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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 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. (Soon, you’ll be able to use Typecast to tell WMC to schedule programs to be recorded. This will 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 that Typecast does not allow you to watch television; it’s a guide to shows you want to watch.

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
  • start and end date/time (including duration)
  • episode title
  • 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)
  • new or repeat
  • high-definition or standard-definition
  • closed-captioned
  • original air date
  • content rating (for the lineup’s country)
  • movie year
  • movie 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 all results, or to mark an episode (and all earlier ones) as seen.

When you exclude a program from results, it will no longer appear in the results of any search. If you change your mind, you can edit the Typecast.xml file saved in your Documents\Typecast\ folder and delete the corresponding <exclude> line from the file. (Typecast saves the program’s title in addition to its ID so that you know which ID is for each program.)

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 as usual.

Note: A search may be listed in the list of searches a program can be excluded from even though this airing is NOT marked by that search because another search is displaying a different airing of the same program. For example, The Fog might be displayed by 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.

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

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.

The searches are saved in an XML file in your C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\12noon\TypecastData\ folder so you can back it up or copy it to a new computer.

Searches can display reminders and send e-mails a certain amount of time before each program starts. You can create your own actions using the C# plug-in architecture.

  • title (can use regular expressions)
  • description (can use regular expressions)
  • episode title (can use regular expressions)
  • episode description (can use regular expressions)
  • 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)

Actions: Reminders and E-mail (Plugins)

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 anymore, you need to remove them using the Actions tab.

(Later, developers will be able to create new actions using the published SDK to create a .NET assembly.)

Example of reminder window Example of e-mail reminder

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 it interferes with Schedules Direct authentication tokens.)

Pricing — FREE

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

Tips

List all episodes and highlight new ones

One feature of Typecast is that if a program matches multiple searches, the display attributes of the searches are combined. This means that you can list all episodes of a program and highlight the new episodes.

First, create one search to match all episodes (e.g., set Title to Modern Family and set Background color to “Gold”).

Then, copy that search (using the “Copy” toolbar button), edit the copy, clear the background color, set the “New” check box, and set the Display tab’s Bold title check box.

Now the first search will match all episodes of Modern Family and display a gold background color. The second search will match only new episodes and bold their title text.

View Results of a Few Searches

Use the Toggle All toolbar button to hide all searches. Then show the searches you want to see. When you’re done, use the Toggle All button again to show all searches.