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Unofficial TVGOS Guide

Written by: Lance Gordon [Thank you, Lance! -- Trip]

This guide makes liberal use of several documents which are currently available on the internet: TV Guide On Screen® Basic Troubleshooting and Escalation Procedures, published by Gemstar-TV Guide International, and TV Guide On Screen Training Manual, published by LG Electronics. These documents are both copyrighted by their publishers, so I will not reproduce them here.

The reader will find the TVGOS Devices thread on AVS Forum is the best available source of information on TVGOS, and he/she should look there for information beyond what is provided here.

TVGOS Overview

TV Guide On Screen (TVGOS) is an interactive on-screen programming guide which has been integrated into a number of consumer electronics (CE) devices. TVGOS was originally created by Gemstar – TV Guide International, Inc. The company has undergone a number of structural changes over the years, also operating under the names Macrovision Solutions Corporation and currently Rovi Corporation. The TVGOS data is compiled by Rovi from information supplied by the broadcast industry, and then it is distributed to "Hosts" throughout the US and Canada. The function of these "Hosts" is to inject the TVGOS data into the Host’s broadcast signal, thus broadcasting it to the various CE devices (typically VCRs, DVD Recorders, and TVs, as well as a few DVRs) capable of receiving it.

The analog version of TVGOS is encoded into the Vertical Blanking Interval (VBI) of the NTSC broadcast signal by a device leased by the Host station from Rovi. The Host does not maintain or alter the TVGOS data – it simply passes the data along through the broadcast signal.

To receive the TVGOS data, each CE device must be capable of tuning to a Host channel which broadcasts the TVGOS packets four times each day. In order to receive the TVGOS data, the CE device must not be in use by the customer (or rather set to a "standby" state) so that the tuner can be automatically set to the Host station. The TVGOS transmissions are timed to occur at times when the device is not typically in use, generally in the late evening or early morning.

TVGOS Features

TVGOS Setup

TVGOS is broadcast by Over-The-Air (OTA) stations, by cable TV providers, and by (beginning with TVGOS Version 9) DirecTV© satellite system. In order for your TVGOS-compatible CE device (TV, HDTV, VCR or DVR) to use TVGOS, it must go through a setup process which identifies the type of device you are trying to connect with it, what kind of broadcast service you are using, and your geographic location. This information is collected by a Setup Wizard which will run when your new CE device is first turned on, or when you reinitialize the setup process.

For the Setup wizard to work successfully, your system (incoming signal source, CE device, and connecting cables) must be correctly configured. In most cases, the best source of information about doing this will be the manual that originally came with the CE device. If you do not have the manual, it will almost always be available from the manufacturer either in paper or electronic form. These manuals should contain a section with information specific to TVGOS configuration. Start with this information.

TVGOS installations fall into 6 basic groups, depending on how you will receive the TVGOS data:

TVGOS Setup Wizard

After you have completed the installation connections, you can begin with the TVGOS Setup Wizard. The information below pertains mostly to TVGOS Version 9, but versions 7, 8, and 10 will be similar. The specific details of the Wizard will vary between installations and CE devices, but here are the general steps:

