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making things with atlas: adam sutton and pyepg
As avid followers of our global audio and video index Atlas will know, one of the great things it does is provide programme data to the UK XMLTV community. This is a diverse group of several thousand tv hackers and fans that use the data we provide to run PVRs of many types as well as in their other experiments.
One thing that caught my eye recently was the work being done by Adam Sutton, who’s been working to better integrate software that traditionally uses XMLTV with all of the great series linking and other rich metadata in Atlas.
His first project, PyEPG, provides an XMLTV-inspired feed extended with the richer data available in Atlas. PyEPG is open source and Adam describes his motivation for the project as follows:
I’ve recently been introduced to the world of DVB. I decided to replace my Sky subscription with a home brew DVB solution, due to a) I never watch anything but the FTA channels and b) XBMC finally got proper PVR support. I’ve subsequently started doing lots of work on handling EPG data and improving the capabilities within tvheadend (my DVB backend of choice).
I managed to get a script working that would grab from Atlas and output in XMLTV compatible format, however I found this quite limiting as much of the really useful information (about the underlying structure, links etc..) was lost. So I added some additional fields which I imaginatively called eXMLTV :) And at the same time I created my own XML format that was completely different and allowed me to properly replicate the more structured data.
He adds that this support for more structured data in tvheadend "allows more complex tasks to be easily achieved".
Originally a proof of concept, Adam plans to continue to develop PyEPG as a source for DVB software such as his preferred tvheadend. He’s currently working on improving other aspects of his home DVB setup, using the same basic model as PyEPG, and is looking forward to the improvements planned for Atlas as we move toward Atlas Deer and the new 4.0 API.
But his big hope is that broadcasters will continue efforts to make their data more open. By allowing people like Adam to build things on top of clear, open APIs like Atlas, broadcasters can help enable a clear path to innovation in tv and radio—and that’s good for us all.