When we used to watch cable TV, we’d rely on TV guides to know what show or movie is coming up next, or what we can expect during a certain time. Now that we live in a more modern world, guides with the same function have evolved too. These days, cord-cutters rely on electronic program guides or EPG when watching live TV.
What exactly is an EPG, though, and how can it help you? This article will discuss all this and more. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about EPG.
What’s an IPTV?
For the unaware or unfamiliar, Internet Protocol television or IPTV is essentially a way for you to watch live TV channels through the internet even without cable. Most of the time, IPTV subscriptions are significantly cheaper than cable TV, which is why many cord cutters have decided to opt for this, especially if or when they want to cut back on expenses. Plus, you don’t need to have a cable subscription in order to install and use IPTV, so you can download an IPTV app on any of your supported devices with no problem.
There are so many IPTV services available, most of which offer hundreds or thousands of channels to browse from. Whichever IPTV service you go for, though, it would usually come with an EPG that you can check out if you’re looking for a particular program. Popular streaming apps like Pluto TV have EPGs available.
How About an EPG?
Now, let’s talk more about EPGs. Otherwise known as an electronic service guide (ESG) or an interactive program guide (IPG), you can refer to an EPG in order to check out TV programs along with a complete list of details. These details include the network of the program, genre, show times, description, preview, and others.
That being said, the interface of EPGs aren’t all the same. Some EPGs only showcase programs that are already playing or airing, while others show the upcoming schedules of other programs.
Common Features of an EPG
EPGs may vary, but most if not all of them have similar features. Some of these similarities include the following:
- Customization options
- Channels organized by genre
- Search capabilities
- Graphical user interface organized by grids
Some EPGs offer more features than others, though—like DVR support, parental control, pay-per-view events, and others. As a matter of fact, even radio stations have their own EPGs, which they publish for active listeners to refer to.
Types of EPG
To be specific, there are three different types of EPGs, namely:
- Single Channel: This type of EPG only showcases the programs of a specific channel.
- Multiple Channels: As the name implies, the EPG offers more than one channel.
- Interactive EPG: This supports several channels along with other features such as navigation, DVR recording, search capabilities, and more.
Unsurprisingly, more IPTV users prefer interactive EPGs for their convenience compared to the non-interactive ones.
How Does an EPG Work?
Let’s talk technicalities: an EPG has two key parts, namely the software that’s behind it and the data that’s being fed into it. The EPG is constantly receiving data, which explains why it’s always updated. With that in mind, how do you know you’re making use of a good EPG?
For one thing, the EPG you’re using must have sufficient RAM, computing power, and CPU cycles. If not, data management won’t be readily available and could cause problems for you. Next, the EPG of choice should have a lower latency. Third, it must have a friendly user interface so that you won’t have a difficult time browsing and selecting programs to watch.
Last but note least, you want an EPG that showcases important and relevant information, such as description and title of the program.
Pros and Cons
Convenience, of course, is one of the top positive aspects of using EPGs. Not only can you review ongoing and upcoming TV programs, it’s also easy for you to pick and choose your favorite shows with just a few taps. As mentioned, EPGs also offer a variety of features that will surely suit the needs of many cord-cutters, including DVR recording capabilities and more.
That being said, one thing we don’t like about EPGs is the fact that all of them vary. This means that if you decide to switch to a different IPTV service, you may be greeted by a completely different EPG with its own set of features and capabilities. Needless to say that you may end up with an EPG that you don’t like as much as the first one you used. Not only that, the information showcased by some EPGs aren’t accurate, which could be frustrating for you. For instance, the EPG you use might not be able to quickly update details to cater to last-minute program changes.
Whether or not you’re a cord-cutter, program guides like an EPG are incredibly helpful and it’s something that you shouldn’t be without if you’re constantly watching live television. There are different kinds of EPGs out there, depending on the IPTV you use, so you just have to find one that has all the features you want and need.