  1. Turn on the CE device. If it is a DVR, turn on the TV connected to it. If you see a screen or series of screens that ask you to select a language and/or a screen type (i.e., 4:3 or 16:9 TV configurations), complete these first. At this point you should see some kind of TVGOS Welcome Screen. If you are repeating the TVGOS setup process, you generally don’t need to repeat these screens and can start with the Welcome Screen.
  2. At the Welcome Screen, press ENTER on your remote to begin the TVGOS setup process.
  3. First, you’re asked to select your country ("USA" or "Canada"). Make your selection and press ENTER.
  4. Depending on which country you selected, you’ll be asked to enter your 5-digit ZIP code or 6-character postal code. Most of the time (if you have a newly assigned ZIP code or you are specifically trying to fool the TVGOS, you might want to enter some other code here) you should enter the appropriate ZIP or postal code and press ENTER.
  5. 5. Next, select the service or services you are using. You can select 1 or 2 different services. The choices will generally include "Antenna", "Cable with a Cable Box", "Cable without a Cable Box", and, beginning with Version 9 of TVGOS, "DirecTV" and/or "Dish Network". Make your selection(s) and press ENTER.
  6. If "Antenna" is selected:
    Setup is complete.
    If "Cable without a Cable Box" is selected:
    Setup is complete.
    If "Cable with a Cable Box" is selected:
    1. Select Cable Box Selection Channel. If you are connecting a DVR to the Cable Box, the channel settings must match.
    2. If you are using a digital service package, answer the question. Note that "I don't know" is a valid answer to this question.
    3. Select how to input channel numbers with 2, 3, or 4 digits, depending on your service.
    4. 4. Make sure that the channel number on the setup screen matches the cable box's channel number. If not, repeat this step until they do match*.
    5. Go to step 7.
    If "DirecTV" is selected:
    1. Select Satellite Receiver Selection Channel. If you are connecting a DVR to the DirecTV receiver, the channel settings must match.
    2. Select how to input channel numbers with 2, 3, or 4 digits, depending on your DirecTV installation.
    3. Select the brand (manufacturer) of your DirecTV receiver.
    4. Make sure that the channel number on the setup screen matches the DirecTV receiver's channel number. If not, repeat this step until they do match*.
    5. Go to step 7.
    If "Dish Network" is selected:
    1. Select Satellite Receiver Selection Channel. If you are connecting a DVR to the Dish Network receiver, the channel settings must match.
    2. Go to step 7.
    NOTE: Dish Network does not fully integrate with TVGOS. You cannot use the TVGOS system to change the receiver’s channels.
  7. Confirm that the above settings are correct. If they are not correct, repeat the setup process.
  8. Clock setting – Depending on your equipment, TVGOS needs to know whether you want it to set your clock, or whether you will set it manually. You also need to tell it whether your area observes Daylight Savings Time.
  9. Setup is complete. Turn off your CE device and wait 24 hours for the program listings to download. Because the listings can only be downloaded with the unit turned off, you can either download listings or watch TV. If you choose not to turn your device off, your listings will not be downloaded until after you do.

    *This step enables your TVGOS-enabled device to change channels on your cable box or DirecTV receiver (this does not work with Dish Network receivers) with the use of an "IR Blaster". The position of the IR Blaster is critical to the success of TVGOS when changing channels. In this step, your CE device tries different IR codes, transmitted by the IR blaster, to make the cable box or satellite receiver respond. If it does not respond, the CE device will try other IR codes until it finds one that works. If you have connected the IR Blaster correctly and are unable to get your cable box or satellite receiver to change channels to make the TV or DVR channel match the displayed channel number, try repositioning the IR Blaster. The IR Blaster must be directly in front of the sensor on the cable box or DirecTV receiver. Note that only certain DirecTV receivers will work with TVGOS!

TVGOS Troubleshooting

Here are a few types of problems that can occur with TVGOS:

No listings
If you enter TVGOS before your device has received a channel lineup from the Host Channel, the 'TV Guide On Screen Setup Progress; screen is displayed. This can happen when

No data
This situation occurs when

To figure out why either of these problems is happening, you should review the data in the TVGOS diagnostic screens.

TVGOS Diagnostics

The TVGOS diagnostics system contains a great deal of information about your system and how it is currently configured. The method of entering the diagnostic screens will depend on the version of TVGOS your device has. Included below are some clues for identifying which version of TVGOS you have, in case you don’t know.

