If you have been using Windows Media Center for a while then you may remember Big Screen EPG for Vista MC. If you aren’t familiar with this program, let me first point out that EPG stands Electronic Program Guide. In a nutshell, this is the guide data that your DVR (in this case your PC) uses for shows, channels, times, etc. They have been rather slow to get out a version for Windows 7, but it has finally arrived.
Media Center, of course, comes with guide data that updates regularly and, in general, is pretty good. Big Screen EPG is more of an enhancement than a necessity. It does add a fair amount of flexibility though. Per their website:
► Import EPG Data from one or more XMLTV Based Sources
► Comes with an Easy to use Configuration Tool – providing Setup Wizards and intuitive Customization Functionality
► Intelligent Unique Program and Series Detection Features – allows more Reliable and Powerful Scheduled Recording in Media Center
► Automatic Series Matching and Image/Metadata Import – with an inbuilt database of over 20,000 shows
► Import Logos for all your Channels
► Runs when you’re not around using the Inbuilt Scheduled Task Management Helper
As far as price, it’s a great deal at $19.95 for a 2 year license that allows you to install it on up to 5 PC’s. It’s compatible with IPTV sources as well. The controls and setup wizards allow for an incredible amount of control. And, the interface is simply beautiful.
In short, it’s a worthwhile add-on for your HTPC. Again, not necessary, but, given the price and the great interface and controls, it’s certainly worth the small fee they are asking.