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Adding Multiple Guide Listings to Windows 7 Media Center

Posted here temporarily while thegreenbutton.com undergoes an upgrade.

There are some situations where you would like to manually add more guide listing data to Media Center.  Most notably for those of us who live in Canada near the United States border, it is incredibly useful to add in guide listings that include the broadcast channels that you can receive but are not part of the Canadian antenna guide info.

Step 1a – Easy Instructions for Major Canadian Cities

For those of you who live near major Canadian cities, I’ve prepared a batch file to take care of adding US OTA listings to your media center.  Simply download the zip file (click here), extract the files wherever you like, and run the file “USGuide.bat” with administrator privileges (Right click and select “Run as administrator”).  This will instruct Media Center to add the guide listings for the digital over-the-air channels in the zip code nearest to that city, and add a scheduled task to Windows to download a guide update every morning.  See, I told you that was easy, now you can skip right down to step 2 and assign your guide channels.


Step 1b – Custom Instructions for Other Locales

If you don’t live near a major city, or for whatever reason you want to add some other guide information into Media Center, you’ll need to customize the batch file a bit.  We need to get a key piece of information from Media Center, the guide id, for the guide you wish to add.  To find this, you’ll first need to set up Media Center to work natively in that geography.  Navigate to Tasks, Settings, TV, TV Signal, Set Up TV Signal.  Set up Media Center to use the guide that is most appropriate for your needs (for example, I selected the Rogers Mississauga lineup which has all of the OTA digital channels listed).  Next, navigate to Tasks, Settings, TV, Guide, About Guide Listings and take note of the nine-digit ID number.

Before continuing, you’ll want to get Media Center set up again for your “real” geography.

Now that Media Center is back to normal, we’ll want to instruct Media Center to use the additional guide information that we want.  Because you’ve decided to use a custom location you’ll need to modify the custom MXF file to include the guide ID that you just selected.  In the folder you extracted earlier, navigate into the MXF folder and open the file “CustomGuide.mxf” with notepad.  You’ll notice that in three separate areas I’ve used the Guide ID “189833220”.  Replace that number in all three places with the guide ID that you noted from the “About Guide Listings” page.  Save the file and close notepad.

Assuming that the guide you inserted above is in the same country as your primary Media Center setup, MC will take care of updating the listings every night.  However, if your guide lineup is in a different country (for example, I choose to use guide listings from Buffalo New York) then Media Center will fail when it tries to download on its normal schedule.  We need to add in a scheduled task that will change a registry key fake MC into thinking it’s located in the US, download the listings, then set the registry key back to Canada.  This is all captured in the XMLTask\ImportATSCCustom.xml file, which you can edit pretty quickly using notepad.  Similar to what you did above, replace the number “189833220” with the Guide ID that you noted from the “About Guide Listings” page.  Save the file and close notepad.

Navigate back up a level and run the batch file “USGuide.bat” with administrator privileges (Right click and select “Run as administrator”).  Select option 7 if you’re adding US guide listings (the batch file will set up nightly downloading), option 8 if you’re just adding Canadian listings (we’ll just add the custom lineup to Media Center).


Step 2 – Assign Guide Listings to Channel

Now we want to map any channels that previously had no guide data to the new guide information that we just added to Media Center.

First, navigate to Settings, TV, Guide, Edit Channels.

Select the channel that you want to work with by clicking on the callsign of the station. In this example, we’ll pick some an over-the-air digital antenna channel 5.1.

In the settings page for the channel, click on “Edit Listings”

You’ll now be taken to a list of all the channels that your Media Center is aware of (including the guide data that we just added manually).  This list is organized alphabetically, and you can type in letters to skip to the appropriate point in the list.  Assuming that you’re setting up a digital antenna channel, be sure to select a guide data with HD listings.


If you select a channel that also comes in via some other source (for example you get CBC Toronto on both cable and antenna) you will be presented with the option to merge the guide listings or to copy the listings.  I’d suggest “copy” so that you can manage the ATSC channel independently and take advantage of the HD guide logic for that channel.  Once you’ve selected the correct listings, you’ll now see that the listings are associated with the ATSC channel.  Click Save.

Click on save, and at this point you can keep assigning channels or you may choose to go to the guide and test things out before continuing.  Once you assign guide listings to all of your ATSC channels, you’re done the setup and should be able to enjoy pristine high-definition recordings on your computer and throughout your home on your extenders.



Questions and Answers

I’ve noticed some errors in the mcupdate logs, should I worry?
No.  Due to the nature of this setup, Media Center will try to download US listings daily using the normal update.  Since you’re located in Canada, it will fail and throw an error that the headend ID is invalid.  No worries, that US guide will get updated by another scheduled task at 5am every morning.

Where can I get some help if I’m having trouble?
I’ve set up a forum here at TGB where you can post your questions and I’ll try to help you out. Fair warning – my day job is pretty demanding so it can be a challenge sometimes to keep up with Q&A. I take no offense to you asking multiple times if you haven’t gotten an answer to your question.  Click here for the forum.

  1. Allan
    June 13, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Is there a source to locate specific guide id’s. I am trying to locate the guide id for S7H 5G9

  2. franchiche
    August 13, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    thanks a million man! exactly what I was looking for
    working perfectly

  3. jgrunstra
    August 27, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Is there anyway to get a guide ID number without changing the region in WMC? If I change the region it will erase all of my changes to my current guide (which, thanks to WMC is not updated and I have to manually fix 50% of the channels). My biggest problem is that I am receiving more channels than the online guide listings tell WMC I am, and without manually adding the guide listings I only get “No Data Available” in the TV Guide.This seems to be the only way I can find to manually add guide listings.

  4. stp1200
    August 30, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Any tips on getting guide data for the new TVO channel (went live Aug 18)? BTW, I really appreciate all the MCE resources you have provided over the years. Thanks!

  5. avangi01
    September 7, 2011 at 11:47 am

    the ATSCCanadaBETA work great for Toronto. Can you include TVO? Please with sugar on top (-;

  6. September 12, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Looks like TVO guide info started to automatically appear 11-Sep. Thanks a Ton for whoever made that to happen 🙂

  7. September 24, 2011 at 10:17 am

    Hi! I’m from Montreal area, and since this morning, some local channels seems to no longer have guide data from my WMC7.

    In fact, even the channels disappeared from my WMC7 setup. (namely CFTM-DT 10.1 & CJFP-DT 35.1 .

    Since we were getting EPG info from analog channels, I suppose these channels don’t provide it anymore to “whoever” is feeding the EPG in WMC7.

    When I try to re-scan my channels, it correctly discover ATSC signals, but said that there’s no EPG info for this in my region.

    Any ideas ? Whitout guide, I can’t record anything.

    Thanks in advance, I’ll try some things in the meantime… But I’m hopeless…

  8. Pierre
    February 11, 2012 at 8:34 am

    thanks, I tried this but it doesnt work for me in Toronto. I get an error that guide data is not available for my location. I checked in the event viewer and get the following error when I try to run the guide update task that you have setup

    7:16:07 AM – Failed to retrieve EpgListings (Error: HeadendId 189852674 is invalid.)

    at this point I have resorted to using a buffalo zip code (but this means I dont get any guide data for Toronto stations.


  9. Mike
    July 22, 2014 at 10:28 am

    Hey, Peter – sorry to revive a very old topic, but… Any chance this method would work for Vista? I’m in Toronto, using Vista Media Center with the Youngstown, NY zip code, but I’m missing a handful of channels from Rochester that I pick up on a regular basis. I feel like I’ve tried everything, but I can’t get them into my Media Center guide. Any tips???

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