Typecast

Typecast is a new kind of television guide or electronic program guide (EPG). Typecast displays the results of your custom searches so that you can find the shows you care about. Conventional guides display a huge grid of programs arranged by television station or channel number and force you to scroll through it, hoping to find something you might be interested in. Maybe they let you type in the program’s title or even search for a keyword, but even that makes you do all the work of figuring out the title or the correct keyword.

Typecast displays only the television programs that you want to watch. Typecast helps you create custom searches to find what you want—and only what you want—without displaying a lot of programs you don’t care about. You can create searches for your favorite television programs or for programs you don’t even know about yet (e.g., high-definition action comedies with Pierce Brosnan or Charisma Carpenter).

Even if you already have a DVR (I have two Windows Media Centers, two Rokus, and two cable guides), Typecast is a great companion because its search capabilities are more advanced than any DVR or cable provider. Typecast can perform sophisticated searches to find your programs and to double-check your DVR’s upcoming recording schedule.

Typecast can also work with your Windows Media Center and indicate which programs have been recorded and are scheduled to be recorded. With the optional Windows Media Center component, you can check your WMC recording schedule directly in Typecast. You can also use Typecast to instruct WMC to schedule programs to be recorded. (This can replace Ceton’s deprecated My Media Center application.)

Download Typecast (Supports 64- and 32-bit Windows 10 and later)

Download Typecast WMC Server (optional) (Supports 64- and 32-bit Windows 7 and later)

Note: Typecast does not enable you to watch television; it’s a guide to shows you want to watch.

Schedules Direct’s terms of service require software that uses their data to be provided free of charge. In accordance with their TOS, 12noon publishes Typecast for free. (Of course, I happily accept donations, or you can purchase Alarm++ licenses.) 🙂

Programs and Schedules

Typecast displays the results of your custom searches in a single list, sorted by start date/time, title, and high-definition. You can sort the list differently by clicking a column header. Typecast automatically highlights programs that are currently airing (pink) or have already aired (gray).

When you create a search, you specify whether the title is bold, the title color, background color, border color, and images. This can help you quickly locate the results of a search. You can hide a search’s results from the list by clearing its check box.

Typecast’s detail pane displays information about the selected program:

  • title
  • description
  • date and start/end times (including duration)
  • episode title (if applicable)
  • episode description (if available)
  • season and episode numbers (if available)
  • total seasons and episodes (if available)
  • station name, affiliate, and callsign
  • channel number
  • station logo (if available)
  • premiere or finale
  • new or repeat
  • high-definition or standard-definition
  • closed-captioned
  • original air date
  • content rating (for the lineup’s country)
  • movie year and rating
  • genres, advisories, cast members,
  • production crew
  • cover art (if available)

Right-click a program to copy its information to the clipboard, exclude it from a specific search, exclude the program (or just the episode) from all results, or to mark an episode (and all earlier ones) as seen.

If you choose to mark an episode and earlier ones as seen, Typecast updates the search(es) to specify the minimum season and episode that will match. If you change your mind or want to modify them, you can edit the search and make changes as usual.

Listings

Typecast downloads listing data from Schedules Direct. Schedules Direct is an excellent non-profit organization that provides reliable and inexpensive television programming data from Tribune Media Services (Gracenote). Schedules Direct has a rich history of providing quality television listings for personal use.

You need to purchase a subscription from Schedules Direct in order to use Typecast. They offer a free one-week trial, so you can try out Schedules Direct and Typecast to see if they’re useful for you. Schedules Direct offers a low-cost two-month subscription if you want to try it out for a bit longer before getting a full one-year subscription. As of August 2018, these cost USD$6 and USD$25, respectively.

If you already use software that consumes Schedules Direct listings (e.g., MythTV, DigiGuide, EPG123), you don’t need to purchase an additional subscription. You can use your existing Schedules Direct credentials with Typecast. (However, be sure those applications don’t update their listings at the same time because Schedules Direct allows only one authentication token at a time.)

Main Window and Notification Area

Typecast adds an icon to the notification area so that when you close the main window, Typecast doesn’t exit but it does remove its icon from the task bar. If you prefer to keep Typecast on the task bar, you can minimize its window instead.

Use the notification-area icon to display the main window again or to exit Typecast. Single- or double-click the icon to display the window. Right-click the icon to select a command (including Open and Exit) from the menu.

