by [edgylogic] Sam, 22nd May 2008 9:56 AM

I like the way you have organised it into stations and alphabetically.

Posted by Duncan, 4th June 2008 12:58 AM

I like the way you have organised it according to station and alphabetically.

Posted by Duncan, 4th June 2008 1:00 AM

I like the way you have ordered them in order of station and alphabetically.

Posted by Duncan, 4th June 2008 1:02 AM

I'm a n00b, I shoulda know it'd take sometime to upload my comment.

Posted by Duncan, 4th June 2008 3:57 AM

I've just downloaded the latest version, and despite trying the alternate server as per the instructions on this website I am still recieving "An invalid character was found in text content" messages for every channel I have an oztivo password - where am I supposed to type it?

Posted by Daniel, 9th June 2008 12:42 AM


Try it again with the new version I just uploaded. There was an issue as the data source was upgrading their servers and the settings got lost somewhere in between.

Posted by [edgylogic] Sam, 12th June 2008 6:46 PM

Downloaded latest version, but still receiving "An invalid character was found in text content".

Posted by MadCow, 16th June 2008 6:59 PM


Can you go into the gadget settings, the About tab and confirm it is v1.2.2.0? Also make sure in the data source tab, the override box at the bottom is blank.

Otherwise post back and let me know which channels you have that have that error.

Posted by [edgylogic] Sam, 19th June 2008 1:58 PM

Hi mate, I'm getting

"An invalid character was found in text content"

Using version

Posted by Kvad, 12th August 2008 9:42 PM


Sorry for the late reply. Can you tell me what channel that is for, and when the problem last occurred?

Posted by [edgylogic] Sam, 21st August 2008 1:02 AM

All Melbourne channels - Still having the problem atm. I've never had the program working - have just had that error.

Posted by Kvad, 21st August 2008 12:06 PM

hey sam, getting the same errors as Kvad.

"An invalid character was found in text content."

on channels abc, abc2, sbs, sevenHD, ten, tenHD in sydney.

only seven-syd and nine-syd seem to be working.

i'm using v1.2.2.0

Posted by who0sh, 28th August 2008 8:12 PM

Kvad, who0sh:

Can you give me the exact channel IDs as they appear in settings panel?

I can't replicate the issue with any of the channels you named - I've got most of the Melbourne channels + some Foxtel channels in and haven't had an issue (ABC-Vic, ABC2, Seven-Mel, Nine-Mel, Ten-Vic, TenHD, SBS-Vic, SBSWN, 31-Mel, FOX8, FOX8+2,  ARNA, ARNA+2, DISC, NGEO, V), and I just tried some of the Sydney channels, and have no issues either.

Can you make sure that in the Settings panel, in the Data Source tab, that the data source override box is empty?

The *implicit* data source is located at http://www.oztivo.net/xmltv/

Can you go there, see if you can find the channels that are generating the error (the filenames are CHANNELID_YEAR-MONTH-DAY.xml.gz), and click on a link for one of the days available. If you don't get XML data, let me know what you get, and any error message.

Posted by [edgylogic] Sam, 3rd September 2008 11:43 PM

Channel IDs in settings. There's a lot but heres two (let me know if its not enough)-

The updated list could not be downloaded.



Data server override box is empty.

I get XML data fine from that URL.

Posted by Kvad, 10th September 2008 9:38 PM

Weird. I forgot to add that you should try adding the XML data from http://www.oztivo.net/xmltv/ using Internet Explorer.

Are you behind any proxy servers (Control Panel > Internet Options > Connections tab > LAN Settings)?

Seems like the gadget is getting something other than the XML back, possibly an HTTP error message.

Posted by [edgylogic] Sam, 15th September 2008 9:42 PM

Strange its working now - just did a Windows Update.

FYI - wasn't behind a proxy - downloads worked in ie7.


Posted by Kvad, 22nd September 2008 11:38 PM


The gadget seems to have stopped working, it tries to get data but then says cannot locate the specific source.

Its only happened in the last 3 days...

Tried re installing, but no luck, any ideas?

Posted by Eddie, 24th September 2008 10:30 PM

I've downloaded the new version and I'm still getting the same message:

"A string literal was expected, but no opening quote character was found."


Posted by MarcK, 25th September 2008 6:38 PM

There was a period last week (22/09 to 28/09) where the DNS settings for the data source servers had expired, hence causing the issue. This was fixed at the end of last week (28/09) and all reports so far tell me it has been working fine this week.

Posted by [edgylogic] Sam, 2nd October 2008 11:45 PM

Hey how does it work?? i don't get it. please help

Posted by Hiba, 16th August 2009 10:18 PM

Hey how does it work?? i don't get it. please help

Posted by Hiba, 16th August 2009 10:18 PM

About a month ago I got a message 'An invalid character was found in text content' and I haven't been able to get rid of it.  I've tried deleting the program and reloading it.


Posted by Shaun, 17th August 2009 11:12 PM

I still use this gadget and find it amazing!

Posted by Michael D, 12th June 2012 7:11 PM

 I just started getting a message 'An invalid character was found in text content'...any solutions?

Posted by dave, 17th August 2014 9:25 AM

Not sure if anyone is checking these comments !

A fantastic TV Guide Gadget, but same here now too,

I am also Getting , " 'An invalid character was found in text content",,,,,please help ??

Posted by Bill, 17th August 2014 7:29 PM

There was a windows update  (KB2976627) 

Uninstall and your Australian TV Guide Gadget will work again.

Posted by Bill, 19th August 2014 4:51 PM

Awesome, that did the trick. Thanks Bill.


Posted by dave, 19th August 2014 6:06 PM

Damn cumulative updates, it looks like this months patch does the same thing with https://support.microsoft.com/kb/2977629

Posted by dave, 11th September 2014 12:30 PM

Broken again :( anyone know which update killed it this time, I can't work it out, I removed the cumaltive IE one

Posted by dave, 10th January 2015 1:28 PM

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