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Thursday, November 22, 2012

How To Get OTA Program Guide Info After The End of TVGOS TV Guide On Screen

 Breaking News:

If you have a TV or device that uses TVGOS (TV Guide On Screen) you are about to lose your program guide. ROVI, the creator of TVGOS, has announced the end of the service.This is a post from AVS forum on the subject:

Originally Posted by RobMeyer1  
I received a reply from KNME:
"Mr. Meyer,
We were instructed by the distributor for TV Guide to disconnect the
equipment which distributes the TV Guide information last week. For more
information, you may contact them as follows:
Call Gemstar/Rovicorp Consumer Electronics Product Support at 800-386-7380.
Email can be sent to
Thank you for writing and thank you for watching New Mexico PBS."
Looks like most of New Mexico will no longer get TV Guide.

I called the above phone #. The engineer I talked to confirmed that TV Guide is being discontinued. Approximately 20% of markets have been terminated as of Nov. 1st and the rest will be discontinued over the next 6 months!
Note that TV Guide itself is not being terminated, just the ROVI provided TVGOS.

Now, what are you going to do if you have a TVGOS device? Too bad a lot of channels don't use their PSIP, or under-use it. PSIP (Program and System Information Protocol ) is the program data transmitted by the TV stations themselves, using a small bit of their bandwidth to provide program listings for free. Some channels populate their guide out several days and include program details (PBS stations usually do it best), but most only go out about 12 hours with no description. The worst stations are the minor players, like LP stations. You're lucky if they display the station name / network, let alone program info.

Funny thing is, most cheap converter boxes have a better program guide than even the most expensive TV sets. (That's why my DTVpal converter is hooked up to my 52" HDTV!) Now, if $50 converter boxes can have a guide, then why not a $1000+ HDTV? It would only add about a dollar or two to the price of a new TV.

A couple work-arounds for no program guide:
  1. Connect a converter box with a decent program guide to your composite input, like I have.
  2. TitanTV, TV Guide's internet listings online, or This requires internet access, and it's not terribly convenient unless you have a computer connected to your TV. I use a cheap Android tablet with one tab on the browser always set on TitanTV. Titan TV has an android app, but it sucks - I prefer the browser version. I keep it next to the couch and use it in the same way people used to use the old paper TV Guide. Don't forget to get an account so you can customize your channel line-up!
  3. Another one that requires internet, and a Roku box. Add the "What's On?" channel and set up your local stations. It's only going to give you whats on now, but its a pretty complete channel selection. It even lists translators.
  4. Subscribe to TV Guide (1-year auto-renewal) [Print + Kindle] for $5 a year. Yes, TV guide is still around. Very old-school!

Of course, none of these options helps you out if you have a DVR that depends on TVGOS. If anyone has any other work-arounds or suggestions for the lack of PSIP or the death of TVGOS, please post.

1 comment:

  1. Horrible day for any ota users without internet access on dvr.


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