Version 0 has no diagnostics at all.
The Version 0 menu looks like this:
SURFNEXT SCANSORT
Version 1 does have diagnostics. Its menu looks like this:
SURFNEXT FEATURESSORT
To enter V1 diagnostics, start TVGOS, select FEATURES, followed by DIAGNOSTICS. Enter 753 159 852 on the number keys of your remote.
Version 2 and above all have diagnostics. The Version 2 menu looks like this:
GRIDSORT SCHEDULEMESSAGES
To enter diagnostics for Versions 2 through 7, start TVGOS, select MESSAGES, scroll down to highlight the TVG ID number (do not press ENTER). Enter the diagnostic code 753 159 852.
Versions 8 and 9 – The menu for Version 8 and 9 looks like this:
SETUPSCHEDULE LISTINGSSEARCH
To enter Version 8 or Version 9 diagnostics, start TVGOS, select SETUP, scroll down once to highlight Change system settings (do not press ENTER). Enter the diagnostic code 753 159 852.


TVGOS Setup Menu. Enter Diagnostic Code here to view Diagnostics.

If your TV screen is showing the Setup Progress screen when you want to go into diagnostics, you can press ENTER and then scroll across to select SETUP, and then scroll down to highlight Change system settings before entering the diagnostic code. If it is showing a "Search for data" screen, you can scroll over to a different header (such as SCHEDULE or SEARCH) and then scroll back to SETUP. Then scroll down to Change system settings and enter the diagnostic code.

If you have successfully entered the diagnostic code, the Section System-System Info screen appears. If you do not see this screen, you can simply wait a couple of seconds and then try entering the code again. No harm will be done to your system by repeatedly entering the code. Once you enter diagnostics, you can leave at any time by simply pressing the key (typically called 'TV GUIDE') on your remote.


Section System-System Info screen

Basic system information is displayed on this screen. The current date and time are shown at the upper left corner of the screen. Note that all times on these screens are UTC (Greenwich) times. The third line of text shows the version of TVGOS, followed by a slash (/). The number after the first slash is the patch number. Near the bottom of the text is the Video Source--how your TVGOS is set up to retrieve data.

The diagnostic screens are laid out in a rectangular grid. The Version 9 screens (the screens vary between versions) look like this:


(Click for larger view)

Note that you use the up, down, left and right arrows on your remote to scroll around through the screens. Each of the rows and columns is a loop, so that if, as an example, you are viewing the System-System Info screen and press the left arrow, you will see the System-Patch History screen; if you scroll up from the System-System Info screen, you will see the Reset Info-Statistics screen.

To view system statistics, start at the System-System Info screen and press the right arrow once. The System-Statistics screen displays.


Section System-Statistics screen

On this screen some of the most useful information is shown. For instance, the Zip Code, the Host Chan and the VBI Chan are all displayed here. Note that if the Host Chan shows NONE, your system will be unable to download any data. The Zip Code information displays the value you entered during the setup process. The VBI Chan value shows which station was last displayed on TV--it is generally not the same as the Host Chan value.

Another very useful screen is the Section Reception-Slicing screen. On this screen you can view the number of packets of TVGOS data from initial setup (or the last reset) in the Since Cold column, the packets sent from the Host channel in the HostChan column, and the number of packets from the current channel in the CurrChan column (not visible in all installations).


Section Reception-Slicing screen

To view the Reception-Slicing screen, you can start from the System-Statistics screen and press the Up arrow two times.

Useful data on the VBI Data-VBI Info screen include the LastClkSet and LastDLStart values.


Section VBI Data-VBI Info screen

To view this screen, start at the Reception-Slicing screen and press the Up arrow once.

To view clock information, go to the Section Other-Clocks1 screen by pressing the Down arrow SIX times.


Section Other-Clocks1 screen

The Other-Clocks1 screen contains information about how TVGOS handles Daylight Savings Time. It also gives Offset from UTC (min), which shows you how to convert from UTC (Greenwich Mean Time) to your local time zone.

Press the Right arrow once to move to the Other-Clocks2 screen.


Section Other-Clocks2 screen

This screen shows Failing Clock Chan, the channel where the system tried to obtain clock data, and Clock Set Chan, the source of the last successfully obtained clock data.