Searches

You can create any number of searches so that the programs you care about get special treatment. Any search you make can be saved to a list of searches. You can edit, delete, and copy searches you’ve created.

You can search on the following properties (and probably more that I’ve forgotten to list):

  • title (can use regular expressions)
  • description (can use regular expressions)
  • episode title (can use regular expressions)
  • episode description (can use regular expressions)
  • new, repeat, premiere , HD, SD, closed-captioned
  • stations
  • minimum season number
  • minimum episode number
  • earliest and latest start date
  • earliest and latest start time
  • earliest and latest original air date
  • content ratings
  • minimum movie rating
  • earliest and latest movie year
  • genres (or exclude genres)
  • advisories (or exclude advisories)
  • cast members (all or any)
  • production crew members (all or any)

Searches can display reminders and send e-mails a certain amount of time before each program starts.

When you exclude a program from All Searches, it will no longer appear in the results of any search. If you change your mind, open the Settings window, select the General tab, and remove the program from the list of excluded programs.

If you exclude a program or episode from a search and change your mind, you can edit the search, select the Excluded tab, and remove program or episode from the appropriate list.

Your searches are stored in the Typecast.xml file saved in your Documents\Typecast\ folder (or whatever folder you specify in the Settings window on the General tab) so you can back it up or copy it to a new computer.

Actions: Reminders and E-mail

For each search that you create, you can customize how it’s displayed in the list, including bold title, title color, background color, border color, and an image. (You can specify any image, but it’ll be limited to 16×16.)

Typecast doesn’t come with any pre-installed images because there are so many available free of charge. For example, you can download a package of hundreds of free icons from FatCow.com. (When you unzip the file, copy the 16×16 images to a folder you will use with Typecast.)

You can also specify actions to occur a specified time before a matching program starts:

  • Reminder
  • E-mail

Typecast can display a reminder window or send a reminder e-mail some time before the program begins. You specify how long before the start time and the e-mail address(es).

Note: Hiding a search’s results by clearing its check box does not stop its actions. If you don’t want a search’s actions to happen, you need to remove them using the Actions tab.

Example of reminder window
Example of e-mail reminder

FAQ

You can use the Toggle All toolbar button to quickly view the results of just a few searches. First, press the button to hide all searches. Then tick the check box of the searches you want to see. When you’re done, press the Toggle All button again to show all searches.

One way to quickly see the results of a single search is to double-click the search. This displays the Search window, and the search’s results are displayed in the bottom pane. Then click Cancel to exit the Search window.

A schedule’s context menu will display an Edit Search … command even though that search is unchecked.

A search may be listed in the Exclude command’s list of searches even though the selected airing is NOT marked by that search. This is because another airing of the program is in a different search’s results. For example, “The Fog” might be displayed by the search “Movies on channel 8,” and also displayed by search “Movies on channel 10.” If you right-click the Channel 8 search, the Exclude command will list both searches because they each have an airing of “The Fog” in their results.

The Exclude From Searches command only operates on displayed searches. So, if you don’t want to exclude a program from a particular search, untick that search, and then use the Exclude From Searches command. Afterwards, tick the search again.

Even after excluding a movie, it might appear later in Typecast’s results. Some movies have multiple IDs and each one must be excluded.

One feature of Typecast is that if a program’s schedule matches multiple searches, Typecast will combine the display attributes of the searches. This means that it’s possible to display all episodes of a program and highlight just the new episodes (or just the premieres and finales or just the episodes with a specific cast member, etc.).

  1. Create one search to match all episodes (e.g., set Title to Modern Family and set Background color to “Gold”).
  2. Copy that search (press the Copy toolbar button).
  3. Tick the New check box.
  4. Select the Display tab.
  5. Untick the background color’s check box.
  6. Tick the Bold title check box.
  7. Press the OK button.

Now the first search matches all episodes of Modern Family and displays them with a gold background color. The second search matches only new episodes and displays their title text in bold.

If Typecast and Windows Media Center use different sources for listings (e.g., Schedules Direct vs. Rovio), it’s possible for there to be station mismatches, and some WMC recordings will not match with the schedules displayed in Typecast.

Record series: You must select an episode in the future or WMC will return an error.

Record series: If the program displayed in Typecast does not match the callsign of the program in Windows Media Center, WMC will create a keyword search.

If a recording request has an error, all airings of that program in Typecast are marked with the error icon.

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