Finally, to view system statistics, go to the Section Reset Info-Statistics screen by pressing the Up arrow FOUR times.


Section Reset Info-Statistics screen

Some of the useful data on this screen are Power On date and time and some error information.

Incorrect Channel Lineup
If your TVGOS-displayed channels do not match the channels coming from your cable or satellite service provider, there are a couple of possibilities for the source of the problem:

To fix the first problem, enter Setup and select Change system settings. When you are asked "Are the above settings correct?" select "Yes, but my channel lineup is incorrect". TVGOS will then show you the channel lineups it has detected for your Zip or Postal code. If there is an option available besides your current one, try choosing it. If not, follow the next suggestion.

The second problem will require you to change the channel display. To do this, enter Setup and select Change channel display. TVGOS then displays the Channel Editor screen.


TVGOS Channel Editor Screen

The Channel Editor allows you to:

The Channel Editor will not allow you to add channels that you may be able to view, but that are not supported by TVGOS.

Channel missing from TVGOS
As stated above, some channels may exist that are not supported by TVGOS. Service providers may offer more stations than can be displayed in the TVGOS menu. If this occurs, the channels that are displayed are selected by Rovi, and your service provider may not be able to alter the selections without consulting them.

Before you attempt to contact your service provider or Rovi, open the Channel Editor (as discussed above under "Incorrect Channel Lineup") and make sure that the "missing" channel is not turned off. If it is, you can turn it back on and/or move its position in the channel display with the Channel Editor.

Other TVGOS Setup Codes

Here is a list of other TVGOS setup codes. Every code does not work with every version of TVGOS. Use these at your own risk!

797654141 ID Number Regenerated
444555666 Accepting Test Patches
666555444 Declining Test Patches
777888999 Subscriptions Enabled
147412356 Warm Reset
653274147 System Reset
653214741 Cold Reset
193758246 Service Information
753159852 Diagnostics
123123123 All Channels On
114119196 Alpha Enabled
666377243 NFP Message
872253867 Ad Track Dump
872255647 Ad Track Logs
746978287 Show Stats
663366746 Demo Pin %s
736683837 Enable IR Tests
824824812 VBI Search 12
963214785 VBI Search Current Channel
533733663 Keep Demo Data
222333111 G-LINK Diag Dump
147852369 Phone Home
562333663 Load Demo Data
842656248 Toggle Phone Modem Prefix
458798565 Toggle Phone Modem Com Port
464821864 Phone Modem Beta Number
129547358 Phone Modem Test Number
998768589 Phone Modem Production Number
152368459 Toggle Time of Feed
111111111 Test
111222333 Clear Reset Info
658545256 Do Next Phone Home
789789789 Clear since-cold gclock diags
123789255 Set PM Flag 255
987321255 Clr PM Flag 255
352747373 Reset Flash Memory
352742666 Commit Flash Memory
352747283 Save To Flash Memory
352747378 Restore From Flash Memory
444555555 Enter Parameter
987789987 VBI Quick Search Cur Channel
444555333 File System White Box Test
444555777 File System White Box Recovery
474747474 Dial '1234' in each mode
971397135 Enter Factory Test Screen
882666564 Toggle TVComm Log
194219421 Start G-LINK
392378466 Generate exception
963852741 File System Shell
741236547 Purge Pgmmgr
237837837 BER Test
214532568 Fake Cable Card Insertion
325621458 Fake Cable Card Removal
951478632 Clickstream Support ON
236874159 Clickstream Support OFF
589632147 Glink Modem Support ON
741236985 Glink Modem Support OFF
515359575 Commit All Data
987456321 Sys Heap Debug Snapshot
874563219 Sys Heap Block Use Analysis
745632198 Sys Heap Space Use Analysis
179324865 Enable ATSC
147258369 Force Slicing
472749564 Toggle Graphics Log
752954783 Dump Playlist
545572824 Delete Patch File
339927439 VBI Disable


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